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How to choose and train a rescue dog

As most of you already know, I am on a lifelong mission to keep dogs out of rescue centres by improving the relationship between owners and their dogs.

I hate to see dogs languishing in animal shelters, but the selection process for choosing a rescue dog must be done with great care. If the lifestyle of owner and dog are well-matched, you can enjoy great companionship for many years. Get it wrong and it can be a nightmare.

You need to know as much about the dog you intend to adopt as possible but where will you get that all-important information?

Rescue centres can only relate to you the story they’ve been told, and it’s rarely accurate.
Dogs that appear sociable and friendly can surprise us with their aggression towards other dogs. How do you assess that before you choose your adoptive dog?

When dogs change owners, they always lay low, assessing their new environment before showing their true self. A dog that was quiet and biddable for the first few weeks can suddenly become dominant and boisterous once he’s settled in. You need to know this before you adopt your dog.

Choosing a dog because it looks cute is no way to select a pet that may be with you for 12-14 years. You wouldn’t buy a sports car because you liked the colour if you really needed a people carrier, but that’s how many people select their dogs.

I’m dealing with an ever-increasing number of owners struggling with rescue dogs, so please take your time in choosing. Ignore the emotion and make a list of your requirements (before you meet the dog).

If you find yourself saying, “He chose me,” forget it. That won’t serve your purpose if you end up with a mismatch.

Make your list of requirements, such as:

• An older, steady dog;
• A small breed;
• Not a barker;
• Walks quite well on lead (not a puller);
• No aggression;
• No separation anxiety.

Once you have your list, stick to it. That way you will have done the right thing by you and your dog.

Join one of my classes online at vicbarlow.com or text me on 07590 560 012.

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