Part 2: A Behaviourists Perspective on how to Nurture Adopted and Fostered Cubs

Hello again Wyld Cub readers! We are back with Part 2 of the Behaviourists Perspective. Ria, from Barney and Rosies gave us even more information on the topic of fostered and adopted cubs than we anticipated and we just want to share it ALL with you in the dog community. We hope you love this part just as much as Part 1!
A lot of the time dogs that are up for adoption have had a problematic past or upbringing. They are not always puppies and have had an extremely hard life and are simply wanting to be loved. 

However, we know deep down we cannot let our adopted or fostered cubs get away with being naughty or cheeky just because they know no other way or due to their sad past. 

How can owners and carers break out of that sympathetic cycle and ensure they discipline, nurture and love them just like any other dog?

I think as humans by nature we get sucked into this ‘poor dog I must make up for all the sadness and upset they’ve felt’, however if we spoil a dog (as we’ve spoken about before) it can actually be incredibly counter productive and cause some bad behaviours.

They are already in a much better place being rescued, and sure they can have nice warm beds and lovely dog food with gorgeous walks and cuddles, but they don’t need to be spoilt to make up for lost time! There may be some rescue dogs who just settle very quickly, so we don’t feel the need so much to spoil them as much as some who won’t settle as quickly. 

It might be a case of a bit of ‘tough love’ to ensure these dogs settle into a normal doggy lifestyle. For example if a dog’s previous owner overfed them and they are overweight, they will have to go on a diet and they won’t like it! Or if they are used to being on the sofa and they guard it, sorry – no sofas until we get that training in place! We have to remember our main goal and to keep asking ourselves ‘What is best for the dog? How does a dog think? Am I humanising the dog?’

Remember to stick to your plan you made before you fostered or adopted and not to give into those gorgeous puppy dog eyes. 

Many people who want to bring a dog into the family consider buying over adopting. WYLD CUB respects anybody that brings a dog into their lives, because we know all dogs can be hard work and time consuming but ultimately rewarding nonetheless. 

Our question is why should people consider adopting when wanting a dog?

There are so many dogs that need homes for whatever reason. Having a puppy or a rescue adult dog are both hard work, but it can be more rewarding to save a life rather than buy one. A lot of dogs are put down because the charities simply can't find homes for them. There are also other options like international rescues, although it is my opinion to think about helping the dogs in the UK first (to save on petrol, time, travelling costs from abroad etc) but if you are interested you can have a look at charities like Underdog International, Wild at Heart Foundation to name a couple. There are so many brilliant UK charities, but a couple of my favourites would be All Dogs Matter & DOTS (dogs on the streets), if you want to check them out.

The fosterer will have done most of the hard work for you but it is your responsibility to keep up the training, as it is with a dog that has been bought as a puppy. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to rescue a dog, to think about how much happiness you have brought them from their awful previous lives. 

 

As awful as it is, there will always undoubtedly be bad breeders, puppy farmers or even stolen dogs. By adopting, you aren’t supporting this type of welfare. You know you’ll be getting a healthy, strong dog as they will have had brilliant health care from the charity (or at least be aware of any health problems and be able to work with them), this is not always the case with some breeders. There is less chance of overpopulating if you adopt too, as many charities have a firm spay/neuter rule.

Many charities offer a lifetime support for you and your dog, so if it doesn’t work out for any reason the charity will always take them back – not all breeders do this. 

Ria, on a personal level we would love to know why you chose this doggy line of work. Your career must be extremely rewarding, but we know cubs can put a frown on your face just as quick as they put a smile on it! 

We know training dogs from all backgrounds can be really important and we acknowledge it must be immensely difficult to see many people not follow super important rules when they adopt and foster. So are there any key tips you would like every cub owner to know when they adopt or foster?

I have always been completely obsessed with dogs, my first word was ‘dog’. I studied illustration at Edinburgh College of Art and all I drew was dogs. I remember my tutors asking me to draw anything else but dogs! I started dog walking to support my art, but I loved working with dogs so much sadly the art slowly ground to a halt. To me, there is nothing better than a dog that is so happy to see you, just to see a happily wagging dog and knowing I’ve made them happy is why I am so in love with working with dogs.

 

I heard so many horror stories about dog care – walkers, kennels or day cares – I wanted to create something where only the best care was given, for all the different breeds of dogs to really work with what they were bred to do. That makes them exceptionally happy. Seeing puppies grow up, dogs learning new things, making friends and having the best time is beyond rewarding. I do love what I do, I would never do anything else. I am so incredibly lucky. 

 

And YES, it is really infuriating to see the advice I’ve given not followed, which I understand is a lot of work and patience but some people will just give up after a week when it needs to be for a substantial amount of time! 

It means that all the time and money we put in, training I’ve put in, care my staff have put in and the charity have put in all goes to waste. But much worse it is failing the dog if the advice given by the experts isn’t followed and is ignored. It can be potentially dangerous and the dog may have to be surrendered again. So much unnecessary stress for everyone! So stick with the training advice given by the charity or the fosterer, stick with your ‘house rules’, be patient, give love but be firm, be prepared for the worst and best of times, research the breed first and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. 

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Yet again, heart felt and honest words from Ria. You are a true inspiration to the dog community and we thank you for that! And as you told us..."Rescue dogs rock!! 😊"