Shelters typically house the dogs in concrete/chain link kennel and are run with little access to grass, meeting only the basic needs of the animal – food, water, shelter, minimal medical care.
Rescues get dogs from shelters most of the time, but also on occasion take in animals surrendered by the owner. Rescue groups, usually temperament test the dogs before accepting into them into the program, house the ‘foster’ dogs in a home, often with other dogs, have the dog attend training classes with the foster dogs, and attend public events to get ‘exposure’ for the adoptable dogs, while helping the dogs learn house manners . The rescues also often have an extensive application process to ensure the right match of dog and new family.
Shelters rarely provide support to the dog owner for you after you adopt a dog, except to take the dog back should the adoption not work out. This is fairly common due to the lack of proper training by shelter staff to evaluate potential adopters of the pet to match them with the dogs.
Rescue groups try to stay in contact with adopters of the dogs on a regular basis by doing follow up calls, sending e-mails, offering advice with training issues or other issues that may come up.
The procedures at rescue centers may differs, most rescues will usually only take dogs that pass the temperament evaluation at the shelter. Shelters tend to allow anyone to adopt a dog, simply to get the dog out of the shelter.