Rescue Dog Rehabilitation


Got a rescue dog? I've got three words for you.


Don’t. Give. Up.


     Rescues often come with 'baggage' from a past life of abuse, abandonment and neglect. He might start out with difficulties but Don’t. Give. Up. He's been tossed away like a bag of old clothes by people in the past. Give your rescue a second, third or a fourth chance to learn about his new, loving home with you. It might take some time; just because he's changed his address doesn't mean he can change his behaviors, quickly.


     My Ph D is Trauma in Dogs. I understand how to get into the mind of a Traumatized Dog. Many rescues, in addition to the appalling abuse suffered have also suffered Trauma. Yes, dogs can have PTSD. Unless your rescue gets treatment for Trauma in addition to the love you give him he'll still carry those memories into his current life.


     Rescue often don't like other dogs. Yours might lunge, bark and carry on when in the presence of other pets. Don’t. Give. Up. Time, training and patience is the prescription for your 'doesn't play with others' rescue. If your new rescue isn't able to come to the Family Pet class yet the Reactive Dog class gets him comfortable around dogs and ready for 'regular' school. Lots and lots of rescue dogs earn their Canine Good Citizen award from the AKC and become Therapy Dogs.


     Does your rescue have Separation Anxiety? Is he destructive in your absence? Is he terrified and drooling if you crate him? Does he whine when he sees your preparation for leaving? Don’t. Give. Up. He's been abandoned before, maybe several times, and he needs time and special training to learn that when you leave you'll always come back. Think of how many times people betrayed him in the past. Don’t. Give. Up.


     Sometimes rescue don’t like men and try to bite. These are usually defensive behaviors from a scared and abused dog whose life has been marked by fear, pain and abuse. Don’t. Give. Up. Creative problem solving and patient, skilled training can turn many a biting rescue into a tail wagging one. It's common for rescues to get along well with women and not so well with men. Your rescue isn't a bad dog he's a scared one. Don’t. Give. Up.


     How do I know so much about and work successfully with rescues? Yes, forty years of experience helps. Yes, a Ph D in Trauma in Dogs helps. But, know what helps with the heart and love that rescues need? My own rescues.


     Read on to learn about how living with and loving my own rescue dogs taught me to love and understand yours.


Which Training Class Is Best For My Rescue Dog?

     All rescue dogs are welcome in my group classes.

Here's a simple way to decide which, Reactive Dog or 'Regular Family Pet,' is the best bet.


In a group class I accidentally drop the leash. My pet will probably….

  1. Stay at my side. He clings to me like a limpet
  2. Stay at my side and get agitated and whine.
  3. Run at another dog and jump on its back.
  4. Charge another dog and try to push it to the ground or bite it.


 In a group class someone drops the leash on their dog. It runs up to my dog. My dog will probably….

  1. Hide behind me. He seems to be scared of other dogs.
  2. Lunge at it and bark then run back to my side.
  3. Lunge out at it, ignoring me  and push it to the ground, growling at it.
  4. Lunge out, growling, snarling and barking and try to bite it.


In a group class my dog will probably want to……

  1. Stick at my side.
  2. Want to look at other dogs, maybe whine and bark a little.
  3. Bark constantly at other dogs for the first half.
  4. Bark and lunge most of the class.


In a group class we often 'trade dogs' to socialize them to people. If my dog is traded to a stranger for this exercise he will probably….

  1. Wag his tail and smile. He likes people.
  2. Growl if it is a man. My rescue does not like men.
  3.  Growl and maybe nip. My pet has shown that he is scared and defensive of strangers.
  4. Bite.


In a group class a friendly passer-by, who loves dogs, walks up to my dog and stretches out his hand. My dog will probably….

  1. Want to be petted.
  2. Draw back. My rescue needs a while to warm up to people.
  3. Bark and growl and nip.
  4. Lunge. Bark loudly. Bite


In a group class a Mom and her children are in class with their pet. When the children walk past my rescue he will probably…..

  1. Wag and try to get to them for petting. My dog gets along with kids.
  2. Stare at them suspiciously. My dog has not been around kids since I adopted him.
  3. Lunge and bark. I can't get him to pay attention to me. He is too focused on the children.
  4. Lunges, barks and drags be across the parking lot to get to them. He is not friendly to kids


In a group class a passer-by with a dog strolls past. The dog, owned by an idiot, is not on a leash. The dog trots into class. My rescue will probably…..

  1. Jump into my arms for protection.
  2. Lunge on the leash, whining. He stays close to me so I can protect him.
  3. Lunges and barks and will not stop. He strains at the leash and is snarling.
  4. Yanks the leash out of my hand then runs to the dog and attacks it.


In a group class, when we are all learning the Stay Command, someone drops their dog's treats near mine. My rescue will probably….

  1. Sit pretty. He wants the treats.
  2.  Try to get the treats by dragging me over to them. He does not bite when the other owner or I pick up the treats.
  3. Snaps at the other owner or at me when I pick up the treats.
  4. Bites the other owner or me when I pick up the treats


 The more 1's and 2's the more likely your rescue can start in a 'regular' class. The more 3's and 4's the more likely you need the Reactive Dog Class, first. Remember we live in California, the most litigious state in the Union. California has strict bite liability; you are always legally responsible if you pet bites another person or person's pet regardless of the circumstances. This is true in a pet training class.


I can and want to help each and every rescue.

Let's find the best class for you. Your rescue deserves the help.


Not sure which class to pick?

Please email me at And we'll decide, together.

See you in class,

 Auntie Sue