Posts Tagged ‘Shelter Dogs’

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.

So You’ve Chosen A Shelter Dog To Adopt?

Gemma | August 6th, 2009
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One the most remarkable features about adopting a dog from the animal shelter is the diversity in the types of dogs that are available, their size, as well as the different temperaments. It is truly a fun experience for the family that is intent on going home with a newly adopted dog to choose from hundreds of different mixed breeds, all with interesting characteristics.

Another positive note about adopting a dog from the animal shelter is that most of the dogs are already older and housetrained. This is good news for the busy mom or dad who does not have the time to devote to a new puppy every day until the animal is properly socialized.

Not only are many of these dogs housetrained, a large majority have also had some level of obedience training. Between being house trained, been through obedience training, and already spayed or neutered, an adopted dog from the animal shelter is a prime choice for many people.

Congratulations, You’ve Made Your Selection, Now What?

Once you have selected a dog, be prepared to pay a small adoption fee. This money goes towards the support of the animals that have not yet found a home, as well as the staff that takes care of them.

In the past there have been numerous shelters of the Humane Society that have provided dog adoptions free of charge, however, through trial and error, they have come to learn that most people do not appreciate and take care of something they received for free.

It is sad to say, but the truth is that pet owners that do not mind parting ways with their money in exchange for an adopted dog will always treat the animal much better than those people who receive dogs at no charge. Many cases of neglect and abuse led authorities to owners that received their dogs for free.

Health Records

Many animal shelters provide a thorough history of the dog’s health records. But when it comes to stray dogs that end up at the shelter there is typically very little information that can be provided. Regardless if the dog you choose for adoption has detailed health records or not, you should always take him to the veterinarian immediately for a checkup.

Arrive at the veterinarian’s office with not only the medical history that the adoption agency supplied you with, but also a sample of the dogs fecal matter for tests that the vet will give. There should also be both vaccination and worming information included with dates and any product that was used at the animal shelter. If for some reason you are unclear if the dog has been vaccinated or not, it never hurts to re-vaccinate him.

Having your adopted dog vaccinated a second time, if need be, is a much safer procedure than assuming he is clean and free of diseases which could end up harming his life. And unfortunately, most shelters are overcrowded and may expose dogs to more communicable diseases than other kennels. Therefore, it is that much more essential to have a prompt, detailed examination and vaccination of your newly adopted dog.

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.

How To Keep Your Shelter Labrador Retriever Happy

Gemma | December 27th, 2005
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The old saying that a tired dog is a good dog never applied to any breed more than the adolescent Labrador Retriever. Labs need so much exercise! This is especially true when they are young adults.

They are not a couch potato breed, but they will calm down after a good 40 minutes or so of vigorous aerobic exercise. This is why dog parks were invented!

All young Labrador Retrievers have energy to spare, but Labs confined to shelters for long periods may be in dire need of some serious cardiovascular activity to burn off excessive energy. Most Labs at these shelters aren’t getting enough exercise at all.

Labs are bred to go through the woods and marshes and get that duck again and again and again all day long. This is an extremely active, high-energy dog and if you bring it into a sedentary lifestyle, it’s not a good fit.

Putting a Labrador Retriever in a fenced yard or taking the dog for a walk around the block isn’t enough. This dog’s exercise has to be heavy cardiovascular and it has to wear them out to the point of fatigue.

Finding sufficient outlets for your shelter Lab’s energy can make a huge difference in behavior around the house. Dog-daycare programs and professional pet sitters can offer exercise opportunities during the work day, but even without paying a penny to a professional, you can exercise your Lab by organizing play dates.

Nothing tires out an adolescent dog like another adolescent dog. Meet up with other dog people friends, neighbors or people you meet in obedience class and get your dogs together to channel that energy.

Invite them over for pizza or a backyard grill and turn the dogs loose. A lot of people become very good friends who get together for such dog-related activities. It’s an economical and fun alternative to an organized dog-daycare program.

After about 12 to 14 months, when a Labrador Retriever has finished growing strong bones, it can also begin more organized athletic activities, such as agility (a competitive obstacle course), or other higher-impact activities, such as jogging for long distances.

But never wait too long for obedience classes. This is a common mistake all too many dog owners make, and this goes especially for your newly adopted shelter Lab. Start bonding with it right away under the guidance of a professional, who can help you with strategies for introducing family members, other pets and dog-proofing your home. You’ll set a precedent for good behavior, and you’ll immediately begin building a relationship with your Lab.

Adopting A Labrador Retriever – The One Magic Word

Gemma | March 31st, 2005
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One reason many Labrador Retrievers are abandoned to animal shelters is because they jumped on small children, knocking them over or scaring them. A lot of people don’t understand how to manage jumping and when their Lab gets big, jumping isn’t so cute anymore.

People don’t know how to deal with it so they give up on the dog. Once a Lab has reached its full adult size, jumping can become a real problem, but that’s also an easy problem to fix. All it takes is one little word: Sit.

Sit is the solution to over 90% of behavior problems. The sit command is the answer, and it’s the easiest thing in the world to train a dog to do. When a dog is sitting, it can’t be jumping up. Train your newly adopted shelter Lab to sit with big rewards and you’ll see a huge difference in behavior.

Many adult Labs already know the sit command so using it frequently can nip jumping quickly. Even Labs that don’t know the command to sit know how to sit. If you teach the dog to sit on command, you’ve solved all kinds of problems before you ever get to a training class. Labs are so trainable because they want to please you and they want rewards. They really do want to sit for you!

Out Of Control Jumpers

Teaching your dog the off command is necessary for those out-of-control jumpers. Jumping up is the way the Lab expresses how desperate it is for attention. The more hyper you get in response to this behavior, the more excited your Lab becomes. Even yelling is attention to your Lab. Teach him that the only time it will get love and attention is when it is sitting. Ignore it when it jumps on you become a statue, literally.

To teach off you will actually want to invite this excitement from your Lab by acting excited yourself. Then, when it jumps up, cross your arms, turn away and quietly say off. Then wait don’t move, talk or make eye contact.

When the dog realizes it’s not getting any sort of attention, positive or negative, it will get back on the floor. Immediately praise him. Your Lab will get bored fast and try something else, like sitting. That’s when you pour on the praise.

After only a few times, if you are quick and consistent, your Lab will learn that it gets what it craves attention when all four paws are on the floor instead of jumping all over you.

Is It Possible To Adopt A Quality Puppy?

Gemma | January 25th, 2004
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Is it possible to find a quality puppy to adopt at your local animal shelter or breed rescue group?

Conventional wisdom says no, but representatives of both enterprises say that’s not always the case. In fact, many puppies are given up and not adopted for a while. For example, one pup named Tiger was dropped off at a local San Diego shelter when he was just 12 weeks old and is still waiting to be adopted. He is 8 months old now.

You can find a lovely puppy at a shelter. Some of these puppies come from backyard breeders or from people who find themselves saddled with oops! litters when an unexpected litter of puppies results when a female dog is impregnated by accident.

Still, the availability of puppies at a shelter or breed rescue group may depend on what breed is involved. Rescue groups rarely get puppies, let alone purebred Gold Retriever puppies, for example. In another group located in New York, there have only been three litters of puppies of the nearly 800 dogs that have been placed.

In any case, breed rescue groups and animal shelters have identical missions: To match homeless dogs with people who will love them and give them permanent homes.

Shelters generally accommodate all breeds and mixes. Many are run by local governments. Some have a policy of euthanizing dogs who are not claimed or adopted after a certain period of time; others will keep adoptable dogs indefinitely.

Generally, all adoptable dogs that come to a shelter are given health examinations and any immunizations needed, and may be spayed or neutered. Many shelters also perform special tests to determine what type of temperament a dog has, and some offer training programs to help increase a dog’s chances of being adopted.

Breed rescue groups focus on serving one breed or mixes in which that single breed predominates. Volunteers for these groups identify dogs in need, take them into their own homes for foster care, attend to their medical needs, and provide remedial training to help the dogs become more adoptable.

Typically, adoptable dogs remain with rescue groups until a permanent home is found. Sometimes, that permanent home turns out to be that of the foster care provider.

Often, shelters and rescue groups work together on a dog’s behalf. For example, if a dog’s time is running out at an animal shelter, staff workers there might contact a rescue group and ask if that group can provide foster care for the dog. Such cooperation literally can be a lifesaver for a dog who needs a little more time to find a forever home.