Zen Dog's Vancouver Rescue Dog Training

Bring your rescue dog out of his world and into yours.

Welcoming a rescue dog into your home opens the door to a lot of uncertainty. The dog might come with a difficult past due to poor socialization, neglect or a troubled learning history. This can translate into fear and anxiety, reactivity and a lack of trust, making the transition to their new world a challenging one. For the person bringing a rescue dog home, traditional dog training classes are not always the best first steps to take for proper guidance and support. And those lofty goals of off-leash freedom and socially savvy skills may need to take a back seat. For some time.

What Rescue Dog Training Looks Like

Often the rescue dog needs a blended approach, drawing from both behavioural and training modalities to gently coax out confidence as the rescue adjusts to a new world. The standard “sit-down-stay-come” approach may not recognize learning and socialization deficits which need to be addressed first.

For the rescue dog, Zen Dog Canine Training takes an in-home approach, first with small steps that focus on the foundations of dog training, and also the emotional state of the dog in a new home. It’s these small steps that will lead to a bigger and bolder world with time. Together we will show your new companion a small and safe world that grows alongside with trust and confidence. We help you reveal and celebrate those small victories on your emerging journey together.

For the Vancouver Rescue Dog

Our approach respects your dog’s need to relax and decompress as your dog becomes part of a new household, leaving a more chaotic and stress-filled world behind, especially if they have spent a good amount of time in a noisy shelter. There is much here for your dog to acclimate to: our beaches, our forests, our city streets and parks may be brand new experiences. Your job is not to overwhelm or put your new dog into situations they are not ready for. Instead you want to have an intentional training plan in place that is progressive and thoughtful in its steps.

We recognize that rescue dogs are complex and bring a lot of unknowns to the table. They come with a variety of behaviours that both delight and perplex their new person. With this consideration, the stimulating environment found in a group class can easily overwhelm some dogs when the goal is to help them feel safe in their emerging world. For ALL dogs learning is difficult when they cannot relax their mind – for the rescue we want to make learning as easy as possible. Often the best first steps to take are through a private setting. 

The Rising Stars Training Course

For the rescue dog we have created Rising Stars, a course designed just for a recently adopted dog. This mini course will give you the best start possible with your new companion through a three-lesson curriculum that respects the learning and socialization challenges unique to a newly rehomed dog. Rising Stars is packed with information, support and tips that will carry you through the months ahead.

How The Dog Training Process Works

Together we start with a zoom consultation where you get to ask all your questions and voice your concerns – if there are any! In this session you will receive foundation exercises and guidance on the first steps toward building trust and confidence. We look at lifestyle and management; emerging habits and traits you are noticing in those first few weeks; what reinforces your dog in building behaviours; and what your longer term training goals look like. We talk about physical exercise, enrichment, diet options, equipment (such as harnesses, leashes and long lines) and what play might look like for your new dog.

We then transfer the learning to two private lessons held in your home/neighborhood and address the hurdles your new dog needs to overcome, plus their strengths that you can build on. Each hour lesson gives you exercises to apply to daily walks and indoor routines. Throughout the course, you are encouraged to give feedback through phone and email – we even encourage you to send along video clips of your training sessions or behaviors you want a comment on.

Our Rising Stars program covers the use of markers in training, shaping exercises as a confidence builder, an introduction to reinforcement strategies, leash skills, and the use of management in daily life. Because each dog is different, we adjust the exercises to the both of you, allowing your newly adopted star to shine bright!

Rescue Dog Training Services in Vancouver 

Building confidence with gentle first steps