Buying or Adopting a Dog
Whether you decide to adopt a dog from a local shelter/rescue or you opt to purchase a dog privately from a breeder there are some things you want to keep in mind and look for when you decide to bring a new fury friend into your life and home.
Puppy mills and backyard breeders are a real problem in the dog world. We see more dogs with behavior issues coming from puppy mills and backyard breeders than anywhere else. If you decide to purchase a dog from a breeder it is important you are supporting reputable breeders that are interested in bettering the breed they are producing.
A good breeder will allow you to meet both the mother and father of the puppies you are thinking of adopting. Look for signs of fear, stress/anxiety, or aggression in the parents. These are all behavior problems that are greatly influenced by genetics. If either the mother or father show any signs of anxiety, fear, or aggression the puppies are likely to have inherited those traits as well. A good breeder will also have extensive medical records for all the dogs in the lines of breeding. These records should show that the dogs being breed are in good health and are not prone to any kinds of deficits such as hip-dysplasia, ACL injuries of heart conditions. You should be able to see the area the dogs live in. Ideally this will be inside the house with the family. From a socialization standpoint it is important that the puppies are exposed to things in the home before you get them at 8 weeks of age. Some breeders will take the puppies inside to show them, but the dogs are not living in the house. If the area the puppies live is dirty, filled with feces, or does not have clean water you should not adopt from that breeder. The puppies will likely have many medical problems or health issues that will impact their development. No good breeder will adopt you a dog before 8 week of age! The puppies need to stay with their mother and litter mates to learn important social cues and boundaries. A good breeder will also be willing to take their dogs back if some major medical or behavioral problem occurs with one of their dogs. If a genetic problem is identified in one of the puppies that line of dogs should not be breed in the future. No mother should be bred more than once a year.
Although it is tempting to take puppies in an attempt to save them from these bad situation, in reality you are only making the situation worse by supporting one of these bad breeders. By buying that one puppy you are giving that breeder the money to create many more puppies. Avoid people selling cheap dogs/puppies on Craig's List or in the newspaper.
Go to the AKC's website and look for breeders there. Any breeder registered through the AKC is subject to routine inspections and their dogs are required to have certain medical standards. Any breed you are interested in will have reputable breeders that are listed on their site: AKC Website
We may be biased, but we love rescue dogs! There are so many wonderful dogs living in shelters or rescues that desperately need good homes. Rescuing a dog is much more cost effective in comparison to buying a dog from a private breeder. Any dog you adopt from a rescue or shelter will have already seen a vet and have up to date vaccinations, they will have already been spayed or neutered, and will have been determined to not have any medical issues.
There are some things to pay attention to when you adopt from a shelter or rescue. We recommend adopting from a rescue where the dogs are in foster homes. This means the dogs will have already started to decompress and you will have a better idea of what the dogs true temperament is. Many dogs living in a shelter will shutdown or will start to display hyperactive OCD behaviors because of the stressful environment. Dogs living in foster homes are likely already potty trained, will have been exposed to other animals, and may even have started to learn some basic good manners behaviors.
Any dog you bring into your home will need time to decompress. The general rule is 3-days, 3-weeks, 3-months for the dog to completely decompress in their new home. It is important to be patient at first with any new dog and to take it slow. You will not know this dog's complete history, so you need to take the time to build trust and to set boundaries. Positive reinforcement training is a great way to build a bond with your dog and to start to teach them the behaviors you want them to perform. Create a routine with your rescue to help them build confidence and know what to expect next.
A good rescue will give you a full known behavior history and will not hide any known behavior problems from you. It is the law for a rescue to disclose if a dog has a bite history. Ideally the dog will have spent at least a few weeks in a foster home and a better sense of temperament and behavior can be determined. A good rescue will also do a home visit to make sure the environment will be safe for the dog. They will do a vet check to make sure all the animals are receiving regular medical care and are up to date on their shots. They will also require an introduction with any animals living in the home. You should never just take a dog home and hope for the best. fights, injuries, and even deaths have happened because of poor in-home introductions. Be careful of rescues that seem to push a dog onto you or only seem to care about adoption numbers. While it can be great that many dogs are adopted the goal of the rescue should be to keep the dogs in their forever homes. Many rescues unfortunately only want to get dogs out the door.
More Great Resources!
Rescue Groups We Recommend