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I am so frustrated with my search for a new four legged family member. I don't know what to do-- at first I was certain I wanted a poodle. Now it turns out, I still don't know... I don't have any experience with poodles, I don't want to risk getting a breed im not a good match with. Also, I dont have the time to dig through reputable breeders. And all the breeders I had on a 'maybe' list, are very far away.

I was thinking about looking for a shelter dog, and im fairly convinced this is the best way for me to find a dog! I think I would be best off with an adult, because I will already be able to tell what it's like because it's already grown up.

The problem is, my MOM is VERY against shelter dogs. She thinks all of them are surrender for a reason, and adults in the shelter you don't know their past and they might bite you or something. I've tried to tell her this isn't always the case, but she just gets offended. I am SO desperate, i've been researching dog care and such for years and I really am getting impatient. I feel like i'm running in circles. I've gone from spaniels, to poodles, to golden retrievers, to shelter dogs, and it just goes on and on.

Im an anxious teenage girl and I have a lot of freetime and am lonely a lot, I want a dog I can cuddle and play with and take to obedience classes and go for walks. What do I do??? My mom is ok with a dog too, but she doesn't want to take care of it, and I made it very clear I would take care of it, but she still is very firm about it being purebred and a puppy. Im not ready for a puppy. Ughh.

How can I convince her shelter dogs are just as good as a purebred dog??? And that just because it's an adult doesn't mean it has to have some major flaw in it's temperament.

Thanks in advance... Any advice is so, so appreciated, as I honestly don't know what to do at this point anymore.

And don't get me started on my dad... Who has NO faith that I can even take care of a fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also... Is Petfinder.com a good website to use? I thought it was good because I can search for specific things like good with kids, etc. But I don't know how frequently the dogs are updated? Like a few dogs ive seen on there have been there for months... Are they still actually up for adoption or have they just not been taken off the website and sitting up there for years?
 

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Shelter dogs can be purebreeds as well as mixed and its 100% false that all shelter dogs have problems, there are tons of great loving dogs in shelters who were given up for reasons that have nothing to do with them.

Adult dogs can be a great choice. Most shelters will let you take dogs on a trial basis so you can get a feel for their personality. Maybe it'd be easier to convince your mom to try one out, she might fall in love.

Let me agree with you on the puppy though, anybody who describes themselves as anxious and not ready for a puppy should not have a puppy. Your anxiety could damage it for life. Adult dogs are a lot less sensitve to that.
 

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I've looked on both Petfinder and Adoptapet. I think they're both fine, but it depends on the shelter or rescue that is listing.

Have you talked to your mom about rescues that foster? Many have the dogs in their home, so they can tell you exactly what the dog is like in a home setting. Sometimes you have to hunt a bit to find a good rescue, but they're out there!

Also, I have had three rescue dogs - one that was born in a foster home, one that was dumped at the shelter at 6 weeks, and one that was pulled from a hoarding situation at 6ish weeks. They've all been great dogs. The last one has some fear issues - he came with them - but even he is a sweet, loyal little guy who continues to progress. It's totally possible for shelter dogs to be bad BUT breeder dogs can be the same way.

For the record, I got my first pound puppy when I was 11. My dad was against shelter dogs too. She was awesome - totally won him over :).
 

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Your mom is right, all dogs are surrendered for a reason. Reasons such as: I moved and can't take my sweet, friendly dog, My spouse died, I don't have enough time to train it, I got this cute puppy and it grew to big, I live in an apartment, I don't have the finances anymore, etc. That being said, not all shelter dogs are bad dogs - just as not all pure bred are good dogs. A dog's personality is a combination of nature and nurture, you will want to look for a dog with high resilience. One that is friendly, matches your exercise needs, and has confidence.

My advice is to take your mom to a shelter and see if you click with a dog, ask about it's background, take time to discuss it's personality, and maybe even foster for a rescue. Pet find is a great tool to find adoptable pets. Many of rescues and shelters post pets that they have available, as well as write ups about their history.
 

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Purebreds are good if you have very specific traits your are looking for. Good breeders are hard to find but you have a good chance of getting exactly what you want if you take the time to find a good breeder (time consuming and easier said than done). If all you want is a dog, that will be a good companion, there is no reason not to get a dog from a rescue or a shelter.

Ideally if you are looking for an adult dog that is already potty trained and pretty well behaved you are going to want to find a rescue/shelter that has a foster program. That way the foster parents have lived with the dogs and know how they behave given a variety of different situations.

IMO the problem with picking a dog that "clicks" with you at a shelter, is that quite often the dog is not acting normally due to the stressful shelter life. There might be a sweet loving dog that's well behaved but is fearful because of all the other dogs and so you will look past it to others that are seeming to be wanting your attention. The ones that are at the gate soliciting your attention might be harder to handle because although they are more outgoing and not scared they could also be high energy and need lots of exercise and firm leadership.

My point is it's hard to tell what type of dog exactly you are getting if you are trying to pick one from a shelter. Sure they are evaluated for temperament. But that is done in a short period of time and there is no way you could really tell how a dog will behave without spending at minimum a few days preferably a few weeks with them. Whereas if you are speaking to someone that's lived with the dog that's to be adopted for a period of time, they can better understand the dog and that will translate to happier new puppy parents and a higher likelihood you will be getting a dog you want and not a dog you thought you were getting.

Hope I made sense lol. Regardless of how you go about it, don't rush into it. Make sure the dog you are adopting is the one you want to keep for the rest of it's life. Dogs are not the new fashion statement or the next cool video game to be played with then put on a shelf or in the closet and ignored. That's how shelter dogs end up in shelters. Good luck! Keep us posted!
 

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i think poodles can be good beginner dogs, because a lot of them are able to adapt very well to their human partner. :)
they need someone to care for their fur and they pretty energetic though, so you've got to exercise them enough mentally and physically.
make sure you've got the commitment to walk your future dog every day.
If I were you, I'd search specifically at a poodle rescue, and ask if you could meet their dogs together with your parents.
If you like this type of dog, tell them that you search for an adult, calmer animal and that you'd like to try to take the dog in for a trial period first to see if the dog fits in your family.
You can also try to ask at the breeding clubs too. it is not unusual, at least in Germany, that breedings clubs bring together dogs from their own breed or breed mixes, that lost their home out of all kind of reasons, with new potential owners. some of the rescues are also closely connected to respective breeding clubs.

You can also ask in some shelters for a trial period. most of them would take the dog, if it really doesn't fit the family.
IF you tell them what you want in a dog, good shelter staff will also try to help you find a good fit for your home.
 

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Oops, sorry for the double post, I'm still not used to phone thingies.

I was going to say, some reputable breeders may have retired show dogs you can buy from them. They are usually around 5 or older years old depending on the breed. Most of these dogs would be very well mannered and trained in obedience. Plus you will be able to get bragging rights that you own a champion.

You can also start training with tricks. I think this would be the way to go. That way you are getting ur adult dog and your mom will be happy that it's purebred and also be happy that there are NO problems since its not a shelter pup.
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I reccomend breed rescues and fosters. Most pounds, what you see is what you get and good luck. Rescues and fosters will have had the dog for a while and can tell you much more about the personality of the dog, its vet care, its health and behavior, and might even come updated on shots and spay/neutering!
 

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Shelter dogs are not all mixed breeds. I work in one and we have had purebred Standard, Mini, and Toy Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers like you mentioned. And yes, we have actually had purebred puppies--the ones I can think of were a Shih Tzu, Miniature Pinscher. and Dachshunds. Like someone else said, many dogs surrendered to shelters are given up through no fault of their own. I have also had many dogs, and honestly my dogs from rescues and shelters were of better temperament and health than the purebreds from breeders.

However you're a kid and you can't choose this on your own. I think the biggest bargaining point with your mom is that she doesn't want to care for a dog...but she insists on a puppy. Those are counterproductive things. Having a new puppy is like having a toddler. If you're at school all day she has to housetrain the puppy, feed it and play with it. That will cause more anxiety and stress within you and the family, and just be a horrible mistake and might end up with a puppy getting returned. (This is why many dogs end up in shelters!). Perhaps you can convince your mother to get a dog from a foster rescue instead of a shelter, or even look into getting a retired breeding dog. An adult dog that's housetrained, has experience as a pet, and isn't as naughty as a puppy sounds like a much better fit. Breed wise I would say a mini or standard Poodle or Cocker Spaniel does fit what you want. But both do need regular grooming that can be pricey.

All in all I think you need to get to the bottom of why your mom thinks a puppy or purebred is so much better than adult dogs or mixed breeds. Ask any dog person and they will tell her she's beyond wrong.

In terms of Petfinder, it's a good site. But the status of the dogs doesn't depend on the site itself but the specific rescue posting the dogs. Some shelters and rescues update their dogs' profiles weekly, others update them rarely and aren't good at managing the profiles.

Honestly, this situation sounds so stressful for you that I think you should try something instead. Volunteer at a dog rescue or shelter. You will get company, dog cuddles, human and canine friends, and I think it will help you feel better, and your parents will not harp on you about the purebred and puppy issue. Also, in the event you meet a dog that steals your heart, perhaps when your mom hears about this wonderful dog and even meet him/her, and hears any of the employees of the shelter talk about that dog, it might convince her to let you take the dog home. But right now, I think that this is such a difficult situation you should just try to spend time with dogs on your own time like this before bringing one home. Otherwise I think it will cause some big problems if you bring home an overpriced purebred puppy no one has time for and you don't even want.
 

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Based on what you said you want in a dog, you have many, many options.

To help narrow them down since you mentioned poodles....how do you feel about shedding and how do you feel about grooming?

For me, shedding is a no-go. I've had roommates in the past with shedding dogs and the hair gets everywhere. Yes, you can vacuum and sweep but the hair is in the air...it's even been in my food. If you feel like I feel, your choices are narrower.

Lots of dog owners never take their dog to the groomer. I've even heard of dog owners bathing their dog once or twice a year. With a poodle, that's not an option. The dog will need regular grooming and brushing. For me, it's not the hassle that others make it out to be. I'd rather go to the groomer every 6-8 weeks, than clean up hair every day.

How much you go to the groomer depends on what hair style you want. If you want your poodle to have a full coat, you'll go at minimum every 6 weeks and daily brushing. If you want to keep a short coat, you could go to the roomer every 8-12 weeks, brush weekly for the first month, twice a week for the second month, and 3 times a week for the third month.

I have had a toy, mini and standard poodle and the grooming requirements of a standard are much more daunting because they are much larger and have more hair. I actually groom myself, learned how to when I got a standard, and it's seriously not hard for maintenance groomings. If I had a toy or mini I would probably touch them up every 2 weeks at home because they are just so small.

I love poodles because they are extremely smart, their coat, and one of the most important for me in a dog...they don't have overly dominant instincts/senses. They are pretty balanced overall compared to a beagle for example who has such a dominant sense of smell. That can come in useful for hunting or scent trailing, but for the average pet owner that's going to be something you'll have to overcome. Border collies, blood hounds, terriers etc are also very instinctual.

If you have any specific questions about poodles you can ask. If you want a small dog, there are other small companion dogs that would be great fits in shelters.
 

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I love shelters/rescues that have foster to adopt programs for situations just like yours. It allows families to pick a dog that they want to adopt and foster them and if it works out they can adopt them. In some cases though shelters/rescues do not let a first time foster adopt their first foster dog so check if out, your would hate to fall in love and click and then find that out later.

I know that a lot of the shelter dogs in my area are advertised with the reason they were surrendered and i would say 85% of the time the reason are in my opinion stupid. Reasons such as we are having a baby and don't have time for them but he is the best dog ever, we are moving and don't want to take our dog with us because it will cost to much, etc.

My rescue baby has some "baggage" but I knew that going into his adoption and wasn't blindsided by any stretch of the imagination. I think had I gotten a puppy who as he matured was no longer a cuddle bug but reclusive would have stunned me more. :) just my thoughts, I am so not against either I think I just fear puppy maturation unknown more than shelter unknown.
 
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