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
Don't be surprised if you get a toileting accident or two at the beginning. It's not unusual for rescue dogs to have a bit of a toilet training backslide when they come to a new house. Then again, the dog may never have been toilet trained properly in the first place (although rescue organizations should take care of this for you). Either way, just apply the housetraining techniques from Chapter 5 until the problem clears up.
Again, the problem behaviors may only start to appear after a couple of weeks when the dog has settled in, so don't be surprised.
I must emphasize the importance of avoiding punishments with a rescue dog. You do have to set and enforce boundaries, but this should always be done through positive training methods. If the dog has only experienced humans as mean and scary, punishing her for a mistake or bad behavior is only going to brand you as another mean and scary human. This will make it much harder to build a bond, and, in turn, much harder to correct her behavior.
Now, with all that said, rescue dogs are not all doom and gloom. The vast majority settle into new homes with no problems at all. Most dogs are good and generally well-behaved as long as they have a loving family environment. Just remember:
• If the dog is extremely confident and tries to run the house, it probably means her previous owners made no real attempt to train her, and
• If she's very meek and submissive, it probably means her previous owners tried to control her with punishments
Pay attention to her behavior and personality, and adjust your approach to training with that in mind.
Next time: Elderly Dogs
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