7 Steps In Helping A Puppy Mill Dog

November 21, 2014

If you are the first point of contact for a dog who is coming in from a puppy mill situation, you have just become the representative of a new life and a second chance.
1. Have a veterinarian assess the dog’s physical condition. Puppy mill dogs are often long undernourished and may have gone without basic medical care. If weight gain is needed, ask for a recommendation for feeding.
2. Provide a safe, comfortable place that is out of heavy traffic for the dog to rest or retreat to when overwhelmed. Provide food and water in a no-strings way to facilitate quick recovery.
3. It is likely a rescued dog will be apprehensive or outright fearful of people. Help make a new, positive connection by tossing a treat whenever the dog looks at, approaches or investigates a person, even if it is only a step at first. Walk near casually and toss a treat. Gradually, as trust is gained the dog will move closer to you.
4. Puppy mill dogs are often under socialized. This can make them fearful of everything. In a very slow, relaxed manner, repeat above procedure when exposing a dog to new worries. Never push a dog to move past its comfort zone, this may result in a stronger fear or lashing out.
5. Leave obedience training until the dog is no longer fearful, or as close as you can. Training a frightened dog will be frustrating, and you are likely to see few to no results. Also, some behaviors like fear or submission urination will often subside with time but respond poorly to training.
6. Enure that a prospective new owner knows about any current difficulties in behavior or health, as well and progress so far. It is important that someone taking a rescued dog have the skills to continue their rehabilitation. Not knowing will simply result in more dogs returning to the shelter.
7. If you have a professional dog trainer on staff or the ability to seek the help of one, do so. A fearful dog can quickly escalate when handled wrong, potentially causing harm to people and more harm to the dog in the end.
It is not always easy to deal with taking on the extra responsibility of an abused or neglected animal, but for some, you may be a brand new or very last chance at life.

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