Choosing to rehome a dog is a big decision. Before you start your search to find your forever friend, here are the most important things to put on your checklist…
Before you rehome a dog: does his story suit yours?
Just like humans, the experiences a dog has been through will affect how s/he behaves and sees the world. Unlike us, though, dogs can’t tell us what they’ve been through. While the rescue centre might have a few details, more often than not if you want to rehome a dog, you won’t have their biography…
Check where the dog was found and in what circumstances. Were they outdoors or indoors? With other animals or alone? How did they react when they were rescued or dropped at the centre? All these are important facts to know before you rehome a dog.
Fears and panic triggers
It’s common that mistreated animals develop understandable fears. Loud noises, sudden movements, being alone and – the opposite – being surrounded by too many animals/humans can all trigger panic in nervous dogs.
While your dog might not have any obvious fears, like us they all have likes and dislikes that you should know before you rehome a dog. If they’ve spent their life alone with a single owner, for example, they might not enjoy a rowdy family environment.
Every dog, even despite traumatic past experiences, has their own personality. Talking to the staff at the rescue centres you visit will help narrow down which pooch to pick if you’re looking to rehome a dog. They will have known the dog since it arrived, and will have learnt (even if just a little) about its personality.
Is your situation right to rehome a dog?
As well as whether the dog is right for you, are you right for the dog? Think about its breed, age and personality. Will you be able to rehome a dog and give it enough exercise? A younger dog will need training and a lot of walks, whereas an older dog might have more health concerns. Think about whether your home is suitable for potential accidents. Are you financially prepared for vet bills and pet insurance?
Getting everyone’s papers in order
You’ve decided to rehome a dog, found your perfect forever friend, and now you need to ensure all the papers are up to date and signed. Medical checks, anti-tick/flea treatments and any required vaccinations should all be done before leaving.
Will your dog need a passport? It can be useful in the case of travelling abroad. Although long journeys are not recommended immediately after you rehome a dog.
How to rehome a dog to avoid stress
Create a safe space where only the dog can go, like a crate. Place a cosy cover inside and over the top (so it stays dark) and leave the door open. For a newly arrived nervous dog, be aware of your movements. For example, staring a dog in the eyes is a sign of aggression. Sudden movements or loud noises could also trigger panic.
Make sure you’re giving the dog enough exercise to burn off excess energy outdoors. Structure and routine are important for dogs, especially when in a new situation.
Talk to your local vet, and staff at an animal rescue centre such as the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, if you’re ever unsure about whether to rehome a dog.