Categorized | Dog, Training

Three Ways Training a Rescue Dog is Different than Training a Puppy

If you have decided to adopt a rescue dog rather than purchase a puppy, you need to be aware of differences you will encounter in training. While a puppy is a blank slate and will sometimes be far easier to train, a rescued dog may come to you with some training already completed. Here are three ways that training your rescue may differ from bringing up a pup.

Undesirable Learned Behaviors
Some people have no idea how to train a dog, or may train it to do things you find repugnant. For example, a rescue dog of a toy breed may have been taught to toilet on rags left inside. The dog will then believe it is acceptable to urinate on throw rugs. Some rescue dogs may not be house trained at all, toileting anywhere they please or chewing on furnishings. You will need to train out these behaviors using positive reinforcement.

Fear of Punishment or People
While a puppy will usually come to you with few preconceived notions about humans, a rescue dog may already be quite fearful. He or she may cower or urinate in fear if you raise your voice or take a dominant posture. A dog that has learned to be frightened of people may need to learn that baseball bats, canes, and other objects will not be used to beat them. Some fearful dogs will nip, or hide from you. You may need to work to gain a rescue dog’s trust. Positive reinforcement of good behaviors and treating your dog with love and kindness can go a long way in retraining a rescue dog.

Easier Training Overall
Unless your rescue dog has been severely mistreated, he or she will likely already know a few commands and be happy to follow them. This can make it easier to train a rescue dog than starting from scratch with a puppy, as the rescue may already understand that following a command gets them a reward. Some rescues will be quite eager to learn new commands and get more rewards, especially if they spent unstimulating time in a shelter before adoption and became bored as a result.

Adopting a rescue dog can be a fun and rewarding experience. However, you must understand that the training methods used will differ from the methods you would use for a puppy. This is especially true if your rescue dog has been abused or left in a shelter for any length of time. If you are having trouble training your dog, contact the professionals such as those at ABC Pet Clinic for a consultation.

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