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Everything you should know about rescue dogs before adopting

Sunday July 10th 2016

Adopting a rescue dog is an extremely rewarding thing to do, but it’s also a huge responsibility which should never be taken lightly. These dogs have often been through a lot, whether they suffered abuse with their previous owner, or they are simply damaged from the feeling of abandonment when they were ultimately left at the rescue centre. Because of this, some rescue dogs can come with all kinds of baggage and problems, and it’s your responsibility to be prepared for these challenges before you make the decision to adopt.
To help make sure you’re ready for whatever adopting a rescue dog may throw at you, we’ve put together a few of the must-know facts about what you can expect.

Lack of Guidance and Training

One thing you have to be aware of is that these dogs will usually have no experience of training or guidance from their previous owners. In these cases, it’s particularly important that you’re patient with them from day one, and persist with training them yourself. If you continue to positively reinforce desired behaviours, your dog will eventually learn that this is what is expected of them.

Separation Anxiety

One of the most common problems seen in rescue dogs is separation anxiety. This is sometimes caused by the stress experienced when they were initially abandoned, or because they have never previously been left alone for significant periods of time. It’s also common for rescue dogs to be predisposed to the condition from birth, and the behaviour which comes with the disorder is what causes their previous owners to give them up for adoption as they were unable to cope with the side effects of the problem.
If your rescue dog does happen to suffer from separation anxiety, it’s not irreversible. The best way to help them cope is to slowly build up their independence again through exercises such as keeping them at a distance whilst you’re both at home, in order to encourage their independence until they are eventually happy to be left whilst you leave the house entirely.

Behavioural Problems

Due to their troubled past, some dogs will often show signs of behavioural problems such as unwanted barking, defecating inside the house, or even aggression. It’s important to look out for this type of behaviour, particularly in rescue dogs, so that you can address and solve any problems before they progress into something more serious or potentially damaging to your household life. If you are really struggling with any behavioural problems of a new rescue dog, it can be useful to consult your vet about a suitable behaviour counsellor or trainer.


It’s often common practice when you adopt a dog from a rescue shelter for someone to come over to inspect your home. The main goal here is for the rescue centre to find the most appropriate home possible for these dogs to live a happy and long life with their new family. Part of this includes vetting the new owners to ensure they are a suitable match for their rescue dog.
Home visits will include checks such as making sure the garden is secure and there is nothing around the house which could potentially harm your new dog. They will also offer advice on any adjustments you should be making to ensure your home is suitable for the rescue dog. This is a great time to gain expert advice on any questions you may still have regarding the adoption.

Author Bio:
This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers pet insurance.