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For episode five, Kayla speaks to Carrie Brooks at Go Rogue Dog Training Center about selecting a shelter or rescue to work with, and then selecting a puppy from that location.
There’s not really a right and wrong way to do this, but we’ll cover our top tips for you.
Selecting a Shelter
- Why supporting good shelters matters
- Good shelters work on both ends of the pet homelessness problem, you want to support that
- Reputable rescues and shelters will take the dog back and support you with issues, as they can
- Why a shelter might be best for you: nonspecific needs, helping a pet out, supporting the community, lower upfront cost
Now remember, everything here is a generality. Some shelters are fabulous but bend these guidelines in places, and that’s ok! We’re just helping you think about what to look for IN GENERAL when vetting a shelter or rescue.
Look for a Shelter that Is:
- Compliant with local regulations
- Honesty about what they know about the dog’s health and temperament
- Personally, I prioritize shelters that offer holistic community support, though this isn’t always an option for rural/municipal shelters
- Don’t get too stuck on euthanasia rates
- Beware of rescues that “flip” dogs at high costs or hoard dogs to keep euthanasia rates low
Now remember, everything here is a generality. Some breeders are fabulous but bend these guidelines in places, and that’s ok!
Selecting a Puppy from a Shelter
- Be prepared to wait – you won’t be able to select age, color, breed in most cases unless you’re very patient.
- Check breed rescues if you want a pup of a certain breed
- Pandemic – the process of getting a shelter pup may look different right now
- Don’t pick sight unseen if you can – go meet them!
- Bring the whole family
- Try to meet the mother dog if you can
- Is there any info on pup’s history?
- Were they an owner surrender, found as a stray, have they been in foster care? What have staff, volunteers, foster know/observe from individual puppies?
- Look for a wiggly, comfortable puppy – not too crazy or too shy
- Observe the pups together if possible. Remember that your views just gives a snap shot of today. Not likely to tell you what they will be like as an adult.
- Ask about post-adoption support
- Get to know the puppy and mom as much as you can. If possible, try to meet at two different times because they might be super sleepy one time.
- Remember, it’s not all in how you raise them.
This podcast is supported by Journey Dog Training and our Puppy Raising Blueprint course. The full course covers topics ranging from common problem behaviors and socialization to the humane hierarchy of dog training. It’s all taught by yours truly, Kayla Fratt. If you need more personalized training support, check out journeydogtraining.com – we have a variety of courses, e-books, and remote training services available. Just check out your options in the menu above.
This podcast is also supported by our members on Patreon. For as little as $3 per month, you can support this podcast and get perks like submitting questions for us to tackle at the end of each episode. Sign up over at patreon.com/pandemicpuppy.
Over the next few episodes, we’ll cover how to pick a puppy from a breeder, selecting a shelter and shelter puppy, and how to prepare for your new puppy!
For Further Reading:
- Dog Adoption Guide (written by Kayla)
- Kayla’s dog selection spreadsheet (view only)
- Pandemic Puppy Raising Support Group on Facebook
Kayla founded Journey Dog Training in 2013 to provide high-quality and affordable dog behavior advice. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant who’s worked with hundreds of private clients, thousands of shelter dogs, and dozens of working detection dogs. Kayla’s dog and cat behavior advice has been featured in NPR, the Chicago Tribune, and Pet MD. She’s an avid adventurer who is currently doing #vanlife on the Pan-American Highway with her two border collies and a cat. Aside from running Journey Dog Training, Kayla also runs the nonprofit K9 Conservationists, where she and the dogs work as conservation detection dog teams. You can get 1:1 advice with a Journey Dog Training team member here.