Does My Dog Know I Rescued Him?

June 23, 2022by DOGuide0

Many dog owners ask: Does my dog know I rescued him? We have the answer for you, so you can put your heart and mind at ease.

Dog Owners Ask: Does My Dog Know I Rescued Him?

The answer to the question: Does my dog know I rescued him? is no. Dogs don’t understand being rescued. They understand connections with people, though.

Dogs remember the impact people have on them – either positive or negative. For instance, dogs remember people who treated them extremely well or those who abused them. How do we know this? Many canine behavioral studies have shown that dogs’ body language changes when they see a past owner or someone who looks like a past owner.

In the case of a rescued dog, this may mean that a dog that had a previous owner with a beard who abused him may act aggressively toward other people who have a beard. On the flip side, a dog that greets someone enthusiastically that he has never met may be remembering someone from the past that treated him with a lot of love.


does my rescue dog know i saved him


The Love Connection Between Dog and Owner

Researchers have found that dogs have a similar reaction as humans when it comes to love. When dogs and their owners stare into each other’s eyes, their level of oxytocin hormone increases. Oxytocin is referred to as the “love hormone”. It is what facilitates bonding between a dog and its owner.

Does My Dog Know I Love Him?

Yes, your dog likely knows you love him because of the way you treat him. Dogs love those who provide what they need to survive and don’t have a negative impact on their life.

Will My Rescue Dog Ever Be Happy?

Yes, it will take some time for your dog to grow comfortable around you, but once he/does the happiness will start. Just remember that your dog may be scared because of how others have treated him/her. Give him/her time to understand that not every human is abusive.

Read our article to know when your furry friend is happy: Is My Dog Happy?

Does My Rescue Dog Remember Being Abused?

Unfortunately, yes. Your rescue dog likely remembers being abused. It will take some time for your pup to forget the negative impact they had on your dog.


Do Dogs Miss Their Previous Owners?

Canines have an instinctual motivation to survive. If a previous owner helped them survive, they may react in a way that suggests that they miss them. It can be similar to the way they react when they lose someone from their pack. The symptoms a dog is mourning after losing someone they regarded as a pack member are:

  • Depression
  • Listlessness
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Decrease in Playful Behavior
  • Increase in Sleep

As you can see above, dogs behave much like how humans do when they lose someone they love.

The question as it relates to rescued dogs is do dogs miss previous owners who were abusive to them? The answer is it’s unlikely because they recognize those people weren’t helping them survive. They were a threat and when that threat is gone – it’s likely dogs are happy about it.


rescuing a dog


The Impact of Rescuing a Dog

Dogs remember the impact people have on them and when that impact is positive, dogs respond favorably. So, when people ask, does my dog know I rescued him? He doesn’t exactly know it’s called “rescuing” – he simply understands that it’s a positive situation and the person that is now part of his life is one he loves because of the positive impact in his life.

As a rescue dog owner, that is likely all you need to know. When you shower your dog with love and give him what he needs to survive, he/she will see you as someone who in a sense rescued him from someone who didn’t show him/her love or provide.


Why You’re Asking If Your Dog Knows You Rescued Him

Now that you know that your dog doesn’t necessarily know you rescued him. He knows you’re providing for him and loving him better than possibly his previous owners. What may interesting to do now is ask yourself why you wanted to know whether your dog knows you rescued him.

When most people ask does my dog know I rescued him, it’s because they want to know if their dog appreciates the new life he has. The answer is yes. Your dog does appreciate you because he appreciates your love and care. Whether or not he recognizes that it’s called rescuing or not doesn’t matter. What truly matters is that you’re making a difference in the life of a dog.

With that being said, the same can be said for dogs that haven’t been “rescued”. Dogs purchased from a breeder or someone who did care for your dog will still feel that same appreciation. They recognize you’re loving and helping them live, which is exactly what a dog wants instinctually from the leader in a pack.

Read: Adopting a Dog from a Shelter vs. Breeder


Happy Dogs ~ Happy Owners

As a rescue dog owner, you are doing exactly what aligns with what Dog Ownership Guide believes in – making dogs happy. When dogs are happy, owners are happy. Give your dog as much love, security, and care as you have to give, and your dog’s reactions will produce the same types of feelings inside of you that he/she feels. Always remember, Happy Dogs ~ Happy Owners.



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