I recently worked with a dog that was found in an abandoned home. He had been in a few foster homes before he found his forever home. The 2 previous foster homes he had been in had kids, just like the one he is in now, but he has turned extremely protective in his forever home.
Many people don’t understand why that is, especially since the dog did fine in the first 2 homes.
Here’s what people don’t understand: dogs have preferences, connections, and opinions, just like we do. They connect with people, other dogs, and cats differently because they all have different personalities. All dogs are different. Just because they were in a home with a similar dynamic does not mean it is going to work out the same.
There are different ways to help them adjust and one of the most important ones is the opportunity to decompress. Your house has different sights and smells that can be overwhelming, so give your dog an opportunity to adjust to the new ones by giving them decompression time in their crate.
Building confidence is another big issue. Unfortunately dogs that have come from a shelter, a few different foster homes or even the street are going to need help in the confidence department.
Here are a few different examples of how to build confidence:
-teaching obedience establishes a relationship dynamic, satisfies their craving for mental stimulation, fights boredom
-providing interactive toys (keep it high value by not making it available 24/7)
-Make each interaction with the dog an earning opportunity, otherwise it is undervalued
-take your dog on a short walk, stop during the walk in different spots and work on their obedience
-don’t set them up for failure. For example if you have kids in your home, make sure kid toys are out of the dog’s reach if you don’t want them chewed on. Dogs can’t tell the difference between dog and human toys until you teach them.
When you bring the dog into your home it will take, on average, 6 weeks for them to come out of their shell. The first 2 weeks are an impressionable time period where they are just trying to adjust. For the following 2 weeks (weeks 3&4), it is imperative that you establish their role in your home (who is alpha?), the next 2 weeks (5&6) are a testing period.
Remember that dogs are individuals and have their own wants, needs and preferences. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment, send a message or call.