I have had 3 rescue dogs and two that I got as puppies, one specificaly because we were planning a family and wanted a dog with a really good temprament. Our pedigree was carefully selected, we met both parents, saw mother with the puppies when they were tiny and we were very impressed she let DS1 who was 2 pick up the puppies and kiss her ( breeder standing by, and us) He went to puppy classes, residential training and was a really lovely dog in most respects, but guess which one of all these dogs was the one athat eventually bit all of us? We did of course forgive him his transgressions, and he died in his sleep aged 16 but all 3 rescues were/are more trustworthy.
scuttlebutter, thats exactly the route I went down with our last rescue, who bit my Dad. Rehomed from a responsible organisation, came from a family, rehomed due to divorce, assessed and housetrained etc but we think the trauma of rehoming and the fact that he was a nervous dog, I don't think he'd been well socialised, led to him attacking my Dad. It was heartbreaking, loosing one dog to cancer in the autumn then loosing another to biting less than 5 mths later. Thats why I won't rescue and adult dog while I have young children. I know what puppies are like with little children, I did it with my dd. I'll have a look at the link you've posted now. Booboostoo, my fil has always had gsd, hes just rescued an 8mth puppy gsd from gsd rescue, I do think they are lovely dogs but do seem to suffer with arthritis.
Many rescue dogs are in rescue through no fault of their own, and may well have come from a family background. Very common reasons for relinquishment include family breakdown - divorce or separation, emigration, redundancy, changes in working patterns and moving to rented accommodation. None of these actually have anything to do with the dog concerned.
Good, reputable rescues will foster a dog for a minimum period in a foster home (usually at least 14 days) and if they are rehoming to a family will insist on the dog having been living with a foster with children. Taking on a rescue dog that has been thoroughly assessed is no more risky than taking on a pup. Arguably, with small children in particular, an adult rescue dog who is already housetrained, used to children and past the nipping and biting stage will be a much better fit to a family environment. There's an interesting discussion here about the relative life expectancy of crossbreeds and pure bred dogs with some references to ongoing research, and for a thorough review of inbreeding coefficients and health issues in main peidgree breeds I'd recommend this website [[ http://www.dogbreedhealth.com/ here]] - itshould be required reading for anyone considering what type or breed to choose.
As above, I would be weary of a rescue with young children. The most important factors for success with a puppy/dog and a young family is getting a dog that has been bred for temperament, comes from parents with suitable temperaments, is selected from the whole litter as the most suitable, has been with its mother for at least 6 weeks, has had good socialisation around everything you can think off between 6 and 12 weeks and has continued with its training from then on, involving the whole family in training.
If you go down the rescue route it might be worth checking out smaller places or breed specific rescues that keep litters with foster volunteers. That way puppies have an early introduction to family life and don't miss out on the crucial socialisation period from being in kennels.
Please do not rehome from abroad, it just perpetuates the problem in the foreign country. There are a huge number of unwanted dogs in the UK, no need to add to them by importing more dogs with unknown backgrounds. Countries like Greece need money spent on neutering and education, not rehoming tiny number of dogs.
If I were you I would reconsider the breed question. Reputable breeders are aware of breed specific illnesses and breed to avoid them. There is no particular reason why a mongrel would be healthier, if anything genetic conditions in its background will not have been specifically bred out. Of course some breeds have inherent conformation problems due to the development of the breed, but they are easy to avoid. Have you considered a GSD? They are very intelligent, easy to train and, as long as you go for the right lines, very soft and calm dogs.
A rescue dog is usually of unknown history. I wouldn't have one with young children, especially after your previous experience. Mine took a year to civilise and I could never have trusted him around children.
Thanks, thats really helpful. I was looking into MT, but didn't know thay didn't give support, not that we're as likely to need it with a puppy, but I had helpful support from the rescue with my bernese, and alot of support and behaviouralist consultations with one of my collies from the RSPCA which was great. I was also concerned that MT require you to neuter at 6mths, seems young to me, have left it until 1 yr with mine, which is what my vets recommend. Not sure about importing from abroad either, partly because we'd want to meet the dog before we committed to it. I'll look at some of the other sites you've suggested. I know I've looked at Blue Cross before, and I will try wales and plymouth centres.
Actually the majority of rescues WILL rehome to families with young children and can we please stop repeating this myth that rescues only have staffies? I've just had a quick look at the Hope Rescue website for instance - yes there are staffies (and they actually make excellent family pets) but also bassetts, some gorgeous scruffy crossbreeds, Ridgebacks, puppies, lurchers, collies, whippet Xs, westies etc. Pretty much every breed recognised by the KC has its own rescue - if someone came on here who wanted a specific breed and a rescue with a bit of research they could have one. Sorry, but I think it is simply irresponsible to keep promoting rescues that rehome directly from overseas unless those rescues have proper back up in place to support British adopters. I am keenly aware of the dreadful welfare issues in many overseas countries but simply removing dogs without working on the ground will do nothing except create a vacancy along the conveyor belt. What I do support is donating to overseas rescues which operate spay/neuter/vet clinic programmes and more importantly work to change attitudes/awareness in those countries about the treatment of companion animals.
Scuttlebutter I see what you mean about rescues bringing animals from overseas - about backup if you need them - but I guess I just see the awful way dogs are treated in those countries and know lots of people are looking for dogs here... you have to admit that unless you're looking for a greyhound, staffie, JRT or similar, you can have a very long wait (and I know it's a generalisation) for a "suitable" rescue in the UK, especially if you have small children which some rescues won't consider at all.
Many rescues will rehome to families with young children. I don't recommend MT as they charge for behavioural advice/support after adoption - not something which any other reputable rescue does, in fact good post adoption support is regarded as one of the most important factors for making sure adoption placements don't break down.
I would also advise caution if considering a rescue that imports animals from overseas - God knows there are no shortage of dogs needing homes in the UK, and not all of these rescues provide backup if anything goes wrong. There was actually a MNetter just before Christmas who adopted an overseas dog, had problems and then had no support - a British rescue then ended up having to pick up the pieces.
Good national rescues include the Dogs Trust and the Blue Cross, who have branches all over the UK and you could also try Hope Rescue, all breed rescue based in Wales but willing to rehome across the UK. You could also try Woodside Animal Rescue in Plymouth as you are in the SW.
We had a puppy from Many Tears when my youngest was 3 (nearly 4).
I also spoke with CAESSR (cocker and springer spaniel rescue) who were fine in principle with homing to families with young children, as were the Labrador breed rescue I contacted and also Dogs Trust. Its definately worth contacting rescues and explaining your situation.
Friends of the Animals Rct in wales are great and have flexible guidelines on who they home dogs to rather than a rigid no if you have younger children. They rehome across the UK. (We found our dog through them so I am a little biased towards them )
Meant to add that the rescues in Greece, Cyprus and Spain (forgot to mention www.facebook.com/SOSAnimalsUK?fref=ts) often have the hunting/hound type dogs because they are "discarded" if they are unsuccessful hunters and never spayed in those countries so the rescues often have litters of puppies. The Cyprus rescue also has Cyprus poodle types which are very cute! Sirius Dog Sanctuary has some lovely dogs at the moment and I think it costs around £300 to bring to UK (depends on size of dog) and have people here who do homechecks.
I'm no expert but I have heard very good things about Many Tears. I'm not familiar with their policies on rehoming with toddlers? Also Facebook has a Golden Oldies rescue for more mature dogs looking for homes. Might be worth a nose around. Good luck with your search and let us know how you get on!
I've had 2 rescue collie crosses in the past, and got a toller puppy when dd was almost 2, he was a fab dog but unfortunately died from cancer when he was 4, over a year ago ( i posted on here - some of you may remember-he was called rhubarb) we then got an 18mth rescue (bernese mountain dog)who was supposed to be a gentle family dog, he was a bit nervous but great with our family, but when we'd had him about 10wks he bit my dad badly (bad enought to need hospital treatment over several weeks- puncture wounds and curved cut) my dad was helping dd who'd hurt herself, so dog was protecting dd, but we felt we could no longer keep him as he could do the same to our children or their friends so he went back to the rescue charity, but he then bit one of their rehomers badly and was very sadly put to sleep. This has made me reluctant to get a rescue dog again while dcs are young (dd7, ds2), but I'm also reluctant to get a pedigree as my pedigree puppy died so young compared to my mongrels. I know mongrels aren't likely to have had any of the health tests, but are often generally healthier, I am wary of funding bad breeders though. I can try rescue centres but I know many won't rehome a puppy to us with ds only 2 - I can understand why, but I have done it before, dd, was under 2 when I got rhubarb, so I do know what I'm doing, and actually found my puppy easier to train (esp house train) than one of my adult rescue collies. We'd be looking for something of the gundog/retriever type, from experience I think collies are a bit full on for little children, and I'd prefer a medium dog. Does anyone know of rescue places worth looking at, national or in the south west that would consider us, or anyone got any ideas? We're planning for this summer so I've got a while to do research.