Common Rescue Dog Issues

Rescue dog issues vary depending on the type of dog and the situation from which he was rescued. Many dogs are surrendered to shelters because of behavior problems, such as potty training and adolescent misbehavior, so you have those to contend with as well as fear and abandonment issues that may come from being mistreated and surrendered.

Fear Behavior

Many rescue dogs have developed some type of fear issues. These could exhibit themselves as hiding, running from strangers, loud noises or barking, growling and nipping. Reducing your dog's fear takes patience, but it can be remedied.

The most important thing is not to push your dog to do things that frighten him. Many well-meaning owners put their child-fearing dog in the middle of a circle of children and ask them to give him treats. This does not cure his fears. It can make them worse because when the treat is gone, your dog is now face-to-face with the person he fears.

Instead, keep your dog a safe distance from those things he fears. Stay at the distance where your dog seems curious but not frightened. Reward your dog for looking at the scary thing and then looking back at you. Reward the whole time so your dog begins to understand that the scary thing is not so scary. Gradually build up to meeting people by first moving closer and closer.

Separation Anxiety

Dogs that have been given up several times may begin to fear every time their owner leaves. This can lead to crying, barking or other destructive behavior when left alone. To reduce this, plan to spend a week at home with your new dog. Make a safe room at the back of the house where your dog has a bed and feels comfortable. Hang out with him in this room.

Turn on a television or radio, close the door, put a shirt that smells like you under the door and wait a few seconds. Open the door if your dog is calm. From there, build up to leaving him in the room for a couple of hours. Then, build up to leaving the house for a few minutes. Eventually, build up to leaving for a full day of work.

Potty Training

Many rescue dogs are never properly potty trained or have never lived in a house. They must be treated like a puppy. Make a schedule of how often your dog relieves himself. Anticipate when he may need to go and lead him outside. If he goes, reward and praise.

If not, put him in a crate or tether him somewhere you can see him. If you see him start to sniff, run him outside. Your success depends on him not getting the opportunity to relieve himself inside.

Additional Rescue Dog Issues

Many dogs are surrendered because they just don't know how to behave because they have never been taught. They may jump, nip, dig or pull on leash. All of these behaviors can be corrected with a little bit of positive training.

Don't leave your dog in the house or yard unsupervised for the first few weeks. Then, you can correct behaviors you don't like by redirecting your dog to a new activity and teaching him, with praise and rewards, what you would like him to do instead.