Every night you pass the animal shelter on your way home from work. Their sign pleads, "Save a life. Adopt one of our dogs!"
Should you consider adopting a dog from the animal shelter?
An important consideration for many prospective owners is money. Shelter dogs cost $50 to $100, a far cry from the $400 to $1500 asked by breeders.
But what kind of dog will you be getting for fifty bucks?
Maybe the best dog in the world.
Maybe the worst dog in the world.
The biggest disadvantage, you see, of animal shelters and humane societies is the unpredictability of what you'll find inside on any given day.
Why dogs are dropped off at the animal shelter
Some dogs are at the shelter because they had behavior problems.
- "He's not housebroken."
- "He barks too much."
- "He digs holes in our garden."
- "He chews things up when we leave him alone."
- "He keeps climbing over the fence."
- "He's not good with our cat."
- "He's not good with our other dog."
- "He's not good with our kids."
- "He bit me."
Now, the reality is that many owners CAUSED their dog's behavior problems by leaving the dog alone too much, or leaving him outdoors, or not providing enough exercise, or not assuming the leadership role and teaching their dog how to be well-behaved. If a new owner can offer more companionship, an indoor lifestyle, more exercise, and consistent training, the majority of so-called "problem dogs" change their tunes very quickly and make fabulous companions.
Some dogs are at the shelter because they got lost and were never claimed.
Some dogs are at the shelter because they developed a health problem that their owner couldn't (or didn't want to) deal with. A shelter dog with a health problem might need a special diet, or insulin shots, or daily pills, or surgery, or he might have vision or hearing problems.
Some dogs are at the shelter because...
- "He's too big. We didn't know he would get so big."
- "He sheds too much."
- "Our landlord says no dogs."
- "My child is allergic to him."
- "Our other dog doesn't like him."
- "He needs too much exercise."
- "I'm getting a full time job."
- "We have a new baby. I don't have time for a dog."
- "I'm getting married and my new spouse doesn't like dogs."
And some dogs are at the shelter simply because they committed the cardinal sin of growing old. They can't get around so well anymore, they can't see or hear so well, they're just "no fun" anymore. It's so sad, especially when senior dogs can be so calm, peaceful, and well-behaved, which may be exactly what you're looking for.
The dog of your dreams could be sitting in your local animal shelter right now, hoping someone will give him a chance to prove what a wonderful companion he can be.
But you need to go in with your eyes open – not just your heart.
Because while most dogs at the animal shelter can make great pets for someone who is well-matched to them, that someone may not be YOU. Before going to look at shelter dogs, you need to determine the general kind of dog you're best suited to – how much grooming you're willing to do, how much shedding you can handle, how much exercise you can provide, and so on.
And you need to know how to evaluate the temperament of each shelter dog who interests you, so you can judge whether he or she is likely make a good pet for YOU.
I'll show you how to do that in my book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams. We'll talk about how to match you up with the right kind of dog, based on 17 key characteristics. We'll talk about whether you should get a male or a female, a puppy or an adult. And I'll tell you how to use simple personality tests to evaluate a shelter dog's suitability as a pet for YOU....how to test for possessiveness and aggression in a seemingly friendly dog....and how to quickly evaluate a shelter dog's health