looking to adopt a dog, UPDATE pg 4 - we got a dog!

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by cepmom, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. cepmom

    cepmom <font color=red>Mine are painted too<br><font colo

    Apr 9, 2004
    We are looking to adopt a dog, and plan on looking for a rescue pup. We've been looking on petfinder.com, but other than that, not really sure where to begin and what else we need to know.

    We do not have any other pets, and have never had a dog. Well, I had dogs growing up, but never had the responsibilty of training and caring for them myself, my mom did most of that.

    What's important when choosing a dog? We are leaning towards a puppy, is there an ideal age to aim for? Does it matter if a dog is 10 wks vs 16 wks (as far as training goes)

    any pros/cons of girl vs boy dog? I have no preference at all,but was just wondering if there was something about girls vs boys that I don't know about.

    We do plan on going to puppy training/obedience classes so we can all learn what to do.

    We have emailed about a few different dogs, and have put in applications to a couple rescues, but the process seems somewhat tedious. I'll send an inquiry, wait a day, find out that dog is pending adoption, ask about another, find out it is also pending etc, etc.

    so clue me in on everything we need to know, what we need to do, what we should be preparing for etc. :dog2:paw:
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  3. Mazel

    Mazel Proud Navy Mom

    May 7, 2012
    Our close friends dog died a few months ago. About 2 months ago they decided the house was too quiet and were going to adopt a dog. I've lost count how many applications and phone calls and visits they made to many different rescue groups. Besides us, other friends are on the application to vouch for them. We have never received a phone call from any group. They have a house completely fenced in and my friend is a SAHM and their kids are older.

    They went last night to a breeder and found a dog. They bring her home Friday.

    We had the same thing happen 2 years ago when we adopted our dog. We ended up going into a petco on a Saturday and adopted a dog. They never called our 3 contacts on our application. They made us stand around for a half hour and then said okay he's yours. Same thing happened when we adopted our old girl 9 years ago.
  4. TLuvsD

    TLuvsD DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2010
    You need to decide how active a dog you want---some breeds tend to be more active, some are more relaxed. Is anyone allergic to pet dander? How do you feed about shedding? Really, the same questions you would ask if you were buying a dog...

    Animal Planet has some good information:

    Good Luck, and enjoy the new family member!
  5. mamacatnv

    mamacatnv That be a Mum Y'all - a Texas Mum

    Nov 7, 2005
    We recently adopted a Great Pyreneese from a local rescue. He was 16 months old when we got him and he is our first dog ever.

    What we did was we researched breeds. We checked into: temperament, traits, grooming needs & characteristics along with our family lifestyle. We checked with our home owners insurance to find out what the no-no dogs were and also checked with our HOA to make sure there were no restrictions on size. We knew we wanted a large dog and for us, we preferred to skip puppyhood. We are not active, we didn't want a dog that required a ton of exercise. We wanted a dog with a general lifespan of 10 or so years. This ruled out a few of the large breeds that came up as good matches in our search. We wanted a dog that would bond well with our family and not eat our cats who have been in residence for anywhere from 6-14 years.

    Once we settled on what we were looking for, I contacted a local rescue via email. I told the owner of the rescue a lot about us, our lifestyle and what we were looking for. We tried to be very honest with ourselves and our expectations. The rescue owner then began matching us with candidates that the rescue had. Of the candidates we found our Boy. We visited him often for a couple of weeks to make sure we felt he was the right fit for us.

    The rescue had his vet records, had had him neutered, fully vaccinated and tested for Heartworm, he was negative. The rescue also knew some of his back story and we got as much information as we could.

    We have had our Boy for about 2 months and are madly in love. Our vet warned us that it could take 6-12 months for him to fully trust us, to settle in and settle down. He is in the middle of his teenage years and sometimes is a bit of a goofy dog but we have all fallen in love.

    My one piece of personal advice - do not make a rash decision. Get to know the candidate dog, spend time with it, take it home for a week trial run if necessary. This is a big commitment and its sad to see the dogs that are adopted and then returned because the adoptee really did not know what they wanted or what they were getting themselves into. Take your time, your Dog is out there, he will find you!

    Good luck in your search!
  6. sunshinehighway

    sunshinehighway DIS Veteran

    Mar 11, 2010
    Take a look at your lifestyle and research breeds that will match. That's really the most important thing.
    Puppies really take a lot of work. In same ways they are like having a toddler. Make sure your family really has the time (and patience) it takes to raise a puppy.

    Good luck with rescues. Many of them will probably not consider you because you haven't owned a dog. I know that's not going to be a popular statement but its true, especially if you want a puppy.
  7. bballmom56

    bballmom56 DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2004
    We have adopted 4 dogs over the years - an Irish Setter, a Shepherd/St. Bernard mix, a full St. Bernard, and our current corgi/lab mix.

    One thing they had in common was that they were all adult dogs. I have no desire to have a puppy. They are a lot of work! The adults have all been housebroken already, out of the chewing stage, and were much calmer than a puppy would have been. I highly recommend looking at and considering adult dogs. Our vet loves us for taking in the older dogs! They need homes, too.

    The rescue we adopt through now did do a thorough evaluation the first time we adopted from them. Now we are on automatic if we inquire about a dog. When my DD applied to adopt our current dog, the foster mom told her that the rescue told the foster mom "run, don't walk to these people!"

    The other thing I prefer is the mixed breeds to the pure breds. I have found the mixes to be generally healthier with few problems. But of course, there are exceptions to everything.

    Adopting a homeless animal is one of the most rewarding things. I can't see buying a dog when there are so many out there already that need homes. Good luck and keep persevering! As someone else mentioned, go to the local adoption days at Petsmart or Petco and see what the local rescues bring.
  8. Handbag Lady

    Handbag Lady Disneyland Bride 2000

    Jun 15, 2005
    As someone who re-posts pictures all of the time on FB for animals who need homes, why not ask on Facebook if anyone you know has contacts in rescue?

    We do mainly cats but my rescue friends are SO incredibly helpful with finding the right cat for the needs of the person wanting the animal. They found me a kitty who was less likely to cause allergies, and they were right. Her temperament was EXACTLY what we were looking for in a pet.

    And don't get me started on those "rescues" who give a potential adopter the 3rd degree. I don't think they have the pet's best interest in mind when they balk at anyone who leaves a dog alone for 8 hours while they work. I get having a home visit to make sure they are not doing dog-fighting but that's about it.
  9. GaBelle

    GaBelle DIS Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    Like others have said, research breeds and decide which one(s) best match your family. Do take into consideration breed temperament, grooming, activity level. Do you want to potty train?

    We have 2 rescued fur babies: our golden who was about 3 yrs old when we got him and a black lab mix who was 11 weeks when we got her.
    Our golden was house broken and had all of his " doggie manners" when got him. So easy.
    The puppy I had to potty train which was like having a newborn again, she chewed everything in sight for weeks including us. Very hard and frustrating at times.
    I love them both and with the puppy it was/ is a labor of love. But just know beforehand that if you go the puppy route, it is a lot of work.

    I can't say that I have noticed a difference between male and female yet. I have always heard that female can be more protective.

    Best of luck with your decision!
  10. Don'tLookDown

    Don'tLookDown Mouseketeer

    Apr 13, 2011
    Whaaa? I don't know where you live, but while most shelters may discourage adopting a certain dog without previous experience the only absolute requirements I have ever faced are that we can have no unaltered or unvaccinated animals, have never relinquished an animal before, or plan on declawing or devocalizing.
  11. jam217

    jam217 jam217

    Apr 2, 2006
    Agreeing with the above poster who is suggesting adopting an adult dog. I've adopted three dogs over the years and all were adults. I never had a problem with any of them despite them previously being in other homes. They already come housebroken, neutered etc.

    Have you actually gone into a shelter to see dogs or are you just finding dogs online and then submitting applications? The reason I'm asking is because I think it's important to see if you bond with the animal. When we last adopted, we had three dogs in mind that we had seen on the shelter website. The first one looked really nice and sounded terrific online but when we approached her she growled and snarled at us. That concerned me since we also had a cat in the house. The dog we ended up with (a pit bull mix) greeted us like a long lost friend. We just knew as soon as we saw him that he was for us. He truly is a terrific dog and transitioned beautifully to our home.
  12. ddwwelsh

    ddwwelsh Mouseketeer

    May 14, 2013
    We had been kicking around the idea of getting a dog, and my husband's input was most important, so I sat him down and we talked about what he wanted in a dog.

    In the meantime, I was looking on different sites and craigslist. That's how I was tipped off that our local animal control office has recently confiscated 132dogs from a residence. They were struggling to place all of the animals.

    I called, and they welcomed us to visit. In the midst of some huge, loud, rough-looking dogs, we found the prettiest strawberry blonde pup.

    The first thing we did was take her to a quiet place. There were three of us, and we each went to a corner and put her in the middle of the floor to see what she would do. She couldn't wait to run to each of us.

    I then asked a couple of the male officers to come into the room and interact with her to see how she responded (I couldn't stand the thought of my husband coming home to a pup that was frightened by him). Again, she showed no hesitation.

    Next, I asked about her diet. She had obviously been in a neglectful situation, so we were advised as to how to work at preventing food aggression and overeating.

    They were interviewing us as much as I was interviewing them, and they disclosed that she had mange which would require some extensive treatment and medical bills. They gave me some information to read about treatment, and it seemed doable to me. When I made my decision to adopt her, they waived all adoption fees.

    Because of the desperate nature of the rescue and the need to place the dogs, the local PetSmart had donated a crate, a collar, a leash, and two bowls for every dog rescued. So, we left with our new baby and all of the necessary accoutrements.

    Be very firm on what you're wanting in a dog, and don't waffle when you see all of the cute, fuzzy puppies. It's so tempting.

    Animal Planet does offer some great information on breeds. Go out and ask around. The best information can come from folks who've previously adopted.

    Good luck.
  13. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

    Dec 8, 2004
    There are certain breed groups that discourage first time owners from adopting a rescue dog. Poodle groups, for instance. A lot of people buy those cute little poodle pups not really understanding the level of care the coat needs--and the expense of grooming every 6-8wks!

    OP, You've been given some good directions. You're the only one who can answer your question. Before we got our first dog I spent 5 months researching breeds. I was all set on a Golden Retriever--everyone said it was the best dog--but when I got real honest with myself I realized that could not handle all that shedding. I had a special needs child could not walk at the time. The mental picture of him rolling around in dog hair just made me sick. We ended up with a standard poodle-mix, Minky, who turned out to be just about the best dog ever. And almost no shedding!

    Back in the winter I thought I wanted a new dog (Minky died 2 yrs ago). I really thought I wanted another Standard Poodle. I applied at 5 shelters and got only one reply--from a group in Ohio, who I suspect was a front for a puppy mill! After some real soul searching, I realized that a Standard Poodle doesn't fit our needs now. I found a little Bichon-Poodle mix at my local pound; he was within hours of death from starvation and he looked dreadful. He came with some "issues"--he's potty trained as long as he goes out on a schedule and he's afraid of just about everything so he barks ferociously. I would have never in a million years thought I'd have a little white fluffy dog--soooo not my type--but Tiki has taken over our hearts.

    You need to ask yourself how much time you can give this dog---be utterly realistic. Do you know how long a dog can live? depending on the size and breed, they can live 7-20 years! Dogs take a lot of time and you can triple that with puppies. If you work 40hrs a week, you need to have a plan for caring for this dog. I work from home most of the time, so Tiki gets plenty of potty breaks and exercise. Where will your dog go when you are not home? In a crate? Loose in the house? In the yard? How much do you expect to spend on vet care in a year, including immunizations, neutering, flea/tick/heartworm preventative, etc? Do not underestimate the expenses nor the time & energy a dog requires. Millions of dogs go to shelters every year because their owners didn't look past the fluffy-puppy phase.
  14. JessicaR

    JessicaR <font color=blue>DIS Veteran<br><font color=green>

    Sep 26, 2000
    I have been rescue for Mastiffs for 12 years. Petfinder is great! If you have a specific breed you are interested in you can usually find a rescue in your area or close by.
  15. bdcp

    bdcp DIS Veteran

    Nov 13, 2004
    My son found his dog online through a rescue group. I can't remember the name, but it wasn't as hard a process as other groups use. Some are so over the top. They got very, very lucky as he's a sweetheart and while he was found as a stray and was in a high kill shelter, he's housebroken and understands a few commands. The feeling is he was abused, at least yelled at and possibly hit as he's easily spooked and hates brooms and anything with a long handle on it. He's also afraid of heights. He doesn't nip and is wonderful with children. He has never even attempted to nip or bite regardless of what you do when playing with him. It really was luck. When he was brought up a couple of states from the shelter, the driver said he was the only dog who was quiet and slept the entire trip.

    As for previous ownership, this is my son's first dog and his wife has only had a cat that someone gave her so the idea that you have to have had pets before isn't necessarily true.
  16. kathie859

    kathie859 DIS Veteran

    Jul 19, 2005
    A local chain pet store sponsors in-house adoptions every few weeks. They get the dogs from the various county and private shelters.

    DD recently picked out a 6 yr old cutie--part Chihuahua and part Boston Terrier, male. She wanted a female but this little boy just captivated their hearts. He's a lovely, quiet dog and is great with the 3 kids. He visited my house yesterday (with the kids in tow) and was well behaved. I have a big, fenced in yard and he had a good adventure sniffing the unfamiliar territory.
    I have a blind, deaf, old Boston Terrier and he sniffed her but no fighting.
    DD mentioned there was another small dog they had seen and wondered if it was still availble:scratchin.

    A friend of mine saw a picture of a dog online and filled out an application to adopt--didn't hear anything for several weeks and then, out of the blue, came a call that this dog was available again. I guess his first "forever home" didn't work out. They brought him over for a visit one evening and ended up leaving him! She's over the moon!! This poor animal had lived in a cage--he was a stud dog--and has a lot to overcome.

    I'd keep looking in the shelters until you find the one dog you "click" with. DD's new pet is a rescue and requires some TLC which she and her crew are happy to give. There's 1000's out there just like him.
  17. kmccain

    kmccain DIS Veteran

    Mar 12, 2006
    Please go to your local shelter and have a look. Its funny how people are drawn to particular dogs. If they are a kill shelter you will be saving a life.

    Adult dogs are easier. Usually already house trained and don't chew everything in your house. They can learn as easy as a puppy too. Just figure out what you want them to do and make them do it. You are in charge and need to show that to the dog. The dog doesn't know unless you show them. We get countless dogs back because people do not do that.

    Good Luck!
  18. Pigeon

    Pigeon DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2005
    I volunteer with a rescue. I stay out of the politics and policy making, however.

    Some rescues are over the top. Some have policies you may not like or agree with. Ours does, and I volunteer there! The thing is, the rescue is looking for permanent homes for dogs, and isn't focused on you getting what you want particularly.

    Most of the seemingly arbitrary rules are there for a reason. For example, we don't place puppies with families where no one is home for more than a certain number of hours a day, because we had too many pups returned with housebreaking issues that are then much harder to place.

    So, read the web sites for the local rescues and see what their policies are. I would strongly recommend not getting a puppy. My current dog was about a year old when we got her and it was so, so much easier not having to deal with the puppy nonsense. I'll never have a puppy again.

    Also, rescues are staffed by volunteers, who generally have full time jobs, with families and kids who need to be taken to dance lessons and softball. So if they don't get back to you right away, keep that in mind. As dh and I say about many such situations, "the problem with this organization is that it's run by people like us."

    Some of the rescue people are obnoxious. It comes from years of seeing what crappy things people do to animals and they get jaded and rude. Not all are like that, but it's a heads up, and try to not take it personally.

    If there's a rescue you are interested in, fill out the online application, even if they don't have a dog you are interested in at the moment, so they can screen you and you'll be ready to go when you do find the perfect animal.

    Make the dog's temper the number one consideration, certainly over what it looks like. You want a dog that's good to live with. This is easier in an adult dog. Spend plenty of time talking to the person foster it.
  19. bedogged

    bedogged <font color=purple>Choose parents that aged well<b

    Mar 28, 2004
    First, do you have a fenced yard? Do you have children? What are the ages of your children? Is someone home during the day? If not, how do you plan to housebreak a puppy? What do you know about the breed you are thinking about adopting?

    I'm not trying to discourage you, but I am trying to give you an idea of what the rescue groups are wondering. Keep in mind that the rescue group is the advocate for the dog. They must think about what is in the best interest of the dog and they want to make sure that your home is going to be a loving PERMANENT home for the dog. That is why the process can seem "somewhat tedious."

    Puppies are cute. You can sit on any corner with a litter of puppies for free and they will find new homes. The problem is that most of those puppies will end up in a shelter somewhere at a later date. The rescue group is just trying to make sure that doesn't happen to their dogs.

    Without knowing your exact situation, I can't comment on why you are having difficulty adopting. I would definitely stress your plan about taking the puppy to a training class. Those words are magic to any rescue group's ears!
  20. cepmom

    cepmom <font color=red>Mine are painted too<br><font colo

    Apr 9, 2004
    thanks to all of you for your advice and experiences.

    To answer some of the questions, I do not work full time. I work very part time outside of the home. I have 3 daughters, ages 23, 15 and 13. The oldest is home on some days as well, as she works a rotating schedule. Looking for a lab/lab mix and we are familiar with labs. Yes, to fenced in yard, yes to daily exercising. I have mentioned in all the applications about going to training classes as well.

    I understand why the rescues are asking many questions, the long applications and that they looking for good permanent homes; what I meant by "somewhat tedious" was inquiring about a particular dog, waiting to hear back, finding out that dog is pending adoption or already adopted, ask about another, wait a day or 2 to hear back, that dog is not available etc etc. It seems it would be less time consuming (on both ends) to just let a prospective pet adopter to know which dogs are currently available instead of the back and forth. Or to put "pending adoption" on the website so I know to keep looking you know?

    since we are new and inexperienced dog owners, I was a little worried about getting an older dog that may have been abused or have some other behavior issues due to improper prior training (or lack of) and not having enough experience to know how to deal with that. I guess I was just feeling that a dog with abuse/anxiety issues might be better off with an experienced owner to help them adjust than newbies like us. Of course, I know that a puppy is no guarantee of perfect behaviors , and not all adults have come from an abusive situation.

    we have not actually gone to a shelter to see the dogs. Mostly looking on petfinder.com, where most of the dogs we are interested in are currently in foster homes, so we can not go see them like as if they were in a shelter. One place will set up a meet and greet once the application process has been approved. I'm not sure about the other rescues yet, but I would think they would as well. I'm hoping we will hear back soon, but it's nice to be reminded that the people running the rescues are volunteers and have their own lives too!

    I know it will come together! thanks again for all the information!
  21. Maryr1

    Maryr1 DIS Veteran

    Apr 11, 2005
    I have had many dogs over the years, only one that was a rescue. The rest were from reputable AKC breeders. All of the pure bred dogs were puppies, between 10 and 16 weeks. Puppies are a LOT of work!!!! When we got the pure bred dogs, the breeders checked our vet references as well as personal references. We had a breeder that decided NOT to place a second dog with us when our daughter was a toddler. She felt (and probably rightly so) that it may not be a good mix. She would not place ANY of her dogs in homes with toddlers. Our rescue dog we got after my husband saw here at an adoption event. She is a lab mix. They said she was between 2-3 years old. She is the kindest, sweetest girl you could ever meet. She had no "issues". She was house broken, not food aggressive, really no quirks. I am not sure why she was dumped, but she is a home run! The rescue group was a pain to work with-much more so than the breeders. I honestly think the foster mom was a bit attached to our dog and had some second thoughts about giving her up. Recue events are a great way to meet dogs and find one that you connect with. I was afraid an adult dog might not bond with us, but she is totally bonded. It was great because what you saw was what you got-no shocks with personality, size, etc. The only issue we had was she was spade at the shelter she was rescued from in North Carolina. About 10 days after we got her, we saw she had an infection at the surgical site. She ended up having a big abdominal procedure and was very ill. Thankfully she recovered. I would suggest attending rescue events, meeting dogs, going to the pound-whatever it takes to meet your dog. I bet you will know him or her when you meet them! Good luck!

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