How To Train A Rescue Dog


Authored by Sunshine Wilson in Dogs 
Published on 09-20-2009

A rescue dog is a dog who has been given up by his initial owner and has been adopted by a new owner. A new owner should begin to train a rescue dog as soon as possible using these guidelines.

How To Train A Rescue Dog #1 – Evaluate the rescue dog

The first step to train a rescue dog is to evaluate the rescue dog. The new owner needs to determine the personality of the dog. Is the dog submissive, fearful or shy? Or is he confident, dominant or aggressive? Is he active and lively or is he a couch potato? Does he have any behavioral issues? Is he house broken? It is usually helpful to the new owner if they can talk to the previous owner and ask why the dog was given up for adoption. It is also recommended that the rescue dog be examined by a veterinarian to determine if there are any health concerns.

How To Train A Rescue Dog #2 – Become A Leader

To train a rescue dog, the new owner must establish a leadership role with the rescue dog. The rescue dog must believe that the new owner is the dominant one in their relationship. All dogs believe that they live in a pack, where no one is equal, and where there is a leader and a chain of command. If the new owner does not take the leadership role, the rescue dog will do so. If living with a family, the rescue dog must accept that all members of the household are dominant over him. The rescue dog will be happier knowing his place within the pack.

How To Train A Rescue Dog #3 – Socialize the rescue dog

It is important to train a rescue dog to be well socialized. Depending on the new owner’s evaluation of the rescue dog, various socialization methods may be used. However, in general, the rescue dog should be taken on walks around the neighborhood, to the park, on rides with the family and so forth. He should get acquainted with the new owner’s friends and others who he will come in contact with frequently. If the rescue dog is shy around new people, he should be encouraged with treats. The rescue dog should not be allowed to act dominant or aggressive around the new owner’s friends. He also should be allowed to meet and play with friendly dogs with the owner’s supervision.

How To Train A Rescue Dog #4 – Teach basic obedience

The new owner should train a rescue dog to respond to these basic obedience commands: sit, down, stay, come and to walk nicely on a leash. For example, in training a rescue dog to sit, the owner should say the word “sit” and gently push the dog into the sit position. The owner should praise the rescue dog and give him a food reward. This should be repeated several times. This positive reinforcement technique should be used to teach all the basic obedience commands. The owner should train a rescue dog for short periods of time, several times during the day. Because it may take some time to train a rescue dog to learn these commands, it is important to be patient and supportive with the rescue dog.

How To Train A Rescue Dog #5 – Use a crate

A rescue dog should not be allowed to roam free in the house when the owner is not at home. The rescue dog should be put into a crate during this time. The new owner does not know how the rescue dog will react to being left alone. The rescue dog may become stressed and attempt to escape or exhibit destructive behavior. The crate will help the rescue dog feel safe and he think of the crate as his den. After a rescue dog has lived in his new home for several weeks, the owner may gradually begin to train a rescue dog to be alone outside the crate for very short periods of time.

By following the course of action described above to train a rescue dog, your rescue dog can become a happy and well adjusted member of his family for many years to come.


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