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Taking Home A Rescue: What to Expect With An Adult Dog

January 09, 2020

Taking care of an old dog


So, you’ve decided to rescue an adult dog. Whether it be from a kennel, your local shelter, or another dog rescue trying to re-home, you’ve made a very respectable and caring decision that will impact your lives for years to come!

Puppies vs. Adults

The average pet parent wants to adopt a cute little puppy, raising him from a young age. That’s great for the adorable puppy, but sadly all too often leaves the ‘not-as-cute’, adult, fully grown dogs in a bit of a tricky situation. The adult is in perhaps more need than the little one, since his chances continue to dwindle as he ages. Assuming the dog is healthy, you could still have some issues that you need to be prepared for when bringing home an adult rescue.

Training and Behavior: Basic Difficulties Possible in Adult Rescues

Most dog breeds in general, whether they are twelve weeks old or five years old, are highly intelligent animals. Just about any breed (depending on size, of course) can be trained to do almost anything you could conceive of a dog doing, from advanced agility to opening doors, guiding disabled owners and retrieving phones even down to actually dialing 911 to contact emergency services (which has been done several times).

When it comes to dog training, the ability of the human trainer is often more important than the ability of the dog to learn, and patience is critical.

Unfortunately, many adult dogs were sheltered in the first place because they were either poorly trained, or the owner wasn’t able to properly train them. As the parent of an adult rescue, you might have to devote more time in training your dog. However, with a little bit of research and devotion, many of the dog’s behavior issues can be dealt with.


The same situation is sometimes true for social interaction, and an adult rescue’s social skills. In most cases, there will be no problem here at all and your new adoption will interact great with others! Sometimes, however, this can be an issue.

Unlike the basic ability to learn described above, developing strong social skills is integral during puppy hood, and can become much more difficult in adults. This is a rare situation, and still can be accommodated for, even cured, with commitment and devotion. There are even some great mobile apps that can help you connect with other rescue pet parents.

So You’ve Decided to Adopt

When going to almost any shelter, you’re confronted with multiple animals to choose from. Which is best the best fit for you and your family? Jumping straight into a situation without preparing yourself first might not be good for either party. Here are some questions you will want to ask, and things you need to check before making your decision:

●     How experienced are you with dogs?
●     Is this your first rescue, or have you encountered many before?
●     Have you studied, and are you experienced with animal behavior?
●     How much do you know about the breed you are considering adopting, and are you familiar with that breed’s requirements?
●     Do you have the right temperament and is your home situation ideal to adopting a particular breed?
●     Observe the dog’s interaction with you, other animals, and workers at the shelter.
●     Ask shelter workers about the dog’s history.
●     Make sure he/she has all the medical paperwork and vaccinations necessary. 

Your New Best Friend

No matter what you decide, adopting a new pet opens up all kinds of doors, leading to a great new adventure for you and your family! All dogs, rescues or not, have lots of love to give and are a wonderful addition to your home. The bonds you’ll form and memories you will create will lead to a fantastic new chapter in your life.

Above all, remember that all pets need patience, discipline, and positive attention; rescues may just need it a bit more, but the rewards are priceless!

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