Dog Adoptions Tips

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Is a shelter dog a good idea?

Shelter Dogs

A shelter dog can be a great addition for any dog owner or family. Gone are the days when only terrible, ill-mannered dogs ended up in shelters. The top 10 reasons for pet relinquishments in 2008 were: 1) owner moving, 2) landlord did not allow pets, 3) too many animals, 4) cost of pet maintenance, 5) owner's personal problems, 6) inadequate facilities, 7) no homes for available litter mates, 8) owner has no time for pet, 9) pet illnesses and 10) biting.

The key is to make sure that you've found a dog that is compatible for you before you adopt from a shelter. Spend some time observing the dog while in the shelter with the understanding that many are in total alien environments - especially the tiny breeds who were more than likely raised in a home environment, not a kennel or shelter.

Most shelter dogs are screened for adoptability. Shelters often pay careful attention to the temperament, likes, dislikes, and behavior of their dogs. Dogs from shelters often get proper socialization and basic obedience training. You'll also have a modest adoption fee to pay compared to the cost of purchasing a purebred dog from a puppy mill via your local petshop.

The added bonus to adopting a shelter dog is that you'll be giving a new life to a dog waiting to give his love and affection to a new owner - there is almost an 'attitude of gratitude' from shelter dogs once you have gained their trust and accordingly, their devotion!

How can I tell if the dog I want to adopt has behavior problems?

Concerns About Behavior

To find out whether a dog that you want to adopt has potential behavior problems, direct questions to the staff about the dog that you are interested in. Ask about the reason(s) for surrender and talk to the people who care for the dog on a daily basis to find out how the dog behaves for them. The good news is that most reputable shelters will screen dogs for adoptability and will disclose any knowledge of previous problems or quirks about a dog.

Also, spend some time interacting with the dog to see how he responds to you and if you two are a good fit. The dog should be reasonably friendly and not skittish. He should respond well to basic commands and not demonstrate aggression or challenge to authority.

How should we make a decision on an adopted dog?

Make It a Family Decision

Make every effort when adopting a dog to make the choice of a dog a family decision. Consider what the needs of your family are and whether you want an active dog or a mellow one. A dog will be part of the family, and each member needs to feel a sense of ownership for the dog and a willingness to help in its care.

What steps should I take in adopting a dog?

Be Patient in Adopting

First do some research and figure out what kind of dog you want for your family. Consider if you want a purebred or a mixed breed dog. Be patient and visit a range of shelters and animal rescue groups. Make sure that you interact with the dog that you are interested in and find out as much about her history as possible. A dog's personality, activity level, and size should always be taken into consideration before you adopt.

What should I ask the shelter staff about their dogs?

Ask Shelter Staff Questions

If you're trying to pick out a dog from the animal shelter, don't be shy about asking the staff lots of questions about the dogs they have available. What personalities do the dogs have? Which ones are noisy or quiet? Which ones are bold or shy? What about their health? Are there any issues or concerns you should know about? The animal shelter staff has had a chance to observe and interact with the dogs and can provide you lots of help.

Do mixed breeds make good pets?

All American Adoption

Adopting an All American (mixed breed) dog can bring you the satisfaction of knowing that you have provided a home for a dog who may never have gotten another chance. Mixed breeds make wonderful pets and are not prone to some of the health problems that purebred dogs tend to have. Mixed breeds are just as intelligent, loving, trainable, and loyal as purebred dogs.

How can I find a dog to adopt?

Visit an Adoption Fair

If you're looking to adopt a dog, consider an adoption fair. Check with your local dog shelter, breed rescue, or pet store for an upcoming event. Adoption fairs to give you a chance to see how a variety of dogs interact with each and you as well. Whether you're looking for a specific breed or you're not sure what type of dog you want, this is an option worth trying

Why should I consider adopting a purebred?

Adoption Saves Lives

If you've done your research and decided on a specific breed, adoption through a breed rescue or local shelter is a great way to give a dog a second chance. Dogs found through rescue groups have often already started learning the basics of house training and obedience. In addition, while the cost of buying a purebred pup from a breeder can be fairly exorbitant, you will often pay a modest fee for an adopted purebred. In many cases these are dogs in good health and an even temperament that were given up by owners who moved or simply no longer withed to care for them.

What do I need to take when visiting a shelter to adopt a dog?

Bring the Necessary Documents

Before heading to an animal shelter to adopt a dog, call and ask what you need to bring with you, in case you find the very dog you want on the first visit. You may need personal identification, a permission letter from your landlord, and a means of payment. You will likely have to fill out an application form as well.

Should I adopt a senior dog?

Choose a Senior Dog

When deciding to adopt a dog, remain open to the idea of adopting a senior dog, if the dog is relatively healthy and well trained.

Senior dogs are suited to a number of potential dog owners. Older canines might be ideal for families that want a mellow, less hyper dog. Someone who wants a dog who is already housebroken might consider an older pooch. And someone who doesn't want a long term commitment for pet ownership might consider a senior dog as well. You'll save an animal's life and gain a devoted companion ready to share your life.

What is a puppy mill dog?

Puppy Mill Dogs

Puppy mills breed large quantities of dogs purely for the sake of profit. These dogs are often not checked for health issues or genetic problems when bred. Unfortunately the mills often keep puppies in cramped caged quarters and do not give them any form of socialization. Puppy mills do not typically have sanitary facilities and are often grounds for the spread of canine diseases. Since many pet stores purchase their dogs from puppy mills it is advisable to obtain your dog from a reputable breeder instead.

Should I enroll an adopted dog in obedience training classes?

Train Your Adopted Dog

It is quite possible that your adopted dog has already had basic obedience training and is well mannered. Whether you decide to enroll you dog obedience training consider is up to you and whether you feel your dog needs it. You may want to consider enrolling in a class to advance your new pooch's skills, further the bond between you two, and get him some social time with other canines.

What are of advantages of adopting a grown dog from a shelter?

Choose a Shelter Dog

There are a number of good reasons for adopting a grown dog from a shelter. Before you select your pooch, you'll be able to get a good idea about her size, health, and personality. Many reputable shelters now offer programs to train and socialize the canines, cutting out some of the legwork for you. Rather than paying the costly price of purchasing a dog from a breeder, you will often pay a reasonable adoption fee. And the best reason of all to adopt is that you will be saving a dog's life and giving her a new home.

How can I find a breed rescue group in my area?

Rescue Groups - Make Contact

Check with your local humane society or animal shelter for referrals to find a rescue group. Also be sure to check the local shelters for the breed you are seeking. You might get lucky and find the purebred that you are looking for.

The Internet is also an excellent resource for finding rescue groups. You can try keyword searches using the breed you're interested in and the word "rescue."

Is it possible to adopt a retired guide dog for the blind?

Volunteer Before You Adopt

Yes, there are a few good ways that you can find out if dog ownership is for you before you make the commitment.

One way is to become a foster caretaker for a dog. Often, the dog's food, medication, and health visits are covered by the organization that you are fostering for. Try you local animal shelter or rescue group for volunteer opportunities.

Another way is to simply volunteer for an animal shelter and become a dog socializer or handler. You'll have the opportunity to help train a dog, play with it, and take it on walks.

A third way is to become a puppy raiser for future guide dogs. You'll be in charge of socializing and raising these talented pups in preparation for their future careers.

What can I expect if I decide to adopt a purebred rescue dog?

Consider Purebred
Dog Rescue

It is always a good idea to consider adopting a pet since so many languish in shelters in need of a home. Generally, most breed specific rescue groups evaluate the health and temperament of the rescued dogs and work to prepare them for new homes. Typically, dogs that come from rescues have current shots and vaccinations ready before they go home to you. Often times, though not always, they will have a history of the dog's likes and dislikes. The good news is that all this information will be readily available to you.

Be prepared to find that you as a potential adopter will also be evaluated for compatibility with the dog.

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Guru Spotlight
Barbara Gibson