Integrating a new dog is always a difficult challenge, as you try to set up boundaries and establish love and respect in the home. This process is intensified if the adopted dog was abused by the previous owner. Even doing something as basic as petting your dog or summoning him can be translated as a threat or danger. Learn to protect your pup and make him feel safe in his new home by avoiding the below mistakes many pet-parents make when they adopt an abused dog.
Actions To Avoid With An Abused Dog
- Rough contact: You are trying to teach your dog that you are trustworthy and not someone to fear, therefore whenever you touch the dog, it should be comforting, slow and gentle. This means only making steady, and continuous motions, and consistently light and soft touches.
- Sudden movements or gestures: Even when you do something as small as waving your arms about or lifting your hands, your dog might mistake this for an aggressive movement, or think that you may be about to hit him. This will only lengthen the distance between you, making it difficult to build trust. When dealing with the dog, take things slowly to help remove his fear.
- Loud talking and yelling: Dogs are intelligent enough to pick up on social cues or emotions and dynamics in the room. Possibly whenever they had been abused, it might have been accompanied by loud voices, high stress and tension. Keep your pup from being frightened by monitoring your voice level, never sounding irate and hysterical, or your dog might run from you in terror. Be sure to speak calmly and firmly in soothing tones.
- Touching the dog in a sensitive area: If the dog experienced trauma in one specific area of his body, you will have to be very careful to avoid making contact with it at all. For example, if the pup’s left leg was broken, or he was beaten or kicked on his hind quarters, respect that he will be very alarmed if anything (even your hand) goes near the sensitive spot.
- Swinging large objects: Whether this is a baseball bat, tennis racket or a stick, waving around an object which may once have been a punishing tool can be distressing for your dog. If you do not want them to view you as a danger, or someone who might hit them with that object, then be careful to avoid swinging it or lifting anything near them. Remember, when you are trying to help an animal recover from a traumatic situation, patience and consistency are paramount.