Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
The Psychology of Rescue Dogs
As I just mentioned, dogs often end up at rescues because their owners couldn't control them. Usually, this is due to the fact that they didn't do enough research about the breed before they got the dog, weren't willing to put the effort into training and weren't prepared for the amount of exercise Aussies need.
Building trust is really important. A lot of rescue dogs have the sense that they're alone in the world, because they've never had a real leader to look up to. Their previous owners may have failed completely to establish a bond and a leadership role. Some previous owners may have tried to use force and punishment to control the dog.
As you begin to connect and bond with your dog through games, training and just generally hanging out together, you'll notice negative behaviors like guarding, growling and aggression starting to diminish.
This will take time, especially if your dog is really dominant or particularly submissive and fearful (usually as a result of physical abuse and punishment in the past). It will take patience on your part. Go through the socialization process again as it's described in the Chapter 5, and be careful to desensitize the dog to anything that causes a negative reaction. Work on problem behaviors using the techniques from Chapter 4, as well as general obedience training and bond-building from the first 3 chapters.
When you bring the dog home, give her some time to get used to your place. Let her sniff around and explore on her own, both inside and outside.
Next time: The Psychology of Rescue Dogs Continued
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