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Are rescue dogs hard to train? The truth about rescue dogs

are rescue dogs hard to train

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Rescue dogs or shelter dogs are great dogs that are filled with love and affection just like other dogs that have had easy lives. Most Rescue dogs are perfectly fine without scars or trauma. But are rescue dogs hard to train?

You might be worried about if they have behavioural issues but most rescue dogs are just as kind and loving as “normal” dogs. They just need a second chance in life.

Here are a few important topics that we will be covering in this article;

  • Your new shelter pup will need an Adjustment Period
  • Teach your dog the five basic commands
  • Create a daily routine
  • Building trust with patience
  • Common behavioral issues and how to fix them

Your new rescue dog will need an Adjustment Period

are rescue dogs hard to train

Rescuing and training a dog is a challenging tasks that require a lot of determination and patience. If your dog is afraid and scared during the initial days, then no need to worry as it is entirely natural. So, if you’re wondering, are rescue dogs hard to train? Our answer is both yes and no. Rescue pups can be hard to train if they have a lot of trauma but with time, patience and a firm routine your pup will start trusting you.

Some rescue dogs quickly adjust to the new home environment; however, some can take a few months to several years for the adaptation. It varies according to the history, past experiences, shocks, and traumas the dog has suffered from.

These traumas make the dogs suspicious of new people. However, you can make this adjustment time more bounteous and meaningful by planning it adequately and making your new dog feel safe and comfortable in his new home.

Teach your rescue dog the five basic commands

are rescue dogs hard to train

Start focusing on the five basic commands from the first day; sit, stay, down, come here, and recall.

  1. First on the list is teaching your dog how to sit. It is the most natural and essential command and is also not that difficult to learn.
  2. The second is a down command that can teach your dog how to stay in one place.
  3. Next and the hardest to grasp skill is stay. It requires a lot of determination and tolerance.
  4. Fourth on the list is the come here This command not only saves time but can also reduce the risks of dangers.
  5. The last one is a valuable command called the heel. This command proves beneficial for the dog in the long run.

These basic commands are crucial for the safety and training of the rescue dogs.

You can also consult some online training videos on basic commands.

Create a daily routine

Dogs love to have a proper daily routine.

Training a shelter dog is not a quick transition that occurs overnight, and takes time and effort. The first few days are significant in setting up a good routine. You can follow the following tips to train your new furry best friend;

  • Follow a proper schedule for a daily walk
  • Take them out for potty breaks
  • Set up an appropriate plan of sleep
  • Feed them at the same schedule every day

You can aid the training process by offering some yummy tidbits when they respond to your commands. Besides this, consistency is the essential thing in a dog’s training. Try to establish a daily routine for your dog as soon as possible to ease the training process.

Building trust with patience

Rescue dogs are the best companions you could ever dream of and they will give you eternal love and be grateful for you. However if you want to know how to train a rescue dogs, you will need to gain their trust first.

Gaining the trust of a rescue dog is very different from dog to dog. Some rescue dogs will trust you quickly and some take a bit more time.

If your new friend has a lot of trauma it can take a lot of patience and love from your side. But don’t worry! Once you gain the trust it will all be worth it.

Each dog has a history of its own, giving them some space and time to adjust to the new environment. It is a slow process, but the sooner you gain trust, the more comfortable it will be for you and the new member.

Some rescue dogs may show food aggression, refuse to eat or show some destructive behavior in response to stress.

So it would be best if you are patient in this scenario. We highly recommend that you take your dog to a training program regardless of him being traumatized or not.

The more training you get with your dog the better and easier the process will be.

So the best ways to gain trust are:

  • Patience and love
  • Give him treats for hanging around you quietly
  • Stay in a routine
  • Take him to training
  • Be the calm and kind leader he needs

Common behavioral issues in rescue dogs and how to fix them

dog behavior problems

Training a rescue dog is important. Rescue dogs may exhibit specific behavioural issues due to past traumas, such as;


Anxiety is one of the most common behavioural issues in shelter dogs. The most common causes of anxiety in dogs are;

  1. Fear
  2. Neglection
  3. Trust issues
  4. Lack of comfort
  5. Boredom and loneliness

Aggressive behavior towards people

Aggression in dogs mainly stem from anxiety and fear. However, in some cases, it may be caused by any underlying illness or disease. Dealing with aggression is a bit of a challenging task, but dogs can learn to cope with this with time, patience and strict leadership.

Destructive Behavior

Neglection, stress, anxiety, and loneliness can lead to destructive behavior in all dogs and therefore also in shelter puppies. They may chew things and mess everything up to calm down their nerves. This behavior can be reduced by keeping them engaged.

However, with enough love, kindness, proper training, and patience, these behavioral disorders can be solved to a great extent. Here are some of the methods that can surely help you in this regard.

Ways to help your dog get rid of these behavioral issues;

  • Chew-time toys

These toys are a great way to assist your dog in fighting anxiety and stress. They have also proved to be beneficial in preventing specific behavioral issues.

  • Online training programs

The Internet has completely revolutionized the whole world. There are plenty of online training programs that can help your rescue dogs to a better behavior.


Are Rescue Dogs hard to train? Yes and no! Dogs are thought to be the friendliest of all animals. If you intend to rescue a dog, get ready for a forever best friend. Consider whether you have enough time to spend with and train your dog.

Generally, rescue dogs need a little more time to adjust to their new lives. However, with love, patience, and training they will give you so much love in return that you won’t ever recommend anyone buying a dog.

Studies found that people who had pets were more capable of executing tasks correctly than those who did not.

Rather than being a source of distraction, they help us concentrate! Finally, being a dog owner necessitates accountability, consistency, and compassion.

Many people are hesitant to acquire a dog because they fear they will not properly care for it.

When they take the plunge and bring a puppy into their lives, they quickly realize that it’s a lot like having a baby for the first time: everything appears to come naturally. We hope this article will prove beneficial to you.



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