While you may not always know what happened to your rescued pet before you adopted them, there are things that you can do to help them put their best paw forwards towards a new, happy and stress-free life.
Rescued pets may often have a nervous or untrusting disposition, and while this may never go away completely, with time, patience and a lot of love, your pet can enjoy a better quality of life, and here are a few pointers to set you on the right path:
- Ensure that your dog feels safe and secure
Trauma can lead to all sorts of behavioural issues with pet dogs, and with many, they will always be on the look-out for danger and how to escape from it. If your traumatized pet doesn’t feel safe when in your home, then there will be little help that you can give them. Always ensure that your dog has a safe and quiet place that they can go to if they’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Never punish your dog for feeling fearful, but at the same time, try to give them the space that they might need to calm down and feel okay again. Baby steps are needed for the most traumatized of pets, and each step towards their recovery – or at least being able to cope with life – must be slow and steady.
- Give your pet a sense of control
As with humans who have been the victim of abuse or trauma, the feeling of control has been removed and victims often feel helpless and afraid. Try to teach your dog that when they perform an action that is good or behave in a manner that is worthy of reward, then continuing this will only ever to lead to positive things, and your dog can have some semblance of choice and control over their life. Never force your rescued pet to do something that they’re not ready to do, as this will again remove any sense of control that they may have had.
- Love is all you need
Rescued pets may never have experienced love from a human before, and while smothering them in the early stages of your relationship with them is not recommended, showing them in small ways that you love them despite of their fears and insecurities, is a vital step in the rehabilitation process.
- Take time to understand your pet and be patient with them
Traumatized dogs may take weeks, months and even years to begin showing positive signs of improvement, and so it’s imperative that you are prepared to take things slowly and be patient with them. Rushing any part of this process will only ever have negative consequences, and if you’ve taken the effort to adopt a rescued pet, you should follow it through with patience until they have arrived at a place in their lives that they feel confident and safe with.
For more detailed advice and guidance on how to help your rescued pet overcome past trauma and lead a healthy, happy life, reach out to a professional with experience in this field; your local veterinarian may be able to give you a recommendation.