Have you considered adopting a rescued street-dog, or better yet have you already offered one a loving forever home? Research suggests that former free-ranging (stray) dogs generally do very well when placed with a family that understands their unique needs. However, there is a lot of learning that must take place on the part of both the dog and the adopter. It is during this important adjustment period that unfulfilled expectations can derail an otherwise successful relationship.
Loved at Last Dog Rescue adopter and volunteer Yvette, explains this adjustment period in detail, offering her observations as to why problems can arise. Here are her insights and suggestions to help ease dog and adopter through this transition – focusing on time, love, and consistency.
Yvette: “Most adopters do not understand how the street-dog and a standard North American dog differ. I can only speak to the dogs I coordinate (those from the Middle East), but know it holds true for dogs from other countries as well”.
“Street-dogs must learn to get food to survive, often skirmishing for what is available, which can lead to aggressiveness or dominance. Street-dogs have to avoid injury -most often at the hands of people, so they can be fearful of humans… for good reason. Street-dogs have had few positive interactions with people other than caring rescuers, causing uncertainty as to how any particular human will react. Street dogs haven’t learned commands and often their mother is killed before teaching her pups proper dog etiquette. These pups do not understand interactions within a home environment or with another dog; what they know well are street-smart survival skills”.
“How is this important to you as an adopter? When you bring one of these former street-dogs into your home, what they need most is time, love, and consistency. They will need time to decompress, time to settle, time to learn trust, time to learn proper interactions with other dogs and strangers, and time to learn the ‘norms’ of North American society”.
“Perhaps you will adopt a dog with near-perfect behavior. There is no way of knowing what dog will be which way as they adapt to their new environment. Some dogs will need 3 months, 6 months, or even a year or more to build confidence. They must become comfortable with where they are, who they are with, and their new role as a dog. This is not a short term, 3 week or even 3 month proposition. Some dogs may exhibit behavior improvements in leaps and bounds after only a few short weeks. Just be aware that they have further to go. Some will start to push the envelope after being with you for a short while – they are learning their limits, testing them, determining their true place, and coming into their own personality. You will think ‘what happened to the nice dog I adopted?’ These dogs are redeemable if you are willing to be patient and give them TIME. Until adopters grasp this, they will likely struggle. I cannot emphasize enough that integrating a former street-dog into your home is a long-term project. TIME, LOVE, and CONSISTENCY are key to success. Just when you are at your wits end, your dog suddenly turns a corner. Then you will be wondering how you could even have thought of giving up on your beautiful baby”.
“We got one of each when we adopted our two dogs from Loved at Last Dog Rescue in late February, 2018. One had splendid behavior right off, while the other is just coming around over the past few months – still losing fear and working through some potentially aggressive tendencies. I understand that sometimes things don’t work out right. However, adopters that give an honest go of it and allow their dogs enough time to work on behavior are most likely to be successful. For these dogs, TIME is the biggest make or break. When we made a commitment to adopting Wow and Rascal and bringing them into our family, this included working through any behavior issues. We are thrilled having our babies and wouldn’t give them up for anything”.
“If you are considering adopting a street-dog from another country, please know what it is all about. These dogs have had more than enough difficulties in their short lives to last 5 dog lifetimes, and it helps when they don’t get further bounced around causing more insecurity. Former street-dogs are beyond amazing once you turn the critical points and are so worth the extra effort. You are entering a new level of interaction with them. Please – and I can not stress this enough – GIVE THEM TIME. You and your dog will be greatly rewarded in the end”.
“If this is not for you, please adopt a dog from a local shelter or other high kill area in North America (these dogs will be more conforming to our cultural norms), or consider donating to Loved at Last Dog Rescue or a rescue of your choice. Please, help save a life”.
“Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope your heart is full of love for these poor babies who would otherwise have no chance at all and who would likely die horrible, inhumane deaths if not adopted away from their respective countries. Love knows no boundaries”.
Blessings to all – Yvette