Questions to Ask When Rescuing

Questions to Ask When Rescuing

Whether you are getting a dog from a shelter or a breeder, it is important that you find the right dog for you and your family.  With all of the volunteer groups, shelters, rescues, and other similar agencies out there, the chances of finding the perfect dog for your family are great.  However, there are some important questions to ask about each dog that you may be considering.

In addition to things like size, energy level, and age, it is very important to know some history or background on the dog.  Although you cannot go back in time and change where they came from or how they ended up in a shelter, you can still learn a lot and use that information to help make your decision.  Here are some common questions that I would ask when considering a shelter dog…

  • How did the dog end up in the shelter? Important info here because we can find out if the dog was a surrender, found wandering the streets alone, found in a basement with other dogs, etc.  All of these situations can give us valuable info about the dog.
  • At what age did the dog come into the shelter? This is important because if we are discussing a younger dog, crucial interactions with the mother and other litter mates may have been missed.  Things like bite inhibition and early social skills may not be present in this dog.
  • How long has the dog been in the shelter? If a 6 month old dog has been in the shelter system for 4 months, it may be safe to assume that a lot of important interactions and social experiences may have been missed.
  • Has dog been temperament tested by a qualified individual? The results of these tests are going to give you insight on the dog’s potential behavior around people, children, other dogs, cats, etc.

Gathering as much information as possible is very important.  For example, if a dog has been surrendered because of dog aggression and biting a small child, welcoming this dog into a similar family structure may obviously not be the best idea.  Although I cannot stress enough that quality dog training, socialization, leadership, and exercise can shape your dog into an upstanding member of your family, but it is still crucial to know what you are getting yourself into before selecting a dog from a shelter; I would hate to see that same dog end up back in a shelter for reasons that could have been avoided.

Remember, dog training will help you dog fit into your home but not everything can be fixed.  Make sure your selection is the best one possible for your goals, your family, and the dog.

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