If you show dogs, love a specific breed of dogs, have a working ranch, or love to breed dogs responsibly, we understand that purebreds are your focus. If you’re interested in adopting a dog that's smart, sensitive, fun, and loyal companion - rather than a skilled worker or active show dog), skip the purebreds and go straight to adopting a dog from your local animal shelter.
There are several reasons shelter dogs are the way to go. Here are some of the many benefits you (and your soon-to-be dog) gain when you adopt a dog from a shelter.
So many people choose family dogs by the breeds they think are the cutest or best-looking. However, many purebred dogs have very special needs because they are bred for specific purposes. If you get a pure breed it is important to know the breed characteristics.
This means that the undeniably beautiful Husky you adopt may tear up the house and continuously escape because you don’t have the daily hours required to exercise them (did you know that Huskies require a minimum of two hours of moderate to high-level daily exercise?). Or, your teacup cutie from a poor breeder may be so inbred - and so small - they can’t hold their bladder or bowels for longer than an hour or two, meaning lots of messes to clean up and a challenge when you want them to travel with you.
Shelters work hard to place the right dogs with the right people, and you have plenty of time to meet, greet, and spend time with the dog before committing.
As professional dog trainers, we know firsthand that humans are as responsible for their dog’s “issues” as the dogs are. Most dogs are born ready to please and learn the boundaries, but without proper and consistent training, they become anxious, scared, and confused (which can lead to aggression). Frustrated owners frequently surrender dogs that just need a little human-dog training.
Then there are all of the perfectly well-behaved dogs whose owners moved, died, or could not care for them. By adopting a shelter dog, you save a life and make your life better - all at the same time. It’s an invaluable win-win for all.
Most shelters partner with local dog trainers and dog training facilities to support newly adopted dogs and their owners. You do not get this when you spend hundreds or thousands on a purebred dog.
Once your dog settles in, you can start working on basic commands and take advantage of free- to discounted professional training services to work on any issues that arise in those first few months.
Purebred dogs are expensive - to say the least. And, unlike some of the mixed-breeds and mutts you find in a shelter, they are more prone to specific medical conditions. For example, pure-bred German shepherds are known for their debilitating hip dysplasia. Frenchies, which are so trendy right now, are at high risk for developing a wide range of health issues, like Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), heatstroke, skin allergies, and cherry eye.
In addition to the expensive cost of purchasing your purebred, there’s an excellent chance you’ll be spending far more on veterinarian bills, treatments, and preventative support.
BONUS BENEFIT: You wouldn’t believe how many purebred dogs wind up in shelters, so you may find you get the best of both worlds - saving a loyal friend from shelter life while also bringing home one of your favorite breeds!
We frequently volunteer time at local shelters to help assess dogs and work with dogs that have been there a while and are suffering from extreme anxiety as a result. We are amazed at how many dogs are already trained or have a very good understanding of basic commands.
For example, many shelter dogs work their very hardest not to go to the bathroom in their kennels because they’re already housetrained. Unfortunately, they can only go so long! You may find that potty training is far easier than you thought - especially if you adopt a dog that is more than one year old. Similarly, many shelter dogs know - or are working hard - at learning their:
Ask the shelter employees which dogs they’ve noticed are well-trained or already on their way - and you’ll save lots of time and energy once their settling-in period is over.
There are so many other benefits of adopting shelter dogs:
The overpopulation of dogs (and the reason so many are in shelters) is due to irresponsible breeders who do it for the money and don’t take care of their dogs OR do not perform responsible due diligence before selling a puppy to new owners (puppies are far more challenging than most adult shelter dogs!). By adopting, you help to staunch the demand for puppy mill dogs.
Shelter dogs are well-nourished and cared for while they’re there. And, they have been given the once over by a veterinarian, which means you already know more about your dog than when you get a pure-bred puppy and find out they have medical issues due to gene/inheritance abnormalities. Also, they already have all of their vaccinations, dewormers, and flea-tick medications taken care of until they're due for the next rounds.
Your minimal adoption fees (typically $250 or less) also help support the shelter and the work they do to protect neglected or abandoned dogs in your community. If you can, we recommend paying more than the adoption fee as a donation to pay it forward for other dogs.
Did you bring a new dog home from the shelter? We’d love to support you and your dog's transition smoothly and stress-free into your new lives together. Hopefully, you already learned the 3-3-3 rule (three days for them to “arrive” in their new space: three weeks to learn the basic new routine and feel more comfortable, three months to truly feel at home and safe enough to be their complete selves).
If you’d like professional support, we recommend:
These first few weeks and months are the best time to establish good habits, and we’re here to help. Contact Alternative Canine to learn more about our dog training programs and how to help your new shelter darling settle into your household routine.