Seven Things To Consider When Choosing a Rescue Dog
- ComPETibility Matters™: Choosing a dog is a lot like choosing a human partner. In order for any two (or more) living beings to happily co-exist, there needs to be some level of compatibility. The more compatible you are, the happier you are. If you strive to match a dog that compliments your own Personality, Expectations, and Training style, you can achieve a balanced relationship that works for both you and your dog.
- A breed apart: Many people choose a dog based on a breed description or a breed of dog they had as a kid. While breeds do share particular genetic predispositions (e.g., herding dogs inherently chase things, hunting dogs often have a high prey drive, working dogs are bred to be highly focused), dogs are still individuals, and should be chosen on individual merit. Even littermates can be very different from one another. Choosing a dog – regardless of the breed – based on how compatible your individual behavior and lifestyle needs are, will exponentially increase the odds that you and that dog are a good long-term match.
- Personalities come in all sizes. While it goes without saying that a 95lb dog is a very different creature than a 10lb dog, the bigger personality does not necessarily belong to the bigger dog. Many small dogs have mighty big attitudes and many a gentle giant has been overlooked simply because of stature. If you think you would like to live with a very small dog (e.g., under 10lbs), consider at least the next size up (e.g., 10-20lbs). Be flexible at least one size up and/or down when searching for a dog. As long as you and the dog are the right lifestyle and behavior match, size becomes a much smaller issue.
- Gender equality. Unless you already have a dog at home that only gets along with the opposite sex, choosing a dog based on whether it is male or female means you might miss out on the perfect partner. Instead why not be open to the idea of choosing your canine soul mate based on their own, unique behavior profile, regardless of gender. Your open-mind will most likely lead you right to his (or her) heart. ☺
- Love at first sight. Falling in love at first sight with a dog is easy. But choosing a dog based on looks alone does not guarantee long-lasting love. Dogs are complex creatures and – when choosing which dog to adopt - so much more than looks need to be considered. Beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder, it’s also in the behavior, and a well-behaved dog is a really beautiful thing. Choosing your canine partner based on compatibility as well as looks means your love will last the test of time.
- Age is just a number. It’s true that dogs do age more quickly [than humans] at the beginning of their lives but the aging process actually slows down as they get older. The really good news is that most dogs still remain young at heart, mind, and body well into their senior years. And with so many wellness products on the market today, dogs are living longer than ever before. Given that the majority of dogs act like youngsters well beyond their puppy years, adopting an adult or older dog does not mean you’ll miss out on any of that puppy love.
- Great Expectations: why we want to share our lives with a dog is just as important as which dog we choose to share our lives with. If what you expect out of the relationship is affection and companionship, and the dog you bring home isn’t much of a cuddler, neither of you will be happy in the long-term. The same goes for a separation anxious dog that lives with a person who really prefers their personal space. Taking the time to think about what your own realistic expectations are – before you choose a dog – will help you find the dog that’s really right for you.
Pet Parenting 101
Building a healthy relationship with your dog starts with the understanding that your dog only wants to please you. It takes patience to be the parent and teacher your dog is yearning for. Manage your expectations with realistic goals (for yourself and your dog), and the reward will be a lifetime of unconditional love and loyalty.