Fundamentals of Selecting a Dog – Part Three
Posted on November 29th, 2018 by FetchMasters in Resources
We als discussed the importance of “stacking the deck” in your favor when selecting a dog, because there are no guarantees.
The next step in selecting a dog (and stacking that deck) is deciding where that dog will come from.
Where Do Dogs Come From?
There are several sources your new dog could come from, such as a breeder, a rescue or shelter, another family rehoming their pet, or a pet store. Depending on the source, you will be able to get some degree of information on how your dog’s personality might develop. Here’s where you can really stack the deck in your favor. The more information you can acquire about your dog the better, whether it is personal history for an adult dog or family history for a puppy.
Selecting a Dog from a Breeder
What should you look for in a breeder? This could be an entire blog series itself, but here are the highlights. A breeder should have an above average knowledge of dogs and dog care. They should understand the types of dogs they are producing, and the types of people who will be successful with their dogs.
Their goals should be to produce physically and mentally healthy dogs, tested through genetic screenings and meaningful breeding. Their puppies should be raised with stimulating environments to develop their brains. They should care about where their puppies are going and be willing to take them back at any time during their lives. A good breeder should be able to give you loads of information on the family history of the puppy you might purchase.
Selecting a Dog from Shelters or Rescues
The amount of information a shelter or rescue has on a dog is dependent on a lot of factors. One of the biggest factors is how long the dog has been in their care. It takes most dogs around three weeks to start to show their true personalities in new situations. This means if the dog has not been in a shelter or in foster care long, they might not have an accurate representation of a particular dog’s personality. Good shelters and rescues will utilize temperament testing (discussed further in Part 4) to tease out as much information about the dog’s personality as possible.
Adopting a Dog from an Individual
You might think that a family who is re-homing their dog should be able to give you a ton of information on the dog’s history. However that isn’t always the case. The family may be concerned that their dog’s behavior problems will prevent it from finding a home, so they may be tempted to withhold important information. If you choose this route, ask lots of questions to suss out the information you need. The better job you do at assessing the dog’s suitability for your needs and your household, the happier you (and the dog) will be.
Selecting a Dog from a Pet Store
In terms of sources for acquiring a dog, pet stores can typically give you the least amount of information about the puppies they sell. They typically sell only very young puppies who come from a third party. They don’t have access to information about the puppy’s family history or how the pups were raised.
Sometimes these puppies come from what is commonly known as “puppy mills,” in which the sanitary conditions of the environment is sub-standard. Among other problems caused by poor breeding, this can cause puppies to become desensitized to their waste and thus be difficult to house train.
When selecting a dog, you can stack the deck in your favor by going to a source that can give you more information about your dog’s history. For an adult dog, you want to find out about how the dog behaves in its current situation. For a puppy you will have to rely on its family history to help you predict how it might develop as an adult. Once you have researched where to acquire your dog, the next step in selecting a dog is actually selecting your dog! So stay tuned for Part Four of our Fundamentals of Selecting a Dog series.
And as always, if you have any questions about our articles or dog training in general, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to chat with you.