Rescue dogs are special pets. They come with a history that may affect their behavior and even their personality. But this is a history you may know nothing about. You may get some hints about your dog's past based on his behavior. Rescue dogs are special in your lives because you're choosing to give them a chance for a good home and a good life. Some rescues have been abused. Some have been neglected. Some have just been left behind without an understanding of why. Any or all of these things could cause your rescue dog to behave in ways you may not understand. Your rescue dog may have been abused with a leash. This might make walking on a leash extremely scary for your dog. Or your rescue may have never been on a leash before. He may be a bit apprehensive about trying something new.
Loving your rescue dog and giving him a chance to be an amazing pet and to learn and grow with boundaries and love are the best things you can offer your pup. Training your dog after rescue to walk on a leash will not only take some patience, love, and understanding, but it may also take some guesses as to why he behaves the way he does. If he's fearful of the leash, it may be because he was abused at one time. Take this training slow, let him lead the way and show you the pace he needs to go in order for him to be comfortable and willing to try something new with you, his new owner who loves him dearly. Introducing the leash and how to use it and what your expectations are with a rescue dog needs to happen in small phases. Have lots of patience and remember your dog’s stomach is a great path to his heart and building trust.
Because a rescue dog requires special kind of attention and training, be sure you are very patient and calm during your training sessions. You don't want to trigger any anxiety or trauma from your dog's past while training. Be sure you have a leash that is appropriate for your dog’s size and weight. If your dog is highly anxious or fearful, you may want to consider putting him in a harness instead of just a collar. This will help you have better control over him while on the leash. High-value treats are great for any pup, but for training rescue dogs you may need to consider using treats that are extremely tasty and offer more than you might a dog who doesn't have a past you're not aware of.
Pepe has had a hard life in the streets. We took him from the street two weeks ago, he already went on a car ride to the vet for consultation and castration.
We expend all the past year gaining his trust by feeding him in the street, bringing water and snacks. We were also able to have a vet visit him while being in the streets. In those conditions he was treated for distemper (took us a while to have him better) and also he got vaccinations, dewormers and different meds.
Now that he is home, he stays in the back yard and has supervised access to the house. He does well with our other dog, Manuka who was rescued from the street when she was 6 weeks old, she is currently 1 year old. Manuka has being good in general, but she growls and attacks him once in a while when they are inside the house. Mainly when she gets jealous and doesn't want to share our attention.
He is now ok with the collar, not so much with the leash. I had tried the retractile leash, this is not well received. I just tried the regular leash and it was more or less ok. I just left it loose in the floor while making him walk for treats.
He definitely needs to go on walks and get to like the indoor life style.
Do you have any extra advices for us: walking on a leash and sharing space with Manuka inside the house.
Hello Angelica, First of all I would recommend that you work on building Manuka's respect for you. Since she is acting jealous and dominant over Pepe she needs to be reminded to respect you. She needs to learn that you are the one in charge, not her and not Pepe, so that she is less likely to try to dominate him,. If you are the leader and not her, then she also cannot claim you. If a dog is trying to claim you by preventing another person or dog from getting to you or acting jealous in other ways, then that dog typically views itself as dominant over you. To help build her respect for you work on the "Consistency" method and the "Working" method from the article that I have linked below. You can also work on the "Obedience" method with both dogs, but work on it in addition to the other two and not in place of them. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Once you have worked on Manuka's respect for you, then I would recommend getting her used to wearing a soft silicon basket muzzle. The silicone muzzles are more comfortable and the basket shape will allow her to open her mouth and be given treats through the muzzle's holes while she is wearing it. The muzzle with keep Pepe safe while you work on getting the dogs used to each other in a new space. If you feel like Pepe might attack Manuka, then get him used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle also. The muzzle will also allow you to correct Manuka for any aggression toward Pepe without risking injury and without letting Manuka get away with controlling Pepe through her aggression, which would teach her that biting is effective and make her problem worse. It will also reduce the chance of Pepe developing fear-based aggression from being attacked by Manuka. To get her used to wearing the muzzle, show her the muzzle and then give her a treat. Touch it to her and then give her a treat. Hold it on her face for a second and then give her a treat. Hold it on her face for longer and give her treats through the muzzle's holes while it is against her face. Finally, put it on her and feed her treats while she is wearing it for a couple of minutes, then take it off of her again. Overtime, gradually increase how long you leave it on her and let more and more time pass between treat rewards until she is simply wearing the muzzle without any concern for a long time. Spend time on each of those steps until she is comfortable with the current level of muzzle touch. Expect this to take a couple of weeks. Work on the respect training while you do this, so that you can start transitioning the dogs together when her respect for you improves and she is used to wearing the muzzle. When Manuka is being tolerant of Pepe, when Pepe enters the room or is receiving affection or rewards from you, give Manuka a treat for being nice toward him. Do this to teach her that his presence is a good thing and rewarding for her. Also, decide what your rules are for both dogs in general and with how they can treat each other and be the one to enforce the rules. Do not let the dogs just work it out for themselves. You need to be the leader so that neither dog will be over the other. If they are not allowed to compete for the top position, then there will be less fights. For now, continue letting Pepe drag his leash around and get used to the feeling of it while you can supervise him to make sure it does not get caught on things. Keep using the normal leash. Do not use the retractable one. Practice leash walking in your back yard. Use treats and follow him around while you hold onto the end of his leash without pulling on it. Every once in a while tug on the leash a little, wait until he calms down, then give him a treat. After he receives the treat, let the leash become slack again. Follow him around and repeat the whole process again. He should start to learn that he will get a treat when you tug on the leash, and should start to learn to come toward you instead of pull against you when you tug on the leash. When he is no longer resisting the leash and has learned to come toward you when he feels it tighten, then you can work on teaching him to heel. Do not be too worried if all this takes place in your backyard for a while. If he is having to focus and think, and is walking around, even in circles in the yard, then he is still being exercised mentally and physically. With work he will get to the point where he can walk down the street. Use a lot of treats and patience to get him used to being in the house. Make sure that you are stimulating him mentally with puzzle toys, food stuffed hollow chew-toys, training, and other things that require his focus. Being mentally stimulated while he is inside should help him enjoy being in there more often and should keep him out of trouble like destructive chewing, a little more. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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It’s still early days but we’ve just rescued an ex breeding bitch. She’s beautiful to us and we wanted her from the time we saw her on the rescues website. We have 3 dogs already so she is our 4th.
My question is what’s the best way to tackle walking her? She’s got a harness & lead but as soon as the lead is attached to the harness she refuses to move. She won’t even be tempted with food. She loves food and we tried this but she’s not interested.
She’s got so much potential but she’s still so scared. We don’t want to do anything to scare her anymore than she is. Thanks
Hello Tracy, I would suggest taking her places on a long leash, such as an eight to twenty foot leash and simply spending time in new locations with her first. Do not use a retractable leash for this. Use a real one because the pressure on her neck from a retractable one will likely create more fear. While you are in the new location, drop pieces of food on the ground for her once she relaxes a little bit and is more interested. Roll a ball back and forth between yourself and another person. Generally do fun activities and try to be up beat and relaxed yourself. Keep her on the long leash so that she can join in if she wishes or go explore a bit. If she spent most of her life in a breeding kennel, then she lacks socialization and she needs to be socialized before she will walk places with you on her own. Spend time simply making new locations fun for her. Reward her for exploring anything new and keep the activities very fun but low pressure. When she is more comfortable in new locations, then you can work on getting her to walk. The walking issue might even resolve itself when she relaxes more. When she relaxes more, then make a game out of walking. Put her on a long leash and run a few feet ahead, past her, to encourage her to chase you. You can also try leaving a trail of treats for her, or putting a bit of peanut butter on the end of a long, smooth stick, and holding the stick in front of her to entice her to walk while she licks it. Make small walking goals at first. When she reaches that goal, then turn around and walk back home. As she improves, gradually increase the distance that you expect her to walk before you turn around. Do not turn around until she has walked at least one step on her own though. You do not want to reward her by going back as soon as she puts on the breaks or she will learn that that is an effective way to get you to turn around. Start by simply taking her to new places and spending an hour sitting in the new location, simply hanging out and having fun to let her get familiar with new environments before you do any walking training though. You can practice her following you around the house on a leash for now. She will be less afraid there and that should be good practice for teaching her to follow you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Thanks for any help you can give us. Adoption date Jan.4th,2018 Shelter did not have any history. She'll not walk or potty if we are present. She loves to eat:) she is really sweet but very frightened. She'll walk after we bring her in from her outside pen(definitely inside dog with us) we believe she was always outside in the past. She only walks to her bed inside sometimes to her water and food in kitchen. I worry she is not getting enough exercise. We would love to walk her but will not move on leash or harness.
Hello Kimberly, It sounds like Sugar might be timid either because she was treated harshly, or because she was neglected and has a naturally submissive and hesitant personality. If she was neglected it's possible she was never around people or only had interactions with people that involved confrontation and punishment. If she always got in trouble for eliminating in the house and was punished in a harsh way that could cause her to be fearful of eliminating around people. Expect this year to be spent building her trust. Since she loves food you can use that to build her trust. Her love of food is a huge asset. If she will take it, begin to hand feed her her meals. At first just toss her pieces of food from a distance and praise her when she eats them. Try not to sound sorry for her when you speak to her but instead act proud of her, happy, and confident. Overtime, decrease the distance between you and her while you toss the food, until you have worked up to her eating the food out of your hand. When she will eat the food out of your hand, then encourage her to walk with you on the leash by creating a line of treats several feet long and letting her choose to follow the line while you keep the leash slack. Overtime increase the length of that line and when she will walks that line well, then work on having her walk a bit past that line by dropping treats to her every couple of feet. After she will do that, then increase the distance that she has to walk before you drop another treat. The whole idea in doing this is to take away her fear of walking by making the experience fun while also motivating her to continue forward. When you take her to the bathroom outside try using a twenty or even fifty foot leash. That way she can eliminate without you having to be right next to her. When she finishes, praise her and toss a treat over to her. Make this treat large enough for her to find after you throw it. When she begins to improve, then you can gradually decrease the length of the leash, until eventually you are next to her when she goes to the bathroom and giving her a treat out of your hand for it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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