People have good hearts and many adopt from rescues or humane societies. Once they bring their dog home and build a bond with their dog they learn there are behavioral issues that they need to work through. I believe this is the very reason these dogs end up in rescues. If they were the happy go lucky pet that never ran away they would have a loving forever home. The reality is that these dogs need professional training. If these issues were able to be addressed by the novice these dogs would not have ended up in rescues.   I recently evaluated a dog with separation anxiety and reactivity around dogs. Our recommendation was a secure crate ($500) medication to help with the separation anxiety ($$) and training ($1100).   The family members both work and the dog is home alone for several hours during the day which is when the dog is breaking out of crates. He could not be left out because would damage household items and could very well injure himself. Their decision was to return the dog to the humane society, the cost was more than they were willing to spend. Dogs from rescues and humane societies are inexpensive compared to spending $1500 – $3500 for a puppy from a reputable breeder, but you may make up with it in training costs.

I am not saying you will not struggle with a pure bred dog and some dogs from rescues can settle in well, not all have severe behavioral issues. I am not a rescue but a business owner who helps dogs and offers a safe environment for boarding and day care. It hurts when I hear “I cannot afford the training we are taking the dog back to the humane society”. I would go broke and lose my business if I became a rescue, I don’t know how rescues do it. I commend them but I think sometimes they get in over their heads with the amount of dogs they are trying to care for and place. Neutering and spaying your pet is extremely important. I cringe when I hear someone say I want our dog to have puppies, it will be good for the kids. No it’s not good for the kids. My family never bred any animals and I turned out just fine. If you want your children to learn about the birds and the bees, watch the National Geographic Channel.

When I was growing up I was all about adopting from the humane society. Thousands of dogs and cats are euthanized yearly in this country we don’t need more dogs. I became an adult, a police officer and then a K9 Handler. I learned how difficult it is to find quality police dogs. Police Dogs need to be confident, energetic, love to retrieve and brave. They need to be confident on slick surfaces, dark warehouses, scary attics and crawl spaces. So as an adult I started purchasing pure bred dogs so I could play fetch, do agility, and take them anywhere. I wanted a confident companion that wasn’t scared of thunderstorms or being home alone. That is why my mind set changed from shelter dog to pure bred.

I also prefer to purchase a puppy so I can build the dogs confidence. The first few months of a puppies life is so important, read The Art of Raising a Puppy by The Monks of New Skete. You will learn a great deal about the pup’s senses, behavior and how they learn. We offer a puppy class that is more about building confidence and socialization around people, animals and environment, than obedience training. If a dog walks around in life nervous they will not be able to concentrate on learning. Nervousness in a pup can turn into dog aggression as the dog matures so you can see why it is so important raising a secure confident dog.

My best recommendation if you are getting a dog from a rescue, shelter, or breeder. Do your homework, ask questions, check around to see if there are any complaints. Ask a lot of questions. Does the dog suffer from separation anxiety, is it aggressive, does it get along with dogs. Is it potty trained, has your dog ever bit anyone, can I meet the parents? If the dog acts nervous keep looking. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Do you want to have a happy stress free companion you can enjoy or a neurotic animal that tries to kill every dog he sees? Using common sense and not your emotions can make the difference in which dog you bring home to your family.

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