(Good Housekeeping) Consider these factors when giving a pup a new leash on life. Rescuing shelter dogs can be rewarding, but they often come with unique issues. Dog trainer and host of Emmy Award winning CBS show Lucky Dog Brandon McMilan lists what key things to keep in mind when adopting:

Older dogs learn more slowly than puppies, so be patient. "a 5 year old dog has an entire life of bad habits to undo," McMilan explains. Start training the day she gets home, and practice in three to five 15-minute sessions each day.

Even if you rescue a mix, learning what you can about her provides valuable clues about her innate instincts. "No dog's behavior is a fluke," McMilan says. For example, a hound wants to follow her nose, so she might take longer to leash-train. A little understanding can save a lot of frustration.

Shelter dogs have often experienced abuse or neglect, so train using positive reinforcement. McMilan recommends a gentle approach for any rescue, even when you don't know her background.

As with people, each dog is an individual. It may take time to learn your new family member's quirks and some trial and error to determine what works best when training. McMilan notes that a skilled trainer can help identify those traits quickly.

Allow for adjustment
Animal behaviorist Kyle Kittleson adds that rescue dogs may be angles for the first couple of weeks, then start acting out as they settle in and realize they're safe with you. Don't panic it's normal for them to regress. For the smoothest transition, both trainers suggest hiring a pro to evaluate yours.


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