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Rescue dogs are "problem dogs"

(58 Posts)
Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten Tue 21-Aug-18 16:44:48

I did not want to highjack another thread but was concerned by a few comments re rescue dogs.

It is just not correct that rescue dogs are difficult dogs or all of them have problems.

80% of people that have had a rescue dog say that they will rehome a rescue again.

If you are getting a rescue dog there is a huge variety of dogs to choose from - giving you more chance to get the right dog for your family.

You will know of any health issues with your dog as they will have had a full vet assessment

A good rescue will offer support and training and life time help for your rescue dog. They will have qualified staff to help.

Often there is less training required with a rescue dog than a puppy.

You can see the dog fully formed. With a puppy it can be hit and miss what you are going to get in the way of behaviour, health etc by the time you find out your dog is 18 months old. If you are inexperienced with dogs take a behaviourist with you at this point to help you choose the correct dog.

Things to consider when getting a rescue dog

Foreign street dogs may look cute but they have been feral and have learnt how to survive on their own - they will all need extra special care and training so not for the faint hearted.

Do choose a reputable rescue not a rescue without backup.

Do not be insulted if the rescue say you are not suitable for a specific dog - they have the dogs interest at heart and be encouraged that this rescue will find the correct dog for you.

Be very clear in your expectations of the dog and what you are able to offer to the dog and make sure the rescue knows of your life style.

Be prepared for it to take time for the rescue to find you the correct dog - it is worth the wait.

Consider where you are rescuing from and where they get there dogs from.

Be aware that a dog can be rehomed for many reasons, death of owner, relocation of owners, ill health of owners, financial difficulties of owners. Often the rehoming is through no fault of the dog at all.

Having a new dog will always demand changes from you to allow it to thrive whether that is a puppy or a rescue dog. You will have to make major changes to your life style when getting a dog and this is no different from getting a rescue or a puppy.

Please do not dismiss all rescues.

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Phillpot12 Tue 21-Aug-18 17:09:14

Absolutely! So many reasons that dogs are in rescues. We have just adopted a lurcher. We have signed a contract agreeing to maintain contact, give regular updates and that the dog would be returned to them if it was not staying with us. We chose our breed carefully as we have children and lurcher/sighthounds are generally gentle and relaxed breeds so it was a good starting point. Posts against rescues are a huge, unhelpful generalisation....

Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten Tue 21-Aug-18 17:18:51

Phew Phillpot12 I was a bit tentative at posting.

I am so glad that you have a happy pointy hound in your family grin

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TooOldForThisWhoCares Tue 21-Aug-18 17:37:25

I felt a bit disheartened at some of the comments I read. We are in week 5 of our lovely 7 month old rescue. She's our first dog and although is a daft teenage dog and needs training, she seems lovely with not a single sign of aggression. It made me wonder if it was inevitable that we'll have issues because she's a rescue.

Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten Tue 21-Aug-18 17:41:46

Absolutely not TooOldForThisWhoCares there is no reason at all that you will have "issues" only the normal teenage fun ones smile

I work as a behaviourist and your comment has interested me. I will go off and calculate with my clients and see what the percentage is of rescue dogs to other dogs. Not very scientific research though as I guess rescue dogs will have more backup than puppies.

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fleshmarketclose Tue 21-Aug-18 17:50:37

We rescued beautiful Bella a month ago now and she is a really lovely dog (and a pedigree but that didn't matter) We've had no real issues,a few 4am wake ups but I think that was because she wasn't used to sleeping alone and I imagine having been uprooted she was insecure. A slow introduction to Eric went smoothly and they can be walked together and play or ignore each other depending on how the mood takes them. It has been far less stressful than Eric who we had as a pup. We will only ever have rescue dogs here now.

FairfaxAikman Tue 21-Aug-18 17:50:43

While I agree that not all rescue dogs have problems, equally rescue dogs are not for everyone. I work mine so would not want a rescue as I'd be wanting to form habits and drive from an early age and would be looking for specific linage in the breeding.

missbattenburg Tue 21-Aug-18 17:50:48

Our JRTs were both rescue. Because of the small town they came from we actually know their previous owners and so have some info of where they came from etc.

Both are 12 years old and have been super dogs. Any challenges we've had with them (ahem, the barking! the obsession with chasing things in hedgerows!) are more easily explained by their breed then a tough start in life.

The male is nervier than the female - possibly explained by him being found in an isolated pen (concrete floor, no food, no water, no litter) when their last owners went to buy the female. It was clearly a puppy farm set up and she couldn't bring herself to leave him there alone. Even this has not caused anything but the smallest of problems: he's needed more reassurance and more distance when meeting other dogs and has been seperated from springer-pup more often when it's looked like the younger dog was being a pest. He's also been the one more likely to cuddle and hang out with humans.

Whilst their first owners might not have done things that way I would, they do seem to have given these little dogs an excellent start in life.

I did some volunteer work for a rescue and I think it was about half and half in terms of dogs with significant behavioural problems and those that were handed in for reasons not related to their behaviour and so, other than training to encourage the behaviours you specifically want, they were a ready-made pet.

TooOldForThisWhoCares Tue 21-Aug-18 17:51:10

I would be interested to hear that. She's also a dreaded staffy cross. So far she loves other dogs and only wants to play with them (although has to learn some manners there too!)

BabySharkDooDooDooDoo Tue 21-Aug-18 17:55:32

I adopted ddog from dogs trust 6yrs ago when he was 4. He is the best dog ever and i wouldnt be without him. He is like the street's dog as everyone fusses over him and he gets biscuits out of all of them with his "my mum doesnt feed me..." look hes far from starved grin. He may be the whiniest, farting, moochy dog but he is my boy and i love him. He is amazing with ds they are thick as theives. Only thing is he has bad separation anxiety which dogs trust said he didnt have but ive come to get used to it and have strategies to deal with it

BabySharkDooDooDooDoo Tue 21-Aug-18 17:56:54

He is a lab x staffy should of added. Here he is in all his smiley glory

Pebblespony Tue 21-Aug-18 17:58:31

Our rescue dog isn't a "problem" dog in any way and we very much love him but someone really did a number on him before we got him and he's nervy and bad around other dogs. There is more of the unknown about a rescue dog. We have a small child now and the next dog we get will be a puppy, not an adult rescue. When kids are grown up we'll definitely go back to rescues.

Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten Tue 21-Aug-18 18:10:03

FairfaxAikman I work mine too. I have rescue collies who have won herding trials, one is a search and rescue dog too. So do not write off all rescues a lot can be done with them even at a later date.

At a very quick look 73% of my behavioural cases in the last 10 years have been from dogs that have been bought as puppies and referred to me from vets. The remaining have been rescue dogs. Not sure what that proves though smile but still quite interesting.

OP’s posts: |
adaline Tue 21-Aug-18 18:15:59

I commented saying rescue dogs were not always appropriate for families with small children.

Of course some rescues are lovely and have fantastic temperaments but the truth is others have had tough pasts and I personally wouldn't introduce a rescue to my house if I had very young children.

But that's my decision and of course other people will make theirs. I've met some incredible rescue dogs and one day I hope to get my own but in our current circumstances a puppy from a good breeder was the option that worked for us.

BiteyShark Tue 21-Aug-18 18:26:27

Isn't it the case that a number of dogs, irrespective of whether they were rescued or still with their original owner, will have behavioural issues and some of those in rescue are because owners couldn't manage or didn't want to manage those issues. How much staying in rescue kennels (rather than foster homes) compounds those problems is anyone's guess and obviously some dogs may never find the right home or just be too much for anyone to handle.

I think the main worry with a rescue is not getting the full story or history. For example I know why my dog, which I have had from a puppy, can be timid and fearful of strangers but if he was a rescue you wouldn't know why.

user1471453601 Tue 21-Aug-18 18:35:58

Another who is besotted by our rescue dog. She's 6\7 old staffy and is an absolute joy. She has two looks one where she just stares at one of us (are you planning our demise?) And one we call the "school photograph" where she sits, head up, looking very proud of herself.

Yes she has a few odd things going on. She doesn't like going out without at least two of the three of us going with her. When we first got her, five months a go she was scared of (in no particular order) upstairs, the ironing board, the street outside our house, and buses. She's now a very very loving dog. And a very good guard dog, in that she barks ferociously if any one comes to the door, though she'd roll over and want a tummy rub when\if I let them in

Spottyyellowdress Tue 21-Aug-18 18:42:33

We have two rescue dogs who are the most gorgeous girls, a spaniel and a collie/GSD cross. One’s still a little nervous around other dogs if they get in her face, one barks at the postman and one neighbour she’s taken a disliking to and neither of them like it when one of us goes out (yet they’re quite happy to be left alone hmm)

They’ve changed our lives and really haven’t caused us any problems. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

tooearlytobeup Tue 21-Aug-18 18:45:14

I have two dogs, first a rescue (but very young at the time) second a puppy from a breeder. Both are same breed and brought up in the same way. Both attended the same training classes. One is more nervy and has far more health problems. He chews more, barks more and is harder to handle ( still lovely and adored though). Which is the easier? Rescue in every way.

Spottyyellowdress Tue 21-Aug-18 18:45:43

And for they’re backgrounds - one wasnt at all mistreated, but bought as a pup by an elderly couple who couldn’t cope with her energy and the other was horribly mistreated - when we got her she had fleas, worms and was bald at only 8 months old sad They’re the most loving dogs now and the absolute best of friends.

Spottyyellowdress Tue 21-Aug-18 18:46:19

*their blush

Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten Tue 21-Aug-18 19:57:57

Totally agree Bitey about all dogs having issues - the reason for this thread was comments that all rescue dogs have issues which is not correct.

I do disagree that we need to know why dogs are timid for example. If you have a timid rescue dog you do no need to know the reason why to solve the problem.

Very few of us get our dogs from day 1 (unless we breed them) and an awful lot of issues will start before week 8 when we get to take the puppies home with us.

I would never take a puppy that has not had ENS from day 3 for example but most breeders will not even do this, so there are still loads of gambles and huge unknowns in getting a puppy. A lot of their formative behavioural development has taken place before 8 weeks

OP’s posts: |
TropicPlunder Tue 21-Aug-18 20:45:45

We took home our former street dog at around 5 months old and she's been wonderful. By far the 'easiest' dog I've known. She's perfect for us, including small child, and I can't attribute any problematic issues to her past...She's incredibly adaptable. So I fully agree that not all rescues come with issues, and that all dogs have potential for issues anyway.
Interested in the formative behavioural development before 8 weeks OP, what does that include? And what should ideally happen?

Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten Tue 21-Aug-18 21:19:54

Tropic there has been a famous study of dogs socialisation by David Freedman, John A. King and Orville Elliot. Although done in the I think 1960's the study has been replicated since with similar findings and has been used to study dog behaviour for many years. The data is interesting.

Puppies were socialized for a week either at 2 weeks of age, 3 weeks of age, 5 weeks of age, 7 weeks of age or 9 weeks of age and then returned to live in a field with little socialisation. During their week of socialization, the puppies were played with, tested and cared for during 3 daily 30-minute periods by humans.

In brief it concluded that puppies need to have human interaction at 5 weeks to be confident puppies, before or after this affected their development and fear/anxiety levels and ability to learn and interact with humans. Dogs socialized at 5 & 7 weeks of age were significantly easier to train with no fear or anxieties.

So what happens at 5 weeks is crucial to a puppy - most people collect their puppies at 8 weeks (although that is something I again dont do!)

Puppies that have early neurological stimulation are also more robust puppies in health and in resistance to stress but to be effective this has to take place between 3 days and 16 days of age. Well before he owner gets to take charge of their dog.

I could go on .......

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Sparkles1992 Tue 21-Aug-18 21:36:39

I didn't see the other post but I think sometimes people's opinions are based on experience too, I rescued what I thought was a friendly & well trained Yorkie.. or so she seemed. She later took a chunk out of my nans arm amongst other things! and with kids around we just could not keep a dog that attacks. She went back to the rescue home and they gave her to someoneelse claiming that she was 'a bit naughty' which I didn't think was appropriate. It was sad and I cried driving her back to the rescue centre, unsure what was in store for her.

I gave it a go because I wanted to rescue and obviously all dogs are different so maybe another dog would have fitted in nicely, but we couldn't risk it. We got a puppy and trained him and he's a lovely daft dog who is able to be trusted with kids. So for me, rescuing wasn't a great experience, and my poor nan!

TropicPlunder Tue 21-Aug-18 21:40:56

Do go on smile it's interesting! I know the general environment my dog was born into on the street, and she may have had early positive (or non-negative) interaction with humans.... I'll never know of course.
Are there any data on whether insufficient stimulation at 5 weeks be overcome by later experiences?

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