How to Find Your Best Friend: Part One

Shelby Semel Dog Training :: How to Find Your Best Friend

Get Your Rescue On.

There’s nothing quite like the love and companionship that you get from a dog. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness never had a dog. But, where do you find your new best friend?

Each year, approximately 3.3 million dogs will enter the shelter system nationally, making rescues and shelters a popular place to get a dog from (ASPCA, 2017). With so many rescues and shelters across the country, how do you know which one to adopt your dog from? You can start by considering these 5 characteristics.

1. Interview Process

Don’t be offended if a rescue gives you the 3rd degree. A great rescue will interview all potential adopters before choosing a forever home for their dog. They will want to make sure that you are the absolute best home for their dog. Each dog placed in an inappropriate home that ends up returning to the rescue is taking resources away from another dog that could have been saved. You may be asked questions about previous dog ownership, and you’ll likely be asked to provide veterinary references and schedule a home visit,

2. Transparency About Behavior

Look for rescues that are honest and up front about the good and bad qualities of their dogs. While the emphasis will be on the good qualities a particular dog or puppy has, a good rescue will also tell you where the dog struggles. If the dog has behavior issues that will require the assistance of a trainer, the rescues should give you an idea of the extent of the training and give you a recommendation of a good, science-based positive reinforcement trainer.

By the same token, a responsible rescue will know when their dog is unsuitable for placement. Dogs with severe aggression that require intensive training and extensive management should not be adopted out. Physical and mental welfare of an animal should always take precedence.

3. Healthy Dogs

Healthy adoptable dogs are a sign of a responsible rescue. Dogs who are recovering from prior maltreatment or neglect should not be available to be adopted until fully recovered. If these dogs are adopted prior to recovery, the rescue should assist with the costs of veterinary care, and potential owners should be made aware of the extent of the illness. Make sure any potential new pet is up to date on all age appropriate vaccinations, and neutered where appropriate. You should receive a copy of your new pet’s veterinary history.

4. Returns

Responsible rescues are all about placing their pets in the home most likely to be their forever home. They don’t want to have to take their animal back, but they will if they need to for any reason. A good rescue will have you sign a contract stating that if for any reason you need to rehome your new pet, that you will relinquish ownership of the dog back to the rescue.

5. Puppies

Choose a rescue that pulls the mama dog along with the litter of puppies and makes her available for adoption. A responsible rescue will keep the litter together until 8 weeks of age, as the puppies continue to learn a lot from their mom and siblings during this time. Puppies born in foster care or in a shelter should also be receiving environmental enrichment and socialization so they’re fully prepared to be adopted out and lead confident lives. A responsible rescue will also never adopt 2 or more puppies to a single family, as the likelihood of serious behavior problems down the road is too high.

Leave a comment if you rescued your best friend, and tell us how you chose the shelter or rescue!

3 Tips for Surviving the 4th of July With Your Dog!

Shelby Semel Dog Training :: 3 tips for surviving the 4th of July with your dog!

Create a safe, calm place

Please do not have your dog outside! They do not appreciate fireworks the same way we do and can become anxious or panicked at the sound. If this describes your dog, one of the best things you can do is to create a safe, calm place where your dog can relax and not be bothered by the loud pops of fireworks.

Muffling the sounds of fireworks is key. Try using a white noise machine, or play classical music. Through a Dog’s ear works particularly well to help your dog relax.

Try adding some calming supplements to your dog’s routine. We recommend the D.A.P. diffuser. This releases a synthetic copy of the pheromone released by dogs after giving birth helps promote relaxation. We also recommend Pet Naturals of Vermont Calming Chews, which can be given on an as needed basis to help combat firework phobia.

Finally, giving your dog a highly rewarding stuffed kong can further help him relax. Chewing and licking are actions known to promote calm and and relaxation in dogs, and giving your dog something to focus on can prevent him from noticing any stray sounds that filter through your noise barrier. Try using novel foods in his kong, like cream cheese, cottage cheese, or baby food, and mix it up by adding in chunks of cheese, hot dog, or freeze dried meats. Yum!

Schedule Relief Walks

Make sure that you have walked your dog and allowed him to relieve himself before the onset of fireworks. When you take your dog out, be prepared for stray pops of fireworks set off by neighbors practicing for the big event. Bring out some really special and yummy goodies with you to rain down on your dog anytime a loud noise occurs. Also ensure that your dog’s collar and/or harness are well fitted and unable to come off and your dog’s identification tags are up to date in case your dog does get spooked and attempts to flee. More dogs go missing on July 4th than any other holiday - be prepared so that your dog does not end up a statistic!

Talk to your Vet

If your dog has a serious and debilitating fear of fireworks or loud noises, talk to your vet ahead of time to see if he is a candidate for medication. There are short term medications they can offer to help your dog relax. Make sure that your vet does NOT prescribe Acepromazine. Check out the following article by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker for more information why.

Happy 4th!