Getting a dog is a life changing, lifetime commitment. Choosing the right dog is extremely important to ensure both your and the dogs happiness.
Firstly, are you ready to get a dog?
We see so many dogs going to new homes, and after a few months their owners are bored of them, have found it to be too much hard work or have their circumstances change. While sometimes life throws curveballs at us which we can never predict, we expect all prospective adopters to think very carefully before choosing to get a dog. Can you meet all of the dogs needs now? Tomorrow? Next month? Next year? In 10 years time? If you have any doubt about your ability to care for the dog the way they deserve for their entire lifetime, it’s usually best to wait.
Every dog needs:
1. Daily exercise
2. A secure, safe home/property with a warm, dry place to sleep
3. Daily love and attention
4. Consistent training throughout their life
5. Good quality food, water and vet care
6. A lifetime commitment from their owner
Bear and Thor – Huntaway puppies rehomed by DC Rescue Dogs
Choosing the right dog:
We do our best to match each dog to the appropriate home, and take many factors into account. Here are some things that we look at, and you may like to consider to make sure that that your new dog will suit you and your lifestyle before choosing your new dog:
1. How much time do you have to spend with the dog?
Every dog requires daily attention and exercise, but some need more than others. Working breeds such as a Border Collie, Huntaway or Husky can be very high energy and require an hour or longer run once or twice daily. Dogs with long fluffy coats may require extensive grooming each week to keep their coats matt-free and healthy. Very young puppies might struggle if left alone with no company for an entire work day, so a laid back adult dog might be a better choice if you work longer hours. If you work full time away from home, we would recommend getting in touch with your local dog walker or doggy daycare to help keep your dog happy and socialised.
2. How active are you and your family?
As mentioned above, some breeds require more exercise than others. A quiet on-lead walk around the block might be more than enough for a lower energy dog, other dogs may require a run of several kilometers to keep them happy. This is crucial to their health and your sanity – a dog that isn’t getting enough exercise or mental stimulation will often use their energy in other ways, which can lead to destructive behaviours. Doggy daycare or a dog walker are great options if you find yourself struggling to keep up with your dog.
3. How much experience do you have with dogs and training?
All dogs are individuals, and like human children, they all have their own individual quirks and personalities. While some puppies/dogs might be very laid back and easy to train, others might be more challenging and require someone with some dog training experience to help them to their full potential. We recommend puppy and dog obedience classes to all of our adoptive owners, especially first time dog owners.
Caesar, Dogue de Bordeaux rehomed by DC Rescue Dogs
4. How big is your property? What is your fencing like? Where will the dog sleep?
This one is pretty self explanatory. If you are in a small apartment, a very large dog with lots of energy will not be a good fit. If your fencing isn’t 6 foot high and you cannot make it any higher, a breed known for jumping/escaping such as a Husky probably won’t be suitable. Where your dog will sleep is also something important to take into account. Some breeds have very warm coats and are happy to sleep in a warm, dry, and well sheltered outside kennel at night. Other breeds such as a Greyhound have very thin coats and get cold very easily and will need to be indoors at night. No matter what breed of dog you adopt, we do not adopt to homes where the dog would be kept on a chain.
5. Who else lives in your house? Any children? Other pets? Are you planning to add to your family anytime soon?
If you have young children, keep in mind that any small puppy is going to be a bit mouthy until they learn otherwise. Young puppies are also very fragile so a rough toddler could easily injure a small puppy by accident. An older dog who has experience around children and has learned the basics already might be a good fit. Keep in mind that no dog or puppy should ever be left unsupervised around children. It’s always a good idea to have a separate “safe” area where the dog can go to have a break if they need some time to themselves. It’s also a good idea to consider the other animals in the household. Do you have an older pet who will be stressed with a new addition to the family? If you have another dog, are they sociable enough to cope with a new addition to the family? Is the dog cat-friendly or have you got the training/commitment to train the new dog to respect existing cats?
Flash, heading dog rescued from the pound who we rehomed to a working farm home.
Now you know what you’re looking for, where should you look?
Obviously being in dog rescue, we would highly encourage you to look at dog pounds and animal rescues in your area to see if there are any dogs that suit what you are wanting. Dogs of all different shapes and sizes end up needing new homes, from young puppies through to senior dogs, purebreds or mixed, pet or working dogs. Nearly every person looking for a dog will be able to find something suitable at a rescue or pound, and the staff and volunteers will be able to match you with a dog. The bonus with rescues is that the dogs are temperament and vet checked, and if things don’t work out for any reason or you need assistance in future, we are happy to help or even take the dog back if needed. Plus you are helping both the dog that you adopt, and making room at the shelter for another dog in need.
Most rescues/pounds will have a facebook page and/or website where you can browse the available dogs before making contact. You could also look at sites such as Pets On the Net or TradeMe for rescue listings.
We acknowledge that there are some types of dogs which are extremely rare in shelters or you may prefer to know the parents and background of your new family member before committing to them. If this is the case and you would prefer to go directly to a breeder, we would recommend looking at only at registered, responsible breeders. Ask to meet the dogs parents. See where the dogs are living. Make sure the puppy is in good health, is kept with their mum until at least 8 weeks old and the parents have been cleared of any common health issues for your chosen breed. A responsible breeder will be interested in where the puppy is going, and provide ongoing support if you require it.
Grimlin, purebred Chinese Crested rehomed by DC Rescue Dogs