What People Won't Tell You About Rescue Dogs
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What People Won't Tell You About Rescue Dogs

Along with all of the challenges, it is still one of the most rewarding things a person can do in their life.

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What People Won't Tell You About Rescue Dogs

You will always hear me advocating for rescuing dogs rather than buying them from a "puppy mill." Puppy mills breed dogs at an alarming rate and make profit their number one priority rather than the animals' welfare. Not only will you be saving a life by adopting, but you also could be saving a lot of money. Normally, the cost of spay/neuter, vaccinations, and sometimes microchipping is included in the adoption price. Most of them will also be housetrained, which means a saved rug or two.

I'm sure you've all heard the spiel about why adopting is the right thing to do, but I bet no one has told you about the challenges rescue dogs can pose (rightly so, many of their lives have been an unstable living hell).

Anxiety and Fear

So you bring Fluffy home and you expect him to be full of excitement and cuddles because he's free of the shelter, but instead he's cowering away under the couch. He's simply scared - his entire world has been changed and he doesn't know if his new home is going to be good or bad.

Food Aggression

At the shelter, it may have been hard for Fluffy to get a bite to eat without having to fight for it. In his new home, he may not realize that he no longer has to fight for it and may react with barking, snarling or even biting when you or another dog gets too close during mealtime.

Resource Guarding

This is one that hits really close to home with me and my rescue dog, Lily - resource guarding. Whether it be food, toys or people, he's had to share everything in the shelter and has nothing to call his own until he gets out.

Marking their Territory

When Fluffy first gets home, he's going to want to sniff every inch of the house and yard. There's a good chance he'll mark everywhere, especially if he catches the scent of another dog around. Even dogs with good house training can still mark their territory.

Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety is a behavioral condition in which a dog will exhibit distress and behavior problems when separated from its handler. Examples of the behavior can range from barking/excessive salivating when the handler leaves them in the crate, all the way to defecating.


All of these behavioral issues can be solved with training and consistency, and sometimes with the aid of medication. In my personal case with my border collie/lab mix, Lily (shown in picture below), she shows signs of separation anxiety and resource guarding. As a first time dog owner, this has been an extremely stressful time. I've grown up with the idea that all dogs would be like my dog at my parents' house: well trained and easy-going. As this is not the case, I have had to do extensive in home training on a daily basis as well as hire the help of a professional. She doesn't like seeing men approach the house. If a man comes, the resource guarding kicks in at full capacity. We are in the process of teaching her that it is okay to trust men again and that when we leave the house, we will be back and it is okay to relax in her crate until then.

Many dogs in the shelter have ended up there, not because of behavior problems, but because of their humans' being unable to care for them anymore because of a move or a divorce. With that being said, there are 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats who are being euthanized each year because there are too few people adopting. Adopting a pet is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life and it not only saved Lily's life, but gave me a sense of responsibility and purpose that I did not have before.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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