Bringing home a rescue dog is no small task, it’s very likely that the pup you are offering a new life to has come from a previously very bad one. Make sure that you are aware as this is a huge responsibility and requires a lot of patience and research. Once you have brought your new companion home the basis of your relationship will be built on trust, so here are 7 ways to get your new rescue dog to trust you.
Create a safe space
The first good piece of advice is to build a safe space for your dog. Your rescue dog needs to feel safe and this comes from having their own place to go to feel safe at any time. You need to ensure that this is only the dog’s space and is not interfered with, a possible suggestion is cornering off a section of the living room with a crate or playpen. It may be difficult for children to stay away but a vital stepping stone in building trust is the feeling of being safe.
Hand feeding your dog is a great way to build trust. Your dog will learn that you are the one who provides the food and so will begin to understand that you are here to care for them, which in turn builds trust. ‘Learn to earn’ is my favourite phrase when it comes to teaching young or new dogs.
Teach them to come, gently
Letting your new dog come to you is a big step, rescue dogs are unlikely to come over, tails wagging, like regular dogs, so it is important that when you call them, if they do not come, you remain calm and do not be upset. When they do eventually come, give your pup praise and a tasty treat so that they know they have done a good thing.
Keep it calm
Being calm is very important when bringing home your new rescue pup. Loud noises or sudden movements can upset and scare your new companion so it is a big help to keep music, tv or voices low around the house initially.
Take it slowly
Another useful tip is to slow down your movements. Fast movements may startle your new companion and scare them, so before you jump up try to sigh loudly to get your dogs attention so that they can watch and anticipate what you are going to do next.
Avoid direct eye contact
Direct eye contact can be very intimidating for your rescue dog so it is best to only meet your dog’s eyes for a couple of seconds, then blink and as you blink shift your gaze.
Find out what they love and do more of it
Do what your dog loves. A key part to building trust is to make your dogs time with you as enjoyable as you can. Every pup is different and so every pup has a different love, some may love to play catch and others may love to play tug. So by doing the things that make your dog happy it will help them to loosen up.
At the end of it all, the most important thing is patience. It will take a lot of time, possibly months for your rescue dog to become comfortable around you, so as long as you can provide endless love, care and patience for your new pup then these tips will help along the way to build a stronger relationship with your companion.