Taking in a "previously owned" dog:
Choosing the right dog carefully is the first logical step in insuring a compatible match.
In my work, I deal with hundreds of dogs every year. Multiply that by over 30 years I've trained dogs for a living. That's a LOT of dogs I've had my hands on! I've seen most of the problems that occur between humans and dogs, but I can still be surprised occasionally!
People choosing pets want as few surprises of the unpleasant kind as possible. This a long-term committment we're talking about. If I have a incorrigible goldfish, I can flush it down the john. If I have problems with a rabbit, I can put it in the crockpot.
Dogs are another story! Normally, when a person gets a dog, it's there to stay. I'm amazed at the behaviors some people will put up with in a dog, and continue to feed and house and pamper the renegade!
Animal Shelter VS rescue groups: The View From Here!
I know a lot of you out there are all about saving a dog from a bad environment. My hat's off to you. You open your home to an unknown entity--a total stranger. That takes a lot of courage, more than I have.
I'm not saying I don't want to save dogs--after all, that's what I do for a living, right? But in adopting a dog, I don't want to sacrifice the harmony of my own family, or put them in danger.
Consider this for just a second, without stoning me: When you go to the dog pound--excuse me, Animal Shelter--and pick up a promising pup, what do you know about this dog? Usually nothing. Even people giving up their own dog usually label it a stray, to avoid the appearance of abandoning an animal. So the staff has nothing to tell you about this dog, or why it was given up. In meeting the dog in this environment, you are not seeing the real personality of the dog. This is not the dog's turf. They are probably intimidated, if not scared to death, and can't act normally. Or so desperate to be handled that they appear friendly and cooperative. Dogs don't lie--it's just how a dog behaves in unfamiliar surroundings and circumstances. I know many people have found dogs that have become beloved pets at the Animal Shelter. But from experience, I will tell you there are many more that have taken home big surprises!
There is a way to save unwanted pets, and protect yourself at the same time.
This is by going through an established rescue group. The dogs they put up for adoption have often been pulled from the pound. But before they are adopted out, they are placed with a foster family for evaluation. This way the rescue group can determine what type of home best suits this particular dog. I work with several groups helping to evaluate dogs and families. What a wonderful way to shop for a dog!
First, you decide if you want a purebred. If not, there are many groups out there who rescue mixed breeds. But if you would like a purebred--again, fewer unknowns--there are as many rescue groups as there are breeds.
I am a case in point--I wanted a certain breed. I contacted the rescue group responsible for this breed. I told them about my lifestyle, my family, and my particular requirements in a dog as per temperment, energy level, age, sex, etc. I basically created my own perfect dog, and they went about finding him! We are a fantastic match. No surprises, except a few really good ones.
I have been fostering a wonderful older dog to determine what kind of home he would best fit into, and now there is a woman out there who wants what he has to offer, and he will be moving into what the rescue groups have termed his "forever" home. I see nothing but satisfaction from this arrangement! She knows what she's getting, and we're satisfied he will be getting what he needs. The perfect recipe for a happy family.
If you are thinking about rescuing a dog, take a look at the groups out there working hard to find good homes for good dogs. The fees range from $100 up, and usually include spaying/neutering and all shots.
There are way too many dogs being bred out there, and here is a sound and reasonable way to help.
Bossman, adopted from the ABMC Belgian Malinois Rescue, is ecstatic in his new home!
AKC rescue groups for purebreds!
Another good site! Good hunting!
Some canine quotes:
"One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you're feeling blue is that he doesn't try to find out why."
"I am called a dog because I fawn on those who give me anything, I yelp at those who refuse, and I set my teeth in rascals." Diogenes
"No animal should ever jump up on the living room furniture unless absolutely certain he can hold his own in the conversation." Fran Lebowitz
"Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes."
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog."
This is why I work with dogs.