Hello again:) Last week I talked about some things you should keep in mind if you're thinking about getting a pure bred dog for your next family member.
This week, I'm going to talk about some things to keep in mind if you're thinking about rescuing a dog, either from a shelter or maybe a rescue organization.
I want to say again that I am neither for, not again, either method. COMPLETELY unbiased. I think the most important thing is that you can provide the life to a pup who will compliment you and your household. Let's get going:)
1. You may not know your dogs complete vet history
Rescuing a dog from a shelter can be so incredibly rewarding. Not just because you're saving an animal from death row, but because you're bringing into your life an animal that will love you unconditionally. But, in taking care of those beautiful creature, you're also going to have to pay for their veterinarian bills and, coming from a shelter, you may not know everything that's ever happened to your new furry family member.
Maybe they weren't vaccinated 100% when they were puppies. No worries, just vaccinate them now. Maybe they had worms before and they didn't get the medication they needed to get rid of them all. Give them the medication now to make sure that they are all gone and feed them a nutrient rich food since they had some parasites in them for a bit. Again, no worries.
But what if your new pup had kidney stones before? What if they had an undescended testicle? What if they had a tumor removed before that might come back?
Life can't be predicted and even despite the fact that you may not have all of your new dogs medical history, as long as you stay current and pay attention, that unknown knowledge hopefully won't be too big of a deal.
2. You don't know what their past is
This is a big one when it comes to getting a dog from a shelter or rescue.
The dogs aren't always from bad situations but if/when they are, it's hard to know the extent of it. They may have been dropped off somewhere, or were found as a stray. Shelter staff do the best job that they can is determining if the dogs have any aversions but they can't know everything.
Dogs with baggage often have fear from people or everyday items.They may have been abused. They may not have been cared for in a humane way and guard their food. They may have had a bad experience with the strangest of things that have caused them to bark uncontrollably or act like a total schito for no apparent reason.
When you find out that things like this have happened, you need to know that it's not you. You also need to know that, the majority of the time, your dog need psychological help to get rid of the problem.
Just like you can't blame a military member, or a police officer, for having PTSD, you can't blame a dog for having a messed up perception of the world when something bad happens to them.
3. You don't know what your dogs triggers are
This one ties into #2, but you don't know what will set your dog off.
It might be other dogs, loud noises, large groups of people, or even certain types of people, like women with hats on.
Whatever it is, again, you need to move slowly and give your dog a reason to not view whatever that stressor is as a threat.
It's very important to contact a dog trainer, or dog behavioralist, who has had not only experience but success in helping a dog move past an aversion to something.
4. Rescue dogs are sometimes clingy
Yes, you read that right. I said rescue dogs are sometimes clingy. This can be a good thing as well as a bad thing.
The bad result is when your dog won't leave your side. They're fearful and anxious and see you as the safe spot. You're like home base in a game of tag. "As long as I'm touching you, nothing bad will happen to me."
The good result is a dog that has been through hell and back and, after being brought to a new home, realizes that life is good and are very go-with-the-flow. I like to call these dogs Matthew McConaughey dogs.
While it's nice to have a dog that wants to be by your side, it can get a bit irritating and tiresome. If you find that your dog DOESN"T like to leave your side, you can give them some more confidence with training. Really. Any training at all. Training your dog gives them self confidence. With the self confidence will come a sense of independence and being more secure with themselves.
Again, there is no right way to being a dog into your life.
Wether you and your family has decided to go the route of a pure bred pup, or rescuing a beautiful soul from a shelter or rescue, making sure that you make your home welcoming and comfortable, as well as put solid ground rules in place will set everyone up for success.
Have you run into any of these problems before? Do you think I left anything off the list that's worth mentioning? Do me a favor and comment below.
As always, show your dog some love today, and Happy Training:)