Monday, September 19, 2011

Shelter Dogs

Shelter dogs are wonderful. But many people have this perception that shelter dogs are these weird and deranged dogs with all kinds of behavioural problems. This is not true. Most of them find themselves in need of a home through no fault of their own.  I personally cannot imagine getting a dog anywhere else other than a shelter. Both my dogs are from shelters.


A lot of people are apprehensive to adopt a shelter dog because they are concerned of what problems they have that found them in a shelter in the first place. Dogs are brought to shelters for all kinds of reasons, some legitimate and some downright flaky. But often the reasons have more to do with the owners than the dogs.  And shelters take the time to assess each dog and provide insight to their behaviours and needs. If you are a first time dog owner, the shelter will help you find an easy going dog that is suitable for you.

How to choose the right dog

Choosing the right dog for you will make all the difference in your experience as a dog owner. Not every dog is suitable for every person. So take the time to assess your lifestyle.

Are you a low, medium or high energy person?

Be honest with yourself about how active you are. This is very important. If you choose a dog with more energy than you, it will become frustrating for both of you. Make sure you are able and willing to give your dog the amount of exercise and stimulation that it needs.

What age is suitable for you?

You can find any age you prefer at a shelter, from puppies to seniors. Take the time to think about what age would suit you and your lifestyle. Puppies are adorable, that is a given. But they require a lot of work, time and energy. Do you have that to give? Adolescent and older dogs are usually already housetrained and past the nippy teething stage and know basic commands. This can be a good choice for people who are less knowledgeable about dogs. Don’t worry though, you will learn!

What breed should you choose?

If you have a certain breed in mind, do not assume you won't be able to find it at a shelter. You can find purebreds, cross breeds and mixed breeds at shelters. But never pick a dog purely based on looks. Make a list of the qualities, temperament and characteristics you want in a dog and do your research about which type of dog would best fit your family. You can certainly use the dog's breed (or breeds) as a guideline for overall behaviour but don't mistakenly think that every dog that is a certain breed, whether it is a purebred or not will act the same.

Are you ready for the commitment?

It’s extremely rewarding to have a dog in your life but make sure you are ready for the commitment that goes along with having a dog. See previous articles “Your Dog’s Needs” and “Things to consider BEFORE you get a dog”. It's important to know what you are committing to.

Be part of the solution

By adopting your next dog from a shelter, you are helping alleviate the over population of dogs in shelters. You are helping to save the life of a wonderful and deserving animal and giving them a second chance to love and be loved.

This is one of my favourite videos, it's promoting pet adoption. It makes me smile every time I see it. I hope you enjoy it too.

Dog Lovers Unite

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