6 Things To Know Before Adopting Favorite Dog Breed 2.0

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October is Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month and shelters and rescues around the country are reaching out to encourage dog adoption. If you’ve shied away from adopting because you love a certain breed, the timing has never been better to reconsider.

Approximately 25 percent of the dogs relinquished to shelters and rescues are pure breeds. Sometimes economic factors mean that people can’t keep a dog but when it comes to certain breeds, families give up a dog for doing what that breed does best – barking, or digging or tracking. That’s why so many Chihuahuas, beagles and Jack Russell terriers lose their homes.

The current trend toward breed rescue, meet-ups, and social media also open the door for you to learn a lot about certain breeds before you take the plunge. Here’s a checklist of things to consider before making that long-term commitment.

  • Do a self-assessment. Before adding a pet, outline your own lifestyle and consider the breed or the age of a dog that will fit in with your routine – a more active canine or couch potato. Consider the ages of others in your house, other pets, how long you’re gone each day and how much time you’ll dedicate to training.
  • Make out a budget. Along with food, leashes, toys, beds and other gear, you need to figure in trips to the veterinarian and preventative medicine. Bigger breeds eat more and take a bigger bite out of your budget and certain breeds are prone to health issues that add up very quickly.
  • Check out breed-specific rescues. There are specialty rescues for almost every dog in many areas of the country. Connect with a rescue, visit their adoption events and talk to the people involved in rescue. Breed rescues will not only tell you what they love about the breed, they also know the shortfalls and why their breed is often relinquished.
  • Breed Meet-ups. Check out the Meet-ups in your area for your favorite breed. This is a great place to see your breed in a social setting with people, dogs, kids and other distractions. It will give you a good feel for overall breed behavior. This is also a good place to connect with owners – both long-time and newbies – that know the breed and will talk to you about what to expect. Social media sites for the rescue and breed are also great resources.
  • Figure out what behavior is a deal breaker for you. The beauty of spending time with meet-ups and breed rescues is that you’ll really get to see breed specific behavior up close and personal. If you won’t tolerate excess barking, shedding, digging in the yard or other behavior, you’ll know before taking a dog home.
  • Get started on the right foot. Once you do bring a new dog home, take the time to properly train and socialize your new family member. Behavioral issues are the number one reason why dogs are returned.

If you’d like to find out more about breed rescues and general shelters and rescues in your area, do a search on Petfinder. It’s also a great tool to check out pets available through certain rescues. You can find dog Meet-ups in your area by searching the Meet-up site with your key information.

Kathy Mordini is a freelance writer that covers the Chicago animal rescue community and pet trends. She writes daily on Examiner.com. Read her column online and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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