Lucy, Jake, George and I were at the park going for a walk today when we came upon a woman who had two small dogs. One of the dogs was barking and just uncontrollable, not behaving very well. We stopped to talk to the woman about it and her instant explanation was that he was a rescue. What a cliche that has become. It seems everywhere I go when a dog is misbehaving the owner says “She is a rescue,” and that is somehow supposed to excuse this bad behavior. Now we all understand that when we do take on a rescue dog sometimes there are some behavioral problems, but it’s not an excuse for a lifetime of this behavior. When we take on a new dog we take on the responsibility of training and spending time doing what you need to do to make that dog both a good companion and a good community dog.
I know this stance will not make me very popular, but if you’re not willing to take the time, or invest the money in training, then maybe a rescue is really not the type of dog you need. You might be better off going to a good breeder who has started the training for you; someone who has already done the beginning of socialization and has raised the puppy in a loving family environment that will fit in with your lifestyle. You will still need to invest time and money in training but you know you are not dealing with a dog that has been abused or mistreated.
A great article to read before going forward with pet adoption is this one from the Humane Society: Are You Ready To Adopt A Pet? Ten Questions
That said, there is no better feeling than taking a rescue dog and working with that animal to help it overcome its past — to watch an animal that has been abused learn how to be a dog, learn how to be a pet and learn how to be well behaved part of your family. What a wonderful feeling when you see this animal blossom; but don’t think that comes without a lot of work and money. Sometimes you will have to hire a private trainer or someone who specializes in animals with behavior problems. But being a rescue is not an excuse for animal to continue to misbehave.
Before you adopt a dog that has been abused or traumatized you need to take a good look at yourself and your family situation. You need to be honest. How much time are you willing to dedicate to this dog? How much money do you have to put into rehabilitation? How much experience do you have? One question that I think is overlooked most of the time is whether the whole family has agreed to be part of the rehabilitation of this animal. These are questions that should be answered before anyone takes on an animal that has behavioral problems.
If you don’t have the experience, the patience, or the money, then you need to give a second thought to rescuing a dog that has emotional problems. It does not make you a bad person or any less of a dog lover, it’s just a reality. The last thing we want is to add to the problems this animal already has. Try and make sure that the dog that you adopt does not have problems that you are not ready to handle. After all, it’s a lifetime commitment.
Here is a great website for training rescue dogs and a great place to start out: Rescue Doggie
Be safe and have fun!