How to Choose the Right Rescue Dog for You

how to choose the right rescue dog for you

Thinking of bringing home a rescue dog? Good for you! Dog training and behaviour expert Louise Glazebrook shares her 10 essential tips for choosing the right rescue dog for you.

Making the decision to bring a rescue dog into your life should be every bit as exciting as deciding you are going to bring home a puppy. It is the start of a new chapter with lots of fun to be had in the future, providing you do it properly. StyleTails’ resident dog training and behaviour expert Louise Glazebrook from the Darling Dog Companygives us her top 10 tips for choosing the right rescue dog

1. It takes time. Don’t expect it to happen overnight and if it does – then there is a problem. No decent rehoming centre should let you walk away with a dog on the same day that you visit. You need to register with and meet the rehoming team at a reputable rehoming centre. It is not a one stop shop for dogs to buy on the day.

2. Never, ever buy a dog online, regardless of whether it’s a puppy or a rescue dog. Remember that those dogs advertised as being great with kids have never had an independent temperament assessment, so by taking a stranger’s word for it, you are risking all kinds of havoc on your family.

3. I call rescue dogs ‘second hand dogs’, not in a derogatory way, but it is essentially what they are. Often people get caught up in the idea of their rescue dog’s ‘story’, which is easy to do. The dogs you choose needs to be right for you, not just the one with the saddest story ever.

4. Always remember that a bit like second hand clothes, there’s not always something faulty with dogs sitting behind bars. Often it’s that a previous owner was lazy, got bored or couldn’t be bothered, so rehoming the dog was easiest option. Of course there are stories of extreme neglect and cruelty, but these dogs will have a really specific home that they have to go to.

5. Spend time working out what you and your family want from a dog, wherever it comes from. This will best enable you to work out if a particular dog you are seeing is right for you. I hear lots of stories of people who are being forced into taking on a particular dog even though they didn’t want it. In honesty, I feel really strongly that the owners and rehoming centre must be happy with the selected dog. If you don’t bond with the dog, love it and are desperate to share your life with it then problems could occur. Always go with your gut instincts

6. I always recommend that clients make a list of the things that are crucial to them, and then a list of things that have room for manoeuvre. It’s far better to go in armed with this rather than changing your mind to suit a dog you have seen, which in your hearts of hearts you know isn’t right for your lifestyle.

7. Don’t lie about your family or personal situation to get a dog. Usually if a dog comes in as a stray to a rehoming centre, they will not re-home it with children under the age of 16 years old. There is a good reason for this – as the dog’s history is unknown. I recently witnessed a woman in reception arguing with staff about this policy. Please rest assured that this is for public safety. There will always be a good reason why a dog cannot live with kids, so to lie to the rehoming team about the children in your family would be a very dangerous thing to do.

8. When you spend your weekends looking at the dogs in the homes, try to look past their kennel behaviour. Often it isn’t always a great indication of their character as a dog, so please do take the time to get them out of the kennels and find out more about them.

9. One of the biggest mistakes I see people making is loving a dog and going away to think about it. If you love that dog that much, put a ‘provisional booking’ on him while you spend the time bringing the rest of the family to meet him and sorting out your references. Otherwise he may well disappear and you will forever miss that funny little face!

10. Enjoy your time searching for your new best friend. Once you find him, you have the most wonderful future to look forward to if you have put all the hard work in.

If you are thinking of adopting a dog, please see our handpicked selection of the UK’s best animal charities on our charity page.

Louise Glazebrook is the founder of London-based urban dog training and behaviour experts, the Darling Dog Company. Louise also provides assistance with finding and matching you with your perfect dog – rescue or not!

Image via


Louise is one of London's leading urban dog trainers and behaviourists. Her passion for dogs sees her take on all sorts of projects – from working with Dogs Trust to promote responsible dog ownership in inner city estates, to finding BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw his perfect rescue pup. Louise lives in Hackney with her husband, baby son and her deaf Bulldog Cookie.

1 Comment

  • Reply September 24, 2016

    We Visit the Dog Adoption Rescue Centre | That Wise Lady

    […] you’re interested in adopting a dog, please take a look at this guidance from Louise Glazebrook before you go ahead. Adopting a dog is a big decision that should not be taken […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.