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Trusting rescues(15 Posts)
I'm not a first time dog owner but with my last rescue, we got him from a small, foster based rescue and all was not as described but we accepted things can be different in different homes etc..anyway, this time we decided to look at the RSPCA for a dog and noticed a dog on there that was suitable with young children, was waiting until this weekend to go have a look, checked the website this morning and after him being on there for a few weeks, it has suddenly changed to teenagers only. How has it changed and how can it be trusted what they have said about other dogs? What if a family with young children had adopted him before they decided he could only go with teenagers? I guess I'm now confused as to where I should adopt from as I don't want to get a puppy and I have two children age 9 and 5. Feel like we will never find the right rescue or dog!
At a guess he's gone to a home with small children and been returned
But this is the point, maybe he got introduced to young kids before we got chance and it didn't go as well as they thought, I mean how do they test it anyway in kennels? How do we really know until we adopt and take home? I don't want a puppy though. I feel like I can deal with certain issues as my last rescue had some issues mainly reactivity towards strangers and other dogs on walks and medical issues but of course I have to be careful with my kids, my kids are always supervised with dogs but still.
Kennels can be a stressful environment for dogs, and they might exhibit behaviours in that environment that they hadn't done before.
I'd guess the dog has shown some behaviour since being in their care that has caused them to re-evaluate, such as resource guarding type behaviours eg not being happy about someone touching his bowl when he is eating or similar. Something you could trust an adult or teen to not do, but that a child might do.
Would you adopt a dog from kennels in future knowing they can change who they can go with at any given moment? I just want it to be right and willing to put in work with a rescue dog as I know no dog is going to come perfect and I know the work it takes. I just want our dog <3
I'd be more concerned if the charity didn't update profiles from time to time as they got to know the dogs better.
Some (most?) charities will assess the dog for a week or so before it goes up for rehoming, but it's entirely conceivable that they've noticed something since that first week.
It's quite possible that the dog is highly unlikely to hurt a child, but would feel more comfortable in a home without young children. To take my dog as an example, he sometimes takes himself off because he's decided he has had enough love from me and wants some peace and quiet - I know to respect that, but a young child might not. Similarly, if you're playing with him (for instance, trying to prise a ball from his mouth during fetch and basically turning it into a game of tug of war) he does sometimes reposition his teeth on the toy and catch the edge of your hand. There's no intention behind it, it's purely accidental, and no actual damage done but it doesn't half hurt... but that's the sort of thing that can lead someone to claim the dog bit a child and return it, causing more upheaval for the dog.
Neither of them make him in any way dangerous to live with kids, but if I had to write a rehoming profile for him (god forbid) I would be saying that he could only go with sensible older children 11+ or so for relatively subtle reasons.
They have to err on the side of caution. And i see that. These dogs are not ideal as pets.
Everything they state has to be worst case scenario, one wrong placement and they’ll be shut down. This dog would probably not hurt a child in 99.99% of scenarios but if put under extreme stress might respond. This is what this means
Rescue dogs are a bit like kids who first get fostered after being in care- they go through a honey moon period behaviour-wise when they are first rehomed. Plus being in the rescue centre is artificial and stressful so they are not their true selves. I would not take a rescue dog on if I had young children. And even if you get a puppy You must never leave the dog alone with your children until they are teen-agers
Our rescue, who we love dearly was described as sweet and affectionate by the rescue centre. They also told us he had a history of nipping, barking and not liking dogs. He loves dogs, but has bitten every member of the family sufficient to draw blood. Rescue centres don't know the dogs. He was fine for the first 6 months. Honeymoon period.
He never became reserved x
He may have had an at-home period with a volunteer, and this has caused the reassessment.
Either that, or they were optimistic about young children and have seen some real little terrors come through with families looking to adopt and that has caused them to re-evaluate from the other end.
Ours both came from a foster based rescue but were only four months old so old enough that the worst of their toilet/basic puppy training had already been done (or at least started) but young enough that we could still have some input into how their personalities would develop. We didn't plan it that way tbh and were prepared to take an adult rescue, we just got lucky and I'd like to think the dogs feel the same
Is there a reason you've decided against foster based rescue this time? Would you maybe be better to hold out for an older puppy you can train your own way but who's past the toilet training stage? Just something to think about.
You need to be open minded here - rescues will do their best to evaluate a dog but wont always get it right and dont forget dogs grow and change like children! They go through an adolescent stage as well where everything they have learned seems to disappear and they seem very naughty - its all normal dog behaviour, but each one will be different!
Like others have said, few rescues have the resources to perform a thorough check with every dog. To do so you would need to observe them interacting in multiple ways in multiple settings with multiple types of humans and dog.
e.g. if you want to test for children you would need babies, toddlers, girls, boys, teenagers, boisterous children, quiet children and you would need to observe the dog with all of them inside, in places they knew, outside, in places they didn't know, with toys, with food, with other dogs.
It just becomes impossible. So instead, rescues tend to talk to the last owner and question them, check some basic scenarios but then observe the dog in their care throughout time and use those observations to build up a more accurate picture of the dog.
Again, another example, at a rescue I was volunteering at recently I popped into one of their lounge rooms where a mastiff-lurcher was having time out of the kennel. I had walked the dog before with no issue. Other people had been in the room with him and described him as being a real gentleman. Something about me trying to leave that room caused him to bite me. Not hard but enough that someone else may have panicked and reacted.
That was additional information that was then used to adjust the assessment of the dog.
Also, dogs are living creatures. Their behaviours change over the course of their lifetime, regardless of where you get them from. A family dog can develop fears and reactions at any point of their life so there are no guarantees the dog you acquire is the same dog you will have for the rest of its life.