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Rescue Dogs: A Complete Guide

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There are thousands of dogs waiting for homes in rescue centers across the country. Many rescue centers are becoming full and have to run dogs away. By getting a rescue dog you are creating space for another dog to get help. Many are denied a second chance because people prefer to get a puppy.

Having a rescue dog may sometimes be a challenge but it is extremely rewarding. The bond you have with a rescue dog is very special because you have given them a home and helped guide them through their issues. It’s important to remember that not all rescue dogs are difficult, some have to be rehomed through no fault of their own and are well trained.

You get a sense of achievement when you have a rescue dog, especially when you start to see improvements and how happy your dog is in their new home. For some dogs who have had a terrible start to life, you are giving them a new lease of life. They may have had bad experiences of humans and need to rebuild their trust.

Buying a puppy can also be very expensive, with some breeds costing over £1000. Some rescue dogs are free but often you will have to pay a small fee to cover their costs to the rescue center. This is usually between £80 and £200, far less than the cost of a puppy. It’s also hard work bringing up a puppy. They require a lot of attention, can’t be left for long and need toilet training. Most adult rescue dogs will be house trained and have basic training. With a puppy, this has to be done from scratch.

Rescue Dogs Have An Unfair Reputation

For those who work with or own rescue dogs, it’s easy to see that they can make loving companions. Unfortunately, there still seems to be stigma towards rescue dogs. People wrongly assume that rescue dogs are only unwanted because they have lots of problems and behavioural issues. Whilst this can be true for some rescue dogs, many are abandoned or given up through no fault of their own. For example, some dogs have to be rehomed because their owner has died or has become too ill to care for them. Others get rehomed because their owners are no longer in a position to care for them. If you know your dog isn’t getting the care and attention they deserve, there is no shame in trying to find a better life for them, with the help of a rescue centre.

There are so many dogs in rescue that you can find the perfect dog for you. All you have to do is communicate your needs to the rescue centre. Be very clear about the type of dog you are looking for, and not just the breed. Try not to focus on the breed of the dog you want, instead think about the behavioural and personality traits you require. That way you are more likely to end up with a dog that is well suited to you, and less likely to have a rescue dog that has problems you won’t be able to cope with.

Rescue centres generally know which of their dogs have major issues. A well run rescue centre will make you aware of a dog that has serious behavioural issues, and should let you know how much training will be required. Some more experienced dog owners are happy to take on challenging rescue dogs because they want a challenge, and they know these dogs may not find a home. It’s perfectly fine to say you don’t want a dog with any major problems, as long as you realise that not all dogs are perfect. All dogs, whether they are rescue or pedigree can develop behavioural issues.

Do Rescue Dogs have an Unfair Reputation?

It’s sad that people still face prejudice when they say they have a rescue dog. People often say things like ‘your dog must be really hard work’ and ‘that’s good of you to take on a rescue dog considering how much trouble they can be.’ There are so many dogs in rescue centres needing homes, and it would help if they had a better reputation. You might only read about all the bad stories about rescue dogs, but what about some of the amazing things they achieve?

ome rescue dogs go on to do wonderful jobs such as becoming a Medical Alert Dog or working as assistance dogs. Next time you hear someone bad mouthing rescue dogs, remind them that not all rescue dogs are bad news, and many deserve to be given a chance. We are breeding too many puppies when there are thousands upon thousands of rescue dogs waiting for a forever home. If you are thinking of getting a dog, consider getting a rescue dog instead of buying a puppy.

Things to think about

Rescue dogs aren’t right for everyone. You need to think about the type of dog you are able to take on. Do you have the time to help train a dog with a few issues or do you need a dog that has basic training? Don’t get a rescue dog, or any dog if you work full time and no one will be at home during the day. It just isn’t fair to the dog.

If you live in rented accommodation you will need to check that your landlord allows dogs first. If you own your house then it should be suitable for a dog. Most rescue centers won’t allow dogs to go home without enclosed gardens.

Getting a rescue dog is a big commitment, some can live up to 20 years so you need to make sure your entire household is on board. Get everyone to meet the dog before you bring them home so that you know you are making the right decision. Some rescue dogs get passed from home to home and the last thing they want is for another person to give up on them.

Some rescue dogs certainly aren’t perfect. Don’t get a rescue dog if you want your house to look like a show home. They may take a while to settle into their new home and could potentially damage your home.

Rescue Dog or Puppy? The Big Question!

If there are so many dogs without a home in rescue centres and at the pound, then why do people still buy puppies? Some people want to get a specific pedigree breed, or are determined to get a super cute puppy. However, there are too many dogs that have been abandoned and surrendered through no fault of their own. Thousands of dogs go into rescue every single day, yet people are still set on buying a puppy. If you are thinking of getting a dog, then at least consider whether you could offer a rescue dog a loving home. Here’s 10 reasons why everyone should get rescue dogs instead of puppies.

  1. It’s rewarding

Getting a rescue dog is definitely rewarding. When your dog, who once had a few niggling problems shows huge signs of improvement, you feel really proud. You have worked hard to give them a second chance and turn them into a well loved, balanced pet. Even if your dog has no issues, the simple act of giving them a home is very rewarding. This alone should make you think about the choice of having a rescue dog or puppy!

  1. Puppies are hard work

It’s no secret that raising a puppy is hard work, and often compared to raising a child. You have to toilet train puppies and teach them everything. Rescue dogs often come with basic training. Getting a puppy is a huge commitment that should not be taken lightly.

  1. Puppies are expensive

There’s no doubt about it, puppies are very expensive. Pedigree puppies can be over £1000 to purchase. Then on top of this you need to buy them everything they need to stay healthy and happy such as beds, toys and puppy food. Rescue dogs usually cost between £50 and £300 depending on which rescue centre you get your dog from.

  1. There are so many rescue dogs needing homes

There are far too many unwanted dogs already. Give a rescue dog a home instead of getting a puppy. That’s one less dog getting stressed and upset in kennels because they don’t have a home to call their own.

  1. You build a special bond

All rescue dog owners will tell you that you build a very special bond with a rescue dog. It’s a different sort of bond to the one you would have with a puppy. It’s perhaps, more meaningful and stronger because you rescued them.

  1. You could save a life

You never know, if you get a rescue dog you could save a life. Many dogs are within a day or a few hours of being euthanised at the pound. Or they may have been seized as a neglect case, and nearly died in the process. Each rescue dog has a different story and many are hard to hear.

  1. It doesn’t fund the puppy farms

Some people unknowingly buy puppies from puppy farms. By getting a rescue dog you know you won’t be contributing to this problem.

  1. It helps fund rescue centres

It’s not easy running a canine rescue centre. There are huge costs to cover including kennels, equipment and also vet bills for injured and sick dogs. You usually pay a contribution fee towards a rescue dog, which helps go towards the costs of the rescue centre. Your money enables them to take on new rescue dogs and fund their charity.

  1. It’s a learning experience

You learn a lot from getting a rescue dog. It teaches you about canine behaviour and also to appreciate the dog that you have saved. It can be tough at times, but it’s all worth it in the end.

  1. You are doing a good thing

The bottom line is, when you take on a rescue dog you are doing the right thing.

Finding a good rescue center

With so many rescue centers it can be difficult to choose the right one. It’s important to find a reputable rescue center that will support you through your journey of taking on a rescue dog. There are the major dog charities such as The Dog’s Trust, Battersea, The RSPCA, and The Blue Cross as well as many other smaller rescue centers Most rescue centers will only rehome within the local area so it’s best to look for centres near you rather than the other end of the country. Most reputable rescue centres will:

  • Vaccinate their dogs
  • Ensure that dogs are safe for rehoming
  • Neuter/spay dogs or insist you get it done
  • Carry out a home check
  • Ask about your circumstances
  • Provide guidance and support, even after you take your new dog home

How To Find A Reputable Dog Rescue Centre?

There are hundreds of animal rescue centres across the UK. It can often be difficult to know which one to choose. You also need to make sure you get a dog from a reputable animal rescue centre. There are a few things that you should look for when selecting where to get a new dog from.

It’s definitely worth considering adopting a dog over getting a puppy. There are so many dogs all over the country in desperate need of a loving home. Rescue dogs can make wonderful pets with the right care and attention.

Most of the major dog rescue charities offer an excellent service, which one you choose simply depends on your circumstances. This includes major animal welfare charities such as the RSPCA, The Dog’s Trust, Battersea and The Blue Cross. If you are thinking of adopting a dog here are some tips when it comes to finding a rescue centre.


Rescue centres should make sure that the dogs they rehome have had all their vaccinations. This protects the other dogs in the shelter and the people who rehome them. Check that the dog you want to adopt has had all their vaccinations.

Dogs safe for rehoming

Some rescue dogs can be very challenging and sadly some dogs are not suitable for rehoming. Reputable rescue centres will put all dogs through rigorous temperament testing and will produce detailed information about a dog’s character and specific requirements.


Many rescue centres will make sure that all dogs are neutered or spayed before they are able to be rehomed. This is to reduce the chances of them producing unwanted puppies. Some rescue centres will include this in the rehoming fee whereas others will expect you to pay.

Home checking

All reputable rescue centres do home checks for prospective dog owners. This is very important because they need to make sure that your home is suitable for the specific dog you want. Most rescue centres will expect you to have a secure, enclosed garden so that your dog cannot escape.

Asking about your circumstances

Be prepared for the rescue centre to ask you about your circumstances. Reputable rescue centres will not allow you to adopt a dog if you work long hours and won’t be able to take care of them. You will be asked a series of questions about your lifestyle and the type of dog you are looking for. This is very important as it helps the rescue centre match you with an appropriate dog.

Guidance and support

Some of the better rehoming centres will offer you ongoing support and advice throughout the process. For example, if you take your new dog home and experience a few problems you should be able to speak to them and get advice.

Questions the rescue centre will ask

When you apply for a dog the rescue centre will ask you a few questions to check you are in a position to take on a dog. They will ask what sort of dog you are looking for, for example, large or small, short or long haired and active or less active. When you go to get a rescue dog try not to be influenced by looks and breed, it’s a dog’s character that is most important.

They will also ask whether you have an enclosed garden. This is essential so that your dog doesn’t escape but also because they need an outdoor area where they can exercise. For certain breeds of dogs such as huskies who can jump really high your fence may need to be over a certain height.

The rescue centre will also ask you about your lifestyle. Dogs cannot be left on their own for longer than three or four hours. If your work full time and no one is around to look after the dog they won’t allow you to re home a rescue dog.

In some cases, the rescue centre will require you to have experience of a certain breed if you want to take a challenging dog home. Knowing the traits and how to deal with a particular breed really does help.

You will also be asked whether you have children. This is because some dogs are not able to live with children. For example, a very bouncy, boisterous dog cannot be re homed with young kids as they could accidentally knock them over and hurt them. If you have children you need to find a suitable dog for your family.

The rescue centre will talk to you about what age of dog you are looking for. Don’t rule out getting an older dog as they can make excellent companions and are far less work.

If you are going on holiday consider applying for a rescue dog after you return. Most rescue centres will be reluctant to re home a dog if they know you are going away.

Bringing your rescue dog home

Bringing a rescue dog home can be very exciting but also a little daunting. For them, it’s another change in their routine and an unfamiliar environment. Bare in mind, it will take them some time to settle. It’s best to be prepared with everything they might need such as Dog Food, a Dog Bed, a Collar and Lead, Toys and dog bowls. You will also need to make sure they are safely restrained in your car when you bring them home from the centre, so get a car Harness, seat belt or Crate.

The best thing you can do for your new rescue dog is to get them into a routine so that they can begin to know what is expected of them. Provide them with a warm and cosy place to sleep at night and feed them at roughly the same times. Be patient, they will be a little overwhelmed at first. You need to allow time for them to bond with you, once your bond becomes stronger they will be much more receptive to training.

You might want to take them to a few training classes, this not only improves their behaviour it also helps to strengthen your relationship. If it’s safe to do so, take them out on walks where they can socialise with other dogs and people.

Remember to keep their training consistent and make sure everyone in your household sticks to the same rules.

5 Hurdles You might Face When Looking For A Rescue Dog

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?

Criteria For Getting A Rescue Dog - Questions The Rescue Centre Will Ask

Rescue centres have certain procedures to follow when they are rehoming a dog. They want to make sure that their rescue dog goes to the most suitable owner, and that new owner has the ability to give the dog what it needs. Before you head down to your local rescue centre, consider some of the points below. The last thing you want to do is go and see a dog, fall in love with it and realise you can’t take it home. Here are some questions that the rescue centre will probably ask you.

What Type Of Dog Are Your Looking For?

You need to have a good idea about the type of dog you are looking for, as this will help the rescue centre to find you a good match. Try and keep an open mind when it comes to breeds, because you might find a very suitable dog at the shelter that may not be the breed you expected. Think about the size of dog you want, what sort of coat you would like them to have, what age of dog you are looking for and the type of temperament you would prefer. For example, do you want a docile, gentle dog or an energetic, active dog?

Do You Have An Enclosed Garden?

Most rescue centres will expect you to have an enclosed garden. When you bring a new dog home it’s important that they can run around in a garden without escaping. Some breeds of dogs such as huskies need taller fences as they can jump very high.

At Home For Most Of The Day?

If you want to adopt a rescue dog then you will need to be at home for most of the day, or have someone who can look after your dog. If you work full time and will be out of the house Monday to Friday it’s unlikely that you will be allowed to get a rescue dog. It’s not fair on the dog if they are going to be left on their own for long periods.

Do You Have Previous Experience With The Breed?

For some more difficult and challenging breeds of dog the rescue centre might request an owner that is experienced with the breed. Some breeds are not suitable for first time owners and require more training and patience.

Do You Have Children? What Ages?

The rescue centre will ask if you have children, and if so what ages they are. This is because some bigger and most boisterous dogs are not suitable for young children. They could knock them over and some nervous dogs are best off being rehomed with older people.

What Age Of Dog Are You Looking For?

Do you want a fairly young dog? You can get puppies from some rescue centres although they do tend to get snapped up very quickly. Don’t dismiss getting an older dog though, they are often easy to look after and make wonderful companions.

Are You Going On Holiday?

It’s not a good idea to adopt a rescue dog if you are planning on going on holiday soon. Your new dog will need to settle in and leaving them early on will not help. The rescue centre will probably ask if you are going on holiday in the near future. Just wait until after you get back and you can get cracking with the adoption process.

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.

5 Reasons You Should Consider A Rescue Dog

Taking on a rescue dog is a huge commitment and it can be a challenge, but it’s definitely worth the effort. There are so many dogs needing homes around the country that you will be able to find a dog that suits you. You can still choose the type of dog and the breed you want, one of the best ways to do this is to contact the specific rescue organisation for that breed. They will know their characteristics and will be able to place the right dog with you. Or you can go to your local rescue centre and see what dogs they have available. It’s best to have an open mind as personality and temperament are more important than how the dog looks. Most rescue centres will get you to fill out a form or sit down and talk to you about your lifestyle and what sort of dog you want.

It’s no secret that some rescue dogs can have existing problems and can be more difficult to train. Some might make perfect pets but others need a lot of patience and hard work. Many of them have had a very tough start to life and may have been mistreated or not received any training. Make sure you are prepared for this and ready to take on a challenge. When you meet dogs at rescue centres you can do certain things to evaluate their behaviour and get information on any existing behavioural issues. If you are thinking about getting a dog and don’t know where to get your dog from, read on to discover why rescue dogs can make fantastic pets and can change your life for the better.

It’s Rewarding

The bond you have with any dog is special, but after you have saved a rescue dog you will understand why this bond is particularly special. They depend on you and it takes time to build up trust, and when they do turn into a treasured family pet you really do get a sense of achievement. It is very rewarding taking a rescue dog home and giving them a wonderful life.

Turn Their Life Around

There are some very tragic stories about rescue dogs who have been through terrible ordeals. They may lose their trust in humans and it could take a few years for them to get back to normal again. If you take them on and nurse them back to health then you will have completely turned their life around and given them a loving home.

Learn More About Dogs

If you take on a rescue dog you will learn so much about canine behaviour. You might have to spend a bit of time training them the basics and getting rid of certain bad habits. Some of the common behavioural issues that rescue dogs have include separation anxiety, a lack of socialisation and chewing. Some of these issues can be easily overcome with the right training. You will learn lots of new training techniques along the way.

Meet New People

Rescue centres will keep in touch with you and let you know about events and opportunities to meet other rescue dog owners. If your rescue dog needs training then you might want to take them to training classes where you will meet other owns going through a similar experience.

New Puppies Are Expensive

Most rescue centres will charge a fee for their dogs, this is mainly to cover their expenses such as food, bedding and vaccinations. The price for rescue dogs ranges from free to about £150. If you get a new puppy you can expect to pay between £300 to £1500 depending on what breed you choose.

Choosing The Right Rescue Dog

If you are considering getting a rescue dog then you are doing the right thing. There are thousands of dogs in desperate need across the UK. If you don’t need to get a puppy then choose a rescue dog instead. They can bring joy to your life and the whole process is very rewarding. It’s nice to know you have saved your dog and given them a second chance. Some dogs have had a very tough start to lie and deserve to have a loving home.

Now you know you want to get a rescue dog, it’s time to start thinking about what sort of rescue dog you want.There are so many different dogs to choose from, dogs of all different breeds, ages, sizes and temperaments. When you are visiting rescue centre or looking at rescue dog pictures online it’s easy to fall for an adorable dog, but are they really right for you? Try not to go on looks too much and instead try and find a dog that has the perfectly personality for you and your family.

Before you even start looking for a new rescue dog you need to sit down and think about your requirements and at you want from them. Here are some of the main things you need to think about before bringing a rescue dog home:

  • What age dog are you looking for?
  • Do you want them to be ongoing and boisterous or quiet and relaxed?
  • Do you have kids? You need to find a dog that is good with children?
  • Do you want an active dog that needs a lot of exercise?
  • How long are you out of the house every day?
  • Do you have an enclosed garden?
  • What sort of breed would you like?
  • What size dog are you looking for?

After you have asked yourself the above questions you can start looking for the right dog at rescue centres. One of the best ways of finding the right dog for you is to go and meet lots of dogs. Spend a bit of time with the dogs you like, take them for a walk and see what their personality is like. All these things will help you to determine whether you have a special connection with the dog.

If you want to get a dog that is a breed you have never had before then try and research the breed characteristics. Some breeds are more difficult than others and require more specialised care and experienced owners. Look into what the traits are of the breed and think about whether you can cater to their needs and if they are the right dog for you.

Some rescue centres will let you take your chosen dog home for a short trial. If you have the opportunity to do this then it’s definitely worth a try. You can really see what they are like in your home and as they settle in you can see if they are right for you, your family and any other pets you have. Not all rescue centres allow this so the next best thing is to spend as much time getting to know the dog at the centre as you can. Make sure that they get to meet every family member and everyone is on board with getting the dog.

Common Issues That Rescue Dogs Have

Everyone knows that rescue dogs can have their fair share of problems. In fact, they don’t have the best reputation, and unfortunately for this reason many people are put off getting a rescue dog. Not all rescue dogs have horrendous issues. Yes, some of them come with baggage, but there are plenty of perfectly behaved rescue dogs out there too.When you look for a rescue dog, you can find a dog that meets your exact needs. The rescue centre should tell you if they have any issues, and you can decide if they are the kind of issues you can live with. Here are some of the common issues that rescue dogs have (it’s also important to note that all dogs can have these problems, not just rescue dogs).

Fear of people

As many rescue dogs have been abused and had a terrible start to their lives, they often mistrust humans. Who can blame them when all they know is cruelty and mistreatment? For some rescue dogs, they may have been put through so much that their fear sadly turns to aggression. However, it’s amazing how some dogs can learn to trust people again. They might have been treated awful, yet they meet a new human who is kind and see that not all humans are mean.

Extremely nervous

Some rescue dogs can also be very nervous and scared. They might be terrified of the outside world and get spooked by simple things like cars, bikes and loud noises. There are some cases where dogs are locked up in cages or a dark room, so they don’t really know what the outside world is all about. They need a special owner to come and show them the ropes, and gradually encourage them to come out of their shell.

Aggression towards other dogs

A lot of rescue dogs are poorly socialised. They may not have had much interaction with other dogs or been allowed to play with their canine companions. This means they have to learn doggy social skills at an older age, with the help of a dog trainer. They also need a patient owner who will work on their socialisation by teaching them how to interact nicely with other dogs.

Again, some rescue dogs may never get along with other dogs and might have to be kept apart from them or wear a muzzle when on walks. However, a lot of dogs can be successfully rehabilitated given the right training.

No recall

Some rescue dogs will have absolutely no recall. However, this is definitely something you can work on over time. They just need to build a bond with you and undertake some recall training. They may have previously been allowed to roam free and do what they want, and have no idea that they are expected to return to their owners on command. Some breeds struggle with recall more than others, and often have to be kept on a lead (for example, Siberian Huskies). For some owners that isn't such a problem as they can find other ways to exercise and stimulate their dog.

Complete lack of training

A small minority of rescue dogs have had absolutely no training. Either their previous owners haven’t bothered to teach them how to behave properly or they just haven’t had owners at all. It doesn’t take too long to teach a smart dog some basic training. You can have them doing a sit and a paw in no time, as long as you have some tasty treats of course.

Separation anxiety

There are some dogs who adore being around humans so much that they just can’t cope on their own. They may have never been left on their own and always had people around them, so they don’t understand what’s going on when someone leaves them unattended. These type of dogs do need a special home, where someone is around most of the time. They can then be gradually taught to be left on their own.


Unfortunately some rescue dogs are destructive. They might chew and scratch things when they are bored, left unattended or stressed. Again, this behaviour can be managed by the right owner with the help of a canine behaviourist. If they don’t get too stressed, they can be created and left for short periods so that they are unable to do much damage. Some people just won’t allow a destructive dog into their home, but there are a select few dog owners that will take the time to work on this problem.

How To Get A Rescue Dog To Trust You?

Taking on a rescue dog can be a difficult challenge, especially if they have existing issues. You need to build up trust and help to improve their confidence. Settling into a new environment is always going to be daunting for a dog, the first few weeks will be the toughest while they adjust to their new surroundings. If you have a new rescue dog then here are some tips to help you to get them to trust you.

Get into a routine

The first thing you need to do is settle into a routine. Be predictable and stick closely to your new dog's daily routine. They will become more at ease once they know what is expected of them on a daily basis. This means having set feeding times and walking times. Always let them out to the toilet first thing in the morning, when you return home, after eating and last thing at night so they know when they will be able to go. Settling into a routine will help to build trust between you and your new rescue dog.

Feed them and offer

One of the best ways you can get any dog to trust you is to give them food. However, if your rescue dog is not very food orientated you may have to try other rewards such as giving them a toy. Simply giving your dog their daily meals will help to improve your relationship.

Give them tasty treats regularly and they will gradually begin to trust you. If there are a few people living in your household make sure everyone spends time with your new dog and gives them treats.

Play with them

Play is an excellent way to build a bond with your dog. Spend lots of time with your new rescue dog playing different games such as fetch and tug of war. Find out what sort of toys your dog likes the most by trying out a range of toys.

Go on walks together

Dogs tend to trust and respect the person that takes them out on walks. Take your dog out for regular walks to different places.

Be patient

Don't get agitated to show that your are annoyed if your dog is taking a long time to get to know you. Some rescue dogs have been through awful ordeals and it can take years for them to get back to normal. You will see small improvements but don't expect a miracle. If you put too much pressure on your new rescue dog you could make them worse. Every dog is different , it depends on their background and temperament as to how long it will take them to trust you.

Give them space

The worst thing you can do when trying to build trust is be over the top. Sometimes giving too much affection can make your dog feel uncomfortable. Remember not all dogs like to be hugged as it can make them feel confined. Give them some space to start off with until you know each other better.

Don't leave them for long periods

Try not to leave your new rescue dog on their own for too long when you first get them. Leaving them alone in a new environment could cause them to become very anxious. Help them to trust you by gradually extending the time you leave them for and never leave them for longer than four hours.

Teach them basic obedience

Doing some training and spending time teaching your dog some simple tricks is great for building your relationship. Your new dog will get used to your tone of voice and begin to read your body language.

My Experience Of Rescue Dogs

My family have always had Weimaraners from puppies. We had one dog called Silber who was around when I was a baby. Then, at the age of six a new Weimaraner puppy was brought home, we named him Riki. My experience of dogs as a child would always involve getting a pedigree dog from a puppy. When I was 18, Riki, the dog I grew up with passed away at the age of 14 (this is a pretty good age for a Weimaraner). A few months later, my father also passed away. The house felt completely empty, and it certainly didn’t feel right without a dog. After many lonely months without a canine companion, my sister and I told our mum we wanted a dog.

For some reason we knew we didn’t want a puppy, we wanted an older dog that could slot into our home. We didn’t have the energy or time to raise a puppy between us. I started looking for rescue dogs online, searching far and wide to find a Weimaraner that needed rescuing. I hadn’t had any experience of rescue dogs, I had only heard the negative side, that they all came with behavioural issues and were lots of trouble. However, that didn’t put me off and deep down I knew it was a huge generalisation.

Experience of Rescue Dogs - Kaspur the Weimaraner

Eventually we found Kaspur, a four year old Weimaraner in need of a home. I remember going to visit him at the rescue centre. He was in a complete state, clearly not coping very well with kennels and had serious digestion issues. He was very thin, but still had bags of energy and jumped up with excitement to greet us. We took him out on a trial walk, and boy did he pull on the lead. Like most Weimaraner’s, he seemed a bit mad, but we fell in love with his character.

The rescue centre said he had previously had four failed homes (we should have picked up on that warning sign!). The most recent owners were elderly and just weren’t strong enough for him. He clearly didn’t have a great start to life, being moved from home to home. It was clear that no one had been able to cope with him.

Having had a lot of experience with Weimaraners and being used to strong dogs, we knew we could provide the right home for him. It was the middle of winter and it has recently been snowing, even in his coat he was clearly freezing and not enjoying kennel life. We just couldn’t leave him there, so we took him home that day. He whined for most of the car journey home, unsure of what was going on. Little did we know what sort of challenge we were in for, even though we had experience of rescue dogs! Kaspur was a very difficult rescue dog. However, it wasn’t his fault, he clearly hadn’t had the right training and constant love from a family. He had all sorts of issues. For the first few weeks he would cry all through the night, have the odd accident here and there and managed to get into the bins several times. He was also bad with other dogs, and would go crazy on the lead if he saw another dog. He was difficult to control, had no training on the lead and didn’t stop barking. We tried our best to help him settle in despite these problems. At one point my mum was considering taking him back he was so bad. He had had too many people give up on him. I was pretty sure we were his last chance, so I persuaded mum to let him stay.

Kaspur was extremely difficult in the beginning. It took a lot of work to correct his behaviour and build his trust in us. We had a behaviourist come in and help us and took him to dog training classes. It was only after a couple of years that he really improved. Most rescue dogs will settle in quickly, but some take years to get over their problems. Nowadays, Kaspur is as good as gold. He is such a loving, loyal, wonderful dog and I couldn’t imagine life without him. I moved out a few years back and he lives with my mum. She has complete control over him and it’s amazing to see the progress he has made. He does exactly as he’s told and can be off the lead with other dogs. He’s still not perfect, he has mild separation issues when left in the evening and still needs a bit of work on his lead walking, but on the whole, he’s a pretty lovely dog. If it wasn’t for Kaspur, I wouldn’t have realised how amazing it is to have a rescue dog and rehabilitate them.;

Experience of Rescue Dogs - Orla

After taking on Kaspur, I realised I had an interest in canine behaviour. I have always loved dogs, but I wanted to take my fascination further and learn more about them. I started a canine behaviour course which took place one evening a week for a year. I wasn’t living at home anymore, and didn’t get to see Kaspur as much as I would have liked to. I really wanted to get another dog, and I knew it would help me with my canine behaviour studies if I had one. I convinced my boyfriend to get a dog, and of course it had to be a rescue dog. We searched online and visited lots of dog rescue centres, looking for the right dog. We didn’t really have a breed in mind. We had both grown up with different dogs and wanted to get a breed that neither of us had had before.

At one of the rescue centres we immediately noticed a wolf like dog staring at us from her kennel. She jumped up and licked the glass, and when we went to walk away, she barked at us. We knew instantly she was the one. Her name was Orla, and she was a pretty 1 year old Collie Husky cross with one blue and one brown eye. We took her for the standard test walk, and for half of it she was jumping around on her hind legs. Clearly she needed some training on the lead, but she was friendly and affectionate and very striking. All the reception staff loved her, and she would lay down and roll over for her belly to be rubbed. The rescue centre told us some basics about her background, she did have owners, but they let her stray all day while they were at work. We adored her, so we took her home that day.

Orla has been completely different to Kaspur. She settled in right away and in general she’s a pretty good dog. She’s smart and hasn’t needed too much additional training. She has a few quirks and isn’t perfect, but she’s a pretty wonderful example of a rescue dog. She can be a bit of a handful when out and about, but she isn’t destructive, is toilet trained, doesn’t make much noise and is generally pretty chilled out. We love her to pieces and she has taught us so much. You definitely have a special bond with a rescue dog. I hope my story inspires you to embark on the journey of adopting a rescue dog, it can be hard work, but it is well worth the effort and extremely rewarding.

Rescue Dog Training Tips

Taking on a rescue dog is very different to getting a brand new puppy, and you have to adjust your training accordingly. Rescue dogs may have developed certain behaviours that may not be desirable and are hard to get rid of. Some habits may take weeks, months or years to correct. However, your hard work will be rewarded and you will end up with a wonderful new companion. All you need to do is pick the most suitable rescue dog for your family and the training can begin. Here are some tips for training your new rescue dog.


Your new rescue dog will be very confused when you first bring them home. They have to get used to a completely new environment and lifestyle. One of the best things you can offer them is a routine that they can get used to and feel comfortable with. Make sure they know where they should sleep, when they are expected to go to bed for the night, how they will be fed and what is expected of them. This will help them settle in faster and help them to understand the rules. Be aware that when you first bring them home you need to be strict, if you don’t want them to sleep in your room or in the bed in the long run then don’t let them do it at the start.


When you are training your new rescue dog try and remember that training a rescue dog can take a lot of patience. They might not get the trick on the first go, and you will need to do lots of repetition. Try doing your training in different places, once your dog has mastered all the basic tricks at home, try taking them to a park and doing them. This will help you to have control over your dog in different places and get them used to new environments.

Establishing a Bond

Perhaps the most important part in developing your rescue dog’s training is establishing a bond. The better the bond between you and your new pooch, the more likely they are to respond well to training. This is another thing that can take a lot of time as they need to learn to trust you. Playing with your dog is a good way to build a positive relationship, as well as regular training sessions and lots of strokes and cuddles! Once you have a strong bond you will have a fantastic time together and really appreciate the fact that you chose a rescue dog.


Your dog needs consistent training and commands, and to be able to do this you have to get every household member involved. Anyone who regularly comes into contact with the dog needs to learn the key commands as well as the rules. For example, you need to make sure that if you use hand signals, you are all doing the same hand signal for the same command. Rescue dogs may have been taught different things in the past for the same command.

Regular Training

Try and provide regular training sessions so that you can improve your dog’s obedience and give them the time they need to improve. You can also take them to training classes in groups or with a behaviourist if necessary. It’s good to take them to classes where they can meet other dogs and improve their skills.


Socialisation is very important for all dogs, but especially for rescue dogs. Take care when introducing your rescue dog to other dogs and use a muzzle if necessary. The rescue centre should tell you whether or not they are good with other dogs as they will have been tested when they arrived at the rescue centre.

Get A Rescue Dog For Christmas

Everyone knows the old saying ‘a dog is not just for Christmas’. This saying was actually created by Clarissa Baldwin, the Chief Executive of the Dogs Trust in 1978. It has lived on in our minds ever since, and every Christmas we are reminded that it’s not necessarily a great time to get a puppy. Bringing a new puppy into your home at Christmas can be a little overwhelming. They not only have to adjust to a new home but deal with the chaos of Christmas. If you feel that you must get a dog for Christmas then try and do it a few weeks before, so they have time to settle in. Or you could even arrange to pick up your new dog after Christmas when things have calmed down.

If you are thinking of getting a new puppy for Christmas just stop for a moment and think of all the rescue dogs that will be alone in kennels on Christmas day. Is their space in your heart for a special rescue dog that desperately needs a second chance? Consider getting a dog from a rescue shelter instead of getting a puppy from a breeder. It’s a wonderful feeling taking on a rescue dog and knowing you are giving them a better life. Owners often create very special bonds with their rescue dog because the dog really appreciates their love. Head down to your local rescue centre and see if any dogs appeal to you. It is very difficult to visit without falling in love with a dog or feeling sad for the dogs that don’t have a home. Only take on a dog if you are in a position to be able to give them what they need and look after them properly. If you do get a rescue dog around the Christmas period consider when is the most sensible time to bring them home. The rescue centre should be able to advise you on this. So many people buy cute little puppies at Christmas when rescue shelters are overflowing and many dogs are struggling to find a home.

Do something really special this Christmas by getting a rescue dog, you could potentially be saving their life. You can also get puppies from rescue shelters, it’s not all older dogs. Although don’t rule out older dogs because they can make wonderful companions and are usually house trained.


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