Adopting a rescue dog is an exciting time. If you have decided to adopt, you are doing the right thing. But before you go searching for your new companion, it can be helpful to be aware of some potential hurdles you might face. Adopting the ideal dog for your family, lifestyle and situation isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it in the end when you get to bring an adorable new dog home. Here are five hurdles you might face when looking for a rescue dog and how to overcome them.
- Finding the right dog
One of the biggest hurdles you will face is finding the right dog. If, after a few visits to dog rescue centres you haven’t found ‘the one’, don’t be discouraged. It’s important not to rush into a decision, otherwise you might end up taking a dog home that’s clearly not right for you. If things don’t work out it can be stressful for both you and the dog.
Most rescue centres will allow you to take a dog home on a trial. This is a good opportunity for you to see if they are the right fit, as a lot of dogs behave very differently at home compared to in the kennels. Some dogs don’t cope very well in kennels, so keep this in mind and don’t dismiss them at first glance. It’s normal for certain pooches to bark their head off in the kennels, but as soon as they are settled in a home they are far more chilled.
Instead of falling head over heals for the cutest dog at the rescue centre, consider which dogs may be best suited to your needs. It’s far better to choose a dog based on their personality over their looks. Take some time to get to know any dogs you are interested in to get an idea of their character and temperament. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a dog:
- Do they suit your lifestyle?
- Are you looking for a high energy or low energy dog?
- What age dog would be best for you?
- What behavioural traits are you willing/not willing to work on?
- Do you have a connection with the dog?
- How much time and energy will you be able to offer them?
- Is your home suitable for your chosen breed/size of dog?
- Passing rescue centre criteria
Another major hurdle that people come up against is passing the rehoming criteria. Many rescue centres will have a set of requirements that prospective adoptees need to meet. Some of these can be a little frustrating and not seem that important, but these measures are in place for a reason. Rescue centres want to make sure they rehome dogs into suitable homes. So, before you get your heart set on a particular dog, it’s best to check whether you would qualify to adopt them. Most rescue centres will list their criteria on their website or adoption forms. If you are unsure, call them up and ask. Here are some examples of common things that they require people to have:
- A secure garden, sometimes with 6ft plus high fences
- Someone at home for most of the day. Lots of centres won’t rehome dogs to people who work full time.
- If you are rehoming a more challenging breed with specific needs, some centres will expect you to have previous experience with similar breeds.
- Some dogs cannot be rehomed in households with other pets such as dogs, cats and small furries.
- Home checks
Before you can even think about bringing a rescue dog home, you need to ensure your home is dog proofed. You don’t want your new pooch getting themselves into trouble, escaping or harming themselves. Remove any hazardous objects, secure your garden, check your home for any escape routes, and make sure your dog will have enough space to play and run around. It’s best to get these thing sorted before you start looking.
Don’t attempt to lie to the rescue centres just to get the dog you want. For example, some people say they have a secure garden when they don’t. A lot of rescue centres will carry out a home check after you have reserved a dog, to make sure your home is suitable for them. So they will obviously notice if your garden isn’t properly enclosed, or if you don’t have a garden at all!
- Getting all family/household members on board
It’s important when you decide to look for a rescue dog that all family or household members are on board. There’s no point looking for your dream pooch, only to find out that your partner doesn’t really want a dog. It gets your hopes up, and if you do end up bringing a dog home and they aren’t really up for it, it’s not really fair on the dog. Everyone will need to work together and commit to taking on board and training a rescue dog.
- Finding the right time to bring them home
A lot of people suddenly decide they want to adopt a dog, and then realise they are not yet in a position to actually bring them home yet. For example, you might have a holiday booked, or have a busy few weeks of work ahead, in which case, it’s not an ideal time to take on a new family member. Some rescue centres won’t let you adopt a dog if you have plans to go away in the near future.
Even if you do have someone to look after your new pooch, it’s not ideal for them, as they need more time to settle in before being looked after by a stranger. It can be so tempting to just go out and get a dog, but you and your new companion will be better off if you bring them home at a time when you will be around for them.