Are you thinking of getting a new dog? Adopting a rescue dog or choosing a new puppy? What are the issues?

Rescue Dogs

Rescue dogs may have unknown history, or just a history that lacks detail and that can put people off.

Some people are attracted to the idea that you can adopt an older dog and miss out on teething and toilet training and crate training.  If you are adopting an older dog, they may also be calmer and may even be partly trained.  If you choose an older dog, your dog may also have more of a stable, proven, temperament. 

On the downside you may worry that you don’t know about their experiences during critical socialisation and imprinting stages.  You may worry that you have missed out on some bonding time and that there may be more work to do than you expected.    However, there are younger dogs and puppies available for rescue too.

You will know that you are giving a dog a home who otherwise wouldn’t have one.

Choosing a new puppy

Puppies are most often brought into the world for profit so there is always a risk that you may inadvertently support puppy farming.  Even if you are careful and use a really ethical breeder you are still supporting intentionally bring more dogs into the world while rescue centres are full.  Even if you give your puppy the best home, its unlikely that all of the litter from which you selected your puppy will get such a good home, and in reality the chances may be slim.

If you are choosing a puppy though, you do need to choose an ethical breeder, for the best chances of a balanced well socialised puppy.   You may be excited about the blank canvass that you are getting from your breeder, and perhaps just a little distracted by the undeniable cuteness of it all.  Remember that you may very quickly get a full-sized adolescent dog on your hands.

If you are choosing a new puppy you can select the specific breed you want with the traits, exercise requirements, shedding and temperament traits you are looking for.   You may want a dog which is hypoallergenic or good for agility or needs very little exercise.  The reality is though that even if you are careful with choosing the puppy you want, the genetics of each puppy can vary significantly across one litter so there are no guarantees that you won’t need to put in more work with behaviour and training than you are expecting.  First time puppy owners often under-estimate the costs and time needed to care for a dog so if this is your first time do your research and even offer to look after a friends dog for the weekend.

What are the real issues?

Whether a rescue dog or a new puppy, one thing is for certain, investing in some training is one of the best ways of ensuring that you and your dog have a long and happy relationship.   Missing out on training significantly increases the risk that your puppy or rescue dog will be surrendered in the future.

Whether rescue dog or a new puppy, they will need walking come rain and shine, there will be vets fees, training costs, vaccinations, boarding when you are on holiday and walking when you are at work.   The best chances of us keeping rescue centres empty is to understand the commitment when we take on a dog.

Can you tell which of these lovely has been rehomed and which has been owned from a puppy?