thoughts on whether a rescued mini is a good fit for my family?

If you have recently taken in a rescue Schnauzer or rehomed a Schnauzer and need some advice, then please feel free to ask here. Whether it be about integrating your new dog into your home, health or behavioural issues, someone is sure to be able to help.
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Joined: 11 Nov 2019, 12:28
First Name: Ashirah

thoughts on whether a rescued mini is a good fit for my family?

Post by Ashirah » 11 Nov 2019, 19:18

We're a homesteading family in central Maine with a son, 12, daughter, 10, cat, goats and free-range ducks. We run an outdoor education center and have people of all ages in and out all the time. Because of a very small house and car, and asthma in the family, we are looking for a somewhat rugged hair-breed dog in the 20-30 pound range. I've been nervous of schnauzers, thinking they might not have the personality to welcome (or at least be polite) to everyone all the time, and to live peacefully with the cat and the livestock, but recently I've been meeting several people who have minis and think they are excellent. We are coming off a sad situation with rehoming a rescued peekapoo due to resource guarding that we were not able to correct with several months of help from a professional trainer who used positive reinforcement methods. We found the peekapoo a non-kid home and gave full disclosure to the lady who adopted him, who seems absolutely genuine and wonderful. We told her we'd take the dog back if she ever needed to get rid of him. I really think it was the dog and not me ( I know how many hours I put into working with him during the 8 months we had him) but still my confidence is shot. However, I just can't swallow going to a breeder. I grew up with rescues who were all great, I want to try again though I am nervous. The girl I am am looking at in particular is 3 years old, and the rescue is bringing her up from the southern US in a few weeks. I've asked them about her personality but thought I'd ask here, too, just in general if you think this breed is a good choice for us? Thanks!

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Re: thoughts on whether a rescued mini is a good fit for my family?

Post by mikegoodson1 » 11 Nov 2019, 22:25

Hi Ashirah

There will be many more experienced owners/breeders here that can offer assistance but from an 'owner' point of view, Miniature Schnauzers are a great breed. We got our two from a breeder, they are brother and sister (same dog Ma/Pa) but from a litter two years apart, they are brilliant but different personalities.

They are great with children, they can be a bit barky depending on what one you get. My two just bark at passers-by/postman but some other Schnauzers (my girl sometimes) can bark at other dogs/people whilst out and about. They don't shed hair so that's good. They love to be with you so they are people pooches, although I am sure most dogs are like that anyway....I would not consider taking on any other breed now, they are just a marvellous dog.

They have energy/spirit/personality, they are a great breed.

I think it's great that you are dedicated to helping/taking on a rescue dog and I wish you luck/well.

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Re: thoughts on whether a rescued mini is a good fit for my family?

Post by Oscar 12345 » 12 Nov 2019, 13:27

Hi Ashirah,

I would say that this is a more specific will this particular girl/rescue fit your requirements. There are definitely schnauzers out there from pups who could well fit into your family in exactly the way you want but there are probably some that aren't because they are more barky/nervous and sometimes it isn't anything to do with the way they are socialised. The same with rescues. What is her background, why is she being rehomed etc. etc. If the report is good and they have had chance to see her behaviour with all the things that are important to you then you may have found one that is perfect for you. A neighbour of mine has a rescue ex puppy farm breeding dog with the most wonderful happy temperament with everything, never barks, quite amazing really when you know how they have been treated. Good luck.
Man cannot survive with wine alone...
we also need a schnauzer.

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Re: thoughts on whether a rescued mini is a good fit for my family?

Post by zeta1454 » 12 Nov 2019, 15:54

Hi Ashirah and welcome to the Forum :-)

While a miniature schnauzer may be an excellent breed choice as a lively companion dog for your family, the critical warning here is that you are looking for a rescue which really does raise many concerns, as Julie has highlighted above.

"Rescue" can can cover a multitude of different scenarios from dogs that have been saved from flood, fire, earthquake or war zones; ex-puppy farm breeding dogs; dogs picked up by the dog warden off the streets; dogs whose owners have surrendered them to a shelter due to behavioural issues; dogs whose owners have died or been hospitalised etc. All these traumas will have affected the dog concerned to a greater or lesser extent depending on the resilience and temperament of the individual dog. In all cases, it may be impossible to know ahead of time just how badly a dog has been affected by the trauma. In some cases, especially if a dog is very young, they may be resilient enough to shrug off their past but there is no guarantee and it is often impossible to know just what has happened in the past that may affect a dog's attitude to children, men, women, elderly, people with beards, people with sticks, vehicles etc. All the things which a well bred dog will have been socialised with but which a poorly bred or subsequently abused or isolated dog may over react to. There is also the issue of trust and the more often a dog has been ill treated or even just passed from one home to another or from shelter to home to shelter, the more damage will be done and the dog may struggle to trust people, may be reluctant to be touched, may fear social interaction and be especially fearful of large numbers of people or certain situations where they feel they cannot escape to safety.

I would always recommend that anyone looking for a particular breed of dog should initially raise a puppy of that breed obtained from the best possible breeder e.g. anyone following the Puppy Culture protocol or similar. That way you have a better understanding of the nature, temperament, grooming needs, exercise requirements etc. of the breed before taking on a 'rescue' dog of that type where you have no idea if the challenges of that individual are common to the breed as a whole or the result of abuse / neglect or other trauma.

The more you know about the history of a puppy or dog, the more prepared you can be to introduce her or him to your family and, with a first class breeder to support and advise you throughout the lifetime of the dog, you have much better chance of giving a puppy the happiest of lives and enjoying the rewards of a canine companion in your family.

The less you know about the history of the dog or puppy the greater the risk that both the dog and your family are going to suffer if the challenge proves too great, as you found out with your previous rescue. So many factors are significant when adopting a dog including: temperament and health of the parent dogs; the quality of care given to mother and pups from birth to weaning; the amount of enrichment and socialisation provided by the early caregivers; the subsequent situations in which the puppy finds itself. If the puppy has been born into the best of circumstances, in almost all cases it will go on to have a happy fulfilled life with its new family....but any rehome or rescue dog will have some issues adjusting to a new home and the less you know about their background, the greater those challenges are likely to be.

I would also say that, as regards anyone offering to transport a dog for rehoming over a great distance, unless you know the people personally and have full trust and confidence in their integrity and understanding of the dog in their care, I would not advise taking any dog from them - unless possibly you have a verifiable foster care report and have met and interacted with the dog yourself on several occasions. I would also expect them to be sending someone to inspect the prospective home environment and to interview the family fully on their experience, knowledge and future plans for the little schnauzer before releasing her into anyone else's care. Sadly, there are plenty of "rescues" which border on the criminal, being solely selling outlets for puppy farms, or who are ignorant of the welfare needs and requirements of traumatised and abandoned dogs.

It is vital to know that you can provide a lifetime of love and care to any dog or puppy you adopt from breeder or shelter as every rejection or re-homing further damages his or her chances of happiness and possibly of life itself. It is not something that should be undertaken lightly even for the best of reasons, as ultimately it is the dog that suffers the consequences if the "rescue" fails.
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. ~Roger Caras

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