Few things beat rescuing or providing shelter for a dog that is badly in need of one. However, there is too much emotional baggage that you might have to deal with as a result. While you are kind to adopt a foster dog, you wouldn’t know just yet how much you have done. Over time, you will come to realize that your act of kindness was good not only for the foster dog but for you as well.
The fact that you know that the dog has had a rough life and you saved it from that is enough to make you happy. Dogs also understand the favor and shower you with a lot of affection in return. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.
However, this isn’t all that there is to rescuing and adopting a foster dog. While these dogs may have many good qualities that you will like, the rough life that they have had to live through could leave a scar on them. These past traumas may lead to the dog’s behavioral problems that you must learn to correct and not necessarily live with. This is where the hard work is.
This article from the best dissertation service discusses some of the common behavioral problems your dog is bound to show and possible tips for you to correct them. You should know, though, that there’s more for you to do than we can tell in one guide.
The good thing is, the dog isn’t broken. What it needs is proper (re)training, patience, and love. With these attributes, you will be able to correct the attitude problems of your dog, and both of you can live happily ever after.
It is very easy to think about the adoption as an act of goodwill, but you should always remember that the adult pet already had some life before you. And you should understand that it could search for the previous family if it already was in one, the real and only for him now. During walks or playing outdoors, it can come to other people with the hope of finding its real owner. These pets always have memories and you should count with it, not being jealous or aggressive in such behaviour of your new pet.
While you read about some of your dogs’ negative behaviors, we also recommend that you work with a vet on finding the best possible ways for the dog to learn new positive behaviors.
Dogs with shelter experience mostly have separation anxiety. There are several reasons why this is so, but the root cause is basically:
- Lack of comfort
- Lack of stability
- Lack of structure
You might not know that the dog’s history is pre-shelter, but you should have a good idea what its life was at the shelter. Traumatic is the word to sum it up.
Now that it’s in your house and has the freedom to roam, everywhere is quiet and serene, unlike in the shelter, they tend to follow the owners around. Their panic and anxiety kick at the moment you leave them alone and go out.
It can be a burden to you if you have a dog that has separation anxiety. You would either not go out, not stay long outside, or have a member of the family stay back with them.
How to fix this?
- Take them on a walk. The dogs are only as tired as the excess energy they have in their body. So, tire them out.
- Practice desensitization. Don’t leave them alone for 8 hours to start with. Start with 30 minutes and so on.
- Give them distractions
- Music therapy
Aggression has different types; it could be territorial, fear, or social aggression. Shelter dogs often develop aggression out of anxiety and fear, both as a result of their time in the shelter. They could be aggressive towards humans, animals, or even both.
This is why you have to be careful when bringing in a shelter dog. If you have playful children or dogs in your family, an aggressive one is the last thing you need.
Having to deal with aggression from your dog can be quite frustrating and challenging. It’s impossible to cure aggression in most cases, but you can manage it by exposing them to things that set off their aggression. Aggressive dogs are dangerous, and aggression is hard to deal with, so you should speak with your vet over proper treatment for an aggressive shelter dog.
Chewing in dogs is natural to some extent. It’s how they keep their teeth clean and jaws strong. However, when it extends to them chewing on your couch, for instance, then you have a problem at hand. Many things commonly cause destructive chewing. Some of these are:
- Absence of mental stimulation
- Lack of exercise
You don’t have to live with destructive tendencies in your dog. It would help if you tried to figure out why it is chewing destructively and solve the problem. There are things you should note as you try to help relieve your dog from its anxiety, boredom, or stress:
- Don’t hit them or yell at them for their chewing.
- Don’t create them for a long period.
- Don’t muzzle them
As explained in the papers at UK Best Essays, dogs aren’t so good at understanding the punishment you meet at them for an action they did just a few minutes ago. Even when you are quick to punish them, and they’re able to connect the dots, they just don’t know how to generalize. They might not understand that it’s their chewing habit as a whole that you’re mad; they think you don’t like that they chewed on your couch and will move to chew other things.
Poor social skills
Shelter dogs mostly don’t know how best to relate with other dogs, especially if they’re meeting for the first time. There are two reasons for this:
- They lack positive experiences.
- They have limited exposure.
You’ll notice that your shelter dog would probably run to another dog at full speed, trying to see what’s happening. It’s perhaps the aggressive tendency or anxiety in them. This will likely not sit well with the other dogs, and they start snarling at each other. Before you know it, they’re barking at each other or are already in a fiasco.
The sad part is, dogs have around six months to learn their social skills and instincts. After that time frame, it’s challenging to learn or unlearn social instincts. However, you can only do the best to expose them within a safe environment to other dogs. They might not get better at it, but desensitization is the key. Also, continue to expose them to good and positive experiences. Work in their comfort zone and not set them up to fail. It’s a long game, so take it at a slow pace.
You must also note that the interactions of dogs on leash and off-leash are different. Expose them mostly to off-leash experiences around other calmer dogs.
It can be challenging for you as the dog owner to live with any of these behavioral issues that your shelter dog is exhibiting, but you have to expect it when you adopt the foster dog You have to decide that the experience is worth it for you (and it is). Just note that your living situation and lifestyle are very critical when trying to adopt a shelter dog.
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