My guide to rehoming a dog

16 April 2013

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Lots of the questions I get asked on my blog and twitter are about my dog Max..you've all seen him before and he really needs no introduction ;) A lot of people ask about what it's like having rehomed a dog, working full time, what food I feed him, where I got him from, how I taught him tricks etc, so I've put together a little guide for people interested in rehoming a dog (not buying from a breeder as that process is very different). All my dogs before have been from breeders, and I've learnt a lot in the year and a bit I've had him, so obviously the guide will be purely from experience and what I've learnt during my time with Max.

Finding your dog

There are many rehoming centres around the country, be it small local centres or part of big charities. Google was a big friend of ours and we did lots of generic searches to find the various centres. Personally, we would have driven anywhere in the country to rehome the dog if it was the dog for us. However, a lot of rehoming centres only seem to rehome within a certain radius, as some like to do home checks before and after rehoming. Also, think about the age of the dog you're wanting to rehome - if you have time and patience, a younger dog would be a great bet, but if you simply want to give an older dog who knows his stuff a nice comfortable home, this could work too. Max had just turned one when we rehomed him, and fortunately, he'd passed that terrible puppy stage where they insist on chewing everything so we were quite lucky.

Visiting dogs

When searching for the dog, we were literally checking the various rehoming websites every day. It may not be a quick process. You should find a dog that fits your profile and it's not something to be rushed into. We found Max on The Blue Cross, which is one of the bigger charities and they have centres all around the country. Unlike a lot of centres where you can just wander around, you have to apply to see the dog with The Blue Cross. You basically submit an application and if they think you're a potential match, they invite you to meet the dog. When you do meet the dog, it's away from all the other animals so as not to create too much of a disturbance, and its usually in a safe room where one of the staff will see how you get on, explain the dog's traits and behaviour etc. After the meeting, they let me take Max for a walk in their designated walk area (a little track down the road) so you can have some time alone and see how you're pairing up. After this, you can spend as much time as you want with the dog off the lead in a huge secure paddock. This is where I tested Max's recalls, responses and commands. It's important to do this as it gives you an idea of what you may have to teach them and how much of a challenge it will be. I cannot stress how important it is to take all your family members that will be living with the dog to meet him for the first time. That way, the dog will feel comfortable (and you will too!), as well being able to determine their hangups or problems as lots of rehome dogs do.

Getting prepared

I knew straight away I was going to rehome Max once I'd met him and so signed on the dotted line as soon as I could. Most centres charge a fee to rehome, and for good reason too. Most dogs will come in an 'all inclusive' package shall we say - microchipped, neutered and vaccinations up to date and the price you will pay for rehoming them is significantly less than doing these three separately. Max was only £90 at The Blue Cross, but like I said, this varies. I left it a week between meeting Max and picking him up - I wanted to make sure I had everything sorted. I have a Pets At Home locally and they do consistently well from me. Things you may need to sort out before are:

Collar and lead 
- you will need these for when you pick the dog up

Food/water bowls

Food mat 
(messy eaters!)

Food
- Lots of centres give you a bag of food when you rehome them, usually one of the more expensive foods like Science Plan. However, depending on the diet of your dog and what you want to feed them, this is up to you.

ID Tag 
- NEVER put the dog's name on the tag - if they are very friendly and respond easily to strangers, this could lead them into a sticky wicket. It is recommended to put YOUR surname and number, but if they're microchipped, you don't need that information anyway. On Max's tag, we have 'I am chipped - please scan me!' - that way if he ever did get lost, someone could take him straight to the local vets, he'd be scanned and back to us in no time.

Pet insurance 
- very important in case of an accident..you really don't want hefty vet bills. Pet insurance prices vary so do your homework beforehand!

Crate 
- Some people love crate training, and some people don't crate train, and I don't either. However, I bought Max this collapsible crate from eBay which is absolutely fantastic. He has it in a corner of the hall and he knows he can go there when he wants and that it's his, and when we go on holiday and stay at hotels, this comes in handy as he feels safe and like his home is with him.

Beds 
- Max has his crate (which has a fluffy mattress thing in) as well as a small bed in the living room (which you can see in the photo above..perfect Max size!)

Training treats 
- I'd recommend Coachies..you can get them in small packs or large tubs and they're 1 calorie a treat..the perfect way to train a dog!

Good quality chew treats 
- they will probably be a bit stressed when you first get them home, and to deter them from chewing furniture, give them raw hide chews or similar and keep praising them when they chew them.

You should then be ready to get your dog home!

If you'd like me to follow up with Part Two in tips and tricks, and how to train a dog tricks, please do let me know!

-Tamsin xxx

2 comments:

  1. Two of our dogs were rehomed from the dogs trust, Brady (RIP) & Meg. both completely different to one another!
    I do think more people should go down the rehoming route rather than straight out buying. You can really get some right characters!

    Leanne @ Leanne-Marie | Beauty, fashion & lifestyle. x x

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