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Training a Shelter Dog

Buzzle Staff Mar 17, 2020
If you get a dog from a shelter, you need to start right away by teaching them your rules.
Everyone has certain breeds of dogs they prefer above others. Some prefer to have a purebred dog from a breeder, and others want to adopt a dog from a shelter. Some want puppies while others are looking for older, more well-behaved dogs.
Whatever you are looking for in a dog, it is important to teach your new furry friend your rules as soon as they come home. This is particularly important with shelter dogs, as you do not know their history and how their previous owners treated them.

Assuming Damage

Lots of people assume that shelter dogs are damaged in some way, whether emotionally or physically. This is why it is difficult to get people to adopt dogs that are from shelters.
Sometimes this is true; you will never know for sure what the previous owners did to the dog, or what the dog experienced as a stray or in other shelters. Many owners neglect or abuse dogs, and that is why they end up in the shelter.
However, with the recent decline in the economy, shelters are seeing an outpouring of dogs who had really great owners but who just cannot afford to keep their dog anymore, or the owners had to move and couldn't bring their dog with them.
People give dogs to shelters for many other reasons too, like their dog didn't get along with other pets, or they had a baby and the dog didn't adjust well to the new addition. It is important not to assume that shelter dogs are damaged in any way, but the only way you can know for sure is to spend time with your pet and get to know them.

Never too Late to Start

It is never too late to start training a dog. Many people believe that you can only train dogs if you get them as puppies, but that simply isn't true. Dogs are very smart animals, and all they want is to please you. You can also teach an old dog new tricks.
If you feel you need to, you can hire a dog trainer that will personally work with you and your dog, or you can try to train the dog yourself. The best thing to do, whether you have a trainer or not, is to watch your dog.
When you see them do something they should not do, like relieve themselves on the carpet, you have to catch them in the act and correct the behavior. When they do something they should do, you should reward them with a treat.

Classes and Reinforcement

Another option besides hiring a dog trainer is to enroll your dog in a class. Your local pet store will usually offer training classes, or they will know great ones to enroll your pet in.
Oftentimes, the classes are more for the owners than the dogs. You learn valuable things, like how to teach your dog rather than how to make your dog do things you want them to do. Once you master the art of teaching dogs, you can teach them to do almost anything.
The most important thing to remember, though, is that you need to reinforce your dog's behavior at home. You can't just expect them to behave because they did it in class. You'll need to keep giving them treats when they do something good or correcting behavior when they do something bad until it becomes second nature to them.
Then you will be able to sit back and enjoy your wonderful and well-behaved pet. Dogs are wonderful animals to add to your family, and a well-trained pet will brighten up your home for years to come.