It can be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting when you’re about to adopt a rescue dog. These dogs are usually stripped away from the life they once knew and thrown into a sanctuary. And although they are well taken care of, their behaviour is usually reserved.
It is only when you take them home that you’ll start seeing their true colours. Shy dogs might become more outgoing, while energetic dogs might become a little more quieter. If you’re not sure about the dog’s personality, how do you know which one is the right one for you?
Don’t expect to walk into a sanctuary, pick the perfect dog, and take them home after an hour. There is never any need to rush a decision. Picking the right rescue dog takes time and consideration. Most importantly, they need to be matched with the right family. Pick a dog for the wrong home, and it can either result in the dog being miserable or else returned back to the sanctuary a few months later.
It is for this very reason that picking the right dog according to your lifestyle and home environment should be undertaken with careful consideration. Lovin Malta has teamed up with Noah’s Ark Dog Sanctuary to bring you four essential tips on how to choose the right rescue dog in Malta.
1. Know what type of dog you want
Talk to the members of the household to clarify what type of dog you all want. Make a list and take it with you to the sanctuary. You could easily become overwhelmed seeing dogs in cages looking sad, but at the end of the day, you need to match the right dog with what you are looking after.
Don’t settle for just one trip to the sanctuary. Make multiple trips and meet all dogs regularly. It is imperative that once you have picked a dog, you give the dog a trial run in your home, before committing to adoption. This way you will be able to decide if the dog is the right fit.
2. Ask many questions
Observe all dogs and take notes of their behaviour. Talk with the sanctuary staff about the dogs’ interactions with others and what their general impression is. Volunteers and staff are there to care, feed and walk the dogs, so they would be the ones that are mostly acquainted with the dogs’ behaviour.
If the dog was previously surrendered, previous owners would have filled out forms with information such as if they’re house trained, if they’ve bitten anyone or if they are good with kids. This is especially important to read, so you can understand how that dog could fit in your home life, especially if you have young children around.
3. Be committed
Before you adopt a dog, be aware that there is a 10 year commitment on average, and they will require lots of care. Regular vet visits and annual vaccinations are the norm for any healthy pup. The older the dog gets, the more frequent the vet visits will be. You need to take into consideration your financial situation and if you are able to provide the dog with all the necessary care.
Whether you’re starting a family or already have kids, you need to ensure that your pet is part of your family. Your family is the centre of your pet’s life and you should be present throughout it, regardless of your future plans.
4. Things take time
Once you bring your new dog home, remember that things take time and patience. Your dog is not acquainted with your current surroundings, including home and neighbours. Although dogs are adaptable and they will try their hardest to fit in, they will need a little training.
At the start, it is normal for dogs to have a few soiling accidents. Don’t expect your newly adopted dog to fit in right away, so give them lots of love, care and training.
Remember that adopting a dog is a big life decision and should never be taken lightly. Some dogs, especially previously abused ones, will take some work and patience. Just like any relationship, there needs to be plenty of communication, patience and adaptation, but if you follow these steps well, these will be the happiest years of your life.