3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
It will take all dogs time to adjust to their new surroundings. However, puppy mill survivors often take much more time than other rescue dogs. They’ve had a rough past, but they can eventually learn what love is again. With a dog rescued from a puppy mill, you need to learn to be extra patient and kind.
Molly’s first dog, Zoe, was rescued from a puppy mill. So, Molly learned a lot about helping Zoe adjust and feel loved in her new home. Zoe never completely got over her fear of humans, but she learned to love her new family. Here are some things that Molly learned in the process.
Some rescue dogs might be quick to love you and ready to explore their new home. However, a puppy mill survivor probably won’t be as optimistic. Most of their life before being adopted was spent in a tiny cage, so they might not even know what a home is.
Therefore, you shouldn’t rush their transition. It could take a long time before they feel even remotely comfortable around you. It’s not something you should take personally though. It just means that they’re not used to humans being kind to them. Therefore, it will take them a long time to realize that not all humans are bad.
Let Them Come to You
You’ll likely want to cuddle your new dog as much as possible, but cuddling is another thing that might be scary for your dog. Hugs and kisses might make your dog feel trapped, which can cause them to get scared or aggressive. Therefore, make sure you give them more than enough space at first.
Instead of forcing them to spend time with you, you should wait for them to come to you. Work on training with them and take them for walks to help them bond with you. But don’t force them to sit near you if it’s uncomfortable for them.
Show Them How to Be a Dog
Puppy mill survivors know very little about the real world. They spent their entire lives breeding inside a tiny cage. No one played with them or walked them or loved them. So, when they are adopted, they just don’t know how to behave like a typical dog.
If you get them toys, it’s likely that they won’t know what to do with them. If you hand them treats, they might seem skeptical. That’s because they don’t understand that these things are good. Therefore, when they accept a toy or treat from you, you should make sure to praise them to let them know that these things are good and not scary.
Zoe never liked toys very much. At first, she wanted nothing to do with them, but eventually, she learned that she liked chewing on plastic bowls. It might not have been a traditional dog toy, but Molly says that it made Zoe happy.
Pay Close Attention to Health Concerns
Puppy mills care very little about the health of their dogs. In fact, they barely even clean the space. So, it’s possible that your puppy mill survivor might have more health concerns than other rescue dogs. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s just something you should be mindful of.
If anything ever seems off with your pup, make sure you look into it right away. The sooner you catch a serious health concern, the safer your dog will be. When in doubt, ask your vet about any concerns you have.
Show Them Love
Sadly, puppy mill survivors just don’t know what love is. It will take them some time to understand the importance of it. So, continuously show your dog love and always be kind to them. Don’t overwhelm them with cuddles and attention, but do everything you can to be nice to them and make them feel wanted.
Caring for rescue dogs, especially puppy mill survivors, can be tricky if they had a rough past. However, it’s extremely rewarding when you save them and give them a second chance at life. When they get adopted, they might not know how lucky they are to have a family, but they’ll eventually learn that life is finally getting better.
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