What to Look For When Adopting a Rescue Dog (2024)

What to Look For When Adopting a Rescue Dog (1)

There are many paths to adding your new furry friend into the family, and each one is special and a cause of celebration for years to come.Wondering what to look for when adopting a dog? There’s a lot that goes into adding a new member to your family.

There are several things to look for when adopting a rescue dog from your local animal shelters or rescue groups. What to look for when adopting includes factors like personality, health, behavior, size, and other important considerations. You should look for a dog who is friendly and eager to make a connection; a dog whose exercise requirements fit your lifestyle; and a dog who is appropriately sized for your home.

Another thing to look for when adopting a canine companion? You might like a furry friend who loves to travel. Let’s dive into the details about what makes a rescue dog a special family member and how to enjoy life with a furry friend.

What to Look For When Adopting a Rescue Dog (2)

Why People Adopt from Shelters and Rescue Groups

The moment you make eye contact is like finding your long-lost friend. Tail wagging, head tilted, and large, eager eyes, they know it’s you, even before you do. After adoption, no family adventure, holiday, walk, or vacation will ever be the same without them.

But why do people choose to adopt dogs from shelters and rescue groups? Simply put, rescue dogs make great pets.

One can pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars for a special breed. However, when you adopt a dog, not only are you making a friend for life, you will be saving a precious life. You’ll be saving an animal with a heart, a personality, and feelings who wants to be wanted.

And when they are, they know it. They know you saved them, and there is another level of affection, even beyond the already special dog and owner relationship—an unexplainable connection. Simply put, there is nowhere they’d rather be than by your side.

How Do You Know if a Rescue Dog is Right for You?

One should thoroughly consider the responsibility of bringing a dog into their home and caring for it. Various breeds have varying characteristics, and one should make sure these characteristics fit their lifestyle.

But how do you know if a rescue dog is right for you? Many factors come into play. Let’s look at a few.

Breed Characteristics

You should make sure the dog’s breed or mix of breeds comes with the right temperament for your lifestyle. For example, a sedentary person likely wouldn’t be happy with a high-energy cattle dog. An apartment dweller wouldn’t be happy with a Mastiff and might prefer a smaller dog like a Chihuahua mix.


Some dog breeds might be prone to certain temperaments, but a rescue dog’s individual personality is just as important. The right rescue dog for you is comfortable and not nervous in your presence. They might want to be near you and they are relaxed around you. Make sure your rescue dog shows positive body language. Your dog’s foster home family is a good source of information about your pup’s personality.


The right rescue dog for you should be healthy and easy to care for. Should you choose to adopt a dog with special needs, make sure you have the right budget and the right relationship with your vet to maintain a very high standard of care. It’s a good idea to make sure you have the lifestyle and time to care for a dog with health concerns.


What’s the best age for a dog to be adopted? It’s a fact: puppies are a lot of work. This is why many experienced dog adopters prefer to adopt adult dogs who are house trained, beyond the chewing stage, and have outgrown common behavior problems associated with young puppies. Dog training can be a little more difficult for older canine companions, but can still be accomplished with a little patience.

One shouldn’t choose a dog based on appearance alone because all species have distinctive needs. If you can identify the reason of WHY you want to adopt a dog, it will help you in the long run.

There are many factors involved in adopting a dog. Many people decide to get a dog because their children want a pet. It’s a trendy thing to do or for home security. All these reasons are valid, but there are additional reasons to adopt a shelter dog.

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How Do I Prepare For Adopting A Dog?

Adopting a shelter dog is a big commitment, and it takes time, and a thoughtful approach to prepare to bring your new loved one home. Shelter dogs typically need a lot of love and attention because a big reason why they have become shelter dogs is that they have been neglected or not taken care of properly. It would help if you considered many things when preparing to adopt a shelter dog.

Look at Your Schedule

Caring for a dog takes time. Do you have enough time to meet the needs of your new dog?You have to spend time dog training and working with your dog to get them to follow commands.

Many people have busy, routine schedules, e.g., working out, meeting friends for a drink after work, and going out to dinner. However, when getting a new dog, especially a shelter dog, one needs to understand they have to make time for their dog showing them love, going on walks, training, etc. Dogs give unconditional love, but they need companionship to live long, healthy lives.

Look at Your Budget

Will you be able to afford the breed you have taken home?Preparing for specific breeds to enter your home can be challenging if you aren’t familiar with the particular breed. One needs to consider that large breeds will require more food, and the medical bill may be higher. A long-haired dog that sheds can be more maintenance and will need grooming to maintain a healthy coat.

Consider Your Level of Patience

What if your dog has behavior issues? How will you respond?Will you be patient? Adopting a shelter dog means adopting a rescue dog that has probably seen some tough times and just wants to be loved. Typical behavior for shelter dogs is sometimes timid, acting out, and not being well trained. One needs to have patience and spend time with their dog, and adopting a shelter dog can be full of rewarding experiences for years to come.

As you can see, much consideration goes into adopting any dog and special considerations for a shelter dog. When visiting a shelter, they may be timid at first, this is common behavior, but they should warm up after a bit and licking your face in no time!

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How Long Does it Take for a Shelter Dog to Adjust?

Coming from an animal shelter or a foster home into a new home can be a big change for a rescue dog.

How long does it take a shelter dog to adjust to a new home? Though each dog is different, there’s a basic formula to follow to determine how long it might take your new canine companion to get comfortable.

The 3-3-3 rule might tell you how long it takes for a shelter dog to adjust. Let’s break down the rule’s guidelines to help you create a timeline.

  • In the first 3 days in the new home, your dog is likely feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Be patient with your new pup during this time.

  • In the first 3 weeks in the new home, your dog is slowly starting to settle down. He is feeling more at home and comfortable.

  • After 3 months, your rescue dog is likely knows he is home. He is feels secure as a member of the family.

You might find your timeline varies a little from the 3-3-3 rule. For example, a particularly anxious rescue dog might take 6 months or more to feel fully confident and secure in the new home.

How to Pick the Right Shelter

Adding a rescue dog to the family is a big undertaking. Choosing the right shelter to adopt from, though, doesn’t have to be.

Look for a reputable shelter in your area when considering adopting a dog. A good shelter will have health and temperament information about each dog readily available to potential adopters. Good shelters have strong relationships with local vets.

If you’re looking for a specific breed of dog to adopt, you might seek out a rescue that specializes in that particular pooch. For example, the Carolina Basset Hound Rescue has hounds to match with those who appreciate these low-statured, long-eared dogs.

Additionally, the right shelter will do its best to properly pair pups and humans – kind of like a matchmaker but for pets. The right shelter might ask questions about your lifestyle and even preform a home visit. It is a very different experience than buying a dog from a pet store, but ensures a good match between a dog and his new home.

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Where to Adopt a Dog in Highlands or Cashiers, NC

So, where do you start your journey? How do you select the right shelter? Anyone who has spent time in Western North Carolina around Highlands-Cashiers knows it is super dog friendly, with living areas, trails, and parks all perfect for pooches. And there are several reputable shelters and options in the area.

Shelters and rescue groups in Western North Carolina and the Cashiers-Highland area include:

  • Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society

  • Macon County Animal Services

  • Paws For Life Animal Rescue

There’s another surprising place to find a furry friend in Highlands, NC. Believe it or not, but you can even find your furry friend to adopt in a luxury hotel, The Park on Main. Let’s learn a little more about the hotel’s dog adoption program and how it might work for you.

Adopting a Dog with the Park on Main

Have you ever been to a luxury boutique hotel that not only allows dogs but a dog also checks you in?The Park on Mainis a dog lover's dream, a pet-friendly hotel that treats your pets like your family and makes you both feel like royalty.

The best part about the hotel is that you can adopt a shelter dog at the front desk! The hotel has partnered withCashiers-Highlands Humane Societyto foster dogs and help them get adopted into families.

The program started when new owners made the hotel pet-friendly and decided to do more by partnering with the local shelter. Front Desk Butler Bill Kamerer shares some of his expertise on the hotel’s dog adoption program.

What is Your Experience with the Dog Adoption Program?

“It has been very good. We get the dogs from the local animal shelter, the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society. The dogs are at the hotel all the time, the dogs are always here, and because they are at the front desk, people see them often, and they are here until someone adopts them. The hotel guests sometimes take them for a walk. It’s great.”

How Long Does it Take for a Dog to be Adopted From the Hotel?

“It depends on the dog. Some have been adopted in a matter of days, some have taken several months. For the most part, it varies. We have had guests that come back and bring the dogs they adopted. That is always fun.”

Are There Any Dogs In Particular That You Really Remember and Why?

“Sometimes we have had dogs that were more outdoor dogs. They didn’t love being inside. Those are easy to remember. They are all different and have their own personalities. Sometimes you get attached, and you are happy but sad because you know they are going to their forever home. It's a weird feeling.”

When Did the Hotel Start the Dog Adoption Program and Why?

“The current owners bought the hotel and closed it for about a year and did a complete remodel and opened it as a dog-friendly hotel. Dog beds, dog bowls, dog park, and treats in the lobby! The manager thought it would be great to have a foster program, and so the program began!”

Do the Guests Adopt the Dogs?

“Majority of the dog adoptions are with hotel guests, and local people will come to the area. Sometimes people are sent by the animal shelter, but mainly hotel guests fall in love with the animal at the front desk when they arrive.”

Anything Else You Want to Share?

“When the guests arrive at check-in, the dogs will put their paws on the front desk and look like they are checking the guests in themselves. Sometimes they jump on the front desk and greet the guests, which are very interesting. Sometimes the guests will take the dogs for a walk, and people recognize the dogs, and so it makes the guests feel very welcome in the town. You get attached to them, they play in the lobby, and it’s really fun.”

The Park on Main is a remarkable way to start your dog adoption journey. The hotel has dogs just waiting to jump into your arms and feel loved. Adopting a shelter dog is such an impactful bond between the owner and the dog. The dog knows they are finally with a loving family, and they are loved unconditionally. It is such a fulfilling experience.

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Raising a Rescue Dog in Western North Carolina with Landmark Realty Group

Know that you know what to look for in a rescue dog, consider what to look for in a place to live or vacation. Western North Carolina is a paradise for pups and their people with beautiful scenery, miles of hiking, skeet shooting, mountain biking, local breweries, wineries, great independent restaurants, and gorgeous sunsets.

There is so much to do, and the views are breathtaking. The other thing that makes the Highlands-Cashiers plateau unique is that it is so pet-friendly. Many dog owners know the struggle of going on vacation and leaving their furry friend behind or living in a place that doesn’t have many restaurants, breweries, walking areas, and parks where their dogs can go. Pets are a huge part of our lives, and we want to bring them everywhere with us!

Why not live in a place that allows you to do just that! Western North Carolina has it all. It is a beautiful place to raise a shelter dog and help a pooch in need. If this sounds like your dream, browse residential listings with Landmark Realty Group and look forward to living the good life.

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What to Look For When Adopting a Rescue Dog (2024)


What to Look For When Adopting a Rescue Dog? ›

There are various things to consider when adopting a rescue dog

rescue dog
Noun. rescue dog (plural rescue dogs) (chiefly British) A homeless, lost or abandoned dog which has been, or will be, re-homed by an animal rescue centre or charity; a rescued dog synonym ▲ Synonym: (especially US) shelter dog.
https://en.wiktionary.org › wiki › rescue_dog
, such as size, temperament, and living situation. By taking the time to research which breed or breeds of dog would be the best fit for your lifestyle and personality, you will set yourself up for success in finding the perfect four-legged friend!

What are red flags when adopting a dog? ›

If the person says a third party must deliver the dog to you, it's a red flag. If you aren't allowed to meet the pup in person before you agree to adopt them, it's a red flag! And if the person with the dog says the animal must be shipped to you and you must pay upfront, it's also a red flag!

How do you evaluate a rescue dog? ›

Temperament Testing Tips for Dogs
  1. Check out all the Dogs. ...
  2. Find out how long a dog has been at the shelter. ...
  3. Find out who is friendly. ...
  4. Meet with the dog in a quiet indoor environment. ...
  5. Test the dog's touch tolerance. ...
  6. Test the dog's arousal. ...
  7. Test the dog for separation anxiety. ...
  8. Walk the dog (if the shelter allows it).

What is the most important consideration for you when adopting a dog? ›

Research different breeds and their characteristics to find a dog that aligns with your lifestyle. Consider factors such as energy levels, temperament, grooming needs, and potential health issues. Mixed-breed dogs can also make wonderful companions and are often available for adoption.

What is the hardest part of adopting a rescue dog? ›

Common challenges include behavioral issues, such as barking, chewing, and digging, and health problems, such as anxiety and fear.

What I wish I knew before I adopted a dog? ›

Dogs learn from each other and it's incredibly helpful if one pup can model good behaviors! There isn't any magic when it comes to a well-behaved dog — it takes time, patience, and often coaching from a qualified professional. Taking obedience classes is a great way to build your bond with your dog.

How to pick a good rescue dog? ›

There are various things to consider when adopting a rescue dog, such as size, temperament, and living situation. By taking the time to research which breed or breeds of dog would be the best fit for your lifestyle and personality, you will set yourself up for success in finding the perfect four-legged friend!

What is the 3 3 3 rule for rescue dogs? ›

The 3-3-3 rule is a set of guidelines for the first three days, three weeks, and three months after adopting a new dog. The goal of the 3-3-3 rule is to help the dog adjust to their new environment and build a strong foundation for a long and happy life with their new family.

What is the most important trait of a rescue dog? ›

Some dog breeds might be prone to certain temperaments, but a rescue dog's individual personality is just as important. The right rescue dog for you is comfortable and not nervous in your presence. They might want to be near you and they are relaxed around you. Make sure your rescue dog shows positive body language.

What to avoid when adopting a dog? ›

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Adopting a Dog
  • Rushing the Integration Process. Focusing on Specific Breeds. Focusing on the Puppies.
  • Not Dog Proofing Your Home. Not Considering Your Working Hours. Not Having Regular Vet Visits.
  • Transitioning Diet Too Quickly. Trying too Many Things at Once. Final Thoughts.
Oct 6, 2021

How do you know if adopting a dog is right for you? ›

Even the best match, however, must come along at the right time in an owner's life.
  • Know Why You Want To Adopt. ...
  • Get the Timing Right. ...
  • Consider Your Circ*mstances. ...
  • Think Over the Commitment. ...
  • Evaluate Your Home Environment. ...
  • Consider Behavioral Needs. ...
  • Prepare a Support System.

What is the best age to adopt a rescue dog? ›

There are different opinions, as well as a variety of factors, that influence the answer to this question. However, most veterinarians and breeders would put the optimum age to bring home a puppy somewhere between 8-to-10 weeks old. Here's why.

Which dog is least likely to be adopted? ›

Statistically speaking, dogs with black fur are less likely to be adopted. Whether consciously or not, some people assume black dogs are more aggressive or less welcoming.

What color of dog gets adopted the least? ›

It is a statistical fact. Black dogs and cats wait four times longer to get adopted from shelters and rescues as their lighter coated and more colorful counterparts. This phenomenon even has a name: Black Dog and Cat Syndrome.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for adopted dogs? ›

Whether you rescue an older dog or a puppy, a lot of dogs tend to follow the 3-3-3 rule when getting acclimated: 3 days of feeling overwhelmed and nervous. 3 weeks of settling in. 3 months of building trust and bonding with you.

How long does it take for an adopted dog to adjust? ›

It's important to address these behaviors early on and provide positive reinforcement for good behavior. By the end of the first three months, your new dog should be fully adjusted to their new home and routines. They may exhibit more confident and affectionate behaviors as they bond with their new family.

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