My two-year-old rescue pup, Fleetfoot, was passed over twice before I met him at the shelter. He had been in the shelter nearly a year, the longest resident.
Two families who had met him had decided against adopting because he was too hyperactive and a possible danger to children or the elderly.
I quickly saw why. As soon as Fleetfoot was brought into the meeting area it was clear he was young and under-exercised. To be honest when he jumped as high as my face the first time I was questioning my ability to take on a dog this active.
Here lies the first mistake.
- Judging a dog solely based on the initial meet and greet at a shelter.
Dogs in a shelter aren’t usually fed the best diets, walked enough, and are inside a small kennel most of the day. For young dogs of course they’re going to have TONS of energy when they’re let out into an open space to meet a new person. A dog may be totally different once theyre settled in their new home with walks and good food.
2. Not being prepared for behavioral issues
Most dogs are surrendered, captured from the streets, or confiscated from neglect/abuse to end up in a shelter. Psychological issues are almost guaranteed in your rescue dog, as their past is often vague. Expect triggers in your pup such as larger men, people in hoodies, and even other dogs. Whenever introducing your pet to someone new be wary of this possibility. Destructive tendencies like chewing can often arise from anxiety as well.
3. Not setting boundaries at the start
A good way to have an out-of-control dog is to have a dog with no boundaries or respect for you. Set clear rules; they don’t have to be complex, they can be ‘bathroom outside’ or ‘off the sofa’. Contact a professional trainer if feeling unconfident in training your rescue.
Adopting from a shelter can be one of the most rewarding things you can do in your life as long as you are prepared for the challenges that come with rescuing. In the end they might be the ones saving you.