The “Getting Ready for a Rescue Dog” Checklist

Pre-dog Preparation

The short version:

Getting Ready for a Rescue Dog? Ask: 

  • Do I have the time, money, support, resources and suitable space for this dog?
  • Have I done my research, and am I willing to keep learning about my pet?
  • Does a dog really fit into my lifestyle?

When you’re getting ready for a rescue dog, it’s worth taking time to make sure you’re really up for the task. Run through our checklist to see where you’re at. If you answer yes to everything, congratulations! You can start the process of getting a rescue dog. If you answer no to anything, you may have some more homework ahead of you.

Do You Have Time?

To find the right dog, commit to training, and even take time off work to help them settle in?

Do You Have the Money?

To cover adoption fees, food, toys, accessories, vet bills and possibly a trainer or behaviorist?

Have You Done the Research?

Are you studied-up on the needs of rescue dogs and don’t assume it will just be a breeze?

Have You Prepared Your House?

To make sure it’s safe and secure for a rescue dog?

Have You Bought or Sourced Everything They Need?

Double check our Bringing a Dog Home Checklist.

Are You Ready for a Challenge?

Have you spent time (emotionally and physically) preparing for the care a rescue dog might need?

Do You Have a Support Network?

Adopting a rescue dog is hugely rewarding, but it can also be challenging. Make sure you have people around to help out so it all doesn’t fall to you alone.

Have You Researched Adoption Shelters and Organisations?

Are you confident they’re reputable, trustworthy, and can offer ongoing advice and help?

Have You Considered Your Lifestyle?

Dog adoption is about more than chemistry. What size dog can you realistically look after and exercise? Could you take on training a puppy or caring for an older dog? Are there specific personality traits you’d prefer? While you can’t be picky, it’s important to have a sense of the kind of dog you could make happy.

For more help with your pup, check out Scratch’s ultimate new dog guide.

Getting ready for life with a rescue dog? Get more great advice here.

Images via FreePik

Written by on for Off The Leash

Article last updated on April 28, 2021

Wendy's never met a dog she didn't like. Although she has a special place in her heart for muts: three legs, one eye, missing fur, bit of a weird walk? The scruffier the better. Her favourite dog in the whole world though is her terrier-mix Stevie.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some things to consider before getting a dog are:

  • Time. Do you have the time to spend with them each day? Could you take them to work? 
  • Cost. After adoption and food expenses, are you able to put aside an emergency fund to cover unexpected costs?
  • Home. Do you have expensive furnishings? Will the dog have access to the outdoors or regular walks?

If you’re not able to spend time with your dog during the day you can:

  • Ask if you can bring them to work.
  • Enrol them in a dog daycare.
  • Hire a dog walker to spend time with them when you’re out.
  • Set up puzzles, games, occupier treats to keep them engaged when they’re alone.

If these options aren’t available to you, so the dog would spend extended periods of time alone and bored, it’s probably not a good time for you to get a pet.

Rescue dogs tend to be older, which means they are less impressionable than puppies. Some could also have traumatic pasts which present challenges. But all dogs are able to be trained. They might just take a bit more time and patience. 

On the other hand, many rescue dogs will already have a level of training from their previous owners.

Most dogs benefit from training, but rescues may require the additional support. Many rescue dogs come from high environments where they’ve experienced constant change. A good trainer can help them settle, relax, and bond with you. Rather than just focusing on “obedience” they’ll address your dog’s individual needs and situation. While some rescue centres offer adult dog training classes these can be overwhelming for rescues, so if possible opt for one-on-one sessions.

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