Friday, 25 April 2008

Dogs Trust tips: how can I be a good owner?

We're contacted by a whole range of people interested in rehoming a dog, and many of these are first time dog owners. Some pups can be unsuitable for those who haven't experienced dog ownership before, but even old hands can have challenges when bringing a rescue dog home.

Still, whether you're taking a puppy or an older dog home, the basic common sense approach still applies. The first thing you need to do is research the breed characteristics thoroughly, and stock your house with food, bowls, beds and toys ready for your new arrival. If your centre knows its stuff, as ours do, you'll be given as much background and information as we have on the individual personality of the dog you're taking home.

Of course, there are tips that other owners can give you based on their experiences. I spent some time on the DoggySnaps forum, asking our 37,000+ users what they did to ensure their new dog felt safe, welcome and happy when settling into his forever home.

Being an honest bunch, they gave a whole range of suggestions which you can read about here, admitting to mistakes and problems. What shone through was the care and consideration which they'd given to their choice of dog, and how much effort they were willing to go to to let this new dependent in their lives know that she was home for good.

Rehoming is a truly amazing gift to a dog, and it can be the best present you ever give yourself. Many of our friends write to us telling us how taking home their dog was the best thing they've ever done. The health benefits or dog ownership are well-known, which is why we want to do what we can to help people understand that their lives will be transformed, so they must be ready for it.

Don't forget that even if you've rehomed privately or from another charity, Dogs Trust will still do whatever we can to give you the advice and support you need.
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