Adopting a Rescue Dog: The Pros, Cons, and What to Expect (2023)

In honor of Shelter Dog Adoption Month in October, we reached out to our friends atAmerican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®(ASPCA®) for more information on bringing home a rescue dog. Rena Lafaille, Administrative Director ofASPCA Adoption Centerwas kind enough to offer expert advice on these key issues.

1. Why should I adopt a rescue dog?

The benefits of adopting a pet from a shelter are endless. When you adopt a dog from a shelter, you save a life. By adopting, you are not only providing a loving home for one deserving animal, but also freeing up space and resources for another animal in need. If you're looking to add a new pet to your family, the ASPCA recommends that you consider one of the thousands of animals waiting to be adopted from shelters and animal shelters across the United States. For families looking to purchase a pet, we recommend working with a responsible breeder through a pet store or online store.

The Internet can be a useful resource for finding adoptable animals and responsible breeders. However, a puppy purchased online may come from a cruel puppy breeder, suffer from health and behavioral problems, or simply not exist. It's easy to create a website and find cute puppy pictures, so people should be skeptical about what they see online. Anyone considering buying a puppy from a breeder should visit the breeder in person to see where the puppies were born, how they are raised, and how their parents are treated.

Adopting a Rescue Dog: The Pros, Cons, and What to Expect (1)

2. Where can I adopt a rescued dog?

You can find an emergency shelter near you atThe ASPCA National Database of Animal Sheltersseeking himanimal locator🇧🇷 The process of adopting a dog can vary by shelter, but you may need to complete an adoption survey and provide your contact information and pet ownership history.

You may also be asked to pay an adoption fee, but it usually costs much less than buying a dog from a breeder or pet store. When you adopt a pet from the shelter, the animal is vet checked, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and possibly microchipped, which also saves costs for the new owner. When you adopt, a shelter or sanctuary's adoption fee, if applicable, goes directly to fund their efforts to rescue, care for, and provide homes for endangered animals.

3. What kind of dog should I adopt?

Your personality and lifestyle, as well as factors like the amount of time you spend at home and the amount of time you need to spend training your dog, are all things to consider before getting a dog. Animal shelters and rescue organizations across the country work hard to match owners with animals that are best suited for their lifestyle, taking into account the lifestyle and personality of both the dog and the prospective adopter. .

(Video) 5 COMMON Mistakes New RESCUE DOG OWNERS Make

At the ASPCA Adoption Center, qualified shelter staff evaluate pets and then introduce them to potential adopters based on the likelihood of a match.

If you are considering adopting a puppy, consider your lifestyle.raise dogsProper grooming takes a lot of time, hard work, and patience, while many adult dogs have more stable personalities and more manageable energy levels. However, it's important to remember that, just like people, every dog ​​is an individual, even those of a specific species or breed, and shelter staff are adept at finding working matches.

Many people avoid adopting a dog because they decided on a specific breed and couldn't find one to adopt at a local shelter or rescue group, but did you know that there are breed-specific rescue groups? 🇧🇷 These volunteer-run networks are easy to find online and often have regional chapters.

Adopting a Rescue Dog: The Pros, Cons, and What to Expect (2)

4. Do the rescued dogs have special health or other needs?

Shelter animals make wonderful pets and deserve the chance to have a loving home. A great benefit of adopting animals from a shelter is that shelter staff know the animals well and can provide detailed information about the animal's history, medical needs, behavior, and temperament. Shelter dogs can be extremely healthy and loving dogs, often left homeless due to unfortunate circumstances through no fault of their own.

Rather, most pet store puppies come from commercial breeders, where they are kept in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions without proper veterinary care, the opportunity to exercise, play, play, or positive human interaction. Dirty conditions at puppy mills encourage the spread of disease, especially in puppies with immature immune systems. These diseases can sometimes be fatal, painful, and expensive to treat. Puppies can also suffer from persistent anxiety, restlessness, and other behavior problems. Sometimes these problems don't show up until people bring the pup home, only to face unpredictable, expensive, and often chronic medical problems.

Responsible breeders do not sell to pet stores. They plan each litter and are dedicated to the health and well-being of their dogs. Different breeds are predisposed to certain hereditary disorders and diseases, and a good breeding program should aim to minimize these risks and improve the overall health of the breed.

(Video) 3 Reasons NOT to Adopt a Dog from a Shelter

Adopting from an animal shelter gives you the opportunity to speak directly with shelter staff about an animal's health and behavioral needs. Likewise, a good breeder should be transparent, welcoming, and ask questions, and should be able to provide referrals and be a resource to you as your pup grows.

5. Is there any way to know if the dog will have behavior problems?

While protocols vary from shelter to shelter, animals transferred to the ASPCA adoption center typically have a medical history completed by previous owners. These forms are extremely helpful in providing information about a dog's behavior in the home and often help determine the best home environment for that particular dog.

Most shelters also conduct behavior assessments, which can help educate prospective adopters about behavioral issues each dog may have. The behavior team continually evaluates a dog's behavior during the animal's stay at the shelter and updates recommendations for the ideal home for the dog as new information becomes available. In addition, many shelter employees and volunteers spend time with animals every day, sometimes in a foster home, and are able to educate prospective adopters about behavioral issues that can help influence the decision to adopt an animal. It's important to note that a dog's behavior is not always a complete indicator of how it will behave in a new home, and animal shelters may offer various forms of post-adoption support to help with any questions that may arise in the future. 🇧🇷

6. How can I prepare to bring the dog home?

One of the first things you'll need to do is buy basic items like a leash, leash, dog bed, treats, and a food and water bowl.

Before you bring a new puppy into your home, you should also take steps to make sure your home is safe for him. This includes keeping dangerous decorations or poisonous foods and plants out of their reach. You can check this list101 things you didn't know could harm your petas a helpful guide. Make sure anything valuable you don't want your dog chewing on, including spectacles, clothing, and phone chargers, is out of reach.

You will also want to usedog cagesand gates to enclose your new pup if he is left home alone until he is housebroken and comfortable with a chew toy. And providing your dog with the appropriate toys will help stimulate him and prevent him from chewing on items like shoes and furniture and becoming anxious when left alone.

Also, you should knowwhat not to feed your dog🇧🇷 For example, chocolate, chewing gum, candy, xylitol, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, avocados, onions, garlic, salt, tea leaves, dough raw yeast, spoiled or greasy food, coffee and alcohol are harmful to dogs. .

(Video) Adopting a Dog? WATCH THIS FIRST🐶Common Reasons People Surrender a Dog

If your dog has ingested something poisonous, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 888-426-4435 immediately. The APCC is available 24 hours a day. A $75 consultation may apply.

You should also purchase some of the basic starter kit items when you bring a dog home, including a leash, food and water bowls, a comfortable bed, waste bags, and treats. You can also do some research to get an idea of ​​the annual routine wellness expenses in your area and to estimate how much money will be needed to finance veterinary care. Contacting certified rewards-based trainers in your area is also a must when looking to bring home a newly adopted dog. Trainers can help your new pet adjust comfortably, and if behavior problems arise, they can help resolve those issues quickly when they are easier to change.

Do you want to know what to consider when adopting a dog? It's good to start by asking yourself the following questions: "Am I ready to get a dog?" and "What kind of dog should I get?" adapts to your lifestyle.

Do you want to know what to consider when adopting a dog? It's good to start by asking yourself the following questions: "Am I ready to get a dog?" and "What kind of dog should I get?" adapts to your lifestyle.

7. What can I expect in the first few months with a rescue dog?

Anticipating what to expect when adopting a dog can be overwhelming, but remember that the first few months with a new dog are all about building a relationship. From the dog's point of view, they don't realize they are being adopted and loved. As far as they know, they were taken from a family environment.

In the first weeks and months of adoption, it's important to take it easy and bond with your new dog. As much as you learn about the dog, you will also learn what to expect from yourself. During this time, avoid stressful interactions as much as possible, including dog parks, large gatherings, and crowded places. Keeping an open mind and approaching each situation patiently can be helpful, as animals often need time to adjust and adjust while learning more about your habits and those of your family. Let your dog lead the socialization and avoid hugging and kissing until you get to know each other better. Also, theft accidents can happen from time to time, which is perfectly normal.

Adopting a Rescue Dog: The Pros, Cons, and What to Expect (3)

(Video) How to PREP for a RESCUE DOG | What to Expect (FIRST NIGHT)

8. What is the best way to introduce a new dog to another dog in the house? A cat?

It is important to remember that not all dogs are compatible with other dogs and cats. Animal shelters can often give you information about each dog's behavior toward other animals and help you determine if the dog you're interested in would be a good match for your family of pets. Many shelters encourage prospective adopters to bring their resident dogs for a performance under the guidance of a professional behavior team.

That being said, the best way to introduce a new dog to the family is to meet him in a neutral location and walk him together. Parallel walking is a great way for dogs to get to know each other without putting too much pressure on them to interact with each other.

Leave some space and walk a little. Let him sniff gradually until he is comfortable and then move on. You can eventually make your way inside. Remember to get quality toys, food, and other resources for the initial induction period so dogs don't fight over these things.

The best way to introduce your new dog to a resident cat is to keep them completely separate for a few days and let them get to know each other's scent through scent swapping. When introducing them, use a barrier or baby gate for the first few interactions and always start the dog on a leash for the first few dates until you're sure the dog won't be too eager to meet the cat. You can give treats and lots of encouragement to be nice to each other, and always give the cat plenty of vertical space to escape if he gets overwhelmed.

We would like to thank Rena Lafaille for taking the time to answer our questions. visit theASPCA Adoption Centeronline to learn more about her and her wonderful work. But be warned, you may come across a rescue dog on her website that you won't be able to resist taking home!

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace the advice of your veterinarian.


What is the 3 3 3 rule for rescue dogs? ›

Whether you rescue an older dog or a puppy, a lot of dogs tend to follow the 3-3-3 rule when getting acclimated: 3 days of feeling overwhelmed and nervous. 3 weeks of settling in. 3 months of building trust and bonding with you.

How long does it take for a rescue dog to settle into a new home? ›

It is normal for it to take some time for rescue dogs to adjust to their new homes. You should expect it to be challenging for the first week or so. However, you'll start to see major progress after three weeks, and they will probably be fully settled in after three months.

Is it a good idea to adopt a rescue dog? ›

Why should I adopt a rescue dog? The benefits of adopting a pet from a shelter are endless. When you adopt a dog from an animal shelter, you are saving a life. By adopting, you are not only providing a loving home for a deserving animal, but you are freeing up space and resources for another animal in need.

Where should rescue dogs sleep first? ›

This should ideally be in a crate the first few weeks, but it could also be a nice cushy dog bed or even a pile of blankets arranged into a comfy nest. Don't let the dog sleep in a human bed with kids or other pets, as this can make the dog possessive of people.

Where should dog sleep first night? ›

On the first night, and for about three weeks, have the puppy sleep in a dog crate next to the bed. Line the base with blankets so that it is cosy and drape another blanket over the top to help it feel more secure. Give the puppy the stuffed toy that has its littermates' scent on it to snuggle up to.

What is the 3 3 3 rule? ›

The 333 rule for anxiety is an easy technique to remember and use in the moment if something is triggering your anxiety. It involves looking around your environment to identify three objects and three sounds, then moving three body parts.

Will my rescue dog ever be normal? ›

Your rescue dog will be normal according to their version of normal. Sometimes, it means a fully-adjusted dog with a wonderful temperament and love of new adventures. Other times, it means your dog is still unsure of the world around them, but as long as they have you to trust, they're okay.

How do you bond with a rescue dog? ›

4 Tricks to Bonding with Your Adopted Dog
  1. Give and Take Games. When bonding with your adopted dog, it is important to identify and address any toy or food reactiveness, as well as preventing such problems, by playing give and take games. ...
  2. Bath Time. ...
  3. Come for Treats and Hide and Seek. ...
  4. First Walks.

What is the best age to adopt a rescue dog? ›

One experienced dog trainer and expert on dog development suggested that the optimum age for a puppy to go to its new owner is about 8-to-9-weeks, when the pup is ready to develop a strong bond.

What to avoid when adopting a dog? ›

Adopting a Dog: 10 Mistakes to Avoid
  • Mistake #1: Rushing Into It.
  • Mistake #2: Overlooking Older Dogs.
  • Mistake #3: Not Getting to Know the Dog.
  • Mistake #4: Introducing Too Much Too Soon.
  • Mistake #5: Forcing Familiarity.
  • Mistake #6: Switching Diets Too Quickly.
  • Mistake #7: Allowing Too Much Freedom.
Oct 6, 2021

Is it normal to feel regret after adopting a dog? ›

It's normal — especially for first-timers — to feel a bit overwhelmed. If you're questioning your decision or wondering how to cope with feelings of anxiety, regret, or guilt, please understand that these feelings are quite common and they almost always pass with a bit of time.

What should I do the first night with a new rescue dog? ›

Your Rescue Dogs First Night

Your new dog is most likely going to be exhausted the first few nights. If at all possible, I recommend having your dog sleep in his crate at night. A crate will keep them safe and out of trouble when you are sleeping.

What to do when you first bring a rescue dog home? ›

Here are the eight essential steps:
  1. Remain Calm. When you pick the dog up, everyone must remain calm. ...
  2. Take a Long Walk. ...
  3. Introduce Your Home. ...
  4. Take The Tour. ...
  5. No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact. ...
  6. The Feeding Area. ...
  7. The Dog's Bedroom. ...
  8. Exude Calm-Assertive Energy.

What to do on the first day of adopting a dog? ›

For the first day, give your dog just one small part of the house to explore, like a bathroom or laundry room. Make sure the dog has a quiet place where it can get comfortable and rest, and while it's important to spend time with your dog, give him or her plenty of alone time to decompress, too.

Should you sleep in the same room as a rescue dog? ›

You may prefer for your adopted dog to sleep in the same room as or near your bedroom for the first few nights. If you are using a dog crate you can move this to your bedroom and then gradually move them to another area of the house as they become more settled.

Should my rescue dog sleep in a crate? ›

The Bottom Line

Crate training can be useful for your new rescue dog. Especially if you adopted a puppy or destructive dog, using a crate will let you provide a safe and secure place for him.

Should you crate a rescue dog at night? ›

Crates Can be Helpful on Your Rescue Dog's First Night

Make sure the crate is big enough so your dog can stand up and turn around. Put a comfy pad in the crate with lots of fluffy blankets.

Should you cover a dog crate with a blanket? ›

You should never completely cover your dog's crate as it can block airflow. Keep blankets away from heat sources, ensure the fabric is breathable, and avoid using knit blankets that may snag or unravel. Monitor the conditions inside the crate in humid summer weather to ensure it doesn't get too hot.

Should I let my dog sleep with me the first night? ›

Should you leave your puppy alone on the first night? The short answer is no, please don't leave your puppy alone on his first night. The long answer is we set up our puppy's crate next to our bed (where you'd normally find a nightstand). I sleep about a foot away from my puppy in my own bed, puppy in his crate.

What time should my dog go to bed and wake up? ›

Adult dogs sleep longer at night than puppies do — usually between 60% and 80% of the hours between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. depending on their surroundings and their owner's schedule.

What I wish I knew before getting a second dog? ›

Allocate the Time and Resources for Another Pup

You also have to keep in mind that you'll need to invest extra for essential gear — collars, leashes and crates, to name a just a few items — as well as unexpected vet visits, potential boarding and possible pet sitters and dog walkers.

How do you make a rescue dog feel at home? ›

How to bond with a dog who's skittish around you
  1. Give her plenty of space. Bonding with a rescue dog is all about taking it slow. ...
  2. Let her come to you. ...
  3. Watch where you pet her. ...
  4. Try bringing her toys or treats and just leaving them on the ground. ...
  5. Use games and training to build her confidence.
May 26, 2020

What is the 3 day 3 week 3 month rule? ›

The 'Rule of Three' means that you can gauge the time it might take for your dog to fully acclimate to his home in threes: three days, three weeks, and three months. Think of your new dog's first 3 days as their time to decompress as they transition from a shelter or foster home into your home.

Do most rescue dogs have separation anxiety? ›

Rescue dogs suffer from separation anxiety far more than dogs who have been with their families since puppyhood. Since the majority of the Hounds Lounge pack are rescues, we know a thing or two about minimizing rescue dogs' separation anxiety.

Do rescue dogs get attached to one person? ›

Adult rescue dogs from difficult situations may be the most likely to over-bond to one individual in a new home. This might be the first person they developed a bond with. Or it could be the person who was least threatening, most sympathetic, or that gave them the most comfort (or space) when they needed it.

What is the most important trait of a rescue dog? ›

A dog's personality and characteristics from its breeding are two of the most important factors in whether a dog will be suited to rescue work. The dog needs to be intelligent, confident, focused, listen well and respond to the handler. These traits are best identified from a young age.

How do rescue dogs choose their favorite person? ›

But most dogs tend to bond to the person who gives them the most attention. For example, in a family with two parents and two kids, the dog may favor the parent who fills their bowl every morning and takes them for a walk every evening. In addition, physical affection solidifies the bond between dog and person.

What is the 3 day 3 week 3 month rule for rescue dogs? ›

The 'Rule of Three' means that you can gauge the time it might take for your dog to fully acclimate to his home in threes: three days, three weeks, and three months. Think of your new dog's first 3 days as their time to decompress as they transition from a shelter or foster home into your home.

What are the 3 ways your dog asks for help? ›

Generally, there are three primary ways that you can tell when a dog needs your help: physiological changes, behavioral changes, and signs of pain or discomfort. We rounded up some common SOS signals that your dog may be sending your way—and what you should do about them.

What is the 3 second rule for dogs? ›

It's our only Down Dog rule – that when dogs meet and greet each other that time should be limited to three seconds, then you call your dog away and praise them for their wonderful manners. It does depend on the breed, and, most importantly, you only allow your dog to meet and greet if both dogs are happy to do so.

What is the 5 second rule for dogs? ›

The centre instructs: "Place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you cannot hold it for five seconds, it's too hot to walk your dog." A dog's paws are just as sensitive as human feet and are therefore susceptible getting painfully burned and can suffer these burns even on days you wouldn't consider overly hor.

Should you rename a rescue dog? ›

“At most shelters, if an animal has a name you keep the name unless there's a good reason not to,” she says. Good reasons to change a pet's name include instances of past abuse. Shelters will also rename pets whose current name might prevent them from finding a forever home.

How long does it take to bond with a rescue dog? ›

Time to Adjust

You can gauge the time it might take for your dog to fully acclimate to his home in threes: three days, three weeks, three months (Drs. London and McConnell)1. We think of that first 3 days (at a minimum) as the initial “detox period” as the dog transitions from the shelter to your home.

What is the rule of 7 for dogs? ›

Adapting from the earlier work, the rule of 7 by Pat Schaap, a professional dog trainer who maintained that by the age of 7 weeks, a puppy should be exposed to 7 different surfaces, played with 7 different toys, been to 7 different locations and met 7 different people.

What are the three warning signs a dog is crying for help? ›

Wincing, Whining or Crying

All three of these actions indicate an injury or some kind of pain your dog is experiencing. If you start to pet your dog and they shy away from your hand or whine, you know there is something wrong.

What do dog rescues need the most? ›

1. Money
  • Toys. All animals love toys, so donate any old or new pet toys to keep those homeless dogs and cats entertained and happy. ...
  • Pet Food and Treats. ...
  • Cleaning Supplies. ...
  • Towels and Blankets. ...
  • Newspapers. ...
  • Grooming Supplies. ...
  • Collars and Leashes. ...
  • Furniture.

What questions do dog rescues ask? ›

Interviewing Callers
  • Get the caller's name, address, phone number and email. ...
  • Do they own or rent their home? ...
  • Does the caller have children? ...
  • Does the caller currently have dogs or other pets? ...
  • If the caller does not currently have dogs, have they had dogs before? ...
  • Do they have a yard?


(Everything Big Dogs)
2. 3 Things To Consider Before You Adopt A Rescue Dog | What To Expect When Adopting A Dog!
(It's A Doggie Thing)
3. 3 Reasons to Adopt a Dog from a Shelter
(Dog Focus)
4. DOG ADOPTION PROCESS: The first steps + how it works + how long it takes
(Morgan Pace)
5. 8 Tips for Adopting a Rescue Dog
(Doberman Planet)
(The Other Jenny Lee)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jeremiah Abshire

Last Updated: 02/15/2023

Views: 5573

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jeremiah Abshire

Birthday: 1993-09-14

Address: Apt. 425 92748 Jannie Centers, Port Nikitaville, VT 82110

Phone: +8096210939894

Job: Lead Healthcare Manager

Hobby: Watching movies, Watching movies, Knapping, LARPing, Coffee roasting, Lacemaking, Gaming

Introduction: My name is Jeremiah Abshire, I am a outstanding, kind, clever, hilarious, curious, hilarious, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.