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Animals are intellectual, and dogs in particular can have excellent cognitive function. We know, for example, that there is understanding and emotion in every animal. So, when finding their forever home, many wonder if the adopted dog is more appreciative than one that has been living it up since puppyhood.

How clever is a dog?

Research shows that dogs are as clever as a two or three-year-old. Doesn’t sound like much, right? Well, spend some time with a two-year-old then re-visit this post. Most dogs with this intellectual capability can understand multiple gestures and upward of 200 – 250 words. Want to know if your dog can count? Take 2 or 3 biscuits, close your hands and only feed one. He will certainly wag his tail for the other treats!

The adopted dog is aware of his changed situation

When a dog finds a responsible forever home they find comfort, stability and an owner that loves them. The adopted dog knows that things have changed for the better, and those of us who have adopted furkids will tell you that the change from the shelter to the home has a positive impact on their (usually) already sweet personalities. However, adopted dogs are not all the same. Some need time to trust and to adapt to their new environment while others jump in as part of the family from day one. This confidence, whether built from patience and trust or a successful rehabilitation program, comes from dogs having the amazing ability to live in the moment.

However, a dog’s past can never be erased, so careful attention to their specific rehabilitation needs is crucial to a successful transformation to happy dog. In extreme cases where complete rehabilitation and rehoming are not possible, such furkids will for their own good not be eligible for adoption, and will live out their lives in peace in a specialised foster home or rescue centre that is geared for their situation. Even so, every dog appreciates a better life and knows when their situation has changed.

Do puppies know when they have been re-homed?

From the age of 8 weeks, puppies can start to have memories imprinted in them. So, yes, your 4-month-old rescue knows their situation has changed. Puppies who have been abused will too need to learn trust like the older adopted dog. This process may however be faster and easier for a puppy.

Which traits show that the adopted dog is appreciative?

Adopted dogs have shown traits such as unwavering loyalty to their new owners. Adopted dogs no longer have to beg or want for love, food, kindness, play or attention. For this reason, their personalities begin to shine and they appreciate the opportunity to play, bark and cuddle. Remember, the innate happiness of any dog is having the opportunity to live like a dog.

Interested in adopting?

The adopted dog is just as loyal and loving as one from a (responsible) breeder. If you are interested in adopting, ask a local rescue centre to introduce you to some of their furkids and to explain the process of rehabilitation and adoption. If you do decide to adopt, most (if not all) rescue centres will ask an adoption fee that will likely include sterilisation, chip and a name tag. The rescue centre staff will also perform a home check.


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