Rehabilitating Your Previously Abused Dog Saturday 21 January 2017 @ 09:58
In our last post, we talked about identifying whether or not your pet your rescue pet was once abused, and the impact that abuse could have on your furry friend’s behaviour and health. This week, we want to give you a little more guidance on how you can most effectively care for your previously abused dog, in the hopes of giving them a happier and healthier life.
One of the most important things for you to keep in mind is that while it is very possible that you will be able to make a massive impact on your dog’s life, these changes won’t happen overnight. Rehabilitating a dog - or indeed any other pet - who was once abused is a slow process which will require a lot of patience and love. It can easily take a full year for a reclusive dog to become a happy companion, and even then it is highly unlikely that all of your dog’s issues will have been resolved. It is possible for your dog to become a fully integrated member of your family, but there is no rewind button. Your dog will never not have been abused.
Don’t let us put you off trying, though! As difficult as it can be to work with pets who have experienced trauma, the results are often thoroughly rewarding. You will never regret your decision to try to change a miserable dog’s life, and there’s a high likelihood you will make a friend who will love you for his entire life.
Obviously, every dog’s care needs are different, so a lot of this process will rely on trial and error. All the same, there are a few tried-and-tested pointers that you should keep in mind, as they are vital parts of the process:
- Always make sure your dog feels loved and needed.
- Try your best to protect your dog from anything he or she is afraid of.
- Aim to communicate clearly with your dog at all times.
- Make sure there is a safe, quiet space for your dog to relax in when things get overwhelming.
- Make sure your dog is getting all of the exercise and nutrients he needs.
- Do your best to build your dog’s confidence. Create situations where he is likely to succeed, and be generous in praise and encouragement.
- Allow your relationship to grow at your dog’s pace, not at your own. There are some things that cannot be forced.
Once you’ve mastered these basic methods, it’s time to start looking to your dog for suggestions of how to improve their experience. For example, it’s common for abused dogs to react negatively to loud noises as a result of a previous owner’s actions. You can help with this by trying to speak softly and encouraging everyone who lives with you to do likewise. Commands can easily be whispered or sung softly, so long as your dog is aware that you are talking to him. Unless you are trying to communicate in a loud place, shouting has no advantages over talking at a regular volume.
If you are finding it difficult to bond with your new dog or gain his trust, it can be a good idea to spend some time sitting in a quiet room together in the evening. Don’t be afraid to prevent him from wandering off by closing the doors. Ensure your dog is hungry before you go into the room together, and bring some small treats with you. All you need to do is sit calmly on your bed or a chair and do something quiet - read a book, go on your phone, etc. Every now and then, roll a treat towards your dog, encouraging him to come closer. This is a good way of encouraging your dog to trust you as he will begin to associate spending time together with good things. Again, remember to move at your dog’s pace - do not punish him for taking time to come closer, or for not taking interest in your treats. Do not trap him if it causes him to become distressed. Encourage an attitude of mutual respect, not one of distrust and fear.
Once you have mastered these methods, you will be one step closer to having a happy and healthy relationship with your new dog.
Above all else, our aim is to make sure as many pets as possible get to be with their perfect families, and this includes reuniting wandering animals with their worried parents. Here are just a few of our recent success stories!
“Having a register for pet owners to find and locate their wondering fur babies is a great gift! Especially when there is a happy outcome. Thanks for your service”
“some nice people kept her safe overnight. Saw the posts online and contact me. She is home and happy now.”
“thank you guys so much of helping us to reunite with our doggy. it is really efficient and heart warming. now me and my girlfriend have also become the members and hope to help more.”
“Communication within the community is so well organized. Made the task of locating my furry friend easier when the community also is aware and looking. Greatly appreciate this service. Thank you”
“The checklist of thing to do was fantastic. We worked out she went missing after we had the carpets cleaned. We weren't able to get onto the carpet company until Monday morning. Upon checking sure enough Nimi was in the back of the van. Thankfully she was ok. Thanks for your services and keep up the great work.”