Adopting the perfect dog isn’t really a thing. Some dogs are better than others, some are fantastic, but under the wrong guidance from their humans, even the best dog may flounder. A dog’s life, learning, and education is an ongoing work in progress (just like with people), and your investment in them, will make all the difference! Humans don’t give birth or adopt the perfect child: they invest in their child with time and love and education and socialization. If they need help, they seek it. Rarely a human will give up and say “my toddler is just a bad kid”. Sadly, people give up on dogs all the time, and in our experience, it’s “human failure” that leads to a dog’s lack of success, and is rarely the fault of the dog.
We hope to provide some insight and tips for helping your dog be the best version of him/herself.
When your dog first goes home, they have a lot to take in. New people, new smells, new pets. They have been through a recent change, so they really don’t know if you are the real deal, or if that dog bed is actually theirs permanently. Give your dog time to understand the basics; we are your people, this is your home, this is our routine. This doesn’t mean you can’t teach them right from wrong. Just don’t overwhelm them. Please read this for more information. We also ask that people set boundaries initially as well – this is just as you work through growing pains.
Be sure to take your dog to the vet for an introductory visit. Take your vetting booklet from your rescue. If this vet is new to you, do your research to ensure you are compatible.
Having a trainer lined up is every bit as important as having a vet lined up (training is a mandatory requirement for our rescue dogs). There will be some point where you realize your new pup isn’t doing what you want it to. Or you may realize that you aren’t doing what your dog wants you to. This is normal and no biggie – if you have a plan.
Most “issues” we hear about, stem from a lack of human involvement or understanding. Dogs can’t speak to us in a traditional sense, and it’s important that we try to understand what they are telling us and figure out how to navigate. We have people telling us they are great trainers and they don’t need a professional. We also realize parents home-school their kids. But, with kids, there is still a curriculum, a program, government accountability, a structure in place and resources available to the parents. It is an alternative approach to education, but no less of an investment.
If someone wants to train their pet at home, our initial response is that of worry, but if they are putting a truly structured program in place, so be it. It is not acceptable to lump basic things like “sit” or general commands into a proper training investment in your dog. If you love your dog and your family and you want to follow through on your commitments, there should be no hesitation in investing in your canine family member.
The best side effect of training is the improvement we see in humans. They learn more about dogs, they are accountable for the issues they are creating. They are able to separate “big deal” and “little deal” issues and learn how to move forward.
Through your phone screening, you agreed to do things for your dog: Are you following through? Are they alone too much? Did you hire that daily dog walker that you promised? Did you actually take up jogging to help the dog burn off some energy? Topics that were discussed in the screening process were factors in determining the right home for the dog. Simply, if you stated you were going to do these things, do them. Most of our applications state that they would only give up a dog due to “biting”, however, we have had dogs surrendered due to being shy, leash reactive, vomiting, doesn’t like to play fetch, and on and on. These are things that people can easily work through, but instead, they give up. It’s incredibly disappointing for a rescue organization to get a dog returned due to lack of effort. These dogs have sometimes had tragic pasts, and part of the rescue process is to give them a better life.
Is this the right fit?
Maybe you will ask the question: did I get the right dog? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Some dogs won’t ever like cats or kids or whatever, and it’s important for their humans to understand. Were they set up for success? Have they had positive or negative interactions that cause the fear? Will they ever get over it? Your trainer will help navigate these questions.
Most surrendered dogs, do fine in their foster home or next forever home. Some need training to get back on track. All but a small few have had bigger issues and need more intensive training.