One of the most rewarding parts of my job is working with Rescue Dogs and the people who re-home them.    Being a rescue dog does not automatically mean problems.  Relationship breakdowns, loss of a job, illness or death of an owner are all common reasons why a perfectly normal dog can end up in rescue.  However, it is a hard fact that many dogs are in rescue because of the mistakes made by the humans they lived with before.  The good news is that they are not there because there is something actually wrong with the dog and there is no reason why you cannot have a wonderful new pet by adopting a dog from your local rescue.  For you to adopt this dog successfully there are a few things to be aware of that will help smooth this process.

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Dogs are by nature a social animal.  A dog needs to know that we are there to look after them and make them feel safe.  This is the same good parenting, where we take responsibility for our children’s health and welfare.  Unfortunately, as humans we do not always understand this responsibility from a dogs’ point of view and we “love” our dogs by letting them have their own way.  We let them jump on our sofas, sleep in our beds, answer our front door, jump on our visitors, play games when they want, bark at anyone going past and follow us everywhere until they think that they are looking after us.  You may come to believe, or be told that your dog is trying to dominate you and wants to be in charge of you, but he truly doesn’t.  This is natural dog behaviour, just as much as chewing, digging, growling and barking is which is perfectly acceptable in the dog world, but not in ours.


Do not repeat the mistakes of your rescue dogs’ previous owners.  There are some basic simple steps to take that will ensure you can settle your new dog in successfully.

  1. For the first few weeks ignore his overtures and love him with your voice, not your hands.
  2. Make your family rules for the dog and stick to them.  If you want to let your dog on your sofa, invite him.  Don't let him jump on it whenever he feels like it.  
  3. Provide a safe and secure area for him to sleep, e.g. a covered crate in a corner.
  4. Introduce a simple sound that indicates to the dog he is doing something wrong, e.g. a low growly “bad” followed immediately by soft praise when he gets it right. 
  5. Use this sound every time he does something wrong.  Do not tell him off using his name,  do not yell at him, use aggressive body language, or physically pull him around by his collar.
  6. Don’t let him answer the doorbell.  You are his minder and looking after him, not the other way around.
  7. Use a long lead (not a flexi lead) in the park until you are sure he knows you are his new family and will come back.  Always praise him when he comes back, no matter how long it takes.
  8. Spend 5 to 10 minutes a day doing basic obedience work such as sit/stay/down.
  9. Love him and praise him, but make sure he understands the family rules.    

When you need extra help.....

Sometimes a dog has been so traumatized that new owners need help to overcome their new dog’s behavioural issues.  Bark Busters will never give up on a dog if the owner is willing to work with us to rehabilitate him.  I provide assessments, support, advice and tailored training programs to new owners who have taken on a rescue dog. 

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As well as my paid work, I work free of charge with rescue charities and with their fosterers to help train dogs so that they become well behaved for prospective owners. I help assess dogs for rehoming and will help transport dogs from dog pounds and to and from vets when required.  I also work with Eastern European street dogs that have been treated appallingly, but tend to need general training rather than behavioural training as they have not lived with humans.  

 For expert professional help and advice on resolving any behavioural problems with your rescue dog

Call Freephone 0808 100 4071


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