Getting a rescue dog -what do I need to think of?

(22 Posts)
grannygoat Tue 19-Apr-16 23:23:53

I lost my old girl in December, and miss her so much, thinking about a rescue dog tho rather than a pup. I have 2 cats, but no other dog so that seems to limit me a lot with rescue sites, but I have seen a Rumanian dog (UK charity) that seems perfect.

I am finishing work within the next 2 or 3 months, so will be able to devote lots of time. If dog arrives before then I work 2 days one week and 3 days the next, I can pop home in the middle of the day, or if I can crate train, dog can come into work with me..

I have always had dogs, but have had them from pups and none of them have been difficult dogs, so this feels like a whole new experience.

Is house training more difficult with an older dog (2 years old approx)?
Do puppy training classes take older dogs?
If dog is wary of children, do you have any recommendations for introducing to my granddaughters (6 year old and a baby). The 6 year old stays with me usually 1 weekend a month.

I would like to have a plan in my head for dealing with all the negative behaviours that are likely to occur, as I want the dog to have best possible outcome and lead a happy life.

Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks

GinBunny Wed 20-Apr-16 00:29:45

Hello Granny,
I have 2 Rommie rescue dogs and would be so happy to help you. We have one dog who has been here for 2 years, he was in a UK rescue for 3 months before and one who has been here for 2 weeks straight from Romania. Rommie dogs have very specific needs because of the experiences they have had on the streets, which is where they likely would have lived before shelter life, and would likely have been in tough public shelters before being taken into rescue as we know it.
Training is more to do with what they have experienced IYSWIM rather than age - the older they are the likelihood is they will have had bad experiences and this will take time to overcome. For example, they will likely have been captured by a noose by the public shelter workers and will never have been walked on a lead, so lead training is a big part of their rehabilitation. They can take a long time to build up trust and you will need patience in buckets. But when you start seeing them come through it is so so rewarding. GinDog 1 is a sweetheart 2 years on but GinDog2 is still learning to trust, although I can see a beautiful gentle soul in there.
I'd be more than happy for you to contact me direct to talk if you want.

FastWindow Wed 20-Apr-16 00:38:12

All being taken into consideration above,

If you are considering taking on a rescue and you have young children to take into account, it doesn't matter what breed you want. It's a rescue dog and they have their own problems. Even labs, I had a lovely rescue lab, not bitey, but so overpowering, she would not rein in at all.

I suspect you have a lot of experience and responsibility so i think you know the answer: stairgates until the dog you want, you can train and trust. Separate the dog from the children.

You know that though smile

Booboostwo Wed 20-Apr-16 09:04:16

No, absolutely not. Rescue dogs from countries like Rumania have horrific backgrounds. They have usually been born to feral dogs, had to fend for themselves in semi-wild conditions and then spend months in kennels. Their plight is heart-breaking but you really need to know what you are getting into before committing to one. In addition, many rescues transport indiscriminately so that sick and contagious dogs are imported into the UK and there is no back-up from the rescue in case of problems or need to rehome.

Find a small rescue that assesses dogs carefully and keeps them with fosters. They will be able to find the right dog for you, an adult dog whose temperament is suitable to your circumstances and whose background is known so that you can safely introduce your dog to your DGCs.

CMOTDibbler Wed 20-Apr-16 09:28:04

Dougie is in foster, likes cats, and will have all his quirks well known. Seems like a great match for you smile

dotdotdot3 Wed 20-Apr-16 12:51:33

CMOTDibbler Dougie looks wonderful but foxhounds are demanding dogs in spite of their lovely temperaments. See here www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/can-a-foxhound-really-make-for-a-good-domestic-pet.html

OP - I have a Greek rescue dog ( a harehound mix so not dissimilar to a foxhound) and the challenges for me were mainly around the dog's adjustment to city life. She was a country dog not an urban dog. I have friends with Romanian and Spanish dogs and they've all settled in well, although all needed time and patience. Fearfulness in the early months is not uncommon, and of course different dogs express this in different ways. Street dogs are often consummate escape artists so be aware of that!

My experience of adopting from overseas has been very positive, and it isn't difficult at all to find rescues which fully comply with DEFRA rules regarding travel and health, and which foster in the UK prior to homing. Good luck with whatever you decide - street dogs are fabulous!

CMOTDibbler Wed 20-Apr-16 12:59:14

They certainly can be, but Dougie is apparently very chilled out according to his foster mum, and he's been with them a while now.

Booboostwo Wed 20-Apr-16 13:52:33

I am Greek and I can promise you that when you rehome from Greece you save an individual dog and doom hundreds as the locals will get new dogs in knowing that the idiot foreigners (yes that is what they will call you) will rehome the surplus. The only solution for Greeks is to be forced to confront the consequences of their horrific attitudes towards pets. The best way to help is to support sterilisation programmes.

dotdotdot3 Wed 20-Apr-16 15:43:37

Booboostwo The rescue organisation I used sterilises at many times more dogs than they rehome abroad, so the focus is very much on prevention. It is not a rescue set up purely to send dogs to other countries, the majority are rehomed within Greece. But I agree with you when you say that the Greeks have a horrific attitude.

Booboostwo Wed 20-Apr-16 15:49:43

That is great to hear dotdotdot. I am embarrassed by my country and its attitude to pets but there are some people who try to help. It's heart breaking to visit and see all the strays.

Jeremysfavouriteaunt Wed 20-Apr-16 15:59:07

The Greek rescue that I know of is actually run by Greek locals, happy to send them a link to the thread. They might come on and explain.

My family have had a very positive rescue experience too with a Romanian dog. She came spayed, microchipped, vaccinated and spent two months in foster here with children to check her personality. She is the sweetest dog ever, so gentle and I am sure eternally grateful to live in a home.

A quick search through the doghouse will show lots of behavioural problems from all sorts, some pedigree bought from breeders in this country, some rescue. No guarantee either way.

Booboostwo Wed 20-Apr-16 19:16:00

There are no guarantees either way but you can stack the odds in your favour by getting a dog bred for temperament, from known, well adjusted parents, which has been well socialised or you can take a huge risk with a street dog that is weary of humans, had to fight for food, and was never socialised with either dogs or humans. If you have an adult only household, a lot of time, patience and experience you might be able to deal with a reactive dog, that guards food and is fear aggressive, but anyone else may struggle.

It is a mistake to think that love alone will instantly overcome behavioural issues because the dog will be grateful to have been rescued. Most will be scared, bewildered, confused and stressed.

It's wonderful that people are running decent rescues in Greece or wherever else they are needed but it's not as if the UK has run out of rescue dogs and is desperate to import them. The whole thing reminds me of the French meat horse excuse fiasco from a few years ago.

Jeremysfavouriteaunt Wed 20-Apr-16 22:13:20

Or you can not contribute to the never ending over supply of dogs by encouraging breeding.
Good for you op for going for rescue.

Fishcake72 Wed 20-Apr-16 22:17:35

We house trained a seven year old ex-breeding bitch. She was damaged but now at twelve is the most amazing, loving, fun girl you can imagine. All the hard work was worth it.

grannygoat Wed 20-Apr-16 23:02:22

Thanks all for your views - lot of divergent opinions here. I emailed the charity a couple of days ago, but haven't heard back yet, so the particular dog I was interested in might have found a home anyway. If it has, needless to say, I will keep looking.

Maybe I should have added that having cats who will barely tolerate children has taught my granddaughter that she must follow my rules around animals at all times (even if that's not the case the rest of the time😊). So this will help with any new dog, no risk of her opening stair gates, approaching it without my permission etc.

GinBunny Thu 21-Apr-16 00:14:26

It is a mistake to think that love alone will instantly overcome behavioural issues because the dog will be grateful to have been rescued. Most will be scared, bewildered, confused and stressed.
^Yy to this. I'm sure you have already done this Granny, but google Romanian street dogs and read up on the articles - there are plenty to be found. That way you will understand what you may be getting yourself into if you get a Rommie and better understand why they are the way they are. These dogs have never been pets and don't know what that means.
I am on a FB group with others who have got dogs from the same rescue as GinDog2 at the same time - some of them have settled in quickly but others (including GD2) are very damaged and will take a long time to rehabilitate. GD2 is quite snappy, and needs a quiet home. I wouldn't dream of having small children around her for a long time yet, I just wouldn't trust her. No fault of hers, she just doesn't understand what it means to be part of a home.
If the rescue does come back to you and she is still available then ask if you can meet her in your home so you can judge her temperament. GD1 came to meet us for a day, then stayed for a weekend before we adopted him. The adoption contract for both dogs state that if things don't work out then they are to be returned to them - but I have met other Rommie owners that have been left high and dry when things haven't worked out.
Please do as much research as you can before you commit.

GinBunny Thu 21-Apr-16 00:18:31

Sorry, missed one point out - putting a newly homed Rommie dog behind a stair gate or in a crate is (by some) not recommended - they are used to being behind bars in the shelters and this can cause behavioural problems as they feel they are imprisoned again. So, I wouldn't rely on being able to keep your dog and GD separated by a stair gate.

grannygoat Thu 21-Apr-16 07:53:56

Really useful info ginbunny - thanks for that, you have given me a lot to think about.

Lizzie50 Thu 02-Jun-16 23:04:02

Hi there. Three months ago I took delivery of a dog from Corfu. I went via a UK rescue shelter. Is he was transported from Corfu by English volunteers. She came with a clean bill of health, spayed, jabs and a passport.
She took a few days to settle in, never messed in the house and is a great guard dog. Ps few days ago I found out she was a Greek Harehound, a rare breed, fancy that. She is a delight, truly made our family complete, she is a beautiful little dog. I wish you good luck and the dog that you choose to rescue will be a lucky dog indeed. 🐶

Lizzie50 Thu 02-Jun-16 23:06:31

Try Mutts in Distress, near Bishops Stortford, Herts. They have UK dogs and 'other dogs', which are from abroad. They are lovely people, so kind and caring.

grannygoat Fri 03-Jun-16 17:55:46

Really glad it worked out so well for you Lizzie. I've now agreed to take my granddaughter to Disneyworld in October, so will be looking for a dog as soon as we get back.

I would love one now, but my head tells me that it might really unsettle a dog to be moved out of its new home for a couple of weeks, when it's only just feeling secure.

Wish my heart could feel the same - can't stop haunting rescue sites 🙁

dudsville Sun 05-Jun-16 06:51:08

I always come on these boards to give an account of when it can go well, I know it's anecdotal.

We have two rescues from abroad. They are old/older than you're getting. They are well behaved. Of course not all dogs go to rescue because of because problems and ours were trained well. All we had to do was work out how to make use of what they already knew without knowing the language and behavioural cues they were used to. One dog would be triggered somehow to sit a great distance from me while paying great attention to me and nothing I did released her! I can't recall now what we worked out in the end, such a long time ago, but it ended somehow!

It took about a year for their personalities to fully come to the fore. They are a biddable breed anyway and were anxious generally and anxious to please so getting to know them was a gradual process but they are an absolute joy.

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