The Major Pitfalls for 1st Time Dog Rescuers - PAWSOME

The Biggest Pitfalls for First-Time Dog Rescuers

There are many pitfalls for the first time dog owner. If you are looking to get a new puppy from a breeder you need to research the breeder, get references, see what support they provide for you and ultimate look at the success of their dogs with their new families. These are just a few of the questions you must ask. There are also questions that you should ask if you are rescuing a dog and there are two pitfalls that many dog rescuers fall into the first time they rescue their new dog.

Not Recognizing the Breed’s Energy Level

You go to the shelter or the rescue with the intention of bringing home an unwanted dog. You have an idea in your mind of what type of breed (or mix) you’d like to help. Then you get there and lock eyes with the cutest, most friendly dog in the pack. You were thinking about getting a lab mix, but here’s this adorable terrier just begging to be taken home.

But, you have no idea that terriers are ultra high-energy. OR that they can jump fences that could stymie an Olympic high-jumper. Or that they love to dig, since it’s in their DNA to ferret out pests.

You bring that dog home unaware, and suddenly you have a mini-nightmare on your hands.

Does that mean you shouldn’t adopt that dog?


But, if you take 5-minutes to do a simple Google search on your phone while you are meeting potential adoptees, you will learn what makes the breed tick, and how that gels with your lifestyle.

Beagles and hounds are often returned because apartment dwellers adopted them not knowing of the great Beagle bellow that can, literally, vibrate an entire NYC skyscraper.

Big breeds are often returned because people don’t realize just how big they’ll get. A German Shepard puppy is a pretty big dog, but when they grow to 5-feet tall and a hundred plus pounds, you have a totally different dog on your hands.

If you still want to adopt that specific dog, great. You are now informed and can alter your home and lifestyle to provide them with the best forever home possible for both of you.

Senior Doesn’t Mean Docile

There has been a huge move toward adopting senior dogs. Unfortunately, many dog buyers will surrender a dog once it gets “old.” It’s no longer exciting like it was in puppy-hood, so they tire of them and send them packing. The excuses are cliché (new-found allergies being the most common), but the reality is that a dog that grew up with a family for 7+ years is now dumped in a shelter with little chance of getting out.

Adopting seniors is a great idea because you are literally saving their lives.

But, don’t fall into the thinking that “ah, older dog, they’ll just lay around all day and will require minimum supervision.”

Something about being rescued seems to provide seniors with a new spark. It’s not uncommon for a change in diet, almost always for the better because dog rescuers are more conscious of what they feed their pets, to increase their energy levels to that of near-puppyhood.

Also, remember that the first week or two, new dogs, even seniors, are on their best behavior. Then they’ll slip into a phase where they test the limits of their new home. How much can they get away with without getting trouble?

Make no mistake, they will test you.

That’s why it’s a great idea to understand their energy levels when you bring them into your home. You’ll know to provide loving discipline when they push the boundaries, and you’ll learn the best schedule to keep them exercised, fit, healthy, and happy.

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