Adopting a shelter dog is one of the most important decisions a family can make. Sadly, many base their decision on emotional appeal, having little to no knowledge about the dogs breed, temperament or potential behavioral challenges. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters every year. One of the major reasons they are taken to shelters is due to untreated behavioral problems, according to organizations such as Pet Finders and the National Council on Pet Population Study Policy (NCPPSP).
October is Adopt a Dog and Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Animal Behavior College (ABC) encourages prospective pet owners to research and understand specific dog breed characteristics before they adopt and to provide appropriate obedience training to their new four-legged friend. This creates a harmonious human-to-canine bond that could potentially reduce the number of unwanted dogs that end up in shelters each year.
Choosing a shelter dog that is compatible with a familys lifestyle and personality is important, said Steven Appelbaum, president and CEO of Animal Behavior College. While initial emotions are good, keep in mind that this new companion will be in your family for a number of years. Unfortunately, many dogs that wind up in shelters have never received training or guidance when in reality their behavioral problems are correctable. Taking time to provide professional training will ensure many long and happy years together.
Since dog breeds have different characteristics, it is important to choose a breed that is compatible with the individual or familys activity level. For example, Airedale Terriers are independent, energetic dogs that have a propensity for digging, chasing and barking. Individuals who enjoy quiet evenings at home and little to no outdoor activity or exercise may find Airedales annoying and too energetic.
ABC offers the following 10 tips on choosing a shelter dog:
Decide what kind of dog you want to adopt by visiting your local shelter. With 25 to 30 percent of dogs in shelters being purebreds, there is a high chance that the breed you are seeking is available. To help with your decision, research breeds characteristics to determine if a particular breed is compatible with your lifestyle and personality. After finding a potential adoptee, inquire about his previous living conditions Spend time interacting with the dog in an isolated area or room Observe and note his demeanor around other dogs. Is he aloof? Does he display fear and aggression? Assess the dogs health condition by examining his eyes, teeth, hips, legs, etc. and request access to medical information Learn about ongoing medical concerns and find out if he is taking medication or undergoing treatment Find out how long the dog has been in the shelter and the circumstances for his being there (was he dropped off or abandoned?) Determine necessary follow-up services that may be needed Once you adopt the dog, make arrangements for professional training as soon as possible
Dog obedience training is one of the most important aspects of raising a dog. In fact, some shelters have volunteers from programs such as ABCs Student Saving Lives (SSL) program that provide training to homeless canine companions before they are adopted. SSL volunteers enlist more than 10 hours of training to local shelters, humane societies, or rescue organizations for the purpose of addressing behavioral and socialization concerns, giving canine companions a better opportunity of finding a loving home.
Animal Behavior College offers certifications and continuing education programs. To become a dog trainer, obtain dog-training certification, enroll in the Dog Obedience Program (DOP) or to learn more about the college or the Student Saving Lives program, visit our website http://www.AnimalBehaviorCollege.com/info.
About Animal Behavior College Animal Behavior College is the premier international vocational school specializing in certified animal career training programs. ABC has created a powerful team of skilled advocates who are devoted to nurturing the human-animal bond The founders of ABC have spent years developing and perfecting affordable career programs, many of which combine home learning with hands-on training externships with professional mentors. To date, more than 28,000 students have enrolled in ABC programs including over 1,900 in ABC’s cat training program.