“Because He Is A ‘Rescue’ Dog”
A post created by Brad Griggs by Canine Service International really resonated with us and inspired this blog post. It said,
“Once you own him, he’s no longer a ‘rescue dog’ – he is rescued.”
If we had a dollar for every time we heard someone describe their dog as a ‘rescue dog’, before listing the behaviours they are trying to work on, we would be millionaires. And whilst you may think that this is just a phrase pet parents use to describe where their dog came from, there is actually a whole lot more restriction to new learning that this phrase places on a dog.
The term ‘rescue’ isn’t a lifelong label.
We often see pet parents use the rescue label to excuse the inappropriate behaviours they are seeing. Whilst a dog may have developed fears, concerns or behaviours from their past time, it shouldn’t be used as a restriction to the dog’s future learning. Through training and behaviour modification, problematic behaviour can be addressed, and new appropriate behaviours can be installed.
The term ‘rescue’ shouldn’t be used if the dog doesn’t get it.
Another misuse of the term ‘rescue’ is when the dog has a setback in training or is struggling with a behaviour. Setbacks, mistakes, and slow progress are all a normal part of training a dog whether they are a pedigree dog or came from a rescue.
The past isn’t always what you think it was.
A misconception about dogs that have been rehomed, is that they were obviously abused because they find certain people or stimulus overwhelming. In a lot of these cases, the uncertainty is not caused from being exposed in a negative way, but more so the lack of exposure within the dog’s critical period of development. If a dog finds something particularly frightening, feeling sorry for the dog is not going to be the thing that empowers them to overcome their fears or uncertainties. It’s normal to feel empathetic, but then equally important to support them through the appropriate training channels.
The dog is not a rescue. They have been rescued and it’s time to move on from it.
If you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue, your dog’s new life starts from that moment. Don’t let a label be the excuse of problematic behaviour. Hire a certified trainer and start empowering your dog to live a better life.