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

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

  1. mamacatnv

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

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    I agree with the whole skip puppyhood. My dream list was:
    Housebroken
    Crate Trained
    Leash Trained
    House manners (stays off furniture etc)
    No incessant barking
    Not food aggressive
    Not cat or people aggressive.

    Our boy is not well crate trained. We found a huge crate at GoodWill and we work on it. When we are not home (adults at work, DD at school) he gets the laundry room. Due to the heat in Texas and his furry coat he is not left outside except in the evenings or early mornings. When we cool off in the late fall/winter he will be able to spend more time in the yard. He roams the fence line but has never challenged the fence. He does dig, its a trait of the breed. He will dig himself a hole to sit in to keep cool. A section of our yard is dirt, its under a tree and it has become his spot.

    Our Boy was an owner surrender. The owner got him as a puppy, thought he would be cute to breed and then he grew and he shed and he kept growing. He is 75#'s and per our vet approx. 35#'s underweight. He sheds a lot so we brush a lot. I brush him just about every evening and we got a "Furminator" when he was blowing his undercoat. Expensive but very effective.

    I have no regrets with him. He has great manners, housebroken and no known aggressions that we have seen in the 2 months we have had him.

    Instead of spending our time housebreaking we spend time grooming and teaching him commands. He's a jewel and just a giant marshmallow. I have never liked dogs, never wanted one etc. Now that DD is 14 we felt we had the time.

    When we first brought him home I took him to work with me. I have my own office and everyone at work got a kick out of him. I still take him periodically but he tends to get car sick so its kind of a torture to take him to work. We are working on the car sick issues and he is getting better and better. We also take him lots of places where there are people. Outdoor malls are a favorite along with his nightly walk to check his neighborhood.

    Our Boy just like so many here have said about their adult adoptees was a perfect find. Just goes to show, a long wish list is very do-able. I strongly encourage an adult dog. We were looking at 1-3 years of age, ended up at 1.5 years. Still a teen, still growing but out of the destructive, time consuming, carpet destroying puppy phase.
     
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  3. poohguys

    poohguys DIS Veteran

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    Our first dog we got from the shelter. She was a corgi/beagle mix that was about 7 months old. Already potty trained, but still a puppy so she would chew. She was a great dog. We had her for 15 years. Our dog now is a rescue. She is a pointer/hound mix. Got her at 8 weeks old. Had to do the whole potty training thing during the winter-not fun. She is good too, but has a liking for tissues and napkins and will eat them if they are laying with in her reach. A few things to keep in mind. Are any of you allergic to any type of dog? You may be fine with some but not with others and with a rescue you never really know what they are a mix of. Also would you be disappointed if you adopted a puppy and they did not turn out like you thought. Our dog is supposed to be pointer/hound so we were thinking she would be taller and a little heavier. She is a good size though for us, she is what I would call medium. If you want a specific size you may be better off adopting an adult dog. Many may come with medical problems. May want to consider pet insurance. As others have said know what you want. Parents neighbors ended up with two puppies-both had mange! Good luck with what ever you decide. I think it is great when people rescue/adopt. There are so many dogs that need homes.
     
  4. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

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    That looks like our list, too. And we got most of what we wanted. Tiki has learned his house manners and how to walk on a leash. He's not food driven at all. He's not cat aggressive. He loves his crate (now) and he's not a nuisance barker. Unless a stranger comes to the door or we meet a dog while we're walking. Then he goes nuts, which is why he wears a muzzle when we're out. I dont' want to take any chances here...

    Even with the moderate barking and the difficulty becoming reliably housebroken, he has been way easier than training a puppy. :joker: Tiki goes to his crate when we're not able to watch him and he goes there willingly because he knows he'll get his peanut butter-stuffed Kong toy. He's 5 years old and of course, we don't know what his background was. It's clear to us that he loved at some point and abused at some point. When we got him he was so ill he was too weak to really show us his true colors. If we had small children, I would not have kept him--we work with him a LOT to get him to be calm and fade the aggression. We've only had him about 3 months, so we have a way to go. It's a big commitment.
     
  5. anelson81993

    anelson81993 Mouseketeer

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    We've had 3 dogs, all rescues, in the last 10 years. Our first family dog, Molly, was a miniature schnauzer mix. She was the sweetest little dog. When we adopted her, we were told she was housebroken, but we later learned that that wasn't exactly the case (after adopting our two later dogs, we realized our local ARL has no idea whether a dog is housebroken or not, based on the limited amount of time with the dog and the difficult situation surrounding the dogs living in a rescue). She was easy to train, though, and once she was trained, she rarely had accidents again, until she got sick many years later. She did bark a lot, which we got used to after a little while, and she loved to shred rope toys or rope-like objects. She was also very sweet, great with everyone, even my mom's young daycare kids when she ran an at-home daycare. She had been abused/neglected, but after a little while with our family you would never have known. She was a really great dog, and since she passed on a little more than a year ago we've really missed her.

    After Molly died, we decided our house was too quiet, and we greatly missed having a dog in our family. After searching for a little while, my parents found Charlie, a tiny Yorkshire mix. He actually never even went to the rescue website--my parents found him literally the day he was cleared for adoption, on a quick visit to the ARL. We adopted him at about a year and a half old. While the ARL told my parents he was housebroken, we quickly learned that while he was (mostly) housebroken, he did have an anxiety/nerves/excitation problem that caused him to pee whenever he got scared. And, since he's very small, he's scared of almost everything, including (for a time), my father and older brother. He got over the father/older brother fear relatively quickly. Other fears, like strange people and every cleaning object in the house--mops, vacuums, washing machines/dryers, brooms, lawn mowers outside, etc.--took him a little longer to get over, but he got over that too. The longest issue was getting him to stop whenever he got excited, but after a while in a doggie diaper or diaper band, he finally quit. Now, he only very rarely has issues, and that's when there's something seriously wrong. He's a very intelligent dog; knows all our commands and the names of his favorite treats, and even figured out how to get into the treats that used to be stored on a high table (we still don't know how he got up there) until we finally hid them in a container with a locking lid.

    After a few months with Charlie, we decided that he might enjoy the company of another dog, and started hunting again. After a couple months of looking, we found Max, a miniature schnauzer. We jumped through many hoops to adopt a second dog, eventually leaving our application to adopt a dog from the ARL on file so they could just transfer it to whatever dog we ended up finding. Since two members of our family are allergic to some breeds, it was very important to us that we adopt a breed we knew we had no problems with--which pretty much limited us to the schnauzers, the silky-haired terriers, and a couple other small-breed low-shedding dogs. We were very blessed that Charlie and Max got along well at their dog meet. He was mostly housebroken, but had accidents for a little while adjusting to a new home. He and Charlie got along really well; Max is older (about 3 now), but accepted Charlie as the leader easily, and seems to see Charlie as an older brother rather than as a younger puppy. Our biggest issues with Max that we have had to overcome are training difficulties and his fears. Like Charlie, Max is afraid of most everything--he didn't even want to get in the car with us to leave the ARL forever, he was so afraid. He still doesn't like car rides. He's afraid of most things in our house; both dogs hide when the vacuum or broom is around, and neither will go outside if they hear a lawn mower. We think he's scared of so many things because he was found by the ARL as a stray; they don't know how long he was on the streets but it's likely that that is where his fear troubles come from. Our other difficulty is with training and commands in particular. For some reason, Max has not and does not understand our commands, even the ones we *thought* we had taught him. He doesn't know his own name; he answers to his name, Charlie's name, and pretty much any other word spoken in the right tone of voice. He sometimes remembers what "sit" means, after thinking about it for a little while, but that's about it. We think it's possible that before he was a stray, he came from a non-English-speaking home, which would explain why he's having trouble re-learning all the commands he knew in another language. He is a weird dog in general though; he often walks along the tops of couches, and tries to sit behind the cushions on our couch (which is actually pretty funny to watch). He's about a foot taller than Charlie, and often steps on him or sits on him without realizing it. He also won't come in the house if Charlie isn't already there, and freaks out if Charlie goes away without him, like if we walk them separately. He doesn't jump up on furniture with people on it without a direct invitation stated several times, but if he wants a person's attention, he'll come right up to the furniture, rest his nose on it, and stare at the person until he gets his invitation. He does the same staring thing when someone is sleeping and he wants their attention--he gets right up in their face (if he was up on the furniture with a direct invitation previously) and just stares until the person wakes up and pets him. But he's a sweet, loving dog, and even with his eccentricities, we wouldn't trade him for another.

    Every time we've adopted a dog, it has been after a long effort. We've stalked ARL pages for months; several people checking several times a day. When we adopted Max, I drove to two ARL locations (about an hour total) because the website had the wrong location listed, and the location we thought he was at couldn't put an adoption pending in on him at the other location. We lost several adoptions (now we're glad, because we have our boys that we love so much) before we got Charlie or Max. Whenever someone was off work, they would drive out to both ARL locations in the area, just to see what dogs were there. I highly recommend doing that with your rescues, if possible--in our area, it was entirely possible that a dog would be adopted before ever going to the website; that was how we got Charlie. It got to the point where we were checking the website 10+ times per day, someone driving out once per day, while we were searching for Max. We eventually got the ARL to put our adoption form on file so it could be applied to any dog at that location, which turned out not to be necessary, as we adopted Max from another location. But with all three of our dogs, it was totally worth the effort. They are and were such a huge part of our lives and our family, and we are so glad we put in all that time to find them.

    I hope your adoption doesn't take too long, and you find your forever dog soon! Good luck!
     
  6. Jenn

    Jenn DIS Veteran

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    Our Petco and Petsmart stores sponsor dog and cat adoption days for different shelters a couple times a month. We started visiting those, and found the sweetest little Pomeranian last October. He had just been surrendered THAT morning. His owner fostered dogs for the shelter, but had cancer and had to give him up.

    The shelter offered a 2 week trial, which was awesome. We could return him within 2 weeks no questions asked. They want the dog and you to be happy with the placement. We went back at the 2 week mark and adopted him officially.

    He is 5, which has been great. He is fully house trained, sleeps in his own little bed, loves to snuggle, only gets on furniture if we invite him up. His only negatives are he isn't great with little ones (which they fully disclosed at the beginning). We have per-teen and teen girls so not a problem. And he barks at other dogs on walks. Otherwise, the sweetest boy.
     
  7. Pea-n-Me

    Pea-n-Me DIS Veteran

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    Great post that I think highlights well some of the difficulties you can encounter when adopting/trying to adopt a dog, especially one with an unknown background. Your dogs were so fortunate to find your family and your home!

    There is a classic book called Second Hand Dog (and I believe the author is Carol Lea Benjamin).

    There are also some titles from my favorite dog trainers and authors, Brian Kilcommons and Sara Wilson, that might be helpful, including Good Owners, Great Dogs (a classic that every dog owner should keep on hand), Paws to Consider and Mutts:America's Dog.

    One thing I would say to someone in your situation, OP, is to make sure you don't inadvertently reinforce bad behaviors in a dog because you fell badly about his background situation or being given away, etc. Some people (and not just those who adopt) do this by "coddling" the dog; in effect praising it by patting, or soothing, inappropriately. Good Owners, Great Dogs will help you learn not to do this.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&ke...hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=t&ref=pd_sl_9tl8w58yw_b

    I'd also tell you to really learn about breeds and what individual breeds were bred for, because knowing a dog's genetic roots will help you understand a lot about its instinctual behavior, and also help steer you towards, or away, from certain types of dogs. For example, dogs bred to work are often high-energy and will do best with someone who can "work" them, even if their work is catching a ball or frisbee hard several times a day. Bored dogs are destructive, and often maladaptive, simply because they desperately feel the need to work, but have no output for that energy.

    I also just want to add to the earlier comment about mixed breeds being healthier, just to clarify. Hybrid vigor only applies to randomly bred dogs, not deliberately bred dogs (aka "designer dogs").
     
  8. louey

    louey <font color=peach>and she paid alot of money to lo

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    Hang in there it does take some time to go through the process but worth it!!! I have two rescues one of which was adopted long distance she was a puppy mill dog (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel). I had her flown to me not a big expense at all plus adoption fee, they had someone in my area do a home visit. Love this rescue, they are located in Nebraska here is their website hua.org
    Good Luck
     
  9. Sorsha

    Sorsha <font color=royalblue>People, don't be like the ch

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    We rescued our current doggie from a foster/rescue situation, and though I love him dearly, he is a challenge. He was about 6 months old when we got him; he had been rescued from a puppy mill situation and cared for by a foster mommy before we got him.

    He is a mutt, through and through. I am not sure if the puppy mill was breeding mixed breeds on purpose or if his litter was an "accident". However, the foster mom was kind of vague on his heritage. We picked him out because he looked almost identical to our sweet girl we lost in 2008, and she had been such a wonderful dog. Come to find out he is a WHOLE LOT more high maintenance. He is only 2 now, so I still hoping he will settle and grow out of it.

    He came to us housebroken, so that was good. However he is VERY scared of most men. Not my husband - he has loved him from the very first - and strangely enough, my DD18 has one particular male friend that he just adores. But anyone else male - even people like my brother-in-law who has been around ever since we got him - he is just terrified of. This is magnified if it is a large/tall man. We suspect he must have been abused by a big man at some point. He literally gets so panicky he urinates on himself.

    He is a terrible barker. He barks at anything that moves - bicyclists, joggers, other animals, birds, cars that drive by, the garbage man, wind, rain, you name it. It if moves or makes noise, it freaks him out. And he has this piercing "alarm" bay that nearly makes your heart stop.

    He is also terrified of riding in cars - he shakes so hard he vibrates, and usually vomits - and groomers. He needs to go to the groomer very badly but they end up having to muzzle him and suspend him in this harness apparatus above the table, and he spends the whole time barking and crying and struggling to get away from The Strangers and The Equipment. Then he is so worn out and almost physically ill for the whole rest of the day. :(

    Now, no one told us about all of these issues when we adopted him. They checked our references, and made sure our house and yard was acceptable, but beyond telling us his puppy mill history and telling us that he would be shy with us and need a while to warm up to us, they told us nothing. Maybe they didn't even know. If I had known how many issues he would have and how high maintenance he would be, would I have taken him? Probably not. He is a sweetie when he is just with us, and he adores the kids, but he is so neurotic and SO DARN LOUD.

    Anyway, just do your homework, research your breeds, and try to get as much history on the dog as you can. And, while the foster/adopt system is definitely the way to go for doggies, be prepared for a few bumps in the road.
     
  10. Pea-n-Me

    Pea-n-Me DIS Veteran

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    How do you handle the issues he has?
     
  11. Sorsha

    Sorsha <font color=royalblue>People, don't be like the ch

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    We have tried to socialize him to other people by exposing them to him in our presence, sitting on the floor with him, being a gentle steadying presence, etc. It has gotten to the point where he has to do the whole panic-thing when they first come into the house, but once they are in, he settles (usually). However, once they leave, even if they just run to their car to get something, as soon as they come back into the house we have to start all over again.

    We try to get him out for lots of exercise every day. The kids take him in the back yard and play fetch or soccer with him, and take him for long walks (he is surprisingly good on a leash, although very fearful of other dogs) - a tired doggie is a quieter doggie.

    As far as car rides are concerned we just don't take him in the car. We are going to have to find a solution to the groomer issue soon; he really needs it. I have been looking around and have found a doggie salon who promises to deal well with high-needs dogs, so I think we will give them a try. Of course we have to GET him there... :crazy2:

    As for the barking? I just don't know. We have tried everything from (gently) exerting "pack" dominance (he definitely recognizes my DH as Alpha Dog) to a firm NO, to squirts from a water bottle (he gives you an offended "What was THAT for??" look, but keeps barking). He is just either highly territorial and EVERYTHING he can see is intruding on his territory, or highly nervous and scared of everything. In either case I am not sure what can be done. :confused3
     
  12. mamacatnv

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

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    Our Boy pants, drools and eventually pukes in the car. Couple of things our vet suggested:

    Short car rides with a destination for a treat like Dairy Queen for a soft serve cone, Sonic for a milkshake, McDonald's for a cheeseburger hold the condiments. This is actually working, we can now do short jaunts without excessive drool and panting. The idea is to train them that car=treat.

    When we have no choice but to go on a longer ride, he gets a dramamine 20 minutes before departure, this helps also.
     
  13. Sorsha

    Sorsha <font color=royalblue>People, don't be like the ch

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    Come to think of it that is probably why our Girl was such a good car-rider. First of all when she was little it was DH and I (no kids yet) and she went everywhere with us. We got her as a tiny tiny puppy - just barely weaned, and as soon as she was into the puppy-chewing-everything phase we would stop at gas stations and get those nasty (for humans) beef jerky pieces - I don't even know if they make them anymore - they were circular and called "Bull Pucks". She LOVED them. They were 5 for a dollar and I swear she could count. I would give them her one at a time and she would always sit patiently staring at me until she had gotten all 5 even if I tried to pretend we were done at 4. She was incredibly smart. But she knew that car ride = beef jerky.
     
  14. Lanshark

    Lanshark <font color=red>Peace be still<br><font color=purp

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    We just adopted a Great Pyrenees from a rescue. Lexi is our third rescue dog. We adopted a golden that was a year and a half old. Max took about a year before he really felt comfortable. We adopted a Aussie/Lab mix as a puppy. She is now 8 years old and the best dog we've ever had. When our golden died about a year ago it was difficult on everyone.

    About 2 months ago I called the Pyrenees rescue and inquired about a Pyr/Golden mix that they had. We had certain requirements. We have 3 cats and Sage who is about 50 pounds. We determined that the Pyr/Golden mix would not be great around the cats. He was aggressive. The rescue pointed us towards Lexi who is a 3 year old, a former puppy mill breeder female, who just had puppies and was undergoing heartworm treatments. They told us she was afraid of storms and of the dark. We visited her several times before we decided she was exactly what we were looking for.

    I talked to two different people from the rescue and filled out a lengthy application. I also had to send pictures of my home and fenced yard. We were totally honest in what we were looking for and they matched us to the perfect dog for us. We did a lot of research on the breed and knew exactly what we were getting into. Our kids are grown and we wanted a BIG dog that was not aggressive and was house trained. We all adore her and she has adapted much faster than the Golden we rescued years ago.
     
  15. mamacatnv

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

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    Pyr's are awesome but not a typical dog ;) Ours is more cat like in his behavior. He will come when called, if he wants to. He will sit on command, if he wants to and there are times I can see the wheels in his head turning. He is deciding which one of us knows better. I love my big fluffy lazy marshmallow but circus dog who is trainable is not in his makeup and he reminds us of that often :rotfl2:
     
  16. GaBelle

    GaBelle DIS Veteran

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    This is great info. I'll definitely try short car trips bc my puppy girl gets very very drooly and throws up every time we've had her in the car. These were 20 minute + trips however. My vet recommended benedryl at first- nope. Then dramamine- nope. Withhold food, then the meds- nope. Lastly he prescribed Cerenia and it worked great!
    Sorry to highjack the thread guys!
     
  17. Anri

    Anri Mouseketeer

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    I would try to see if any of the rescues in your area host adoption events. I'm sure most of them will. This can be a great opportunity to actually meet the dogs first hand and see if you fall in love with one. You will also be able to meet the volunteers and owners for the rescue and talk to them and ask questions. I think it's great that you are looking a lot at dogs that are currently in foster care. A foster parent will be a lot more hands on and know a lot more about the dogs personality then a shelter will in a lot of cases. In going to an adoption event, there is a good chance that some of these foster dogs will be there as well.

    I have a ten year old rottweiler that I got from a rescue this way, she was five when I adopted her. I had been looking for what seemed like ages for a dog and was getting very little response from people. One day I showed up at an adoption/microchip event that was being hosted by one of the banks uptown and there were a bunch of rescues that were there. I walked around and met a couple dogs and talked to people, got a few cards, etc. And then, there she was...just chilling in the grass looking at the sky. I walked over and said hi and she got up, climbed all 115 pounds of herself into my lap (I am quite petite, so this was a rather impressive feat), and leaned in for a hug. I started to cry and brought her home with me that day.
     
  18. bedogged

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

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    I would think that you should have no trouble finding a lab or lab mix dog. They are the most common dogs in shelters. I have seen whole purebred litters come into our local shelter. I know you said that you are familiar with labs, but there are labs and then there are LABS. Unfortunately, a lot of the labs that are produced by back yard breeders are VERY HYPER. Often they do not mellow out until after they are two. In this breed an older dog might be better. I do understand the attraction of a puppy. Just be aware that it will probably have an exorbitant amount of energy. Also, if you possibly can, do not get a puppy that has been taken from its mother prior to 8 weeks old. If taken earlier, it can cause other problems. I wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect dog for your family!
     
  19. bballmom56

    bballmom56 DIS Veteran

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    This is exactly what we have done with two of ours who had "tummy issues" in cars. For the first one, all I had to do was drive thru McDonald's drive thru. And you know what? Hamburgers come out the window into your car!!! Gee, riding in the car is not so bad! Never had another problem again.

    The second one we are still working on. He still gets anxious. He is not as driven by food as the first one was. Plus he is not a carb guy and does not want the bun :rolleyes:. So it is a bit more of a project. But we keep working.
     
  20. crjack

    crjack DIS Veteran

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    OP, what state are you in? Many of us have adopted dogs through well run organizations and perhaps someone can provide you with some recommendations.

    I am in MA and have an 11 yr old mix breed that we adopted when he was 6 months old. Best dog in the world and my children have grown up with him.

    So many rescue groups bring dogs up here to the northeast because of the successful adoption programs.

    The group we used did ask a lot of questions but it was to make sure we had the best fit for our family dynamics. Our dog wasn't abused ever but his mother gave birth to a litter down south and they eventually made their way up north through the shelter shuttles.

    For us, size and breed didn't matter - we wanted a good tempered dog who could handle a busy active house and that's exactly what we got. He got a family who made a lifetime commitment to him so a perfect fit all around!

    Best of luck. Our dog has been a wonderful addition to our family and I hope you have the same experience.
     
  21. cepmom

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

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    I'm in MA too, if you care to pass on the names of shelters/rescues that you had good expereinces with , I'd love to get that info. Thanks!
     

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