Archive for the ‘Dog Adoption’ Category

Questions To Ask The Animal Shelter When Adopting A Dog

Alan | May 12th, 2011
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There are too many puppies being born and sold by amateur breeders and not enough homeless dogs being adopted and raised in a good homes with loving families. If you are a true dog lover and have a passion for these animals, consider visiting your local animal shelter instead of purchasing a new puppy from the newspaper or pet store.

I realize that most families prefer to have a puppy raised from birth, but there are thousands upon thousands of well mannered, healthy dogs that need a home like yours. Most of these dogs and puppies that are living in animal shelters are there for various reasons that do not include acts of violence or sickness.

In fact, it seems to be a common thought that dogs from animal shelters are tainted. Yes, there are many of them that have had problems in the past with abuse or have developed survival instincts from living on the streets, but these animals can all be trained to perfection in most cases.

How To Interview The Animal Shelter

Like any service or product, animal shelters are there to provide a specific function that you, as a consumer, should investigate before making your decision. There should be specific questions asked which are directed straight to the animal shelter that you are considering adopting a dog from.

Very important questions that should always be asked are about how they take care of the dogs. Do they get more than just food and water? Does the animal shelter place emphasis on socialization? Do they allow the animals to move around and interact with the other dogs?

Dogs To Avoid

The last thing you want to do is adopt a puppy who has been crammed up in a small cage during its entire stay at the shelter. This kind of treatment can certainly induce traumatic anxiety disorders, stress, and fear of the outside world.

If the shelter does indeed allow their animals to socialize and spend time outside of their cage, ask the staff how long they are allowed to enjoy this free time and how much human contact is received.

Another addition to your bag of questions when considering dog adoption from an animal shelter is to find out about any types of services that are offered after you bring home a new dog.

Do they provide pamphlets or brochures that explain the best way to handle an adopted dog or puppy? Are there tips in the form of a newsletter or website information that can help your adopted dog adjust easier? What about training, can they refer you to a qualified dog trainer that specializes in shelter animals?

Be Prepared To Ask A Lot When Adopting A Shelter Dog

Kate | May 8th, 2010
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Do you think you have what it takes to be a true dog lover? If there was one thing that you can do in this world that would greatly contribute to the canine family, would you be willing to sacrifice a little extra time and patience?

What I am talking about is adopting a dog or puppy from your local animal shelter. There is no better service you or I could make in terms of raising a dog than by providing a positive, loving home to a perfectly good shelter animal.

For some of you, the idea of adopting a shelter dog will instantly cause you to become negative or feel defensive toward these animals. You have too many preconceived notions and assumptions that could be stopping you from saving a dog’s life, one that would make a great house pet if you just had the open mind and a little bit of extra time to train it.

Have I Talked You Into Adoption Yet?

I’m sure it may take a bit more persuasion for some of you to open up your hearts and minds to adopting a shelter dog, but for the rest of you who have decided that you want to visit your local animal shelters to find a dog or puppy who needs a good home, make sure that you approach the staff with a few questions before making your decision.

Ask about what kind of medical treatment the dogs receive. Most organized animal shelters will at least provide the minimum care necessary needed for a dog to go home with you, however, there are some places that unfortunately neglect important medical guidelines.

What To Look For

Any organization that handles animals should have a licensed veterinarian on staff at all times. This veterinarian will provide vaccinations in order to prevent hepatitis, distemper, and other health issues. Ask the staff, or talk with the veterinarian if possible, if these dogs have had their blood checked for heartworms. And is the skin clean of fleas and other parasites?

These are just the basic medical requirements that every person should look for when adopting a dog from an animal shelter. Other needs may be a bit more complex.

For example, do you have your sights set on a dog that has been injured in the past, or is currently healing from an injury? What type of injury is it? What type of medication and treatment has the dog received? Ask about the cost of future treatment and medical needs that will arise.

And Don’t Forget…

Another important set of questions and research that you should talk with your local animal shelter about is whether or not they have a professional who evaluates each dogs’ temperament. Most shelters have this information posted on the front of each cage that is designated to the specific dog, or other animal.

It is important that you take this information and assess whether or not it is detailed enough so that the dog can be trusted with your family set up. The staff should also know how the animal reacts with children and around outside stimulants such as moving cars, other people, etc.

This information is valuable in determining whether or not the shelter dog you are considering will be a good match for your home situation. In addition, ask the staff specific questions regarding a dog’s attitude towards being submissive or dominant. Are they overprotective of territory? How often does aggressive behavior occur and for what reasons? The more questions you ask, the better you will feel when you take your adopted shelter dog home.

Be Wise To The Dog Adoption Process

Gemma | February 2nd, 2010
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When selecting a dog at your local animal shelter it is important to keep in mind that, just like people, animals are not perfect. Whether a dog is a $10,000 show dog or a mixed puppy that is free to a good home, each will have specific faults in either their physical bodies or psychological makeup.

While it is important to select a dog that seems to be in good health and high spirits, no dog will come with a guarantee.

Therefore, should your puppy or dog have minor issues such as parasites or kennel cough, try to be tolerant and understand that these are basic issues that most dogs will have.

With a little care and some extra help from you, your adopted shelter dog will overcome these shortcomings fairly quickly and then blossom into a strong, robust house dog that you can show off around the neighborhood.

And if you insist on finding a dog that must be perfect in all respects, may I politely suggest that you go to the nearest shopping mall and buy a stuffed toy dog, because that is as close to perfect as you will find!

Be Critical Of The Animal Facility

I am certainly not suggesting that you let all negative signs slide from the dogs you are trying to choose from at the animal shelter. In fact, besides common issues and idiosyncrasies that all dogs will have, you should have a good idea of what you are in for when selecting one of these animals and be on the lookout for signs of good health.

In addition, do not just focus on the condition of the dogs themselves. Pay attention to the animal shelter and do not hesitate to be critical about the condition of the center itself.

Is it clean, free from odor, and well-lighted? Do the dogs have adequate space or are they crammed with 2, 3, or more other dogs in the same small space? Is there plenty of fresh drinking water available? Does the shelter staff seem genuinely interested and enthused about the work they do? Take a look at the dogs when a staff member approaches them, does the animal respond positively or back away in a state of fear?

The answers to every one of these questions should be a blueprint in your mind that tells you whether or not these dogs are getting the care and treatment that would make them a good candidates to bring home to your family. There have been numerous shelters in the past that treated their animals very harshly and therefore caused more stress and emotional issues for the dogs when they were adopted.

And let’s not be too selfish here on the issue. Don’t just look around and decide that you don’t like the dogs and go home, help do something about the organization in question. If you are visiting an animal shelter with the interests of adopting a dog or puppy, and the entire place looks rundown with staff that obviously is mistreating the animals, call the local authorities to investigate further.

Is Adopting A Dog From A Shelter Like Buying A Used Car?

Kate | October 30th, 2009
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Unfortunately, many dogs, who are otherwise healthy and happy animals, wake up one morning to find themselves without a home and quickly become guests at the local animal shelter or pound. This happens every day, all around the world, when dog owners are not able or no longer willing to care for their pets.

At this very moment, there are millions of homeless animals that are confined to cages all over the country and awaiting the day they are put to sleep unless a generous family comes along to adopt them. Mixed breeds and purebreds; young puppies and aging dogs; male and female; all of these canines are available to anybody, and at a low adoption fee.

While purebred puppies and dogs are the exception to what’s available, rather than the rule, there always intelligent and beautiful mixed breed dogs that range from all ages, just waiting patiently and hopefully to be taken home.

If you are interested in a show dog or a rare purebred with the look of nobility, then the adoption arena is probably not your best choice. If this is the case then your best bet is to visit with a professional breeder or a kennel that allows you to purchase a dog that fits exactly what you are looking for.

Healthy Dogs Only Please

Selecting a dog from an adoption center is just like choosing a pet from any other source, with just a few additions. You want to make sure that the dog or puppy you are considering is healthy. His coat should be shiny and free from bare patches. The eyes should be bright and his attitude alert. Check for discharge coming out of the eyes or nose, which is not a sign of a healthy dog. Their should be no coughing, diarrhea, or vomiting.

The dog you are considering for adoption should be at a decent weight. Rest one of your hands across the dogs’ hip bones on his back. If you can feel the spine in between them, he is considered to be underweight.

Unfortunately, just like buying a used car, it is impossible to know precisely what you are getting until you take your puppy home for a test drive. While the odds are high that your newly adopted dog will be perfectly fine and healthy, there is a possibility that he may be equipped with idiosyncrasies and emotional issues that were developed from living in the shelter.

Most frequently, these types of dogs arrive at your home full of insecurities from the past experiences of being homeless and then forced into living inside of a cage at the shelter. The good news is that these troubles are usually temporary and will fade away in time, provided that you surround the newly adopted dog with love, affection, and without any harsh dog training techniques.

How Does The Adoption Process Work For Rescue Puppies?

Sarah | January 20th, 2009
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For all the dog lovers out there it goes without saying that a new dog for the family should come from a shelter or breed rescue group. While the shelter works with all breeds that are dropped off, rescue groups work with one specific breed. Both strive to prepare their animals as best possible to be adoptable (training, care, health).

At the same time that a shelter or rescue group prepares a puppy or dog for adoption, they also try to find eligible adopters. Both types of organizations place advertisements on the Internet and in local newspapers that describe available animals. Potential adopters might respond by phone or e-mail, or visit in person.

However, not all potential adopters make the grade. Many facilities have very strict guidelines and restrictions on who gets one of their puppies. For example, the following criteria is standard for people looking to adopt a pup from a high-quality shelter or rescue group:

1) A stay-at-home parent (or one that works from home) should be present. This is because puppies can’t stay alone in a crate for more than a couple of hours.

2) There should also be another dog in the family that the new puppy can learn from. This helps immensely in the pup’s socialization.

3) A fence is mandatory if there are children in the house younger than the age of six.

4) And finally, a commitment from the adopter to continue socialization and a willingness to take the pup to professional training.

Just as rescue groups and animal shelters are fussy about who can adopt their puppies, potential adopters should be equally fussy as to whom they adopt a puppy from. For example, at a shelter, there should be co-housing: puppies housed with other puppies for critical socialization to dogs.

Also, the premises should be clean, and there should be appropriate toys and bedding with the puppies. There should be some sort of program or schedule for getting the puppies out of the kennel to interact with people and see different sights and sounds.

Visitors to a shelter should be greeted by a pleasant and knowledgeable staff member or volunteer. Both shelters and rescue groups should be able to provide information on why the puppy was brought to a shelter or into rescue, confirmation that the puppy has received all immunizations, and information on other resources such as owner counseling or dog training.

Once the shelter or rescue group passes your approval, a prospective adopter should look closely at the puppy he or she is interested in before making a final decision to adopt. A puppy that shows signs of illness or poor care such as excessive amount of fleas as an example should be avoided. The dog should have no diarrhea on his rear and hind legs, no discharge, and you want a puppy who shows an interest in you and is at least somewhat active.

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What Types Of Service Dogs Can You Adopt?

Gemma | January 17th, 2009
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If you’re lucky enough to be purchasing a dog that was trained to provide a service for people, or a least adopting a dog that was accepted for such training but did not make it for some reason, you are in for a special treat. Most people aren’t even aware that such dogs exist.

What type of pets are we talking about? Any dog that was trained for or actually worked a career by leading the blind and helping other disabled people is a prime example.

You Have 3 Choices Of Service Dogs To Choose From

When looking to adopt a professionally trained career dog, your choices come in three different forms: dogs that are retired from being guides, career changing dogs, and finally, there are the canines that for some reason did not make it through the training program, or simply put – flunkies.

Guide Dogs No More

Just like people, service dogs cannot work their jobs forever. As these animals get older, they become slower and are no longer effective in helping their owners. The average amount of time that a service dog can work is approximately 8 years. At this point they become prime candidates for adoption by people like you and me.

Dogs That Had Multiple Careers

Many dogs can be taken out of one service job and then trained for another. The reasons for this can vary. It may be because of temperament issues, medical concerns, or perhaps a dog was just not a suitable match for its owner. For example, a dog may be retired from guide service and then prepared and transferred to work at a rehabilitation hospital or a nursery home. Sometimes these types of animals are even assigned to children’s homeless centers in order to play with the kids.

Just Didn’t Make The Cut

Finally, we have our flunkies. Now before you consider a flunky to be a negative thing, reconsider that notion because quite the opposite is true. Thousands of dogs are trained every year by organizations which lead them into service jobs.

Not all of these dogs make the cut and move on to work with people. They are considered flunkies for whatever reason, whether it is from temperament problems, health problems, or perhaps were a little too excitable for service work. However, the important aspect to remember here is that these dogs are still a cut above any other pet you may find elsewhere.

Just to get accepted into these types of programs for training preparation means they already had natural first-class qualities and characteristics which made them ideal candidates. These dogs are typically between the ages of one and two years old. Most are very gentle and loving and have had some type of extensive obedience training during the beginning of the program.

Your Adopted Labrador Retriever Can Learn To Behave

Gemma | December 24th, 2008
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If you adopt an adult Lab from a shelter or rescue group, you certainly can’t go back in time to puppyhood to avoid behavior problems. But don’t despair! Your Lab can still learn how to behave.

Habits that have taken a year to develop won’t disappear overnight. Consistency and patience are required to train a Lab of any age. You can’t let your Lab get away with something once just because you are tired. You can’t pat it on the head for jumping on you one day because it’s cute, then yell at it for jumping on you the next day when you are in your work clothes.

The trick is to see the pearl in the oyster, so to speak. You can have a wonderful family dog hidden inside that rambunctious adolescent. All you need to do is channel that energy with patience and nurture those natural Lab tendencies into behaviors that are appropriate for life with the typical loving family.

Back To The Basics

They key to training a shelter Lab, a Lab from a rescue group, or any adolescent or adult Lab is simple. The golden rule in training is to forget that they are adolescents or adult dogs and treat them just how you would treat an 8-week old puppy – using positive training methods.

In many cases, people who adopt adult Labs from the shelter believe an older dog should know better, and this can set both dog and human up for failure and disappointment. If your adopted Lab is acting up, it isn’t because it is being spiteful. Just because a dog is older doesn’t mean it should know better.

A lot of people get really resentful about the behavior of their shelter Labs. They think their dog is abnormal because it isn’t acting like that calm, sweet, mellow Lab down the street. But this is normal behavior for Lab puppies and also for adolescent Labs that haven’t had any training or that don’t understand what is expected of them.

This kind of behavior is frustrating, but you have to understand the Lab’s natural tendencies and you have to be patient. Rambunctious behavior from a shelter dog is actually a good thing. A dog that has been moved around a lot tends to be insecure and overwhelmed, leaving it subdued for a few weeks when placed in a new home.

The dog isn’t sure whether it is going to stay with you but when he starts jumping up and running around like a toddler, that’s really good news! It means that your Lab is finally feeling comfortable and starts acting more normal. At this point, you can manage training problems and start back at square one, as if it were a puppy.

Why Were These Wonderful Family Dogs Given Up?

Gemma | December 21st, 2008
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An adolescent dog is a hard sell for adoption, even if they are the types of pets considered to be ideal for family living, such as the Labrador Retriever. And when people do make the commitment to bring home a large, enthusiastic canine that hasn’t learned any manners yet, regret may set in quickly.

You see these types of dogs in shelters all of the time because, in the outside world, people see other family-oriented dogs that are calm and sweet and think they naturally come that way. They don’t realize how much time it takes to get these dogs to that point, and they give up because the drive and the high energy level is more than they are willing or able to deal with.

Many otherwise well-behaved dogs act wildly in shelters, not because they are always that way, but because of their situation. When you adopt a dog from a shelter, what you see isn’t always what you get. If the dog is wild and jumping up, it could be crying out saying, Hey, look at me! I’m a friendly dog! Pick me, Pick me!

On the reverse behavior, if you see a dog that is really quiet, it could just be overcome by the noise and all the changes it has just experienced.

Why Are These Popular Dogs There In The First Place?

Popular family dogs you can find in the shelter may have been dropped off because many families found that they could not tolerate the typical behaviors that came up, such as the incessant need to chew and an energy level that sometimes seems unquenchable.

Dogs bred for fieldwork (hunting) can have even more energy and drive than other breeds. Their exercise needs may seem impossible to meet, so many of these guys and gals end up in animal shelters or in rescue groups without ever having had any training.

Constantly shifting from one home to another and having to endure long periods of confinement in small spaces can make inappropriate behavior even worse, simple because the dog isn’t getting the exercise or attention it craves.

When an adolescent or adult dog has never received any formal obedience training, he may seem incorrigible, and that’s not what people expect from an adult family-type dog. Take the Labrador Retriever as the perfect example one major reason why people adopt adult Labs is to avoid a lot of the work that comes with a puppy.

These people have heard that adult Labs are calm and they think this adult dog will be no problem at all. But if the Lab was never trained, you can have real problems, such as a Lab that has never learned to stop the habit of puppy mouthing or jumping on people. It’s one thing for a puppy to do those things but when a large adult dog does them, somebody could get hurt.

How To Help A Dog With An Abusive History

Sarah | July 2nd, 2008
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Last year, Angela, a single mother of three teenage boys, had been in contact with the Greyhound Pets of America (a rescue group that finds homes for retired racing greyhounds). She asked the group if they had an adult dog that would get along well with cats, as Angela also loved cats and had several of them.

A lovely greyhound named Bronze fit the bill. Just several days later Bronze was welcomed with loving arms in his new home.

Bronze didn’t know a lot of small things right away, such as how to climb up steps or comprehend a see-through glass door and windows, etc. He did not know how to play and was very weary of people, particularly very tall, thin males. And something also peculiar he was literally afraid of his own shadow!

Any of these things caused fear in Bronze, and the resulting behavior was aggression, snarling and growling. Angelica was worried that his behavior would go beyond this reaction, leading into biting or attacking.

Soon Bronze showed fear towards another specific occurrence: Anytime Angela’s brother would come to visit, and wearing his usual leather jacket and ball cap, Bronze would again start his aggressive stance and snarling. The same thing happened when Angela’s sons would come home with their noisy friends.

The Cause Of Bronze’s Fear

As you know, Bronze was an ex-race dog, so once Angela was able to contact a canine psychologist, the doctor was able to identify the problem right away. He had asked Angela to obtain a picture of the dog’s ex-trainer, which turned out to be a very tall, skinny man that wore a long black coat, along with a specific hat that resembled a baseball cap.

Add to this evidence the obvious experiences of the dog having raced at the track: lots of noisy people, confinement, guns firing, running, more confinement, lots of harsh training commands from his trainer it was no wonder why Bronze reacted the way he did when he was adopted.

Managing these issues was not going to be an easy task. It required Angela to have constant vigilance. The doctor instructed her to remove the noisy teenagers from his presence, teaching Angela to be cautious of how she gave commands to Bronze, as well as have her brother remove his black leather jacket and ball cap when visiting.

In time, Bronze was able to calm down and within 12 months was less afraid of noise and the appearance of any man that resembled his past trainer became less of a threat. Bronze lived to be thirteen years old and because of his new owner’s love and care to learn to communicate, he was a lucky dog one that enjoyed the right that every canine has to be loved and included in a real family.

What You Can Learn From This Story

If you are also considering bringing home an adult dog that has had a history of competing in sports, such as a racing dog, for example, then prepare yourself by taking lessons from the above story. It will not only teach you how to communicate with your problem dog, but could also save him or her from being sentenced to a lonely life inside of the pound.

The Absolute Best Adult Dog You Could Ever Adopt

Gemma | March 14th, 2007
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When deciding to add a new adult dog to the family, have you considered purchasing one that is actually retired? What is a retired dog? Simply put, most people never consider finding a companion that used to be of service to other people, such as a guide dog.

If you look up the reports provided by the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, you’ll find that there are approximately 8,000 to 9,000 dogs in the United States alone that are employed. These animals are out there providing service to our fellow human beings by guiding blind people, helping the deaf, and offering assistance to other disabled men and women.

However, not all dogs who are bred and raised in order to provide some sort of service is actually out there working. And other dogs have indeed been of use to people during their life but obviously cannot continue working forever. To help these animals find homes, there are guide dog organizations who provide adoption programs as part of their services.

These animals are definitely in high demand. Most of them are completely trained and offer stable companionship from the day they are brought home. The reason for this is because most of these working type dogs spent months and even years going through intensive obedient classes and learning training protocols. This type of training is so extensive that most everyday citizens could not afford to have their pets undergo such training from professionals.

Consider this, it takes a very special and intelligent dog just to get excepted into a program which will train them for a career as a service dog. They must be well adjusted, in good health, and show all the signs necessary to make them good students of whatever particular job the trainers will be preparing them for.

Just these attributes alone, before being trained to work, would make a wonderful pet. Now imagine six months up to two years of additional heavy-duty obedience training and career protocol programs. The result is a dog that anybody would be extremely grateful to have as a house pet.

So before you decide to go to a shelter or any of the usual places to buy or adopt a dog, consider checking out local facilities that specialize in providing dogs that are ex-service oriented, or those canines that for some reason or another did not completely make it through the training. Either way, you are guaranteed to enjoy a high class, first rate quality pet.