Adopting a dog that has suffered mistreatment is not easy for anyone, as in most cases, there are after-effects on their character and behaviour, especially if they have suffered it for a long period of time. For all these reasons, it is important to take into account the situation of the animal in order to help it in the process of adaptation as much as possible.

The methods of raising a mistreated dog should always be based on trust and respect for the dog. Take note of everything you need to take into account.

Adopting an abused dog

What does dog abuse look like? Abandonment, physical injuries, shouting, beating, leaving them tied up or locked up for a long time and not providing them with the medical and emotional care they need are some of the most common types of animal abuse that exist.

Therefore, the first thing to do is to learn how to detect when a dog has been mistreated. Some studies have been able to compare the behaviour of domestic dogs with those that were mistreated, and the results showed that, in the obviously mistreated dogs, there are behaviours such as:

  • Hyperactivity.
  • Fear of unfamiliar people or dogs.
  • Aggressiveness.
  • Persistent barking.
  • Repetitive or bizarre behaviour.
  • Hyper-attachment.

When a dog has been mistreated for a long time, these behaviours are exacerbated, but in addition, a certain sadness and depression can be detected.

What to look out for in abused dogs

Generally, a dog that has been abused experiences behavioural changes that may never go away, especially when it comes to aggression and mistrust.

Therefore, a dog that has suffered constant abuse by people will probably be afraid of them for the rest of its life, or certainly for a long time. Unfortunately, excessive fear or aggression sometimes cannot be improved, as there have been cases where it is impossible to achieve complete rehabilitation of the animal.

Another type of behaviour that continued abuse can bring to dogs is some kind of compulsive disorder, such as excessive barking at all hours, licking surfaces for no reason, chasing their own tails or obsessively digging on any terrain.

These kinds of obsessive behaviours can diminish his quality of life, damage his social relationships, and especially his relationship with his new family when he is rescued or adopted.

For this reason, it is important that you follow some recommendations from the experts to try to rehabilitate, understand and accompany an abused dog, always based on trust and respect.

Advice and care: how to live with an abused dog?

If you adopt a dog that has unfortunately suffered mistreatment, it is important to make an effort to make the animal feel confident and relaxed in its new home, especially during the first few days.

It is therefore important, whenever possible, that dogs spend a few days of adaptation in a place with certain restrictions, separated from other animals and children living in the house (without closing the door on them!), so that they feel independent, are not overwhelmed and gain confidence in their new home.

The room where you keep them should have a warm and comfortable bed, water and enough food. Contact should not be forced, it is better if you try to approach them little by little every day to create a means of communication with the new member of the family. If the problem is very severe, you may choose to consult a canine behaviourist, i.e. an ethologist who can help you in a more profound way in your relationship with him, but also in his relationship with his environment and family.

You have to understand that this calm situation is also new to him. Accept the idea that his mistrust will diminish over time. Give him the space and time he needs.

If you are patient, adopting an abused dog can be a wonderful experience, and a much more grateful dog for having been rescued from suffering. Go ahead and adopt and change the life of a furry one!