RAD Girls Resource: Nickie Dymon

As much as we love posting pictures of adorable and adoptable dogs, we feel its important to take a step back and highlight the mission. The dogs we are choosing to work with need a lot of time and some need medical attention.  Some have been through horrific trauma and abuse and will never forget what they endured.  Others came from beautiful homes and were victims of circumstance. In order to stay true to our mission, we want to collect as much information as possible so we can find these dogs the right home, with owners who are willing to dedicate their time and the appropriate attention to certain cases.

We are not trained professionals and at the end of the day, people need to understand that dogs (just like people) can be unpredictable. We don’t know how they will react to certain people, to certain animals, or to certain situations.  Half of our time over the last few months has been dedicated to meeting with trainers, veterinarians, behavioral specialists and even holistic dog healers to get a professional insight. As a result, we have started an informative series which will first appear on our blog and be accessible on the resources page on our website.  Every dog is different and we want to provide as many resources as possible to help both the dogs and the people adjust to their new life outside of the shelter.   


The first of this informative series is with Nickie Dymon of Pawsitive Changes Dog Training and Adventure. Nickie was kind enough to sit down with the RAD girls and provide us with a brief  insight on necessary steps to take when adopting a Rescue dog. 


1.     What is the very first piece of advice you would give a first time rescue dog owner?

To understand that you are bringing home an animal who has been through trauma. Its going to take time and patience in the beginning with your new dog. There is a common perception that new owners will believe that taking a dog out of the shelter and providing a home is enough. People don’t understand what is going on in the dog’s head.

2.     Are there certain protocols one should follow when introducing a rescue dog into a home with children or other animals?

Rescue dogs should be brought into a new home on a leash and I would advise owners to walk the dog through the house slowly and let the dog sniff around and give him or her some quiet time. Children should not be allowed to be around he dog at first, as kids have the tendency to run up and grab the dog. I would suggest urging everyone in the house, including children to relax and chill. Create a mellow environment and do not to approach the dog at first. Give him or her the chance to calmly walk around the house on a leash and get to know their setting

Its always a good idea to have other animals who already live in the home to remain behind a gate or in another room so they aren’t confronted with the new dog right away. As long as you are careful, introduce the dogs calmly on a leash. Give the new dog a lot of space and keep other animals behind a gate for the first week or so.

3.     What is the most common misconception of Rescue dogs?

People are going to think "I’m doing such a great thing by saving this dog", which they are, but there is a lot of work, care, and attention that goes into bringing a dog home.

4.     All trainers have different methods. What is your method when dealing with a high energy and/or anxious dogs?

High energy and anxious are two different things. In general, any kind of activity you do with a dog is helpful because you are creating a bond with the dog. With high energy dogs, channel the energy with different exercises. With anxious dogs you need to go slow in order to build confidence and trust.

5.     As amazing as shelters are, they have the hardest job taking in dogs without having a clear behavioral history.  Let’s talk Socialization. What are the steps owners should take when socializing a dog without knowing their full history?

In the beginning, socialization is not important. What’s important is building a bond with a dog so your dog can build trust with you. Spend quality time in ways that are helpful to them to acclimate.  Socialization can come later.

6.     If your dog is not comfortable in social settings, how can you overcome that obstacle and still provide a nice life for your dog and yourself?

All dogs are different. Some dogs don’t want to socialize and that’s perfectly normal. If your dog has leash reactivity, seek professional help. Barrier frustration, aggression, anxiety, all dependent on the behavior. Seek professional help!


Nickie has been crucial in helping us understand the importance of accessing your resources when adopting a rescue dog.  Check out her Facebook page Positive Changes Dog Training and Adventure to see her incredible videos of pack walks and individual dogs she is helping. 

Nickie Dymon Owner and Operator Pawsitive Changes Dog Training and Adventure! Certified Dog Trainer from Animal Behavior College Studied under many master trainers across the country with concentration on reactivity, aggression, and anxiety. My focus has always been how to communicate best with the dog to build an unbreakable bond with their owners. My philosophy is that dogs crave our friendship and love and want to return that unconditionally however sometimes a communication barrier exists that can compromise the very foundation of the relationship we are striving to have. The right training can help solve these problems and lead to a very happy dog/owner!