Essential training for rescued dogs

Once you have adopted your new furry friend, behavioral training is essential. In order for you to develop a happy relationship , you both must begin to understand one another. Rules must be set and boundaries applied. It is important to do this with positive reinforcement, as your rescue dog is already going to be nervous, stressed and uneasy in the beginning weeks.

HOUSETRAINING.

To begin, house rules are the most important to be set down. Housetraining should begin as soon as arriving home. Once bad habits are in place, they are harder to break. Crate training is often recommended, as the dog will not want to “go” in the place where they sleep. The crate should be big enough for the dog to stand up fully and turn around without restraint. A crate is also helpful for rescue dogs, as they like a safe place to call their own. If you don’t want to crate your new dog, consider leaving them in a small room while you are away, or at night. This will prevent them from developing the bad habits of having accidents.

SIT/STAY.

These two commands are generally the easiest of commands to learn. When you tell your dog to “sit”, gently press down on his haunches. Immediately upon sitting, offer him a treat. Repeat this often. Repetitiveness is key. The “stay” command should be next, and is taught to the dog for safety reasons, as well as behavioral reasons. Once you dog has learned to sit on command, you can move on to the “stay” command. Have him sit, tell him to stay, while you walk a few steps away. Reward him when he obeys. Should he not obey, take him back the same spot and have him sit again. Once he begins to pick up on this, gradually increase the distance between you and your dog. Remember to use positive reinforcement when teaching commands.

COME.

This command is definitely a safety issue. If your dog takes off in the direction of a busy road, you should be able to yell, “Come” and have him run right back to you. Once you have taught your dog to stay, the “Come” command is obviously the next one to learn. This is usually easy to learn when you are training with treats, but take him outside in the yard, let him run, and then test him. This command is very important, even if you don’t plan on having him off leash. You never know what can happen, or when a dog can get loose.

Once your new dog has learned a few commands, the learning process will be easier. You and he will have developed a trust and a bond with each other, and he will aim to please you. If you are not comfortable teaching all the commands yourself, considering hiring a training or joining in on a training class. Your local pet stores or veterinarian can usually recommend someone.

The training process for rescued dogs is critical for a few reasons. First of all, it begins to help develop the bond between dog and owner, and will in turn provide the dog with a trusting relationship, one he may likely have never known prior to being rescued. Secondly, a properly trained dog is less likely to become lost, or develop further issues which may impede his life with your family. Lastly, there will be less issues to deal with in the home, such as chewing, “potty accidents’, and destructive behavior, making for a more enjoyable time with your new family member.

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