Other Novel Situations
Many rescued dogs have been sequestered in crates and limited to one environment their entire life. It will be important to expose this type of dog to new things very slowly and methodically. You will find that many of these dogs are fearful of a host of novelties, including, but not limited to, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards, vacuum cleaners, etc. Let’s assume you have a dog that is fearful of the vacuum cleaner either runs to hide under the bed each time it is brought out, or attacks the vacuum as soon as it is turned on.
Start out by placing the vacuum in the middle of the room, unplugged and off. Allow the dog to walk up to the vacuum and (assuming the dog shows no signs of fear) quickly deliver a food treat along with praise. Start placing food treats on, around and underneath the vacuum, and allow the dog to retrieve the treats “safely.” Once the dog is picking up the treats around the vacuum comfortably with no signs of fear, you may begin to roll the vacuum on the floor slowly, while still turned off. Deliver high value treats if there is no reaction. If there is a reaction, take a step back. Now, see how the dog does once the motor is running, but the vacuum is stationary. If the dog shows no negative reaction, deliver a food treat and some praise. Repeat the steps above with the motor running. Continue on until you can move the vacuum while it is running and there is no negative reaction. The process of introducing novelties is very slow, and you will most likely have to repeat this process on a daily basis for several weeks before the dog begins to feel comfortable. This is the same process you will use with a bicycle, hair dryer, motorcycle, skateboard, baby carriage, wheel chair, etc.
A “Furever” Home
If you choose to bring home a rescue dog, I applaud you for saving a life. Not to mention, this dog will be forever grateful to you. No doubt, adopting a rescue can be a great deal of work, and you may experience things you have never experienced with other dogs. It can take time to assimilate your rescue dog to everyone in the household, but in the end it’s worth it, as the dog becomes a happy part of your family. By taking things slowly and building the dog’s confidence in a methodical manner, you will be assured a lifetime of fond memories with your new fur baby, and other members of the family, furry or otherwise.