Training Questions and Answers
PetConnect Rescue is grateful for the support of our trainers Banu Quereshi, Katalyn Kerekes, and Jennifer Duncan for their guidance and expertise in helping rescue animals. Below are some commonly asked questions which might be of help. If you would like to consult with one of our trainers privately, please email us for their contact information.
Q: Since my rescue is from a shelter, I don’t know how much time was spent working on housetraining. What is the best way to work with them to ensure she “gets it” at our house?
A: Whenever I'm not sure about the level of a dog's housetraining, I assume we're starting from scratch until the dog shows me otherwise. So no matter what the age of your rescue, approach housebreaking as though she were a baby puppy: regulate her food and water (no "free-feeding"), keep her confined to whatever room you're in so you can watch for those "I gotta go!" signs like circling and sniffing the floor, and take her out every couple of hours. Even if you have a fenced yard, go outside with her so you know the mission's been accomplished before you bring her in. If you have to leave her alone in the house, put her in her crate - the bathroom, the mudroom, or one of those "playyards" won't work because it's too big an area. If you can go 10 days with no accidents, you can begin to relax a little.
Q: Our rescue is as sweet as can be, but becomes very anxious when we leave.
What can we do about easing the separations so he doesn’t hurt himself or wreck the house?!
A: True Separation Anxiety is difficult to deal with, but it can be eased with time and lots of patience. Use a fiberglass Vari-Kennel rather than a wire crate, if possible. Leave her in the crate for 5 or 10 minutes at a time, and let her out only when you can catch her in a quiet moment; if you let her out of the crate when she's crying and barking, you're teaching her that crying and barking will get her out of the crate! Do this exercise 3 or 4 times a day, gradually increasing the crate time by only 5 or 10 minutes at a time. Leave the room, then leave the house, then turn the car engine on...all in baby steps, a little at a time. You can leave a white-noise machine on if you have one, or improvise with the vent fan on the stove if the crate's in the kitchen, but I believe a radio or TV left on is too stimulating. You can leave a boiled, cleaned beef marrow bone in the crate with her, but don't leave anything she can shred and swallow.
Q: We are very excited to bring home our new family member. What is the best way to introduce him to our other pets??
A: Introducing your new dog to one who's already established in your home can be tricky. Try to have the first meeting outdoors, on neutral ground...say, a friend's fenced yard with no other pets around. Keep the more aggressive dog (usually the older pet) on a buckled collar (not a choke) with 15' of clothesline as a leash. Keep the leashed dog close to you at first and let the more timid one explore off-leash. If things go well, gradually play out the leash making sure you can grab it if you need to. Before you bring the dogs indoors, put away all toys and bones. Bring the dogs into the largest room in your house. Don't be too concerned with some lip-lifting or growling, especially if it's a female grumbling at a male - she'll push him around a little until he learns to treat her like a lady! Two males together can be more of a problem. If a fight does occur, try to resist the urge to wade in and break it up...dog fights generally sound a whole lot worse than they actually are. A blast from an air horn (available at boating and camping stores) or a capsule of smelling salts tossed into the fray are two effective ways to break up a squabble. Cats? Just make sure they have an escape route until you see that the New Kid's not a chaser.