5 Tips To Choose The Right Rescue Dog For You And Your Family


When it comes to choosing a dog, we often have an idea of what we want. It may be the breed or it may be an age range. We can see our potential dog in our mind’s eye but when it is time to pick out your new pooch, it can be difficult. However, it doesn’t have to be. By following the right tips, you can choose a rescue dog that is perfect for you.

1) Get Advice From the Shelter

I’m going to fast forward a bit here. I hope that, by this point, you know the rescue or shelter you are going to adopt your dog. If you don’t, I recommend you read our ethical dog rescues article to find out how to spot a legitimate rescue.

Once you make contact with your rescue, go through the application process. Talk to them about what you are looking for in a dog. In addition, don’t be hesitant to talk about your life. The more the rescue group knows, the better they are able to help you.

When you are done the application process, really listen to their advice on the dogs they think will suit you. Remember, these rescues have been working with these dogs for a while, they are going to know their individual temperament, needs and what best suits them.

And they will help you choose a rescue dog that is right for you and your family.

2) Understand What You Want for Age

Although many people think that dog rescues only have adult dogs, that is not the case. In fact, you can find dogs at any age including 8-week-old puppies and 12-year-old dogs. Knowing the age that you want is very important before you head into the shelter. And with that knowledge, make sure you understand the responsibilities of that age range.

Puppies require a lot of extra time. They will need to be housetrained and you will need to take them to obedience training. Depending on the shelter, there are more upfront and one time fees for puppies than for older dogs.

Adult dogs include any dog over a year to over seven years old. These are dogs that often require a lot of exercise since they are young dogs. They often don’t need as much care as a puppy but they can require extra training like puppies.

Senior dogs are wonderful to adopt. They tend to have a lower energy level and it is called the golden years for a reason. You are sure to have plenty of time with your senior dog and it will be full of love.

3) Take Time to Observe

It is important to know that you aren’t going to walk right in and then walk out with a dog. Adoption is a process and you don’t bring the dog home the first day.

Since you have the time, when the shelter has helped you narrow it down to a few select dogs, take the time to observe them.

You want to really see how they behave when they are in the kennel. If they are at a foster home, even better. You can watch how the dog interacts in the house with other animals and people. By watching them, you can feel confident about your final decision as you’ve gotten to know the dog.

Many rescues offer multiple visits with the dog so you can be certain this is the right rescue dog for your family.

4) Be Aware of Your Lifestyle

When you are observing the dog, really think about your lifestyle and your family. Do you want a dog who will hike for 20 miles with you? Alternatively, do you want a couch potato who will enjoy Netflix? Knowing the answer to these questions will help you narrow down the breeds or mix breeds that you are going to want to look at. For people who are active, go with an active mix breed or purebred rescue dog that won’t mind a busy schedule. 

For people looking for a family pet, choose a dog that is suitable for families. Be honest with yourself so you have the best success with your new dog.

5) Spend Some Time With the Potential Rescue Dog

Once you have narrowed down the selection and you’ve observed the dog in his kennel, take some time alone with him. When you are alone, allow him to approach you and also see how he reacts to you. If he is fearful or shows any signs of aggression, this may not be the right dog for you.

Spend the time interacting with him and try a few commands. Basically, you want to see if the dog is attentive to you or not. Remember that he may have a hard time concentrating in his excitement. However, if you have a hard time controlling him in the room, for example, he is jumping on you, then it could spell disaster at home.

When you are done following these tips, you should have the perfect rescue dog selected for you. After that, it is simply a matter of bringing your rescue dog home. By taking a little extra time, being honest and following these tips, you are sure to choose the right rescue dog for you and your family.