On a few separate occasions I’ve been out walking dogs and I’ve been asked if they’re rescue dogs. One of the dog’s was on the lead, as requested by her guardian, due to her recall. The other dog is a bit nervous around dogs bouncing up to her (fair enough!) while she’s minding her own business sniffing the grass and who’s stress I am trying to keep to a minimum, so I politely asked the dog walker/guardian to call their dog away. Both people asked – “are they rescue dogs?” Now perhaps this simply was a query, but I think if you look behind the question that they were perhaps insinuating that the dogs in question have behavioural challenges just because they may be rescue dogs or if a dog isn’t a rescue dog then you don’t have to be as concerned because you know their character. This is a flawed idea because dogs aren’t blank from birth (as Wordsworth proclaimed of babies as blank states while having a red wine writing poetry in the forest.. or how I imagine him to have been doing) – it’s not that simple unfortunately.. genetics will play a part. YDog in the woodses dogs can be influenced by life experiences and there is a sensitive socialisation period they have, but as with children, I argue, their temperament is a mix of nature and nurture. It’s an unreasonable idea that dogs end up in rescue because they can’t be trained, have behavioural problems, or are bad in some way..is totally inaccurate.. actually, dogs and cats end up in rescue for a number of reasons.. a person may have lost their job, experienced a bereavement or are going through a divorce and feel they can no longer care for their pet because of financial or family pressures. To assume that a dog has behavioural problems simply because it’s a rescue dog isn’t wise as all dogs and animals have the propensity to have challenges that we need to work with them on (just like us in life – what ever our current or previous life experiences are). All dogs, and any animal – whether from a rescue centre or a breeder may need training to know how to live with us in our busy human world.

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