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Why shouldn’t we get a rescue dog?!(16 Posts)
I’ve applied for a rescue dog (18 month old bitch) were first time dog owners, I’m home a lot of the day and both DC are at school all day. I’m all for it and excited so I want a huge dose of reality so I can balance all my positive thoughts!
We’ve discussed costs, holidays, day to day walks, training, boundaries (physical in the garden and what we’ll accept in terms on on furniture etc)
What haven’t I thought of and what are the pitfalls?
We are currently waiting for a rescue dog, we really want a spaniel so are registered with breed specific rescues and like you, we hope to hear soon. I have had dogs before, two of them were rescues. The first was a collie who came to me at nine weeks old and the second was a spaniel who was around 10 months old. We did have some issues with the spaniel (food and resource guarding) but we worked with the rescue to help him through, as a former stray he had had to fight for every mouthful he had so it was understandable. He also needed a bit of house training as he had been in kennels before he'd gone into foster and it took him a bit longer to crack than it might've done when he was younger. He also pulled like a train on the lead so we had to sort that out. If you are prepared for the training a rescue dog can be an excellent pet. I like the smaller rescues that foster their dogs as you tend to get a truer picture of what the dog is like in a home situation. Good luck.
I’m home a lot of the day
Be realistic about how much time you're away from home and how often. With a younger dog the rescue should be looking for someone to be in the house almost all of the day on a regular basis.
It's not just holidays, it's grabbing a day out to a location that doesn't accept dogs, it's going out for a meal and having to be back to let the dog out.
What will you do if the dog is not how you expected it to be?
What will you do if the dog requires more training or help that you expected?
What are you expectations of owing a dog?
Are you prepared to maybe change plans and how you work etc for the next 15 years at least?
What happens when your routine changes when the children get older how will this fit in with a dog?
Who will walk the dog when the children are ill and you have to stay at home?
Who will look after the dog when you go out at weekends?
How will you cope with a dog with high needs, anxiety, aggression, etc? You have zero experience with dogs so would not be able to manage this yourself. Can you afford extensive behavioural/training classes? What breed are you getting? A large, powerful breed could be a recipe for disaster.
Are you prepared for a dog that may have MAJOR house training issues. They will have to be taken out very regularly around the clock, no exceptions, and that still might not sort it. What are you going to do with the dog when you're not home? Be prepared for a house that's torn apart. I can't stress this enough, your WHOLE LIFE will revolve around that dog and her needs.
I am a lifelong dog owner and am very experienced with training. Our last dog died last year and my husband and I have decided not to get another one. It was a very hard decision, but neither one of us is up for the incredible amount of dedication it takes anymore. Owning a dog is very restricting.
Some of these replies seem a little over the top to me. My family has had lots of dogs over the years, most of them rescues, and we still had a life outside the home. All of the dogs were fine to be left alone while we went out for a meal! Most dogs, once settled, can be left for gradually longer periods, usually up to a few hours. You should still be able to do normal things like the school run, the weekly shop, attend a hospital appointment etc without worrying about the dog.
Be realistic that many (most) rescue dogs come with emotional baggage - additional behavioural problems or needs. Talk honestly with the rescue centre about your experience and what you could and couldn't cope with. Inexperienced people tend to over estimate what they can cope with.
I would say that you need lots of patience and the whole family needs a consistent, loving but realistic approach. Our rescue came to us at 8 years old from a very loving home. It took her 5 months to settle and a further year before she grew really confident with us.
She is amazing now and worth the effort we put in. I would buy lots of chew toys for her stress, and lots of places around the house where she can be on her own.
Thank you all.
In terms of ‘being home a lot of the time’ I’m out, at most, 2 hours twice a week and then just on the school run but she’s come with me if it wasn’t chucking it down.
There are lots of dog walkers in our village so if we’re we’re ever out for longer we could have someone walk her.
I’m happy to spend time on training with her and taking her to classes but whoever up thread mentioned behavioralist, thank you as I hadn’t considered that.
We want her to be part of our life and a companion for all of us.
Are you prepared for the impact on your home? Hairs/teeth marks on furniture? Dug up plants and lawns? Vomit/garden treasures/teddy bear innards on your carpet?
I have reached the stage where I basically expect that the house is a giant dog bed, but a colleague sold a dog on (don’t blame me, not my call) because she felt she had to hoover three times a day and couldn’t cope with the stress.
There is usually a reason people surrender 18mo dogs and it’s because they cannot cope with them. More often than not it’s because they have not socialized, trained or exercised them properly and, as a result, the dog has picked up various challenging habits and undesirable behaviors.
A good rescue will give you an honest opinion of the possible issues and will have carried out an assessment beforehand. Common issues are over excitability, barking, under socialized with other dogs or cats, poor recall, pulling lead, jumping up and toileting problems. More serious issues are separation anxiety, fear aggression towards dogs, resource guarding. Which ones of these could you cope with?
To give you an idea, (I am not in the U.K., things work differently) the local dog warden brought left a stray with me over the weekend because the pound was closed and she could not keep it with her 8 dogs because it was dog aggressive. Young dog, had no clue how to walk on a lead, spent most time on two legs, very reactive to other dogs (which limits where you can walk) and barked all night and a lot of the day. I popped her in a stable away from my dogs and have no near neighbours so it was Ok, but it’s a challenging set up to recreate.
Why do you think that's bollocks?
I spent a year looking for the latest of the 5 rescue dogs ive adopted. I'm an experienced owner with a simple home, the only reason it took so long was that the dog had to be okay with a cat. Developed a good relationship with Dogs trust and 2 local rescues who I'd visit often. I'm not exaggerating when I say that many of the dogs at these shelters had special behavioural or training needs, why on earth would I? OP asked for what she hasn't thought of and potential pitfalls. I'm not trying to put anybody off adopting a rescue dog at all, it's very rewarding and much needed and my preferred way for everybody to acquire a dog. I agree about being able to know what you're getting and having support from the charity. A good charity will want to match the dog and person and will be honest.
(I went out looking for a medium to large dog, older and/or with issues that I had experience of and could rehab. The type that I thought would be harder to rehome. The irony is that the dog I ended up with is young, tiny, and doesn't have any issues, but such is the way these things go sometimes 🤣)
If a dog has a fabulous temperament, good health, is well adjusted and has been well trained, if it needs a new home it is likely to find one through word of mouth with no need for time spent in a rescue’s kennels. Most dogs who are in rescue are there for a reason, and even if the circumstances for rehoming the dog are understandable they usually mean that the dog’s upbringing has been less than perfect for the same reasons. E.g. a person who suddenly becomes a single parent with a much lower income and no time, will also struggle to train and walk a dog, which in turn creates problems they cannot afford to get advice on.
Unproblematic dogs might end up in rescue, but they are few and far between.
Thank you all so much. It’s good to get a range of opinions before we make any decisions