Rescuing & Rehoming

Understanding a potential new dog

If you choose to adopt a rescued dog, there are a lot of choices to make. Puppy, adult or oldie? Pedigree or crossbreed? A dog of known history and temperament, more of an unknown, or a challenge?

Many people think of rescue dogs as older and problematic, but there are many young puppies that end up in rescue centres; equally, there are some wonderful older dogs given up through no fault of their own for various reasons, such as death or relocation of owner. Some may even have been unsuited to their previous home for reasons that may be of no (or less) consequence to you.

Whatever you decide, it is vital to make sure that a lot of thought goes into choosing the right rescue dog for you. Allowing your heart to rule your head, and choosing an unsuitable dog because it pulls at your heartstrings, is a recipe for heartbreak in the event of difficulties arising due to incompatibility. For example, a typical young Border Collie would be a very unwise choice for someone who only has limited time to entertain and train the dog. The best places to approach are generally rescue charities, as they will thoroughly assess each dog and advise on whether or not the dog will be suitable for your family, home and lifestyle. If a dog is identified as having health or behaviour issues, these should be fully explained in order to allow a potential adopter to make an informed choice.

There are many dogs advertised on the likes of Gumtree, Preloved, Free Ads etc. It is exceedingly unwise to select a dog through these sources, unless advertised by a reputable rescue. Dogs being sold or given away free of charge through these sources will not have had a thorough assessment by a professional. The seller may well not be honest, leaving you with a dog that has health and/or behaviour problems that you hadn’t expected. Add to this the risk of stolen dogs being sold on through these sources, and it is far better to go through a rescue charity; they should also neuter, de-flea and worm the dogs in their care, as well as treating any health conditions and advising you of them.

One way of adopting an older dog with a fully known history is to take on a trainee assistance dog that didn’t make the grade, or one who has retired. Assistance dog charities who source and train their own dogs will from time to time have dogs who don’t make the grade but have had training and socialisation, and these often make wonderful pet dogs. Any health or behaviour issues should be fully explained, and advice given on what will be required in terms of management. These charities generally have a waiting list, and will provide application forms to anyone interested in adopting one of their dogs.

If you do research and adopt a rescue dog, congratulations, you have changed that dog’s life! It is important to consider the change from the dog’s point of view, and give him time to settle in; from his point of view, the whole world has changed and he has suddenly been moved to a completely unfamiliar home and environment. He will need consistency (start with the rules you mean to stick with), kindness, understanding and training to help him with the transition.

This is where a reputable and knowledgeable trainer will be a great way of helping you to bond with and get to know your new family member. There is likely to be a ‘honeymoon period’ of best behaviour until your dog finds his feet, but with trustworthy training support you will be able to address issues if they do arise.


If you have already found the dog or puppy you are considering, we offer a full assessment service to help you decide if it really is the dog for you. We can travel to where the dog is currently residing. 

Training sessions are charged at the basic training rate of £70.00 per hour.

A travel cost of £0.45 per mile will also be charged.