What To Expect From an Adopted Dog

Sometimes when you adopt a dog the dog starts acting out. Many adopted dogs act depressed when you think they would be happy to have a new home. This is not something you should take personally.  An adopted dog may be depressed for many reasons , its owner could have died or it may have been abandoned or hurt.  

Most dogs from a shelter are very mistrustful at first and may even be grieving the loss of a pet companion or human owner.   That’s why adopted dogs can seem very withdrawn.  Your first task as the owner of an adopted dog is to get him to trust you. Make friends!

This is easier said then done as most dogs are very nervous and upset to leave a shelter as it reminds them of other times in their lives when they have been through a big change. Speak in quiet tones and try to show the dog affection.  

Most dogs are understandably fearful for the first few days after adoption so give the new pet as much privacy as possible. Also avoid startling the pet in any way, as you are not sure how it will react.   As tempting as it is to introduce him to all your friends and show him off let him explore his new surroundings on his own terms.    

An adopted dog may have been trained badly or not at all in the first place so you can expect an adopted dog to have any number of behavioral problems ,  For instance a dog that was starved by a previous owner or that was running wild might develop behaviors such as growling over a food bowl when a child passes by, gulping food, begging for food, hiding food, digging holes in which to hoard food and stealing food.    Malnourished dogs may also become over protective of their territories. They can also become over protective of their chew toys and owners.

 Dogs that were deprived of food are often developmentally challenged as well and don’t have well-developed eyesight, hearing, coordination or brains.  Dogs that have been wild and have never been socialized can also be very difficult to train. This is especially true if the dog had no contact with human between the age of three and 14 weeks. They can react fearfully or aggressively to new people or experienced.

Lack of housetraining is very common among adopted dogs.   Often the previous owners may have turned the dog in simply because they couldn’t train him not to piddle indoors. Dogs who urinate inside or soil the home may have never been housetrained in which case it now becomes your job to correct the situation.    

Dogs from a pound or shelter can also display destructive behavior. These dogs usually have a history of being left alone all day and find eating the couch or tearing apart the garbage pail to be intellectually stimulating and fun. This is your cue to distract him with training exercises, which will also help bond you to your dog.