Unpicking Your Rescue Dog's Problem Behaviours

  • 31/07/2017

The Halo Dogs London dog day care centre rescues many dogs with a range behavioural issues. We know which behavioural issues are common but they can be hard for new owners to unpick. This guide is ideal for owners who want to be sensitive to their rescue dog’s unique needs.

●       Why is my dog overly possessive of food/toys/treats?

Is your dog aggressively guarding their food, toys, and other treasured things, including people? This behaviour is referred to as resource guarding and is particularly prevalent in homes with multiple dogs. Rescue dogs often compete for resources in shelters and perhaps in their previous homes. It may be ingrained to view those approaching their possessions as a threat.

The good news is that you can change this behaviour; when your dog exhibits resource guarding, simply remove the source until they calm down.

●       Why is my dog afraid of this harmless item?

Dogs can develop fears of innocuous items and it’s not always immediately obvious why. If they could speak they’d probably tell you, but unfortunately, dogs can’t do this! It’s particularly difficult with a rescue dog because you’ll rarely know all the ins and outs of their background and previous owners. Perhaps they were mistreated and have formed associations with certain items due to this.

The way to get them used to the item they fear is to use it calmly when they are in eyesight while avoiding direct interactions; in time hopefully, the item will become normalised and stop inspiring a fear response.

●       Why is my dog so anxious when I leave him for short time periods?

No dog enjoys being left alone for long periods of time – and indeed shouldn’t be – but for some dogs, even five minutes alone is a panic-inducing, traumatising experience. Separation anxiety is a real issue for some rescue (and non-rescue) dogs; feelings of abandonment can result in bad behaviours such as endless barking and destruction.

One way to reduce your dog’s separation anxiety is to create a regular schedule so they grow used to you coming and going at certain times of day, before being able to trust that you always come back. In addition, crate training provides your dog with a safe space when you are out of the house.

●       Why isn’t my rescue dog responding to my caring attention?

Some rescue dogs go through a tough time in shelters and previous homes. Their memories of these times don’t disappear overnight. Dogs can learn to fear and mistrust others, so it may take them time to trust you. They may not immediately respond with enthusiasm to lots of affection. Let patience prevail! Your dog will learn to trust and love you in time.

It is so worth giving a rescue dog a second chance at happiness and most dogs adjust to family life in time. If you are having serious issues with your dog, however, experts such as Halo Dogs are on hand to offer in-depth behavioural training.

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