Important information when you consider to adopt a rescue dog

Behaviour

In most cases our dogs our handed over to our shelter without any information. The same is valid when they are found on the street or rescued out of a killing station by our organization. It is therefore important that an adopter is aware of the fact that he/she adopts a dog of whom the background is unknown most of the times. 
We would like to emphasize that the life in our shelter is very different from a life in a home, and the behavior of a dog can therefore be different than the description of the dog on our website. 
This is something logical as the life in and around a home is so different than the life in our shelter. Examples are: walking on the lead, walking in a city or other busy places, certain sounds, interaction with children, interaction with other dogs and so on. 
Not to forget: most dogs didn't have, or hardly had a socialization- and habituation proces. It even is possible that they had negative experiences with certain stimuluses or factors of the environment. 
For example fear of people, traffic or visitors are not unusual and it is important not to underestimate this. Most of the times it really is not a matter of: 'Oh well, he will come around in a few days'. 
It can really be a culture shock for dogs if they come from a, for them, safe and familiar atmosphere of the shelter and then to end up somwhere totally different. Where everything is unknown for them and where every stimulus can be a trigger. Unfortunately it is our experience that sometimes this not taken into consideration as it should be. 

It is impossible to say if a dog will be house trained or if he can be alone for a while. We cannot say anything about that as they are used to live in a shelter with (unfortunately) hundreds of other dogs. 
People are expected to be willing to teach the dog everything, if there are things they haven't learned yet. Some dogs will pick it up quickly, while other dogs need more time. 
We don't have to possiblity in our shelter to test the dog with young children, cats or other small pets, other than dogs. Some dogs have never been in a home before and will need weeks, if not months, to adjust to the new situation and sometimes to get back the trust in people. 
Rescue dogs can have or develop certain behaviour problems. Some dogs will have fear for certain situations or people. That is not a strange thing if you realize what they might have been through. The fear can lead to problematic behaviour like seperation anxiety, agression, walking away or destroying things. It might be necessary to ask for help, this can be done at our organization, at a dog school, ask a vet or behaviour specialist and perhaps try regular medication. 

Sometimes adopters will think a bit too easy about taking a dog with a background into their home. The idea and thought behind it are noble: 'We will rescue a dog and give him a better life'. Many seem to forget that fact that these dogs do need a lot of attention and guidance and that they still have to learn a lot. This is not a matter of week, but more like months and for some even years. It is very well possible that the dog will always have a 'user manual'. If one doesn't think about all this beforehand, it could lead to nasty consequences for the promised golden future. 

 

Age of the dog

When the age of a dog is determined, please realize that this an estimate, based on experience. It could therefore be possible that your own vet will give you another estimation of the age. 

 

A dog can be or will be ill 

It is possible that a dog, despite careful tests by our organization, will bring a disease that didn't show up in the tests. These illnesses moght show up later. Extra medical costs, even shortly after arrival, should be taken into consideration. 

 

Don't just look at looks

It is so temting to only fall for the looks of a dog. Of course there are some true beauties. Our dogs are often mixes of different breeds and that brings a beautiful variety of different coats, colours, eyes, ears and so on. But it is therefore not always clear what different breeds are in a dog. It is diffucult to say something about a character which could be there by nature. 
Have a good look at your own situation and ask yourself what is really important to you. What kind of dog would fit into your life? And what kind of dog would NOT fit? Behaviour can be trained until a certain point, but dogs are no robots and they all have their unique character and the matching behaviour as a result. A dog is never fully makable. 

 

It truly can be a wonderful experience to get a rescue dog into your home, but both dog and owner will not be happy of he doesn't seem to fit in the perfect picture you had in mind. 
Read information, do some research, ask around, deepen yourself in dog behaviour and training and ask yourself what you have to offer to a dog. What do you have to offer him that will give him a beautiful life? Are you willing to be flexible? Ask yourself and people around you the right questions and be aware of the pitfalls. Only then you will give a dog a fair chance. 

 

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