Review of Rescue Me by Dogs Trust and Alison Smith

Dogs Trust, the UK dog charity with the famous slogan, “A dog is for life not just for Christmas,” has brought out a book called Rescue Me – How to successfully rehome a rescue dog which is full of useful advice about adopting a dog from a shelter. It starts with a section on choosing a rescue dog and covers such issues as what your lifestyle is like, whether to adopt a puppy or adult, big or small, and even one or two dogs. There’s advice on what to expect at the centre, and useful checklists clarify the advice in the text. I like the case studies included as it’s always inspiring & reassuring to read of dogs who have found their forever home and happy ending especially when taking them on proved a challenge. My favourite story is the bouncy Bull/Stafford terrier cross who was adopted and is now a fully trained assistance dog.
There is advice on preparing for, taking home and settling in your rescue dog with tips for both older and younger dogs. I love the section on bonding with your new dog. That’s the reason we bring a dog into our lives – to interact with them and grow to love them. There is practical advice on how to spend quality time with your new dog to ensure you get the bonding process off to a good start. Basic training is covered, and good behaviour too, as well as how to keep your dog happy and healthy, including first aid tips and advice on caring for a senior dog.
Taking on a rescue dog can be challenging – as a couple of the case studies show – but ultimately very rewarding, and this book can help you and your dog achieve success.

Here's an extract from the book:

Building a lasting bond

Expecting an instant bond with your rescue dog – whether he’s a puppy or an adult – is a big mistake. Bonding takes time and effort on both sides but, once made, that bond will last for life.

Time together
Spend some time together on a one-to-one basis, whether it’s travelling by car, walking in the park or through busy streets, meeting other people and their dogs, or going to busy events or training classes. Go anywhere that will expose your dog to some unusual situations in which he will automatically look to you for guidance and security. Just by doing this, a bond will start to form.

Have fun
Make bonding fun for both you and your dog; it doesn’t always have to be serious and profound. Try playing with a Frisbee, dancing to music, running round an agility course, or get some popcorn and a few dog treats and curl up on the sofa to watch a movie together. Every year in the United Kingdom there is a ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’, so take yours with you.

Go for a ride
Going out in the car does not have to be a daily occurrence, but your dog will most likely enjoy this time spent together. Most dogs like to go on car journeys and stick their head out of the window. You can make this a special treat for your dog when he has behaved well.

Play
One of the best ways to develop a bond with your new dog is through play. Taking time out to play games together will encourage him to see you as the leader, which will not only help cement the bonding process but also mark you out as someone he wants to spend time with. Ball games, Frisbee, chase or tug – most dogs love them all. However, always make sure that it is you who calls the shots and ends the session.

Keep it regular
During any exercise, feeding times, playtime and relaxation, there should not be any issues with the bonding process if these are all part of your daily routine. Whatever you put into your dog in terms of time, love, attention and training, you will get back many times over from the loyalty, companionship and devotion returned to you by your best friend. From the moment you bring him home, they are a good investment.

Bonding rules
Regular play.
Regular exercise.
Regular feeding times.
One-on-one time with his owner.
Be pack leader.
Never shout or act aggressively.
Try to have fun together.

Review by Julie Hill