When you first get your new dog, please buy a ‘slip lead’ these go over the dogs head and are also a lead all in one. The more the dog pulls the tighter it goes around their neck. Please understand this is a safety precautionary measure because the majority of rescue dogs will feel in ‘shock’, and very fearful and their adrenalin will send an automatic message to their brain to ‘run’ for safety. Fear can make them very strong and very powerful and a normal collar and lead can – and has (!!) just come off because the strength of the fear of the dog is stronger than a collar. Even when you believe the collar is extremely tight and the dog cannot possibly escape – they can, and very sadly they do!! You may never see your dog again, so this is very important to use one initially and also whilst you are training them to go on walks. It’s a temporary safety measure.
Walking your dog when he/she becomes more settled will hopefully bring you some wonderful family time together. It is very sadly true that many dogs have never been on a family walk, so please only do this when you all feel settled and confident so it is a pleasure rather than a chore.
When you look at buying a lead for your dog/puppy we always recommend a harness and lead rather than a collar for a few reasons:
– You have more control over the dog giving safety and confidence to you both.
– There is less pulling on the neck so your dog doesn’t choke. It is worth remembering that many of the older dogs will have been ‘caught’ by a dog catcher by placing something around their neck and the memory of this will be quite strong so they may be sensitive to having anything put around their neck.
Rescue dogs do not understand what’s happened to them, or where they are or what’s going to happen to them next so please take things nice and slowly. The only way they will learn to love you and trust you is by giving them time, let them feel safe by following the dogs pace of socialisation. Too much too soon will overpower them and they will be scared, if they get scared they may act out of character to defend themselves, show their teeth or growl. But if you can stand back and allow them to slowly build their own confidence and trust up it will happen much sooner than trying to push them too soon.
Please keep young children away from them initially whilst they are familiarising themselves with their new surroundings. Young children tend to poke and tickle quite rough and a new puppy or dog may feel threatened by a young child’s laughter and unpredictable movements. So just as an air of caution limit their time together initially and always under strict supervision. They will build up a very loving and safe bond if done slowly. It is always necessary to give the children boundaries around dogs in the early stages to help them learn what they can and can’t do safely.
Don’t let very young children offer them food – they may have had to fight for food in their awful past so they may have a quick nibble on little fingers!! The same applies that they should be taught not to ever try and take anything away from a dog, always let an adult do that. Your children are precious and we want to help you to help keep them happy and safe and be able to build up an inseparable bond, but this has to be done safely ….. and that means slowly.
Your puppy/dog may have an upset tummy for a while and their poo may be quite loose or even very sloppy due to the change in water and food. It is sometimes a good idea to mix some cooked white rice in with their biscuits at first to help bind their poo up and then slowly start to reduce the rice down to just biscuits. Please do not be tempted to feed your dog too many different things too soon. Their digestive systems need time to adjust.
Toilet training will need consistency and patience!! They have slept, eaten and gone to the toilet all in one place whilst in those awful conditions so they have no idea that all those things need to be separated from now. Lead them outside and say the word ‘outside’ in a happy tone of voice, or carry them and put them down and tell them again ‘outside’ in a happy tone of voice, and stand with them, not making any contact, allow them to start sniffing and moving around and as soon as they start to go to the toilet ‘good boy/girl’ and offer them a small treat.
If this exact same routine is followed by all the members of the family they will very quickly start to make the connection. But ‘consistency’ really is the key here.
If, when they have accidents in the house, which they most certainly will, please do not be tempted to shout, smack or rub their nose in it, because they will learn nothing, except to be scared of you!! Simply say ‘NO’ in a different tone and take them to the door and say ‘outside’. Again they will soon start to make the connection and learn the difference with your tone of voice. Dogs and puppies are very quick to learn because they are extremely keen to ‘please’ and get rewards such as treats and strokes, Romanian rescue dogs are no different. Patience and consistency will get long term success.
Please let you pooch out as soon as they wake up after each nap and after each meal and big drink as they usually need the loo soon after each of these.
They may not know how to play and run, they may have been confined in a cage or tied up by rope so their coordination may need developing, so don’t be alarmed if they seem clumsy at first. This will slowly develop over time.
Always get Pet Insurance to start with, a good cover will really help if needed, we cannot stress enough how expensive vet bills are!! Pet Insurance is very affordable these days and can save a lot of heartache.
One final word – Thank you!! You have saved your pooch and also made another place available for us to go and rescue another emergency!! You have taken part in the wonderful work that we do and we are forever grateful for offering to give your baby a second chance in life. You are truly incredible and a very valuable member of our rescue family.