If you are considering rehoming a dog from a private owner, then you should be aware that you will not have the advice or backup that a reputable rescue would be able to give you. The dog won’t have been assessed by an independent person, and sadly you cannot always assume that someone wishing to rehome a dog will be 100% honest about their reasons for rehoming or any problems or issues the dog may have. It is your responsibility to ensure that the dog you are considering will be the right dog for you and your family, and it is very important that all members of the family and other dog/pets meet a new dog in advance, ideally more than once, before making a final decision to rehome.
You will also need to establish with the present owner what would happen if, for any reason, the dog proves not to be suitable – will they take the dog back, or would it be your responsibility to rehome, for instance?
A responsible owner will probably want to ask you a lot of questions about your home and family before agreeing to rehome a dog to you. Don’t be offended by this and always be honest – it is in nobody’s interests for you to take a dog which proves not to be suitable for your circumstances.
You should also be prepared to ask questions. Some examples of things you may want to check are:
- Does the dog have any ongoing health issues or treatment?
- Has he had any serious illnesses in the past? Any recent illnesses?
- Is any special diet required?
- Is a Vet’s reference available?
- Is the dog insured – could insurance be transferred to a new owner?
- Is the dog neutered? Microchipped? Vaccinated up to date?
- Is the dog generally shy/nervous/outgoing/friendly?
- Has he ever shown aggression/growled/nipped, if so in what circumstances?
- How does he react to strangers?
- Is he used to/happy with children? What ages?
- Has the dog lived with other dogs?
- How does he interact with dogs outside the home?
- Has the dog lived with cats/other pets/livestock? How does he react to other animals?
Training and Care
- How is the dog on the lead? Off lead?
- Does he know any basic commands (recall, sit, heel etc)
- Is he used to car travel? How does he behave in a car?