The busy holiday season is the worst possible time to bring a new pup into the home, but it is a good time to plan for future pet ownership. Look at your home, your family, your lifestyle at its most stressful and try to envision how Rover might fit in. It’s a reality check that has saved many a cute pup from a trip to the animal shelter and perhaps euthanasia.
While you’re planning for a pup, Paw-Rescue.org is an excellent resource on Assessing Dogs at Shelters and Rescues, and has a lot to teach anyone thinking of adopting a dog — whether that adoption is from a shelter or rescue group, or through a reputable breeder. Some of the topics covered include:
- How to Assess Shelter Dogs
- What Testing Involves
- Questionable Temperaments ? Adapting to New Homes
- Young Puppy Temperament Assessment
This site is packed with sensible advice and some good solid basic information about what you can realistically expect from a shelter or rescue dog. For example:
Many dogs that are given up to animal shelters have never received training or guidance. Some never had the opportunity of a caring owner. Or the owner cared, but was ignorant about proper training and care of dogs, or had received misguided information. In any case, a multitude of given-up dogs are dismissed as ‘problem animals’ … when in reality, the problems can be corrected and avoided by applying current knowledge about canine care and management.
Responsiveness indicates that the puppy is probably pretty adaptive and has great ability to bond. A pup who seems very nervous or fearful may not be a good choice for a home with children or with a lot of activity. However, he may respond very well to gentle and consistent training suited to his personality. A dog who tends to be aloof even when faced with stimuli may be of an independent temperament, and might be stubborn when it comes time for training, but that’s not always the case. Again, keep in mind that these are generalizations, and puppy adopter will be in the key position to shape the pup’s behavior.
Paws-Rescue also gives you a select list of links to other topknotch resources, including Evaluating Temperament in a Potential Rescue Dog by M. Shirley Chong. See also Choosing the Right Dog from Canis Major — because you can never have too much information, when it comes to adding that “fur kid” to your family!