Many people seeking a new friend for the family choose to go looking for a rescue dog. They are inexpensive, can be healthier than a pure breed, and are in need of saving. Here are some tips to help you pick out one that will mesh nicely with your family.
First, think carefully about what is really important to you in a companion. Size, hair/fur preference, energy level, and time commitment. You may think you want a puppy. If you do, make sure you think about the extra costs associated with vet bills and training before you commit. You may have some surprises as far as breed and size because many shelters can only guess what these pups may be. Are you willing to be flexible? Do you have the time and energy for a growing pup?
Once You Know What You Want In A Rescue Dog, Make A List. Stick To It.
Next, I recommend that you look up the Volhard Temperament Test on-line before you go window shopping. It is public information and can really help you see beneath the “cuteness,” to what lies underneath. It rates different aspects of a dog’s character. For example, it can help you see unbalanced behaviors, resentment, defensiveness or dominance. If you have kids or other pets, think carefully about which qualities will fit the whole family. Once you pick a dog out, bring the whole family to be sure.
If you are uncertain of adopting an older rescue dog because “you don’t know where it’s been,” consult a local trainer to help you determine suitibility. A dog should be relaxed around children, and seek them out. Submissive behavior, such as gently laying back the ears and licking are good signs. There are many advantages to an older dog, you can see what they are, and they can learn new tricks.
Don’t be too judgmental concerning manners. A huge number of rescue dogs and pups are given up to shelters each year because of bad manners and destruction. These can be easily fixed through proper crate training and a little obedience training.
Remember that black dogs are just dogs that are black. They need homes too, and have a much lower adoption rate. Educate yourself on the real qualities of each breed, don’t be prejudiced by appearance. In my practice, I see cocker spaniels and golden retrievers that have hurt children, and pit bulls who are amazing with them. Look at the specific rescue dog and judge what is there, not what you heard about someone else’s…there are loving dogs in every breed, and also some bad examples.
Remember that there are pure breed rescue groups all over the country for almost every breed. There are shelters, no-kill shelters, and animal control. Please be kind to the overworked, jaded shelter employees or Animal Control Officers. No one WANTS to see dogs put down. There are just too many to save them all. But do not save a dog that isn’t going to work for you out of pity. Be strong, be compassionate, be sensible.
On-line resources, such as Pet Finder, are a great tool, as well. Many professional trainers and vet clinics also rescue dogs and place them, so talk to everyone.
Good Luck on your search. There is a rescue dog out there for you!