When fostering or adopting a rescue pet, we must set some realistic expectations for ourselves. It must be remembered that this pet has had a rough life. Maybe their whole life has been bad due to uncaring owners or maybe they just hit a rough patch lately and recently were abandoned or surrendered. Whatever the case, this pet will have some issues. Their hearts could be broken and their souls could be lost. They may be able to be turned around in little time, but more likely they will need more patience and time to master their new responsibilities than you thought.
When people set their expectations too high, they are usually disappointed. It does not matter if those expectations have to do with their jobs, their spouses, their children or even themselves, life does not always match our expectations. It will be the same with most rescue pets. There are many reasons for this and the most common one seems to be that something was missing from their life.
It may have been caring, loving owners. It may have been training. It may have been abandonment issues that developed when owners didn’t prepare their pets to be alone sometimes. If there was a lack of training, your new pet could be unfamiliar with the basics of living in a house. They might not be housebroken or not understand they shouldn’t chew or maybe they don’t understand certain boundaries you expect they would understand.
The housebreaking problem may be that no one ever left them inside to know the difference of where they should potty. Or maybe their old owners forgot to let them outside enough to avoid accidents.
Chewing is something all dogs do, but that natural instinct must be channeled to the right objects such as chew toys. It is similar to the cat that scratches everything because they have never learned to scratch on a post or a tree. It seems that natural instincts must be redirected rather than try to stop them.
Boundaries are different in different houses and with different families. So if your new dog was allowed to climb on furniture or crawl into bed, this is normal for them. In your house you may not allow your pets on your furniture. This is a futile exercise sometimes as they just want to be near you, but if these boundaries exist in your home, the dog will need to be trained to adjust to this new situation.
Living with neglectful owners, may have made these animals lack trust in humans. They may gobble food since they never got fed enough in the past. It may take a while before they realize they will not go hungry at the new house. They may have gone without water on a regular basis and are scared they might be thirsty all the time.
They may try to bite out of fear of being hurt by someone. Their motto could be doing unto others before they do harm unto me. The fearful dog can be unsure of many situations, people, other pets or things and need time to adjust and fit in with their new family.
As new owners, you need to be patient. In order to save this dog’s life you need to work a bit to help them learn the basics. When they do not conform to your idea of an obedient dog, you must be willing to give them more time. Adding training will be helpful.
Try to always remember the situations some of these pets endured before they came to your house. It makes sense to not forget they have been damaged in some way and the only healing process that is useful is to give love and use lots of patience. Keep expectations low and work up slowly to what is needed to help your rescue pet to adjust to your unique household.