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Common Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Rescue Dog

Rescuing a dog from a shelter or private rescue is rewarding. Lots of people prefer an older dog to starting with a puppy, and it is incredible to be able to give these dogs a second chance at a happily ever after. It is really easy to fall in love with a picture, but there are some questions you should ask to make sure that this is the dog for you, and that they have a forever home rather than being passed from pillar to post. Rescue centres will be expecting a barrage of questions, so don’t be afraid to ask more about the dog and visit a couple of times before making a final decision.

Why is the dog in rescue?

Rescue centres do work hard to make sure they match dogs to families and create a perfect pairing, but it is essential that you understand why the dog came into rescue in the first place. There may be something in the back story that makes you realise you might not be the best home, but it is also useful information for being able to get the dog to settle with you. Some dogs, for example, are scared of men, and while you might be a single female if you have a family relative visiting often who is a male you need to be prepared that your dog might be scared, but often it can be worked through and with a calm family your dog may well learn to accept your male relatives.

Can you tell me more about his physical characteristics?

It is standard policy that rescue dogs will be already neutered or Spade, but it’s worth checking this information. It would also be usual to have basic details displayed alongside the adverts such as the age and gender. But you should dig a little deeper and find out more about the animal yourself. Understanding what mix of breeds, you are looking at will help you with training moving forwards. Collies, for example, love to herd animals and children and when they work, they may nip this is something you need to know about if you’re looking at adopting a collie. Breeds have different character traits, so understanding the dog will ensure a better match.

Are they well socialised?

Sadly, some rescue dogs are in the shelter because they have been taken from backyard breeders. It’s a good thing that this has happened to them, but it does mean they are unlikely to be very social and may need some more work. Again, dogs can learn at any age, so this should not put you off, but it’s something you need to be aware of. If you have other pets, you should introduce them in advance, and most rescue centres will be set up so that you can bring any resident dogs to meet the new arrival and see if they can get on. You should also check whether they are cat friendly if you have cats or used to small furry creatures if you have rodents.

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