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People who have adopted dogs - what do you wish you'd known?

(18 Posts)
afullroux Thu 04-Dec-14 10:24:24

We are going to see a dog this weekend, a small terrier. She is 4, healthy.

We've had several long chats with the shelter. They have said she is quite vocal and needs a bit more training, but is house trained, knows simple commands. She is vocal with larger dogs she doesn't know from fear but has never bitten or been violent with a person/dog.

The current owner rescued her from a home with 4 other dogs (got her from a friend) as apparently she's happier being the only dog in the house which suits us. The current owner has had her for several months, she's still living with them at the home at the moment but the owners can't give her the time she needs.

My partner has had dogs from puppies in the past but we don't have any experience of a rescue dog. I have asked why she's being rehomed, can she be left, is she nervous, why the rehoming.

What else should we be asking when we go and see her? What do you wish you'd asked before you adopted?

Thanks v much

JoffreyBaratheon Thu 04-Dec-14 13:17:34

When you say 'shelter' is she being fostered by a rescue? If so, they should have run assessments on her for things like reactivity to other dogs, cat testing, loads of other stuff. I'd ask them to show you the assessments, or talk you through them.

I know you say you've asked why but I would want to drill down on precisely why she had been rehomed and then is about to be rehomed again (That 'quite vocal' might be the thing?) What do they mean by "quite vocal"? Would she drive you nuts yapping all day in the house? What training do they recommend you should do? As it stands, it sounds like she is a fairly normal but reactive to other dogs, dog. If that was the case would she already be about to go to her third home, aged only 4? In other words - what is it they aren't telling you?

That 'can't give her the time she needs' would set off my alarm bells too. What time do they think she needs? Many things are trainable - many problems have a solution if you're prepared to work hard. But what is it they're not telling you?

I have just got my first rescue dog ever and she was only 9 weeks, so too young to be massively damaged by the backstreet breeders she presumably came from. So I don't have enough experience of rescue to give you much advice apart from - I'd dig a bit deeper. Terriers are lively and demanding of your time and attention. I wouldn't say don't have one - I've had them my entire life and don't know any other sort of dog!

Can't think of anything I wish I'd asked but adopting a 4 year old is very different to a pup, I guess. Sounds like she could be a cracking dog, but I am a bit wary of the vagueness of their reasons, and what the truth is, here. Who are the shelter involved?

LoathsomeDrab Thu 04-Dec-14 13:57:14

I wish I'd realised that rescues need researching just like breeders do and that there are some god awful ones out there without a clue what they're doing who are probably doing more harm than good.

Also that adopting a young puppy is rather like getting one from a BYB/puppy farm without supporting one. There's still all the risk of health and temperament issues associated with poor breeding. It sounds very obvious but although people are very quick to warn of potential consequences of buying a poorly bred pup the same is rarely said of rescuing one.

SpicyBear Thu 04-Dec-14 14:14:05

Out of that assessment, I'd be focusing on the fear of larger dogs and the reactions. For example what does it take to trigger a reaction - how far away is the dog when she will react. If you are going to be walking in an area with other dogs about that kind of fear aggression is quite a commitment to manage. It wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me but if you haven't had a reactive dog before, it is very different.

Staffle Thu 04-Dec-14 14:27:50

I would also ask about prey drive and if she can go off lead (obviously not around other dogs by the sound of it) if you plan on walking her some of the time off lead. Our rescue dog was determined by the rescue to be great off lead but being rural there is lots of wildlife/stock to chase so he is on lead a lot more than we planned. Not necessarily a deal breaker but good to know in advance.

afullroux Thu 04-Dec-14 17:21:47

great, thank you. Following another chat today I understand that she's still with the owner (home to home rehoming or something?)

Joffrey - really helpful questions, particularly about getting to the specifics. This is the kind of thing I needed because I am just a bit wary about the vagueness.

Thanks Spicy - again so helpful, I'm going to print this thread off. I am worried about the fear and reactions - we are v prepared to put time into training but you're right, we need to know what triggers the fear, from how far etc.

Good point about prey drive Staffle - my friend's Lakeland terrier is off the lead all the time (rural) and occasionally bolts after a rabbit but always comes back when called, even if he takes his own sweet time

loathsome - this is a blue cross shelter and it seems they are asking good questions from us, though no home visit which surprised me.

mistlethrush Thu 04-Dec-14 17:26:06

We've just got a 7 yo terrier - although we know her background because she was a relative's dog. Her 'vocal issues' around other dogs are in fact frantic lunging on the lead at other dogs, in full attack mode. She is significantly better off-lead, but we have to get in first and remind her that she shouldn't be aiming to attack other dogs - mostly we can get her to ignore them now, but we do have to be very vigilant. It's not at all restful on a walk!

KatharineClifton Fri 05-Dec-14 10:59:04

If you get a dog from a rescue that hasn't been assessed in a home over a period of months you can pretty much believe nothing they say. I wish I had known that.

KatharineClifton Fri 05-Dec-14 10:59:42

Rescue ads are pretty much like estate agent ads.

TooOldForGlitter Fri 05-Dec-14 11:32:57

I wish they'd been honest about his dislike of children. He hadn't ever been around children under 16, yet they said "great with children". He's OK now with strange kids but I wish we'd known.

Staffle Fri 05-Dec-14 15:10:31

Our dog was from the Blue Cross as well though and they have excellent and free behaviourist back up which we have used and found to be invaluable. Everything they told us about Ddog was true including that he had not been tested around children, although they did not anticipate a problem based on their assessment (they were right, Ddog is brilliant around kids).

They weren't to know his prey drive would be high as he had not been tested around rabbits/squirrels etc. and it's a question we failed to ask!

The point of my post is I found the Blue Cross to be excellent in picking the right dog for us BUT I do not know what the 'rehome from home' scheme is like.

TheHoundsBitch Fri 05-Dec-14 15:36:07

My dog is a Blue Cross dog, she's a fucking nightmare, but they have been amazing in supporting us with her behavioural issues.

CakeUpWall Fri 05-Dec-14 16:03:11

Cakedog was the first 'rehome from home' dog that our local Blue Cross had organised. They were brilliant, and I think it helped him to not spend time in their kennels between homes.
I have to admit that we were having wobbles at the end of the first week as he was a bloody nightmare was obviously affected by so many changes of home (4) in 10 short months. The Blue Cross recommended an excellent local behaviourist and things started to look up.
Now, 3 years later, he is the most perfect dog any family could wish for. Love him so much.

I wish i had been told that Bumbledog had lived on the streets! When we went to see him we were told that the first owner had been made homeless and handed him in............ He then went to an old man who had him for three days and took him back as he howled all night. Two years ago i took Bumble to a dog show local to me and the kennels and the old man was there and recognised him. He said he regretted handing him in and told me that he had been told that the first owner was homeless and Bumble had been a street dog! That explains why he hates bicycles and mobility scooters. I often wonder what other things happened to him before i got him......... sad

CarbeDiem Fri 05-Dec-14 16:51:50

I wish I'd been told that they had no clue about the dogs past, especially around children. We were told '' He's good around kids'' a judgement we later found out was based on a few kids petting him in the kennels.

He bit my son on day 2 of having him but we put it down to new surroundings, over excitement mixed with a little bit of a dominating personality, which we were prepared to work on and we obviously kept a very close eye on him around the dc.
A week later he attacked the same ds in front of my eyes, all ds had done was to stop stroking him. Sadly I was forced to return him as I couldn't risk him biting my or any other children sad

I've got a rescue puppy now but not from a kennel, she's from a lady who rescues abandoned animals, gets them healthy then finds them good homes.
I don't think there's anything I could have asked her to be honest as she's only sure about pup from when she rescued her.
She doesn't appear to have any real issues other than normal puppy ones - oh, and that she's like a mini bloody terrorist.
She has dh and I wrapped around her little paw smile

RabbitRabbit78 Sun 07-Dec-14 20:16:54

As much information as possible... Also that we should budget for a behaviourist! We love our troublesome girl but it is slow progress changing behaviour in a adult dog. Getting a escape is a wonderful thing to do though, and so rewarding if you are willing to put in the work (not applicable to all rescue dogs of course but definitely for ours)!

TheDoctorDances Mon 08-Dec-14 09:01:49

Socialisation! Got my rescue puppy at fourteen weeks old (he'd only been in rescue centre for two) and he'd barely been handled, never been out in public and had no idea how to behave around people. Used to be really, really nippy, took a chunk out of my poor neighbour's hand about two days after we got him.

I appriciate the dog you are getting is older but the same principles apply, you need to know how well socialised this dog is. Is she going to go mental if someone comes into the house such as the gasman? Mine has to be crated for guests, still (4 y/o) as he goes bananas.

orangeyellowgreen Mon 08-Dec-14 20:51:08

I wish I'd known all my fears were unnecessary, because our rescue dog settled in straight away, loved everybody and just wanted to please. He had not been trained at all but learnt so fast despite being aged two or three.
We knew almost nothing about our dog's background, the rescue can't know everything about every dog. We learned as we went along and his bad habits soon vanished.

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