Second Hand Dog - Jim Burwell's Petiquette

If You Have a Second Hand Dog

He comes with a “heart string” history of being shuffled from one owner to another; losing bits and pieces of his confidence, trust and self-esteem with every shuffle.  He comes to you with an unknown history, starting life perpetuated by bad or uneducated owners who left him abandoned, troubled and neglected.

Your second hand dog probably came “primed” with the idea that since his previous owner(s) walked away and never returned you will do that too.

Helping you Second Hand Dog


Set the Right Course for Him

If you’ve just gotten your dog, you might want to sit tight and think about things from your dog’s perspective. As much as you want to meet your own personal needs, “think dog” first.
It may just be the best decision you will make for your dog.

Everything you do from this day forward builds confidence in your dog that he can trust you.

You may immediately begin to think:

  • How do I deal with his fear, anxiety or depression? 
  • How do I correct him without scaring him? 
  • How do I get him to accept affection? 
  • How do we make him feel comfortable and safe in his new home?”

Let’s Start with Some Very Basic Routines

It might surprise you that setting routines based on your “normal” departures and arrivals is better for your second hand dog than his expectation of you being there 24/7.
Building a daily schedule of predictable routines or activities “is” his comfort and safety net. Setting routines for: 
sleeping as well as
your normal departure and arrival times will begin to relieve his stress and anxiety.

Now he can PREDICT when it will happen every single day from now on. His sense of security begins to grow.

This is important: Taking too much time off to be with your new rescue dog 24/7 sets them up to feel abandoned on the day you go back to work. Since he may already be feeling insecure, you will want to avoid any further feelings of insecurity. This may cause him to become so over-attached to you it’s difficult to leave him by himself even for a few minutes.

Build Confidence

Now this is going to sound strange to you but, leaving your dog in a room for a few minutes several times a day will begin to build confidence in being alone. You do not want him to shadow you as this can, (not always), build up a bond so obsessive that you might feel you just can’t get away even for a little while.
During your honeymoon period (first few weeks) with him, begin leaving many times during the day. By doing many departures and arrivals you will teach him you always come back. Then begin to extend your time away.

If you do these things you will have a great chance of changing all the problems the previous owner created.

Your secondhand dog will now understand that your rules are different and better and that life with you will be “comfortable and forever.”

Love to hear a short story about  how you’ve helped your second hand dog.  Oh, by the way, the dog in the picture is our Cooper – he was a eight or ninth generation “second hand dog”

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

Jim Burwell is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 30 years, serving over 11,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog. Together you learn to get the same great behavior from your dog.