Tips to choosing a rescue dog to suit your personality

In the last article we looked the factors that influence how a dog feels about people, objects and situations. Factors include past experiences, the dog’s natural preferences, health, and other elements in the environment. We discussed how feelings are subjective and, in some cases, cannot be changed.

In this article, we look at the dog’s natural preferences and personality and how that affects how they respond to people and new situations.

Perfect match: The personality test

So, you are at the shelter or rescue organisation looking at dog that is not outgoing and gregarious with new people, what should you do?

Hopefully, before you have decided on adding a dog to your family, you have assessed the amount of time you have to spend with the dog on daily training, exercise, grooming and care. You have also considered the activities that you would like to do with your new dog e.g. dog sports, runs at the beach, accompanying you on the school pick up / drop off, walks in the park etc

For more information on choosing a breed of dog please see:

Additionally, I encourage you to consider the ideal personality of the dog you would like to live with you. While breed will influence personality. Dogs are individuals and their personalities within breeds will vary considerably. Your ideal dog’s personality will largely be defined by you and your family’s personalities, household schedule and activities.

For example, you are a busy family involved in lots of sports and outdoor activities. You want a dog that can travel in the car with the family to children’s sports events and participate in your outdoor lifestyle. For this type of situation, the ideal dog personality would be adaptable, confident, and relaxed. This dog could cope with constantly changing schedule, changes of environment, and exposure to many people, potentially without the support of a family member.

In this family situation, a timid, inexperienced dog or one that needs more family member support in new environments would not be ideal. However, this dog could be suited to a family with a more fixed schedule or without the expectation of the dog accompanying them to unfamiliar places.

At the shelter / rescue organisation, if the dog you are looking to adopt does not match your ideal dog personality then move onto to the next prospective family member. A poor match between dog and family can be stressful, frustrating and disappointing for you and the dog.

But I really want this dog…..

In the next article, I will provide some tips for integrating the dog with the less than perfect personality match.

Teamwork Dogs provides group classes for puppies, adolescents and adult dogs at several locations on the north side of Brisbane.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay