If I only want a rescue dog with no issues, does that mean I dont want a dog enough?

(39 Posts)
Branleuse Wed 17-Apr-19 10:26:07

I keep thinking about getting a dog. I have cats and kids already. My partner has dogs but we dont live together and he doesnt bring the dogs round often.
Im definitely more of a cat person, but I have had my own dogs in the past who i have loved, including a puppy (never again) i keep thinking a small to medium dog, that is housetrained, good with cats and no major issues would be lovely and would give me exercise. Im in a lot, and there is usually someone around.
Ive looked on rescue sites, and they mostly seem to be either ex breeders, ex problem dogs, massively bouncy adolescent dogs from people with puppy regret. None of which appear to be toilet trained, and most of them wont give to you if you ave kids or cats, so im presuming there is some history of aggression too. And then theres the romanian and spanish street dogs etc, which im tempted by, but a bit put off that you cant meet the dog first, and also how damn hard it is to get any of them to reply to your questions.
Im doing a lot of second guessing myself. Im almost embarrassed to tell a rescue that I want a dog that will slot into family life rather than a massive project. Am I being unrealistic?

OP’s posts: |
TailsoftheManyPaws Wed 17-Apr-19 10:28:40

Try the Golden Oldies website and filter on good with cats and kids.

Branleuse Wed 17-Apr-19 10:35:20

Id rather not an elderly dog either. I was hoping sort of between 2 and 5, ie calmed down a bit, but im not wanting to have to put my kids through another pet bereavement unecessarily

OP’s posts: |
adaline Wed 17-Apr-19 10:41:30

I think most dogs out there have some kind of issue to overcome - that could be something as minor as pulling on the lead, to something more serious like food aggression.

Most rescues won't have dogs like you describe because people won't, for the most part, give up a nice calm dog with no issues!

But what is an issue to one person may not be an issue to another. Can you go down in person and see if you can meet or walk some dogs and get to know them before getting your children involved?

Starlight39 Wed 17-Apr-19 10:47:08

It's OK to want a well behaved dog in my opinion but equally you never really know how a dog will fit into your home. Problems in kennels may disappear in the home or other issues may come up. So there has to be some level of committment to the dog no matter what and committment to work through any problems.

Also "not toilet trained" in kennels doesn't neccessarily mean they won't be in a home. With my rescue, we were told he wasn't toilet trained but they left them 5pm - 8 am and he couldn't hold it that long and/or was stressed in kennels. He very rarely had any accidents inside our home. He did have a bit of separation anxiety though (which they didn't know or tell us about obviously as they wouldn't know in kennels) but it was easy to sort with the radio on, a few treats hidden or a chew on leaving him and no big goodbye's or hellos.

I'd keep looking as the right one may come up or you'll get an idea if what you're looking for just doesn't exist and what issues you could compromise on.

Mrsjayy Wed 17-Apr-19 10:51:31

But a dog isn't going to know how to go to the toilet at your house anyway with any dog you are going to have to re-train to your way getting a plod along dog is going to be v rare imo.

BiteyShark Wed 17-Apr-19 10:51:42

The thing is even with the best behaved dog in the world with 'no issues' they can develop issues later. Are there only certain 'issues' that would be a problem?

My dog at the age of 1 years old was quite bold but then had to be admitted to the vets for several days and nights because he was seriously unwell. Since that time he is more fearful of loud noises and is very timid in certain situations. Going to the groomers is an event because he see's the table as the same as a vet exam table. We still manage those and other 'issues' stemming from all of that and he's 2.5 years old now.


Strugglingtodomybest Wed 17-Apr-19 10:51:45

Thanks for that link TailsoftheManyPaws! We have decided to adopt oldies once the current two are gone, Staffies in particular, so now I know where to look (And now I want Mike!).

adaline Wed 17-Apr-19 10:57:57

Are there only certain 'issues' that would be a problem?

And even if you're tolerant of some issues but not others, issues can come and go over the years. If pulling is an issue, for example, then most dogs can be trained not to pull fairly easily, but solving the pulling doesn't mean the dog will be problem-free forever.

Mine is a frustrated greeter - if he's on the lead and sees other dogs off-lead he doesn't like it and barks a lot. That can come across as aggression (it's not) and other owners do judge me for that sometimes. Off-lead he's perfect and will happily have a run around and a play and a chase. However due to his breed (beagle) I have to be very careful where I let him off the lead, as as soon as he gets a scent, he's off!

I've known dogs who have been perfect for years, develop issues at an old age after being attacked by other dogs, for example. A lady near us has an older spaniel who's great with people, but terrified of other dogs because an off-lead dog went for her once and bit her and she ended up in the vets. The incident didn't occur until the dog was 5 or 6 - up until then she loved other dogs.

I think when you get a dog you need to be prepared for all sorts - no dog is without it's problems!

BiteyShark Wed 17-Apr-19 11:11:29

* Im almost embarrassed to tell a rescue that I want a dog that will slot into family life rather than a massive project. Am I being unrealistic?*

My own view on this is that if you expect a dog to slot into your life seamlessly then you might end up with a dog with issues because of it. For example, expecting a dog to be happy on their own for more hours than it can cope with might make it destructive. Another example, is pushing it to be around dogs when it is scared might make it more anxious or reactive in the long run.

You need to be able to work through any 'issues' to get the sensible, well trained lovable dog that you come home to. A puppy needs to be trained and a rescue needs to be settled into their new home.

It's unrealistic to expect no teething or settling in issues even with the best dogs.

Branleuse Wed 17-Apr-19 11:12:41

im actually now giving consideration to an oldie.

Does anyone have any experience of adopting a foreign dog. Theres one on a site ive seen that fits my criteria, but so hard to get answers from them. Im wondering if there are specific issues that come from ex strays. Are these sites generally honest about issues

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Wed 17-Apr-19 11:21:18

I would think long and hard about using a rescue abroad because I would want reassurance that they would work with me if there was a problem and in the worst case take the dog back.

Given your updates I am surprised you are looking for a stray and one that is from abroad. I think you would be better looking for a rescue that fosters the dogs in a home for a reasonable length of time so they can give you a good idea of their temperament and behaviour.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Wed 17-Apr-19 11:27:55

I think it would be worth deciding what issues you could and could not cope with.

For instance, I live in a big city where strangers and other dogs are unavoidable, plus I like the social aspect of dog walking, so I wouldn't take a dog that was reactive towards other dogs or strangers. I have to leave the house, and cannot always take DDog with me, so I couldn't have a dog with serious separation anxiety. Both of those problems are buggers to fix, and incompatible with my lifestyle.

On the other hand, resource guarding is a bugger to fix but I could handle that because I don't have kids, have a grasp of canine body language (so could recognise warning signs) and could manage the issue (eg by staying away from the dog when it's eating).

Things that wouldn't worry me would be house training, pulling on the lead, lack of basic obedience, no recall, liking other dogs but lacking manners and so on as they're relatively harmless and can be worked on by a motivated amateur who takes guidance from a professional.

It's also worth noting that dogs can develop other issues as life goes on - for instance, having dealt with a load of DDog's issues, we moved house and he developed a big issue with visitors to the house (mini guard dog...).

Having inherited a dog with a variety of issues, I have to say that
- I've learned a lot and have become a better dog owner than I would have if I'd got a more 'vanilla' dog.
- I've helped DDog work through problems that I'd never have thought I was capable of, and I've done it because I had to. If I'd found him via a rescue centre there's probably no way I'd have adopted him. It's a bit like having a child then discovering it's got SEN - you've no choice but to persevere and try to help the little one as much as possible.

adaline Wed 17-Apr-19 11:31:11

In one sentence you say you don't want a dog with issues, but in another you want a foreign stray who you pretty much know nothing about confused

Branleuse Wed 17-Apr-19 11:46:10

well im not saying I want a foreign stray, but that I saw one I was considering, but am wondering if there are likely to be more issues than the rescue let on. I found one that apparently meets all my criteria, thats all. Im put off by not being able to meet it first, and then only having a weeks trial, with a financial deposit etc. Im still tempted, but im trying to be sensible too.

The issues I mean are stuff like aggression. Fear aggression. Dog reactive. Chases cats, house training, eating everything. Guarding etc.
Im ok with working on training. I just dont want a nightmare. You read some stuff even on here and I think it sounds downright unpleasant and stressful.

I dont care about stuff like pulling on the lead, working on recall, jumping up etc. I could work on those. I wouldnt even mind working on house training if the dog had started off on it, but you see some rescues and theyre older dogs, used for breeding etc that have been kept in yards. That I think would just be too much

OP’s posts: |
pigsDOfly Wed 17-Apr-19 15:23:09

I've known a few people who've rescued from abroad and without fail everyone of the dogs have come with multiple problems. I really wouldn't go down that route if I were you. A great many of the dogs are strays off the street and have never lived in a home.

You only have the rescue's word for what they're like. I'm not saying they're going to lie to you. But they want to rehome the dogs so I image some problems might be played down a bit.

If you're prepared to work at certain issues I'm sure you could find a dog that suited you from this country. But solving any issue can take time.

I know someone who rescued a dog from a well known British rescue that's reactive with other dogs.

It was really hard at the beginning. The dog had been 'rescued' by a couple of different people who gave him back because they couldn't deal with him, so by the time my friend got him his problems had increased.

They've had him just over a year now and they've worked really hard with him. He's happy, he's found a wonderful home with people who he knows he can trust who love him. And he adores them. To see how he is them just melts my heart.

He's still a little reactive with other dogs, funnily enough, not with my dog, but he's getting better all the time and they've found somewhere he can run off lead so he's not restricted to always being on lead.

I've seen this dog from when they first got him and I know sometimes it's been hard for them but to see this once very sad dog thriving is fantastic.

Obviously there are easier dogs out there but few rescue dog will just slot into your family situation without some level of works involved and if you're prepared to put in the work, the rewards can be great.

Justamemory Wed 17-Apr-19 15:41:16

My parents have always had rescue dogs, and other than being scared of fireworks they've all been fine. Have a look at some of the smaller charities that foster dogs in homes first to assess their needs.
Their most recent dog is absolutely lovely! We all love her to bits. Her only issue is barking at strangers that enter the garden, and will bark at dogs whilst on a walk. But they're slowly managing to teach her some manners.

I have a friend with a couple of street dogs from abroad. I can't say that they're all like this, but all of hers were a nightmare. Jumped on counters, scared of and would bite men, went through bins, chewed everything, peed everywhere - and they weren't puppies!

OverFedStanley Wed 17-Apr-19 20:26:23

You are right in your first assumptions that you do not want a dog enough - ALL dogs have issues ALL dogs need training.

Getting a feral stray dog from abroad and asking it to leave in a house/home situation in the UK will absolutely have issues

Tbh the training and sorting out of issues is the best bit of dog ownership, working as a team together to create a good bond.

Dogs are living sentient beings and will all have their ways, characters,needs, issues etc and will need to have a home that is willing to accept these.

OverFedStanley Wed 17-Apr-19 20:26:51

leave = live!

OverFedStanley Wed 17-Apr-19 20:29:03

Your assumption that dogs are not to be rehomed in houses with children are aggressive is incorrect. There are many reasons a rescue would not recommend dogs going to homes with children

TheKitchenWitch Wed 17-Apr-19 20:40:22

Mine is a stray from Spain and has absolutely no issues whatsoever. I now know a few people who’ve adopted from abroad (mainly Spain and Greece) and all the dogs are similar in that they are very friendly, good with other dogs, extremely affectionate and fairly easy to train.
Issues that have come up: toilet training and pulling on lead.
I would absolutely have a stray again.

I’m not in the uk, so probably no use to you re the actual rescue, but they were currently good, did all the home checks, absolutely would have helped or taken her back (to a foster family) had their been any problems, and knew the dogs in their care very well.

fleshmarketclose Wed 17-Apr-19 20:40:52

I rescued Bella nine months ago. My preferences were that the dog was house trained and non destructive and could be left for a couple of hours (I could have managed the house training and leaving if I had to). My only absolute must was that the dog wasn't aggressive as I have two dc 16 plus with autism.
Bella met all my preferences and my absolute must so was very lucky. The stuff we have worked and continue to work on is socialising with other dogs, recall, barking and getting up before dawn.
I think you have to expect some issues tbh not least because the dog is coming into a new environment but not every rescue dog is going to have every issue so just decide what is most important and take your time looking around.

TheKitchenWitch Wed 17-Apr-19 20:40:59

Not currently good - extremely good!

JesusInTheCabbageVan Wed 17-Apr-19 20:47:17

I bumped into another dog walker who had adopted two from overseas - beautiful, sweet dogs, but from what he told me, they were a huge amount of work. So I think it really is luck of the draw. How has nobody suggested a retired greyhound yet??? Is that something you would consider?

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Wed 17-Apr-19 21:00:10

Have you thought of a breed-specific rescue? They tend to have dogs coming through of all ages, from all sorts of backgrounds, and they often foster them with experienced people for weeks or months which helps to both spot issues and to begin to iron them out. A friend of mine got a dog through this route, and the dog was a bit of a handful to begin with (not aggressive at all, just over excited and with some health problems that needed sorting) but has developed into an absolutely lovely gentle, obliging, friendly dog.

Also a lot of rescue organisations will give ongoing help and advice.

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