Choosing a Rescue Dog

How long is the dog to be left?

A young dog or puppy will want company much of the day. If they are left they will become bored and may chew or become destructive. A dog of 3 years or older is much more settled. They still should not be left regularly more than 5 hours. Like you they need to relieve themselves. An older dog can also become bored but they do settle into a routine easier. It is NOT true than an older dog cannot be trained.

Who will be living with the dog?

The dog needs to be suitable for everyone that lives in the household.  We will discuss your circumstances with you and try to help match you with the right dog. A Large dog could accidently knock over people/young children who are not steady on their feet. A taller dog may suit someone who has trouble bending down or who is in a wheelchair.

I have children, can I still have a rescue dog?

We are cautious about homing dogs with young children. Dogs and young children should never be left alone together. We would suggest a more placid dog that would tolerate lively youngsters. Puppies have teeth like needles and scratchy claws and their playfulness can be problematic.

Where is the dog to sleep?

Most dogs will sleep wherever there is a comfortable bed for it. We do not allow any of our dogs to be kept outside. It would prefer to be with you but can be trained to sleep in a room away from you.

Is the garden secure?

All dogs need a secure area they can be let out in. The height of the fence needed will vary from one dog to another. It is not true that a small dog will only need a low fence. Many smaller breed of dogs can clear higher fences than larger dogs. A larger dog will of course need a stronger fence. Hedging is not sufficient to keep a dog secure, it needs fencing behind it. Remember a fence is not only to keep a dog in but to keep others out. We will be happy to recommend fencing when we do a home visit.

Who will look after the dog if you are ill?

In the event of you being ill, who will look after the dog. If you live on your own you will need to ensure there is someone to look after your pet should you need to go into hospital or you just feel too poorly to give it the care it needs. If you are on your own, you may like to consider fostering. Three Counties would then be on hand to take the dog in the event of you being ill.

Can you afford to have a dog?

Having a dog is not as simple as just providing bed, board and walk.  Your dog or cat will need an annual vaccination booster when your vet will also give them a health check. You can contact Burghley Veterinary Centre for further information. You will also need to provide for the possibility of Veterinary treatment for illness or accident. Pet Insurance is strongly recommended.

Do you have the time to have a dog?

Having a dog is a real commitment. If you are away from home a lot a dog may not be for you. You may want a dog for companionship but it will also be one of  your dog’s greatest needs. If you are away on holiday a lot your dog may not want to be in kennels for long periods. People who work from home often make good dog owners as the dog can have an all day companion.

What sort of dog should I have?

The younger the dog the more demanding it will be. All dogs can be re-trained regardless of age. Not all small dogs make good lap dogs. Not all big dogs are boisterous and brave. Some breeds need firmer handling than others. Some breeds are more intelligent than others. The list here is endless. You will need to decide what you want from the dog before making the decision as to which breed or crossbreed you want. We will be happy to give you advice.

Why do people get rid of their dogs?

We are contacted (at almost any hour of the day or night) by people wanting their dogs re-homed. Usually nothing is wrong with the dogs unless problems have been inflicted by the previous owner. We get as many pedigree dogs as we get mongrels.

Typical reasons for dogs coming to us for re-homing include:

  • Going out to work full-time
  • Can’t cope because of young children
  • Expecting a baby
  • Going on holiday
  • Novelty has worn off
  • Dog is no longer earning money – Greyhounds normally
  • Relationship break up
  • Moving to rented accomodation where pets are not allowed

Note: Unwanted gifts at Christmas are not usually a feature.


One of the by-products of our work here at Three Counties Dog Rescue is the giving of advice to owners who have problems with their dog ownership. There are a confusing array of dog ownership books and programs available, but in the end, a few practical suggestions based on common sense, indicating the best way forward. We are also able to give advice about diets and special foods for dogs.

Is there anything wrong with rescue dogs?

The majority of dogs and cats taken in by Three Counties Dog Rescue are healthy, although some need fattening up a bit! Those in need of treatment are kept by us until they are fully fit before re-homing. Some of the animals with ongoing but treatable ailments are offered for long term fostering.

Sadly, there are more dogs and cats than there are suitable homes, and this is made worse by owners breeding from their dogs and cats, often for misplaced sentimental reasons.

Our policy is for all dogs and cats to be neutered (male and female). This significantly increases our costs, but in the long term will help to keep the numbers of unwanted dogs and cats under control.

If at any time you think your pet has something wrong with it take it to your vet straight away. Delaying matters could result in distressing your pet and increasing the costs of a cure.


Beverley Hasler is a qualified animal behaviourist and holds a post graduate diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling from Southampton University. She has extensive experience in working with animals for the past 10 years. Beverley runs her own referral behaviour consultancy and dog training school; she also works with Three Counties by giving behaviour and training advice, as well as working with some of the dogs still in rescue.