Miss Wiley represents a large portion of our client population; adolescent rescue pups, recently added to awesomely committed families, who just want to be able to share all the fun times together. Except Wiley is lucky, she’s at school to undo any lost time as a second-hand dog, and to set her up for success in her now forever home. Training, and leadership are pure gold for the Wiley’s of the world, and it all begins the moment they hitch a ride to your home.
Unfortunately, most of these spunky kiddos are struggling with both a history of instability (which leads to cumulative stress), AND developmental processing/energy drain needs, so the movement from shelter or rescue to adoptive home, can be a bit chaotic at best. Most of these dogs don’t ever receive the clear guidance or training required to heal from past stresses, or develop healthy, respectful, confidence-boosting bonds to move forward with. Many begin to unravel with too much freedom and affection that contains no expectation of manners or mindfulness in their new home, an intentional mapping out of what they can/should do vs what they can’t/shouldn’t do is required.
In a perfect world, the adopted dog’s first experience with his/her new family would include heaps of structure, plenty of clear education about the house rules/boundaries, and consistent accountability – with fair access to fulfilling resources (exercise, play, mental challenge). That’s a tall order for most adopters who just want to have fun.
Some of these pups navigate the discrepancies between ideal and actual with minimal fall out, but others only become more concerned, anxious, insecure, or rebellious, as their new home amounts to MORE instability, lack of clarity, boredom (or even more unbelievable leadership than the shelter or rescue life provided).
If you’ve adopted a pup and want to really save their life, while also opening up the best possible version of your own, then formulating a plan to love by leading is essential. Take stock of whether you’ve laid out clear rules, boundaries and structure, so you can gradually (and with respect to your dog’s maturity level) roll out bits of freedom they have both earned, and know how to process. Seek training if the language you endeavor to share is not clearly interpreted by you, otherwise you’ll struggle to teach it to your new dog.
Be fair in your expectations, and remember that our dogs are not living in accordance with their most natural/preferred state, so our odd world and way of being is often confusing, stressful, or unsupportive. Deputize your tools; let the crate and leash offer consistent guidance and connection between you, your dog, and your ultimate freedom-filled life together. And if you’re ready to really take flight as a team, remote collar training awaits you.
We love working with the Wiley’s of the world as they are gaining access to the formula for success, and their families truly recognize the importance of process. Heaps of gratitude for allowing us to be your interpreters, and team supporters, on your journey to an ultimate enjoyment of your dog, as well as peace of mind.