If you would like to bring a small dog into your life, you may have assumed that you need to start with a puppy. But have you ever considered providing a home for an adult small dog from a reputable rescue shelter or rehoming charity? There are thousands of wonderful small dogs looking for a new forever home, and your ideal small dog could be one of them.
Many small dogs end up in a rehoming shelter because of a change in circumstances at home – divorce, the birth of a new baby, owner’s death or a house move can all make owning a dog impossible, even a small dog. Reputable shelters usually have a wide range of dogs, including popular small dog breeds from puppyhood to middle age.
Not all small dogs who are looking to be rehomed have behaviour problems – the majority are friendly, sociable dogs who will quickly settle into a new home. Reputable rehoming charities thoroughly assess and rehabilitate the dogs in their care, and they are very careful to match rehoming applications with exactly the right dog.
The main benefits of welcoming a fully-grown small dog into your home is that he is likely to have been socialised and house-trained, and he will probably be used to other animals and accepting of new faces. His health and physique will have been fully checked by a vet, and he will have developed his adult small dog personality. Most rehoming charities and rescue shelters will microchip, neuter and vaccinate every dog before rehoming, and some offer a period of free pet insurance, too.
The downside of rehoming an adult small dog is that he may take longer to settle and adapt to your household than a puppy would, and he may already have what it appears to you as unwanted behaviour patterns. Gentle education and patience are the key. The shelter and your vet will provide essential advice for you to succeed in this journey.
Even the most confident small dog will need a little time to settle in. You’ll need to spend time establishing routines that suit both you and your new small dog, and you’re likely to need plenty of patience and understanding while you get to know each other. On the upside, small dogs that have been rehomed can quickly form a very intense bond with their new owners, so prepare to be bowled over with love and loyalty!
There are rehoming organisations that specialise in small dog breeds, so if you know which breed you want, it’s worth checking those first. Some rehoming charities allow you to visit and interact with their dogs on open days and evenings; others carry comprehensive online details of the dogs in their care.
Most rehoming shelters will ask you to fill in an application form so that they can match you with the perfect small dog for you. It’s really important to be as honest as possible because a home visit is likely to follow after you’ve been matched with a potential small dog, and he has been reserved for you. In some cases, you may be encouraged to visit and interact with the small dog you want to adopt before the rehoming process is finalised. Most rehoming shelters and rescue charities charge an adoption fee – this money helps to provide food and shelter for all of the dogs in their care.