Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?
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Thread: Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?

  1. #1
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    Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?

    Okay so the basics, a few days ago we were officially approved to adopt a Bloodhound/Cur mix that my parents were actually fostering. We met her at their house and honestly, I immediately thought she was wonderful. Her age has been guessed around 7 or 8 so she's very laid back, calm, and so far extremely gentle. It honestly seems like we hit the rescue jackpot with her! House trained, walks wonderfully, a friend to everyone (even my cats), knows most commands, etc. She does have an injured eye (that she can only see shadows out of) but otherwise she's healthy for her age.

    The problem? I'm used to having a dog whose history I know. Our last dog was a boxer who passed away at the age of fourteen but I'd known him since the day he was born. I trusted that dog wholeheartedly. If he had something he wasn't supposed to have in his mouth, I trusted I could remove it. I could clip his nails, I could do all the things a lot of dogs dislike and trusted his temperament. Don't get me wrong, I plan on taking things slow with her anyway because I'm sure she's as unsure of me as well but when does a certain level of trust and comfort happen?

    I honestly have no idea why I find myself being nervous about our new addition, she's given me no reason feel this way (and the rescue and my parents who fostered only have good things to say), but it's there all the same. My inlaws do have a history of very aggressive dogs so perhaps that's where this comes from? They aren't shy about filling my head with stories of their crazy, cat-eating, snapping, growling dogs. Don't get me wrong, I cuddle her, love her, etc but I guess there's always this nagging worry in the back of my head that something bad could happen? Is this normal? How long does it take to feel comfortable around an adult dog you aren't familiar with or know very well? Will it ever feel the way it does with a dog you'd known since puppyhood?

    I apologize if this is posted in the wrong section and if the question is also crazy.

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    Senior Member CptJack's Avatar
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    Re: Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?

    For me, yeah, it takes time to get comfortable with an unknown adult dog. Probably a matter of a few weeks or a month though and I'm as confident with them as I am the dogs I've raised for puppies. It's really just a matter of getting to know the dog - and unknown adults have a lot more personality to not know than any puppy, because puppies don't really HAVE personalities yet.
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    Re: Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?

    Quote Originally Posted by CptJack View Post
    For me, yeah, it takes time to get comfortable with an unknown adult dog. Probably a matter of a few weeks or a month though and I'm as confident with them as I am the dogs I've raised for puppies. It's really just a matter of getting to know the dog - and unknown adults have a lot more personality to not know than any puppy, because puppies don't really HAVE personalities yet.

    Thank you for the reply. It's definitely a different experience - bringing home a new adult dog. And it was obviously a bit ignorant of me not to take into consideration how much of a "getting to know each other" period there would be. I'm just so used to having a dog I knew well! It's crazy how many things there are to learn about a new dog, their reactions to situations, their likes/dislikes, etc. All things I never really had to think about before because I just knew. I'm feeling a bit better about it today but it definitely hit me all at once yesterday, how very little we truly knew about her and her previous life especially. She really is amazing though and I can't get over how unbelievably lucky I feel to have found her.

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    Super Moderator RonE's Avatar
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    Re: Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?

    I, on the other hand, get a lot more nervous about a puppy.

    With an adult dog, you can worry about what might have happened in the past but you can have a pretty good idea of what you're getting - especially since your parents were fostering him. (Okay, not always true. I had no idea what we were getting into when we rescued a Plott hound named Esther and it took a few years for her to develop into a really great family dog.)

    With a puppy, unless you really know the line, you can worry about what will happen in the future.

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    Senior Member parus's Avatar
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    Re: Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?

    I agree with RonE, generally speaking. That said, when I brought my adopted Giant mostly Schnauzer home, I spent the next week thinking WHAT HAVE I DONE AND WHY IS THERE A HAIRY 100 LB MONSTER IN MY HOUSE. He turned out to be the best dog I've ever had, but it took us a while to get used to one another.

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    Re: Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?

    Quote Originally Posted by parus View Post
    I agree with RonE, generally speaking. That said, when I brought my adopted Giant mostly Schnauzer home, I spent the next week thinking WHAT HAVE I DONE AND WHY IS THERE A HAIRY 100 LB MONSTER IN MY HOUSE. He turned out to be the best dog I've ever had, but it took us a while to get used to one another.
    I'm starting to think size may have something to do with it. Our new girl is 85lbs and just a very, very big girl. My last dog was 65lb...which doesn't sound like much of a difference but boy is it. Sometimes I look at her and think "OMG I've adopted a bear...what do I do with her?!"

    And while I didn't know my previous puppy's entire line, I knew both of his parents very well. My best friend's family had an oops!litter and my sixteen-year-old self was very eager to adopt a boxer puppy. I still look back at that situation and can't believe anyone thought it was a good idea for a teenager to adopt a hyper breed (and it was probably while I ignorantly had no worries) but we hit the jackpot with him and he was a very laid back boy compared to most. And having a calm dog you've known since birth is so very different than adopting a GIANT stranger.

    But we're doing well so far and she's starting to open up more and more each day. I realized she knows even more commands than we were told and has no problem dropping some of that infamous bloodhound drool on you first thing in the morning when she wants to potty. Yes, I think we'll be okay.

  9. #7
    Junior Member Catabear's Avatar
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    Re: Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?

    When I first got my rescue I was a nervous wreck for the first couple weeks. It honestly felt like I had a newborn baby. I lost a lot of sleep and my anxiety was pretty high. But now, I can't imagine life without him.
    Reshiram "Reshi" - 2 year old Anatolian Shepherd/GSD/Saluki/Sheepdog mix

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    Junior Member AbbeyMyrick's Avatar
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    Makes me feel better to hear other people talk about this. It’s been about two weeks since I brought home a rescue I picked up on a road trip to visit family. For me, a big part of it is all the sadness I pushed away after my last dog died. She was one of those one in a billion creatures and now I’ve got the new dog panic on top of a panic that I didn’t wait long enough and am not ready to open my heart. But I’m pretty sure I’d never be ready even if I kept waiting another year. This new girl is coming into the relationship with her own trauma too, so we are both unpacking our baggage I guess? It is odd, getting used to a new dogs quirks 😄 you can only plan so much.

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    Ginger,

    Unfortunately you'll never know her full history and can't changed what happened in her past. All you can influence is right now and work with what she's giving you while interacting. Fortunately she sounds like a very well behaved dog.

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    Re: Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?

    Well, it's been two months now since Ginger joined us! I have to say, it is a different bond than I had with my last dog but no better or worse, just different. We've become pretty fond of each other (if I do say so myself) and the nerves have completely subsided. And it isn't just me that feels more comfortable, she definitely does too. She jumps on the bed/couch now without seeking permission (I like my pets to lounge on the furniture but it was clear when she came here she'd never really been allowed), she greets us as soon as we get home, she even knows if she looks sad and pitiful while I cook that I might just sneak her a few treats. She doesn't even seem so BIG to me anymore, her size has become our new normal.

    I won't lie, I giggle the few times she's "misbehaved" mainly because it feels like she's finally realized we aren't going to "punish" her. It became clear that whoever had her before my parents ended up fostering probably weren't the best. She was terrified whenever I swept (but she's getting better everyday) and I mentioned in my first post about her injured eye (old injury) that we don't really know how it occurred. She also really dislikes when people raise their voices and while we aren't yellers by any means, my husband sure can sigh very loudly while watching sports and even that would send her running to another room. But she's finally realized it's OK when he does that, she's safe. It's also helping him to calm down when his teams loses. So when she stole my peanut butter cookie I couldn't help but laugh. She's such a brave, sweet girl that I couldn't even be mad. I don't know how she managed to become such an amazingly gentle dog considering what type of past some of her behaviors point to, but I'm so glad we found her!

    Anyway yeah, I just wanted to word vomit. I'm actually glad I was a little nervous at first, I feel like it made me more aware of her feelings too which has helped us both learn the ropes of each other. But things are going amazingly well!

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    Senior Member Crantastic's Avatar
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    Re: Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?

    Aww, thanks for the update! It's always great to hear that things got better. She sounds like a lovely dog.

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    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Is it normal to feel apprehensive after adopting a rescue?

    yes it's normal.. I took in a 4.5 year old (strong natured breed) that didn't know a word of English lol .... thing is with raising a pup "YOU KNOW WHAT THEY KNOW" taking in a unknown dog you don't know what they know. You spend that time showing and teaching ( what you mean, what it is, and how we do it ) even if it seems silly for an older dog. Ratmirs breeder told me just talk to him, that is how they treated him he will understand. And he did.. Dog stuff is universal even with a language barrier we found our way of communicating starting on simple everyday stuff building trust for the hard stuff and giving patience when trust hadn't been established yet. Like his puncture wound from a scuffle needed to be cleaned, it was a two way street to tend to him but I stay'd patient and did what I could with what he would let me. He is totally my dog now with a 1.5 year under out belt,, we know each other in and out. Best of wishes your way.. He sounds wonderful.

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