Rescue dogs come with baggage, but baggage can be a good thing if the baggage will hold all you want. Will any dog be the perfect dog? Will any dog’s human be the perfect dog’s human? The only dog that most of us have had that was even close to perfect was the one over which we are still grieving.

What do you want from your new dog? What do you NOT want from your new dog? To even begin your quest for the perfect dog you must answer those questions.

I once spoke to a woman who had a dachshund. She told me her neighbor asked her to go for a brisk walk with her and her dog—a three year old Labrador Retriever. (If only You Tube was around then.) Brisk walks with a short-legged, ground sniffer may expose a gap between what you want and what you’re not getting.

Dogs are bred for certain activities. The closer the activities you engage in are to the reason the dog was bred, the closer to perfect your dog will be. Don’t expect the dog to change its instincts to match your activities. Humans are supposed to be the smart ones. We may have to pick our battles and adjust our activities to match our dog’s personality in order to close in on perfection.

When you get your semi-perfect rescue dog home, and he exhibits less than ideal behavior, you can either train Rover out of the imperfection, or “manage around” the deficiency.

Let’s say you have a dog who gets agitated when you stick your hand in his food. Don’t stick you hand in his food! A person can live a perfectly fulfilled life with out having one’s hand stuck in dog food. If you feel you must feel up his food in order to show you’re the team leader, and the dog says, “no,” in your world, you do not have a perfect dog. (and possible one less finger). If you accept his little puppy peccadillo and keep your hands out of his food, you have a perfect dog. Congratulations.

A dog is a dog, and she is what she is. You are considering adopting a rescued Lab, warts and all. Learn all you can about the breed and about the Lab you are considering, and when you decide to take one of God’s most perfect creatures into your life, show her you’re up to the distinct privilege and challenge of being a “perfect” Lab’s human.

Tom Payne
Founder Lodestar Dog Ranch
Check out his blog

Photos are of Caderyn a Luvin’ Labs alumni.
Top photo is Caderyn at the shelter in Dallas Texas deemed “unadoptable”
and above, Caderyn at his loving home, in so many ways the “perfect” lab.