Adopting a formerly abused animal is a wonderful way to improve a life and make a difference. But before you welcome the animal into your home, it’s important to be prepared for its unique needs and fears. By adjusting your behaviors, you can create a safe, soothing environment that makes your new pet feel comfortable. Here are 10 things you should and shouldn’t do when welcoming a previously abused animal into your home.
10. Do: Find Out Their History
If possible, take time to find out about your pet’s past from the shelter or the rescue organization. Ask for as many details as possible. Where was your pet kept? What conditions did the pet endure? What kinds of abuse did the owner perpetrate? Is the animal afraid of a specific gender or object? These details can help you create an environment that is comforting and safe. If you know that the animal was kept in a cage, for example, you can avoid using a kennel.
9. Don’t: Say Trigger Words
Help your pet feel comfortable by avoiding trigger words, or the words or phrases that former owners may have used before they’d engage in abusive behavior. The shelter or rescue workers may be able to tell you about these triggers; if not, spend the first few weeks paying close attention to your pet. Notice when he looks scared or nervous, or when he retreats. If your dog panics every time you tell your kids to get out of the kitchen, using the phrase “get out” might be problematic. By avoiding such phrases, you can reduce unnecessary stress for your pet and alleviate their fears.
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