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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read many threads on those wanting to get a new friend from these places. I've read horror stories and success stories.

For the new member, I'd like to help with the advice of those that have adopted or rescued to share their advice on what to look for in that special possible new friend.

How do we assess the pup we are looking at and considering?

Looking forward to many helpful suggestions.;)
 

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Well, I think you have to think of weither you want a dog or a puppy and how old. There's a lot more assessment needed for say, a 4yo dog than even a 1.5 yo dog and a young puppy.

I've adopted twice, once a 4yo and my only rule was no human aggression--no food aggression, no guarding aggression, no anything. She was a JRT and I neglected to think about prey drive. She was a good dog and "single owner"--a family--before me.

My 2nd dog was a 2yo shepard mix. This time I specified no aggression at all--no pet aggression, no human, ect. Everything else I could train. She was an 'overly excitable' dog and even at 10 she's still quite excitable in some situations. She was more trainable being younger, although, sadly, she had no owners since 6months.

Good shelters will run a gamut of tests and have some idea of what the dog is like.

In all honesty though, temperament tests on puppies are hit or miss...dogs are what you make them.
 

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I actually believe that nature can have just as large a role as nurture - even with puppies. It's a good idea to see if you can find out something about the pup's background and consider that as something that could play a major role later.

I've adopted three times and all were puppies. Holly, my Lab mix who as since passed, and Sophie, my current terrier mix, both had puppy personalities that were indicative of their later ones. Holly was bombproof, curious, and friendly - the day we saw her she greeted us excitedly then proceeded to greet everyone else in attendance. Sophie is nervous and a bit snarky at times, but loves people. When we first met her, she ran up to us excitedly, peed on the floor, and went to explore the shelter office, snarking at another pup (not a littermate) a worker had brought out.

Chisum is a different story. He came from a bad hoarding situation that no doubt effected him - his mother was poorly treated so he was stressed even in utero. All the dogs were neglected and all were very fearful. The day I met him, he was social, happy, and bouncy. 30 minutes into the drive home his fears and insecurities became very apparent - more than should be normal for a pup of that age, even with the stress. Over time, some of his serious issues resolved with training, new ones cropped up, and the rest is history. We still work on many things today.

I think any dog is somewhat of a risk, you just have to calculate the risk. Find out what you can from a foster home or whomever is taking care of this dog. See if there is a history or other dogs from that home. Meet the dog. Foster if you can. Go on solo walks. And set up a contingency plan should things go haywire. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I wonder about those that are owner surrender with no reason. A warning sign?
 

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I wonder about those that are owner surrender with no reason. A warning sign?
Not necessarily I used to do rescue and they were put in the shelter because they were moving and could not find a place that took dogs. Most of the rescues I did were from owners that would not take the time to train and complained that the dogs were to unruly. I took them and found most are human error rather than anything. The yellow lab I took the owners said that she was so bad she destroyed the house when she was let in. But what I found out later they used to lock her up 8 hours a day then let her in the house. What dog would not go crazy after being kept from the family in lock down. I exercised her properly and she would walk in the house and lay at my feet perfectly happy. I think a lot of dogs are in the shelters because the people don't want to put in the time. I have always rescued from the shelter and have always had great dogs. If its a decent shelter they know their dogs.
 

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I wonder about those that are owner surrender with no reason. A warning sign?
Not always the case. Mine was a "no-reason" surrender. Later, after many pieces came together, like her original name (shelter changed it) and after noticing how much would get nervous around my brother--but only when he was in his police uniform--I have pretty much figured out that the owner surrendered her because she wasn't a pure german Shepard.

She was also not abused and passed the aggression test.
 

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Many owner surrenders, especially of mid-to-large sized young adolescents, is that the owners under-estimated the work and time commitment involved. When we were looking for a dog, we found so many 7-18 month old dogs that were purebred and were bought by owners who loved the look of them without taking into consideration the exercise requirements or mental stimulation. The rescues seemed flooded with border collies, Vizslas, GSPs, aussie shepherds, labs & lab mixes, huskies. Since that was exactly what we wanted (6 month + and high energy) -- we had our pickings.
 

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I would say a good place to start is a rescue with the dogs/puppies in foster care. They are in a home setting and you would get a much better idea on how they would act at home with you then if they were in a cage all day. Not to say you cant get a great dog at the shelter. We adopted our puppy from a shelter and we are very happy. I would say most important thing is make a list on what you can accept and what you can't. For us he needed to be friendly and social(especially with kids).

I think the biggest thing people make a mistake on is not getting a dog based on temperament and active level but instead adopt or buy based on looks. Be honest with yourself on what you want and can actually handle. If you don't jog or hike regularly you probably won't start because of the dog. I didn't know any better on most breeds before I joined this forum. My son wanted a Husky. He thinks they look awesome as most 9 year olds probably do. Luckily I was smart enough to know it wasn't going to work for us.

Anyone looking for a puppy needs to take their time as it is a big decision. Do not rush. Good Luck to all
 

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Be patient, research the breed(s) of dogs you like & once you find a dog you're interested in, visit the dog multiple times before bringing it home. If you can, take it for a walk on each visit or into the yard (most shelters will have a fenced area that you can let the dog run around in). That will give the dog time to get to know you better and you'll see a little more personality each time. You might also get the benefit of hearing different staff members opinions of the dog. It also gives you a chance to think about it and ask any new questions that might come to mind over night.

The only risk with trying visit the dog a few times before adopting is that the dog you really want gets adopted before you can bring it home. So, it's a bit of a gamble that way but it's better to know what you're getting into vs. just running home with a dog you know very little about. If you miss out on a dog, just wait.. plenty of new and great dogs go through the shelters each month.
 
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