Congratulations are in order if you’re planning to bring in a new dog into your home. But, if this is your first time to own a dog, you might be wondering where to find one to adopt. The good news is that there are several options you can consider. These include shelters, breeders, rescue groups, pet stores and even online. However, in this article, we’ll focus mainly on shelters and breeders. Here are some key tips to help you find the right canine companion in each case:
Adopting From A Shelter
Most counties and big cities have shelters run by non-profit organizations and the local government where you can find a compatible dog. While some of these shelters are quite basic, there are also those that have state of the art facilities. The good thing about dogs from shelters is that they’ve had most of the necessary shots, while some of them have even undergone some basic training. Because of this, they’re more adaptable than dogs from a breeder.
However, before you rush to the nearest shelter, it’s advisable that you have a plan that will help you get the most compatible dog. It’s very easy to feel sorry for the many pleading faces you’ll see at the shelter and probably get swept away emotionally. This can lead to adopting the wrong type of dog. So, bear the following points in mind before heading to any shelter: If possible, choose a shelter that’s nearer to your home. This will enable you to make several visits to the shelter in case you’re having trouble making the right choice.
If you want to know the real personality of a particular dog you’re interested in, pay no attention to him the first time you two meet. Why? Because when you face him and talk to him directly, he’ll adjust his personality to match yours, and you may not know the real him. Because of this, experts advise that you sit or stand nearby and let the dog you’re interested in get used to your presence and scent first. Pay close attention especially to his energy and body language. Usually, high held tails and perked up ears show dominance and excitement in a dog. Don’t reward such behaviors with attention. Instead, pay attention to a dog with a halfway held, wagging tail and a head that’s slightly held down. This shows submissiveness.
It’s also important to know that rushing to the front of the cage is a sign that a dog is frustrated, anxious or dominant. Also, those that stay at the back of the cage may be shy, and this might lead to fear-related aggression in the future.
Finally, be sure to talk to the workers at the shelter. Ask them about the habits, personalities, health issues etc. of different dogs. Based on what you’re looking for, narrow down to 2 to 3 dogs and request to take each of them for a short walk. This will enable you to know each of them better, and help you decide on the one you really want.
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Adopting From A Breeder
As we already mentioned before, it’s very important that every puppy spends the first 6 to 8 weeks with his mother. Nursing directly from their mothers gives them the best nutrition to help them grow strong and healthy, as well as antibodies to protect them against diseases. Because of this, a good breeder should not let you adopt a puppy that is younger than eight weeks old.
Here are some tips that will help you find a good breeder and dog: Ask for referrals from your vet or local breed clubs to help you find a reputable dog breeder.
If possible, ask him for the current contacts of other customers who have adopted puppies from him. Talk to some of those customers to help you decide if he’s a good breeder or not. Once you narrow down to one person, be sure to ask him all questions related to the dog that you may have. This should include ancestry, temperament, health concerns, behaviors, energy levels among others. Spend time with several puppies from the breeder to get to know them better. This will help you narrow down to one that you’re most compatible and comfortable with.
Places You Should Avoid
Certainly, avoid buying a dog from the internet or in a pet store at the mall. This is because these dogs are most likely from puppy mills, where they’re mass produced under awful conditions.
All in all, you’re better off adopting a dog of your choice from a shelter, breeder or rescue center.