It’s wonderful that you’ve rescued an animal from the shelter and given them a new forever home. You might notice, however, that your new furbaby has a few anxiety problems and hates to leave your side. Separation anxiety and timid behavior are common in rescues. Prior to your loving home, a lot of rescue pets come from abusive backgrounds and un-ideal living conditions. You know that your new pup is in a safe place, but it’s going to take your furbaby some time to figure that out for itself. To help this process along, below are a few tips you can use to calm the fear in your rescue pet and make your new friend feel right at home.
Provide a safe space
Create a specific space for your rescue to feel safe and comforted whenever they’re feeling overwhelmed or scared. This could be a dog bed in the corner next to the couch, a comfortable crate left open to the room, or a supper plush pillow your pup can burrow into. Give your new pup plenty of time in its safe spot while adjusting to the new surroundings.
Let your pet come to you
Trying to approach your new pet while they’re feeling frightened or skittish can often make the situation worse. Give your pup a safe space and then wait for your new furry friend to come to you. You can try luring your rescue to you with food to start. Then once your rescue gets comfortable with taking treats from your hand you can work on petting. Either way, don’t put too much affection on your rescue too fast or you risk overwhelming your dog’s senses.
Notice sensitive spots
As your rescue starts to warm up to you and becomes more comfortable with petting, pay close attention to any sensitive areas on your dog’s body. If a rescue came from an abusive home, chances are there are certain spots on the body that can trigger fear and aggression from your new furbaby. Pay attention to these sensitive areas and then do your best to avoid them. It is also a good idea to point them out to the veterinarian to keep the vet safe and to also draw attention to problem areas where an injury could be hiding.
Be patient with your rescue
Patience is of the utmost importance when handling a rescue. It will take time for your pup to adjust to a new home and overcome old fears. In the meantime, you have to understand how difficult this is for the dog and refrain from shouting in anger or lashing out at your pup. You should always be using positive reinforcement during training and through this transition period. Any sort of threatening tone could worsen the timid or aggressive behavior your dog is displaying out of fear.
A rescue pet is seriously one of the best companions you could ask for once they adjust to their new home and recognize you as a family. Until then, however, do what you can to keep your rescue calm and feel more at home. It can take several months to fully bond with your dog, but by that time hopefully a lot of the initial anxiety and fear will have been replaced with joy and excitement.