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Rescue Dog's- What to expect when they come home FOREVER!

August 10, 2020

It is important to recognize a few common signs of anxiety to help our four legged friend to acclimate to their new surroundings.

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During my training at the Pet Massage and Research Institute in Toledo, OH, we spent the day at the Toledo Humane Society massaging the shelter dogs. I cannot explain to you how rewarding this was for me. Kuddos to them for allowing our class to come practice our skills and techniques on these wonderful dogs.  I wish more shelter’s around the country would implement this. I am thankful to The Humane Society of Charlotte as they allow me to donate my services to massage these remarkable animals. Though all dog’s benefit from massage, I feel these dog’s benefit the most. Some have never experienced what a gentle touch is like.  Massage can work wonders to help the healing process of these animals both emotionally and physically.  

It goes without saying that any rescue/shelter dog  have had their fair share of hard times, whether they were abandoned, neglected, unable to be cared for by their family, or worse- case scenario, the victim of abuse. More often than not, most dogs that have spent any time in a shelter are more prone to developing certain issues, including anxiety disorders, destructive behavior and other physical manifestations of fear and stress. While the majority of these behaviors can be corrected with adequate knowledge, love, patience, time and the occasional assistance of a professional trainer.

It is important to recognize a few common signs of anxiety to help our four legged friend to acclimate to their new surroundings. Below are just a few:

Hard Time Adjusting: The transitional period from the shelter to your home can sometimes cause fear and anxiety for your dog. TIP: Give your dog the alone time he/she needs. 2- Be patient with your new dog. Give them their space. They will come to you when they are ready. Not all dogs like hugs. In fact, if you shower your dog with too much attention too soon, it may stress the out even more, especially if they are a recent rescue. Let him/her come to you.

Food Aggression: Because shelter dogs often have had to fight over their food, your dog might still be in fear that his/her food could be stolen, which could result in: snarling, growling, baring teeth or even biting during meal time. TIP: Don’t stand too close to your dog as they are eating. 2- Create a feeding schedule or consistency.

Resource Guarding: Oftentimes, shelter dogs have to compete with other dogs for resources, including toys, food, water or affection. It may take your dog sometime to understand that he/she does not have to compete with you for these things. You may notice your dog guard and establish possession around toys, food or even people. TIP: Bond with your dog and establish trust.

Leg Lifting: Being in a new home, your dog will most likely want to mark it’s territory. TIP: show your dog this is not acceptable behavior. 2- Puppy proof your home to eliminate the times your dog is encouraged to act out.

Separation Anxiety: After being homeless his/her entire life, it is completely understandable that your dog may experience separation anxiety when you are not around, potentially causing them to react by barking excessively, having indoor accidents and yes, even destroying furniture.  

As we’ve discussed, the safer and more at ease your canine companion feels in his new home, the less anxious he’ll be – and the sooner you’ll discover your rescue’s true personality. Making your dog feel comfortable within your house or apartment takes time and effort, but in the long run, the bond you create will be something you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows that our fur-babies become our family. Here are a few more helpful suggestions when acclimating your rescue dog to his surroundings:

Thanks for reading-  Love, Lori and Lily  <3

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