Rescue dogs are a personal passion of ours at the VDTA and we can help you smoothly integrate your new rescue into your household.
If more people not only considered adopting a dog but were more equipped with the knowledge to do so in a way that is mutually beneficial, it would go a long way to help the hundreds of thousands of dogs who need a home in Australia.
Choosing the right dog
Many people with good intentions get a rescue dog from an organisation or shelter only to gradually understand that the dog is not as they imagined and they are compelled to give the poor thing back. These boomerang dogs are common in shelters and often get stuck in the system where they do not last long.
To help this process run smoothly we recommend contacting us to assist in selecting the appropriate dog for you, we can help you choose a personality that is best for your lifestyle. If you are imagining your selection criteria with any preconceived aesthetic characteristics you will more often than not be selecting the wrong dog. Temperament should be the main concern and this is the essence of what getting a suitable rescue is about. This will ensure a lasting relationship where you will really appreciate your new pet and develop that really strong bond that all owners dream of.
Selecting the right dog is only the first hurdle, once you get it home there are many other considerations to take into account.
There is a very good reason people often have to give their rescue dog back, and for those that call us for help instead of giving up, we always hear the complaint, “the dog was fine for two weeks, now I just can’t handle it.”
This phenomenon is due to location. Location is very important to the vast majority of dogs, only the most properly socialised and confident dogs can be completely happy and relaxed in any location. In the case of rescue dogs they almost certainly have lacked an optimised upbringing and the way they feel and behave is heavily influenced by environment.
Think for a minute about where they have come from, we may not know the experiences they were exposed to before they went to the kennel or foster carer. Each time the dog is moved it is temporarily affected, feeling less comfortable. What this does is mask the dog’s true traits, often making the dog seem quieter, calmer, and less aggressive in some cases. Shelter staff will also tell you anything to get the dog into a good home, and quite often they themselves are also unaware of the dogs “actual temperament”.
It can take anything from 2 weeks to 2 months for the dog to feel comfortable in your home and its true traits to be revealed. Hence, the remarks from owners about the dog “changing”. We are not saying that these types of dogs should not be rehomed, quite the contrary, in fact this change in location is a golden opportunity to eradicate problem traits before they re-surface, and to set the tone for strong leadership and a beautifully behaved dog.
Unfortunately though the mentality of the “rescuer” is to feel sorry for their new downtrodden pet and provide endless amounts of inappropriately applied love and reinforcement for everything the dog does. This not only brings the undesirable traits to the surface faster, it also serves to intensify them to a level worse than before.
It is essential to see a professional during this time to avoid the typical pitfalls of rescuing a dog, we can provide the right advice, and show you exactly what needs to be done to make sure the individual you bring home makes a suitable companion.