Choosing the Right Dog for You
Dogs are always there for you, but will you be there for a dog? Our goal is to place each of our dogs and puppies into a home where they will live and be loved for the rest of their lives. Before you apply to adopt one of our dogs or puppies, please evaluate the dog's needs, breed & temperament in the context of your life style and family circumstances. Please think seriously about the following when deciding on which dog, if any, you want to adopt. And PLEASE ask us questions about what we know about each of the following for any of the dogs you are considering. Don't adopt based solely on how a dog looks -- think about personality too!
Exercise: There is no such thing as a dog that requires no exercise. Most dogs require more exercise than people are willing to give them. Think about your tolerance for exercise versus a specific dog's NEED for exercise. A dog's exercise requirement is a combination of the dog's energy level and its size or athleticism. Even a dog with very low exercise requirements needs DAILY exercise.
Playfulness: A dog's playfulness is related to its energy level but focuses on whether that energy is aimed at interacting with people. Most adopters want a playful dog but do you want a dog that is constantly dropping a tennis ball at your feet every waking moment?
Affection Level: Dogs differ in the way they show affection and the amount of attention they will demand from you. Do you want a dog that jumps all over you and licks you in the face? Or do you prefer a less demonstrative dog?
Inside vs. Outside Dog: Very few of our dogs will be adopted to someone who intends to keep the dog outside all the time. And we absolutely will NOT adopt to anyone who intends to keep their dog chained or tied up outside all the time. NO DOG SHOULD BE EXPECTED TO LIVE EXCLUSIVELY OUTSIDE WITHOUT HUMAN OR CANINE COMPANIONSHIP. If you intend to keep a dog outside and separated from the family, you need to seriously reconsider your reasons for adopting a dog. Dogs are social animals. To a dog, solitary living is frustrating and so adverse that we consider it cruel. It creates behavior problems, including aggression. Most dogs depend on close bonding with their humans in order to live up to their potential as companions, guardians or competitors. We expect that all of our dogs will be adopted into families where they will be welcomed into the home as a true family member.
Neatness Level: If you are meticulous about the cleanliness of your home, you may not want a dog. There is no such thing as a dog that doesn't shed. Some shed very little and some shed a lot. Be prepared for at least some hair on your floors, furniture and clothing. Some dogs are just plain messy. Dogs tend to drip water on the floor when they drink. Dogs with big, pendulous jowls will drip a LOT of water after drinking. Some dogs tend to drool. Dogs with hairy feet tend to track mud and dirt into the house. Every dog will make a mistake once in a while and poop or pee on the floor. They sometimes vomit on the carpet or furniture. If you can't accept that this IS going to happen some time -- don't get a dog.
Training: No dog is born knowing how to be a good citizen. They have to be taught manners just like a child. Every dog should learn basic obedience and obedience training is absolutely ESSENTIAL for large, strong or domineering dogs. It is also helpful for dogs that tend to be shy or independent. Dogs who end up at rescue groups such as P.A.W.S. usually come with "baggage" -- no one taught them any manners. If you aren't prepared to become your new dog's teacher or enroll in obedience classes, then you may want to reconsider adopting. And don't confuse ease of training with intelligence. Some dogs combine intelligence with a high energy level and a willingness to please that, together, result in a dog that learns quickly. This type of dog can be hard to live with if NOT trained because they need mental stimulation in order to avoid boredom. A bored dog will make its own amusement by doing things like tearing up the furniture.
Good with kids: We don't always know how our dogs will react to living with children. Many of our dogs were strays and we know nothing about their past history. Most of our dogs are kept in foster homes without small children around so we have no way of knowing how they will respond to living with young children day in and day out. When looking for a dog to live with small children there a number of things you need to consider.
- What job was this breed of dog developed to perform? For example, some herding dogs, such as the Border Collie, will herd anything that moves -- including running children. Some breeds herd by nipping, which can frighten some children. Some guarding breeds will tend to be very protective of the children in their family and might not understand that a visiting child who plays rough with their child is not a threat.
- Consider the dog's ADULT size. A large dog can accidentally knock a small child down. Large dogs have large teeth and powerful jaws. Children can hurt small dogs through rough play or careless behavior around the house.
- Consider the dog's activity level. Excitable dogs can become OVERLY excited by a child's normal play activity. An overly boisterous dog can jump on children in play or simply annoy parents by adding to the activity and noise level in the house. Inactive dogs are more likely to ignore children and may even leave the room and find a quiet place to hide. They may not be a very satisfying companion to a child needing a playmate.
Canis familiaris, the Latin scientific name for the domestic dog, literally means "faithful dog". If you take your time, do your research, ask questions, be patient, be willing to invest your own time, and CHOOSE WELL--you will have a faithful friend and family member for life!