by Amber Burckhalter
Skeletons and goblins are strolling the streets. The leaves are turning and pumpkin season is upon us! In addition to the start of fall and Halloween, did you know that October is also National Adopt-A Shelter-Dog Month!
Approximately 3.9 million dogs enter shelters and rescue organizations every year! Thankfully, many people choose rescue and, when they choose adoption, they often ask me how to pick the right pup for their family.
Why do most dogs end up in rescues or shelters? Many times, we at K-9 Coach see dogs who are lacking in basic training and socialization and this contributes to their surrender. Often, people will pick a dog based on its appearance and not it’s breed characteristics and this leads to a lot of issues. Additional reasons can include financial and family constraints as well as a lack of education in the responsibility of animal ownership. All of these reasons mean that very good dogs are often sitting in shelters waiting for a loving home.
Any advice on how to pick the right dog for their family? Sex? Breed? Pre-planning on what the family is looking for in regard to age, size, energy level, sociability at time of adoption, and willingness to train are all good questions to think about before the actual search begins. Research breeds and their traits and ensure the dog’s biology and needs fit with your family lifestyle. Overall, we at K-9 Coach have seen the best success when owners find dogs that fit their lifestyle, know their limitations and are prepared to build a relationship with the new dog.
What about age? Is there an age that is better for families with young children vs older children? This is a hot topic for sure. We’ve seen dogs that are seniors and act like young pups and young dogs that are calm and laid back. Keep in mind that most young dogs still go through the “toddler” stage but are generally eager to learn and train with consistency. Seniors make great pets too, as they often are very loving, more mellow and still have a fun playful side, but, unlike a puppy, it doesn’t last all day! Essentially, no age is better – the temperament of the dog is the crucial piece.
We often hear from people who worry about safety with rescued dogs and children. Any thoughts on this? It is important to teach children how to interact appropriately and safely with all dogs – not just rescued pups. Never taking food/toys/treats away, not pulling on tails/ears and other safety issues are crucial. I also recommend that you never leave young children alone with dogs and that you take your time on building trust with any new pet and a child. If you see any behavior that is concerning, react appropriately to keep everyone safe and contact the rescue and / or a training professional immediately.
How do you recommend helping a dog settle into a new home? It is crucial that new dogs are given time to adjust to their new environment and that new introductions to other pets and people should be slow. Additionally, avoiding dog parks, large crowds or groups and any environments that may be unusual and scary to your new dog should be avoided. Take time build a relationship with the dog first, so they know they can trust you to keep them safe and many problems will be avoided.
I hope you enjoyed this month’s article. If you are looking to adopt a rescued pet for your family, make sure to contact a respected rescue organization. Adopt a pup in October and RECEIVE A 10% DISCOUNT ON ANY RETAIL PURCHASE includingour training tools, toys, comfy beds, Halloween cookies and premium dog food. Just let us know when you stop by. Finally, visit our online library https://www.k-9coach.com/k-9-coach-resource-library for great resources on all of the above topics and issues.
Happy Halloween and Happy Rescuing!