All of our employees at Two Men and a Truck Nashville, from our owners to our office staff to our movers, love pets, and especially dogs! A lot of us own rescue dogs, and we love them as our adopted family members. Anyone who’s adopted a rescue dog can tell you that the first few months of owning this new friend is no walk in the park–you never know what kind of trauma the dog has experienced in the past, and he’ll need some time to trust you and adjust to his new environment. So how can you best “move in” your new rescue dog?
Have patience, and remember your priorities.
The most important thing to remember is that your new pooch needs you to be patient while he/she makes the adjustment. Many rescue dogs show their nervousness, fear, and lack of trust by acting out initially. When our Move Supervisor Joe first took in his rescue animal, he lost a bar stool, two couches, and the back seat of his car to the anxious chewing habits of his pup Diego. Although Joe was understandably frustrated by the damages to his things, he remembered that his priority was Diego’s comfort and trust. After the first few months of learning each other’s habits and routines, Diego, Joe, and Joe’s belongings all live in harmony with one another.
Don’t punish, just discipline.
When a child misbehaves, parents are able to explain what their daughter did wrong, sit her in time out, and have her clean up whatever mess she made. Rescue dogs are a little more difficult to handle because they can’t understand English, or the concept of reparations. New rescue dog owners should remember that they need to associate good behaviors with treats, and bad behaviors with loss of attention. When our Marketer Jenni adopted her rescue dog Lucille, she quickly learned that Lucille resorted to nipping in almost every situation, from tug-of-war games to begging for attention. To amend that behavior, Jenni kept playing with Lucille and rubbing her tummy until Lucille started playing too rough. Then Jenni had to shout “OW!” and walk away from Lucille to teach her that those playful nips weren’t acceptable.
Give your pup a safe place.
Many first-time dog owners feel like dog crates look like miniature prisons, and are afraid to use a crate with their new rescue animal. However, crates act as more than a training tool or discipline technique. When dogs are put in their crates overnight to sleep, fed meals in their crates, and given treats in their crates whenever you leave your house for an extended period of time, they learn to treat their crates as a comforting safe place. Jenni’s dog Lucille even prefers her crate to Jenni’s embrace during the scariest of situations: Thunderstorms.
Have a set routine.
Rescue animals need to learn to trust you, and setting a daily routine will definitely facilitate the beginning of that trust. After experiencing the turbulence of a traumatic situation, moving into a shelter, and now moving into a new person’s home, your new dog needs to know that they can expect a good meal at two set times of day, that their new owner will be home at certain times of day, and that they will have regular opportunities to “make their business” outside. Once Joe’s dog Diego realized that Joe would need to leave every morning, but would be home every evening, his anxiety began to fade. Diego also knows that Joe will never forget to feed him, so he doesn’t need to rely on the stuffing of Joe’s couch to keep his tummy full.
If you liked this blog post and want to help us “move” more rescue animals in with their forever families, check out our Movers for Mutts campaign benefiting the NHA!