There has been a stark increase in dog ownership during the Covid-19 pandemic.
But, sadly, many pups are being placed back into rescue centres after their owners had second thoughts.
Dog ownership increased by 38 per cent during lockdown as Brits sought out a four-legged friend for company.
To avoid dogs returning to rescues, our sister website TeamDogs has spoken to Pets at Home, Cardiff Dogs Home and Dogs Trust Cardiff about what you should consider before rehoming a dog.
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Choosing a rescue dog
Consider whether your lifestyle meets their needs.
You need to choose a dog suitable for your lifestyle and home so consider factors like how many people you live with, whether you have young children, how often you are in the house, whether you live rurally and how often you can walk your dog. This will affect what age, breed and personality you can rescue.
Pets at Home say you should not feel any pressure to take on a dog if you do not have a connection with them – this is important for both you and the dog.
A spokesperson from Cardiff Dogs Home said: “Our re-homing process is basically a matching process based on the needs of the dog. So we assess the applications to find the one who can best meet the dogs specific needs.”
Dogs Trust’s website says, “We will be honest if we don’t feel you are the right match for a particular dog. Please don’t take this personally.”
Understanding dog behaviour
Many rescue dogs have an unknown or troubled past which develops challenging habits and attitudes. They can often be resolved with understanding and training.
Pets at Home offered advice on these issues.
Anxiety and fearfulness: Be calm, patient and gentle with them while they get used to their new home – this will also help your pet build trust in you too.
Guarding thing/food aggression: You can feed them in a separate room / crate or remove whatever they’re guarding until they realise they don’t need to be protective.
Separation anxiety: The general rule for rescue dogs is you should not be leaving them for longer than four hours per day. Start with shorter periods of time and build it up.
Urinating indoors: This is usually down to anxiety or marking territory rather than lack of house training – be patient and use newspaper, but seek advice from a vet to rule out medical issues.
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Integrating your rescue dog
It’s likely that it’s going to take some time for your new dog to settle in, but every dog is unique, and some can take longer to feel comfortable in their new surroundings than others. Don’t be concerned if it takes a few weeks, or even months.
Try to avoid any sudden changes to their surroundings or daily routines. Interact and play with them a lot, keeping things as calm and gentle as you can, and make sure they get plenty of exercise.
Karen Heskin, Head of Pets at Pets at Home Group, said: “Rescuing a dog can be one of the most rewarding things you could ever do but that’s not to say it doesn’t come without its challenges.
“The first few weeks can be demanding for both pet and new owner, but with time and effort you can overcome most things.
“It’s so important to choose a dog that’s right for you and that you feel you have a connection with.
“Once at home, being calm and reassuring will help to build your bond and get your new friend settled into their surroundings.”
Do you have a rescue dog? Share any tips in the comments.