Trust Takes Time
Trust takes time with a rescue dog. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Let me ask you a question. Do you trust everyone you meet? Would you eat something given to you by a stranger? Would you kiss someone you didn’t know just because they asked you to? Would you pee in the bath tub just because that’s where you were told to pee? If the answer to all these questions was “no”, then why would you expect your new pup to do it? Remind yourself that trust takes time and must be earned.
If you’ve adopted a rescue dog, it’s probably because you’re a fixer. You like to love the unloved, heal the sick, and protect the weak and vulnerable. You have a big heart and lots of love to give away so you’ve brought a new dog into your home. You just want to love it and have it return that love. In other words, you want to fix it. Admit it; you want to fix it, don’t you?
Trust takes time and most rescue dogs have trust issues to overcome. Time will take care of most issues and that’s something you and your new pup have plenty of. You have a lifetime to share with your new fur-baby so relax and enjoy each other. Time coupled with consistency on your part will fix most things that appear broken in your dog.
Sometimes you get lucky and know the history of your rescue. A rescue group has provided you with the sordid and heartbreaking history of the puppy mill where your dog was kept caged in deplorable conditions and produced one litter after another for the last few years. That sweet baby with the sad eyes knows nothing about kindness and love. It has never had enough to eat and has never felt the softness of grass under their feet. You understand why your rescue dog has some issues and are confident that you can fix them.
The challenges are different if your dog was rescued from an ad on craigslist.com or ebay.com. You may not know anything about where it came from or what its life has been like. Day after day you hear yourself whispering -“I wish this dog could talk.” Your pup has behaviors you just don’t understand. You convince yourself that if you just knew the history, you could fix the behavior.
Well, your recue dog can’t tell you their story in words. You’ll just have to trust your instincts. When you decided to adopt, you did so because you wanted to provide a better life for a dog that had been abused, neglected, or unwanted. Stop right there! Think about it. You’ve already accomplished your goal. Your new dog’s life is already better just being with you. It will never be abused or neglected again.
Sometimes being human just gets in the way of what happens naturally. Your rescue dog isn’t expecting you to know all about them by a specific date on the calendar. Don’t expect them to pee on a pad three days after their arrival? Don’t lose hope if they won’t kiss you or take a treat out of your hand on the second day? Get over it. Trust takes time.
Anyone who has ever adopted a rescue dog will tell you to relax. Your dog can sense your stress and frustration. They want to please you so don’t set the expectation bar so high that they can’t reach it. Give them time to see that things are different now. Some behaviors may never be fixed but remember, you’re not perfect either. We’re all broken in one way or another and trust just takes time.