So, you want to rescue a dog?

Have you thought about what kind of dog you want?

What breed is right for you and your family?

Do you want a puppy, or maybe an older dog if you have kids?

Having worked at Manchester Dogs Home (where they take in over 7000 stray dogs a year) for over 4 years, I can assure you, these are questions I asked on a daily basis, multiple times in fact… The answer, for the most part, was “I’m not really sure, we thought we’d come and have a look then go from there”.

Now let me tell you why this isn’t always the best strategy.

If you head to a rescue centre not having thought of exactly what kind of dog you’re looking for, you will nearly always end up with the cute looking fluffy type that needs a heck of a lot of training or socialisation.

The adoption staff will tell you this, but you’ll fall in love anyway and potentially come back 24-48 hours later having been to hell and back!

This was a regular occurrence at the Dogs Home, and not because we couldn’t do our job properly, or because the adopters weren’t serious about adopting the dog in the first place. It was just that the dog wasn’t the right fit… maybe the house was too busy, or there wasn’t enough stimulation for the dog, maybe the dog didn’t like being left alone and so destroyed the living room while they “popped to the shops”.

Rescue dogs aren’t for everyone, and 9 times out of 10, dogs are given up for adoption around the age of 8-18 months… the age of adolescence…

This is when dogs become more confident, start to get their hormones and want to explore their world a little better, with or without their owner. They are the “naughty teenagers” who were bought as cute puppies and outgrew their cuteness without the appropriate training.

Could you see yourself taking on this kind of dog?

Over my time at the Dogs Home, I fostered all kinds of dogs, some were struggling in the kennels, some had been adopted out and brought back with issues, some just weren’t pretty enough.

Tyla was my first foster, an 12 month old bull lurcher type and one of those dogs. She had been adopted and brought back the next day for severe separation anxiety… so after much discussion with the Home manager at the time, we decided to put her on anti-anxiety drugs which knocked out the panic response, so she was still able to learn.

We devised a rehabilitation programme and so she came to stay. 2 months later she was coping well with her crate training, so I decided she was ready to go to a new home. I went into the Dogs Home on my day off and was signing her back in as a couple approached with their young daughter.

They had seen her on the way in and thought she was beautiful. However, they had gone to the Dogs Home looking for a cavalier type dog. I emphasised her problems to them, and off they went to discuss it and have a look around… not 10 minutes later they had decided they wanted to give her a go and wanted to take her on foster… Long story short, a month later they had adopted her fully and she is still with them now, at 10 years old. We keep in touch on Facebook, as I do with a few of my other fosters. 

I have always liked working with the dogs with issues, mainly around confidence and anxiety problems. When I wasn’t scrubbing kennels or rehoming dogs, you were likely to find me in a kennel, building a connection and a bond with the nervous dogs, the dogs who weren’t coping well in the kennel environment, some of the long stayers would even be moved to a kennel on my block if I moved because I was working with them. They would go from curled up in the back not wanting to know at all, to running up and being happy to see me in a matter of days, weeks or even months!

I’m super excited to be sharing my story and talking about building a connection with your new rescue dog at Dominic’s event on the 11th September as I think its something that people often overlook. Kennels are somewhat of a pseudo environment and even though as a staff member, we spend time working with these dogs, the kennels aren’t a home. When you pick out a dog to look at a rescue centre, they can be over the top excited because they’re “getting out” only to get home and they shrink into themselves and don’t really interact. That’s where my advice comes in, so come and join us to learn all about bonding with your new family member.

Hi my name is Michelle, and I’m a dogaholic!! After working so many years in various canine professions, I kept seeing dog owners suffering from the same problems over and over, and so with my very own unique vision… Michelle’s Canine Care was born!

​I take my role as your dog walker and dog trainer very seriously! It’s the reason I have spent so much time training up and gaining the qualifications and experience necessary to be the best in my area.

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