Giving a home to a Rescue Dog


If you have decided that it’s a rescue dog that you want to give a home then it’s as important to be prepared in what you will need and how you should train and socialise the dog.

As with taking on a new puppy it’s far better to take on one new dog at a time to develop the trust, control and relationship with its new owners.

A rescue dog cannot really be summed up easily and does not fit a certain description as they can range hugely in age, temperament, training level and exposure to abuse or neglect.

Looking at the rescue dog choice you have the benefits that it’s often not a young puppy that needs you’re every second of attention, often the dog is toilet trained and has had some training. 

BUT any problems the dog has, it could have forever and it’s often not a puppy that you can mould. If the dog has aggression of fear of people or other animals this may not be curable; you may have to manage the problem with training and control.

As with choosing a puppy a lot of the advice is similar, you should first select the right dog for you, before visiting a rescue centre and falling in love with one of the dogs there that you know nothing about! 

Once you have decided on the type of dog you want then you can contact local rescue centres and also lots of breeds have their own rescues E.g. Labrador Rescue. It’s useful to talk to the centres and ask their advice on which dogs fit your requirements. It’s sensible to visit the rescue centre without children initially as their hopes will be high, if you decide on a dog and the rescue centre confirms you are approved as a new home the children can then be introduced along with other animals in a safe, secure environment to ensure compatibility.

If you do choose a dog, its normal procedure that the rescue will ask to check your home, ask you to attend training classes and maybe ask for references or get you to sign a contract. These are all in the animal’s interest to give it the best chance of succeeding in its 2nd home (or possibly more).

It’s important to not overcompensate for taking a rescue dog as they are lucky to have a 2nd chance and so being a kind, fair but firm leader is what is required from you as the new owner.   A good book to read is the Dog Listener by Jan Fennel explaining how to make the dogs realise that the human is the pack leader using kind methods.

This will prevent the dog from becoming challenging once it has settled into its new home.

A useful way of teaching the dog that you are kind and fun to be around is to not feed food from the normal dog bowl but to feed you dog all the food from your hand and ensuring that it learns to earn food rewards. 

You will be teaching the dog so many important lessons.

Hands come to give not to hurt, tease or steal
You are owner of the food and so pack leader
The dog cannot be possessive over the food or food bowl
If the dog earns the food you are providing training and stimulation and preventing boredom and frustration which can often lead to aggression.
The dog will enjoy being around you and you will gain more attention from your dog as the bearer of all things good!
It can be very rewarding to offer a home to a rescue dog and see the gradual improvement they make. It can also be upsetting and stressful at times.

Both Sarah and Alex have their own rescue dogs and always try to rescue dogs if they can, we are able to offer support and advice on lots of rehabilitation techniques we have used ourselves and whilst training many rescue dogs.

Often when training a rescue dog its best to come to a one to one session as you are going to have different questions and training needs to someone who has owned their dog from a young puppy. Also it enables the dog to be more relaxed with less distraction and gradually build up the people and dogs around whilst carrying out training.