Saving a dog from a shelter or rescue centre is one of the most rewarding things a dog lover can do. But choosing the right one for you can be a tough decision. More often than not with rescue dogs you don’t have the benefit of meeting your pup’s parents, knowing exactly what age or breed they are, knowing about their past or how well they were socialised, if at all, there are lots of unknowns. Rescued dogs are thoroughly examined for illnesses and medical conditions, temperament tested and very well assessed by the staff at the shelters. So hopefully these staff will be able to give you lots of this information and help guide you with your decisions. Oscar’s Law has some great info on their website, so make sure to click here to have a read.
Shelters and rescue centre’s can be stressful places to visit, with lots of dogs crammed into small, noisy spaces. These surroundings can make dogs agitated, anxious, depressed, frustrated and edgy. This can make it hard to see the dog’s true energy and personality straight away so try spending as much time as possible with any dog you may be interested in. Find out from the shelter if you can take the dog that you’re interested in for a walk; it’s good to see how the two of you get along outside of the shelter environment.
Don’t be afraid to ask the rescue staff lots of questions about the dog:
- Find out why the dog is without a home? If a dog was given up, you need to find out why. It may have been because the owner had an allergy, or had to move into a smaller home, a marriage or relationship breakup – or the dog may have a behavioural problem. Behaviour problems are often something that can be fixed over time by the right owner, but it’s good to know about them up front.
- Does the dog have any known medical issues?
- What’s the best thing about this dog?
- What’s the worst thing about this dog?
- Has the dog been temperament tested?
- Does the dog get along with other dogs or cats
- How does the dog get along with the staff?
- How does the dog act at mealtimes?
- What is the dog like when people come by to view the other dogs?
- What is the dog like on a walk?
- What is the dog like with Children/babies?
The answers to questions like these will give you a better idea of what the dog will be like with you and your family at home and if the dog will suit you and your lifestyle. The Shelter staff should be able to guide you with your selection and everything you need to know about the dog you select.
Try not to let the environment of the shelter and the weight of the decision influence you to adopt a dog. It’s crucial for you to choose the right dog for you, and not just one that you feel sorry for. Feeling pity for a homeless dog won’t benefit you or the dog in the long run. Make sure you have the capability to manage the dog you choose and have the time, money and energy to give it what it deserves.
Once again, please keep an open mind, do your research, and have patience!
** Please note, this article was written in 2012 so please make sure to check the current rules and regulations around shelters.
Disclaimer: Cooper and Kids will not be liable for anything that happens to you, your dog or children by following the advice and tips in this article. If you have real concerns or worries about your dog and/or safety of your children, please seek out a professional to come and assess the situation asap.