October is Adopt a Shelter Dog/Adopt a Dog Month
Many would agree that there is nothing like the love of a dog or puppy. With so many canines available, adoption has become a preferred choice for some families. Adopting a shelter dog is one of the most important decisions a family can make. Unfortunately, many base this lifestyle-changing decision on emotions having little to no knowledge about the dog’s breed, temperament, potential behavioral challenges and the financial responsibilities that come along with pet ownership.
When these factors are not considered, many of these furry friends end up either abandoned or dropped off at local shelters. Sadly, there are more dogs than homes to care for them. In fact, 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 these four-legged friends wind up in 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 responsible pet ownership. Before you adopt, research and understand specific dog breed characteristics and cost factors beforehand, and commit upfront to providing dog obedience training, as it will create a harmonious bond and will decrease the chances of Fido ending up a shelter statistic.
“Unfortunately, many dogs that wind up in shelters have never received training or guidance when in reality their behavioral problems are correctable,” said Steven Appelbaum, president and CEO of Animal Behavior College. “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 family’s 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. 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?
- Learn about ongoing medical concerns. 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.
With dog obedience training playing an important role in a harmonious relationship with its owner, some shelters have volunteers from programs such as ABC’s Student Saving Lives (SSL) program to provide training to homeless dogs 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. To become a certified 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.