Some New Things You Should Know About Shelter Dogs

October is “adopt a shelter dog” month!

Shelter dogs, of course, are wonderful pets, friends, companions and family members. Unfortunately, there are misconceptions about shelter dogs.

Let’s dispel some of these myths together and bring more dogs into the houses This month!

There are a lot of dogs that need a home. Almost 7 million dogs and cats end up in shelters every year. This figure is an estimate because there is not a single Organization that tabulates the data of shelters, but on this approximation, a little more than half are dogs. Many are adopted, but something like 670k+ are euthanized every year.
There are a lot of puppies that need a home! Often when I hear people say they want a puppy and shelters don’t have puppies, my first thought is, “Have you ever been to a shelter?!?!”There are often puppies, a lot of random litters, dogs dropping puppies off at the shelter, etc. If you don’t see them, it could just mean that they are being taken care of. Shelters have puppies, and these puppies all need families!

History does not mean everything. Why a dog was leaved or what Situation the dog came from could be known. And maybe not. In the end, the shelter staff can tell you what they have observed and learned about each dog in your care, and these traits and characteristics are more important than blurred, hazy or not-known historical information.
Shelter dogs are perfectly trainable, as trainable as any other dog! Here’s something crazy to think about: most dogs these days are bred for their looks. If you are looking for a Smarty pants or a dog that can be trained to work with you, you are as likely to find a match at your nearest shelter as you are a breeder. Of course, if you are looking for a purposefully bred dog, as you need one to guard your flock of sheep, this is a completely different conversation. I’m talking about family dogs here. But many people worry that they will not be able to train a shelter dog, especially if the dog is older. The good news: it’s just not true! Any dog, like any human, can learn! And, Bonus: you might even find a dog already trained at home. Lucas learned salon training almost perfectly at the shelter and never had an accident after we adopted him, and Emmett was damn close to being perfect with his salon training – and he was already three years old!

An unnamed dog is up for a breed evaluation at the Denver Animal Shelter. Dec. 8, 2020.

Your adopted dog has a unique personality. Instead of thinking of your dog as a “shelter dog” or a “rescue dog,” think of your dog as your dog. His own unique self. Knowing your dog’s unique personality – and honoring it – is the most important thing you can do. However, it is very important to remember this while your dog has his own self…
… sometimes it takes a while for that personality to shine through! There is this super simple 3-3-3 model to adopt a dog. It basically goes like this: during the first three days that a dog comes home, you will probably see a lot of stressful behaviors because the dog has no idea what just happened. Be especially patient during this period. During the first three weeks, your new dog should feel a little settled, at least insofar as he knows the Routine and expectations. At this point, you will notice that his true personality is starting to creep in. After three months, your dog should feel safe in your family and his place inside. At three months, your dog knows that he is at home. Once you get to that point, that personality will start to shine! Here is a great article that goes into detail with tips.
Shelter dogs are not: Dirty, flea-bitten, stinky, aggressive or sick. Of course, some dogs can come to the shelter with some of them. Lucas, for example, had a terrible scabies. But shelter dogs are not usually sick and problematic dogs. This is a common misconception that prevents many people from setting foot in a shelter.
Shelter dogs are: wonderful puppies that just need a chance. Of course, some will need additional care in terms of medical care or training, but how does this differ from each of us? They all deserve love and affection, and they all deserve the chance to be part of a family.

An older dog could well be the most perfect pet there is. Ready for a hot take? I don’t like puppies. There. I said so. Puppies drive me crazy. I have nothing against puppy care, but I’m pretty sure we would never adopt a puppy again. Older dogs, here he comes! In my heart, one day, when the girls are older, we want to take palliative care, but even if they are not looking for an elderly person – which I completely understand – I am talking about three, four, five, six-year-old dogs that are often overlooked when looking for a puppy. These dogs have a little life under their belt. You will never have teeth again. They are often more patient. They often have a deeper resting well than any puppy. Many people avoid shelter dogs assuming that they are all “too old,” but what if an older dog is the perfect dog?
You and your shelter dog can create a deep, lasting and lifelong bond. Your relationship with your dog can become one of the most meaningful in your life if you only give your puppy the Chance.