Dog Training 

Lock-in: How to reverse the effects of long-term shelters


All the dogs that found themselves in the shelter did not know how they got there. Many dogs have been surrendered by their owners, and this new environment may be very different from their usual residence. Concrete walls, floors and ceilings, cages, fluorescent lights and other barking dogs. Social activities with other dogs and people are limited, and few people call them, and strangers who walk into the aisle and into the cage every day have become the new normal for these pets. The shelters and rescuers do their best to make the dog residents healthy and happy, but in the long-term shelter environment, it has an adverse effect on the dogs.

1. Sensitization and C-PTSD

The shelter environment is overloaded by the dog’s feeling. New smells, strangers and strange sounds can cause great stress. Nervous dogs are terrible dogs. In the shelter environment, they become even more fearful, reducing the chance of someone wanting to adopt them. As the number of days becomes weeks, and weeks become months or even years, long-term dogs will become sensitive to loud noises, fast movements and other dogs. Usually, the scared dog does not appear well in the kennel of the shelter, so it will not arouse the interest of adoption, and will eventually stay in the shelter longer or be euthanized.

If you are a patient person, consider giving shy or fearful dogs a chance. Building trust by giving a dog time to feel safe is the first step in recovery. Dogs in shelters develop canine post-traumatic stress disorder. Similar to soldiers returning from combat, taking shy or fearful dogs out of the shelter and into your home requires an adjustment period. Remember, the place where your new dog just appeared is barking constantly, other terrible dogs, rarely sleep, confinement and chaos. Become your dog’s therapist and sit quietly with them-first for a short period of time, then for a longer period of time. Try to read the morning paper or a good book aloud to get them used to your voice. Don’t approach them too quickly and drive them out of their comfort zone. Sit down to make yourself smaller and ask them to contact you when they are ready. Always provide safe spaces, such as crates, so they can seek shelter when they meet new people. Make sure to explain to your friends that your new dog needs some personal space.

2. Separation anxiety

A dog abandoned by its owner, if alone, is likely to have a strong sense of insecurity and pressure. Separation anxiety usually manifests as destructive behavior. Unsure of how to cope with their own stress and panic, anxious dogs will turn to chewing household items, toys and even their own body. Long-term staying in a sheltered environment without mental and physical fullness can exacerbate the dog’s separation anxiety. If you take your lost anxiety dog ​​home, you can help them by giving them enough exercise, enrich their lives through training, and let them stay alone for a controllable period of time (no more than 4-5 hours). Bring restrooms and entertainment time)). Choking with love to separate an anxious dog, and then leaving them unused for 8-10 hours a day will increase the dog’s anxiety. Try not to make a fuss, if you celebrate when you come home, this will send a signal to your dog that it is important when you come back and they should be anxiously waiting for your return. Instead, celebrate when learning a new technique or taking a walk. Consider using a crate to train your dog to give them a sense of stability and daily habits when leaving and going home. You might think that using a crate at home will make your dog seem to be returning to the shelter. In contrast, restricting dogs to a designated safe space when you leave can actually comfort them, provide them with opportunities to relax, and avoid property damage when you leave.

3. Protect toys or objects

Dogs who have lived in shelters for a long time are not used to having many of their own toys, nor do they have to share the rare toys they own. Taking a dog to a house full of toys is like taking a hungry child to a candy store. They want it all, sharing is not an option. If you have a rescue dog that protects their toys, remember that this is the natural behavior of the dog. Instead of punishing your dog for protecting their resources, try to teach them to order “give” and “accept”. Provide your dog with high-value snacks (delicious things such as cooked meat or dried liver snacks) in exchange for toys or objects they protect and say “give”. When your dog drops something to get treatment, say “good stuff”. Then, prepare to hand it to the dog and say “OK”, and then say “Take” to your dog toy. Repeat this training technique until your dog realizes the value of providing you with toys (delicious and delicious). You will not pose a threat to the dog’s favorite toy, but will become a positive resource for treatment and leadership.

take away

Although some of the effects of long-term shelter may seem daunting and problematic, remember that like all living things, dogs are a product of their environment. Once the dog is no longer in the refuge environment, but enters the correct home, all the above behavior issues can be corrected. Rescue a dog will change the dog’s life better. The dogs in the shelter need our help and guidance to become their best selves. In return, they will repay you with unconditional love. Register now for “How do I meet a dog”. Customize and match with available rescue dogs to save lives.



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