In most cases, rescue dogs arrive in their new homes guarded with their walls up. They are scared and mistrusting after months of neglect from their previous owners. Some are even born on the streets and had a rough life the moment they open their eyes.
And this is why adopting a rescue dog can prove to be a challenge for fur parents. These are not newly born puppies that you can train and raise as you like, most rescues are adult dogs that have developed behavioral issues from their previous troubled homes.
However, they are not completely lost causes and the last thing these rescue dogs would want is for their new homes to lose hope in them too.
As the new owner, it is your responsibility to bond and gain the trust of your rescue dog and to show them the joys of their new life.
How to Gain the Trust of your Rescue Shiba Inu
Understanding why your rescue dog is acting in such behavior is crucial in gaining their trust. Most rescue dogs would display one or more of these traits.
- Severe separation anxiety
All of these traits are understandable since these rescue dogs might have lived troubled lives or had irresponsible owners.
But, these are temporary challenges as there are multiple ways you can gain the trust of your rescue dog.
Be calm and respectful
For a rescue dog to be comfortable in its new home, first, humans need to be calm and respectful. Your house is a new and unfamiliar environment so it is normal for your rescue dog to be intimidated and fearful.
But by remaining calm, you will act as the basis of your dog’s understanding of the situation and show them there’s nothing to fear.
Create a safe space
One of the biggest mistakes you might make with your newly-rescued dog is giving them too much attention. For dogs who were used to being neglected, this might overwhelm them.
The best thing to do is to give them space. Don’t force them to immediately bond with you or sleep with you in the bed.
Section off a quiet part of the house, and provide the necessary items your dog will need, like food, water, a bed, and toys. If a quiet space is not possible, you can use a dog gate to isolate a small area.
Allow your dog to decompress, don’t hang around, and just check in on them every once in a while for their meals, treats, or bathroom breaks.
This safe space is the place where he can retreat whenever he is scared and will give him a sense of security.
Let them lead
No forcing and don’t pressure.
At first, your rescue dog will observe you and your actions, this is normal as he has a good amount of trust issues in his body. Sometimes, this will cause him stress.
One way to gain his trust is by letting them lead in the interaction. This means you don’t approach him, and instead, you will wait for him to come to you and initiate play time or cuddle time.
Give him time to get used to your presence and his new home and allow him to destress.
Observe their interests
Still in the topic of no forcing, this also applies to toys and activities.
Most rescue dogs are adult dogs, which means they have encounters with toys and games. This also means they already have likes and dislikes.
Offer your rescue dog choices. Show him a variety of toys, introduce him to games and activities, and figure out which ones he likes playing with or doing more.
Avoid scary situations
A rescue dog has a lot of things they are scared of, even the littlest of things that are not usually frightening for other dogs.
This is why it is best to avoid situations that your newly-rescued dog might be afraid of, including crowded and noisy places.
Once your dog is comfortable enough to go outside and walk with you, start with quiet places and away from roads. Once he is starting to build his confidence, you can gradually shift to noisier locations.
Be sure to offer high-value treats in unexpected situations. For example, if your dog got startled by the sound of rumbling trucks, immediately give him a handful of treats. You can hand feed if your dog is comfortable, but if not, you can drop it to the ground for them to eat.