Adopt Smart, or Shop Responsibly

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

We’ve all heard the slogan adopt, don’t shop… I believe both can be great if you are smart or responsible about it.

Recently there are a great number of dogs being taken or even returned to the Animal Shelters. Data collected from Best Friend Animal Society, says owner surrenders are up more than 80% from last year. Many Shelters have to set up temporary crates, and are offering free adoptions.

I understand that there are still a few cases where the owner dies, is extremely ill and has no other options… But because everything is “going back to normal” these Covid Puppies are being returned simply because: “This is not the same dog I adopted,” “they’re too big,” or, “I don’t have the time,” “I’m going back to work,” or “they have behavioral issues.”

It takes 60-90 days for your dog to get comfortable, so that cute puppy you met may NOT be the same dog is 60-90 days.

When a dog is returned or even rehomed, it has a traumatic effect on the animal. The dog gets used to a schedule, the family and a routine. When that the animal is taken to the shelter it can lead to problems such as separation anxiety or worse. And the dog is now much older. Which will lead to staying in the shelter longer, or eventually euthanasia. According to the ASPCA, older dogs only have a 25% chance of being adopted. While puppies have a much higher rate of 60%.

Unfortunately I predicted this was going to happen.

At the beginning of Covid when everyone had time off of work they decided to get a puppy or adopt. Which was wonderful but they didn’t think long term. We call these “Covid Puppies.” Shelters were running out of dogs to give away. Rescues's couldn't rescue dogs fast enough, and Breeders had 2+ year waiting lists…

Data collected by PetPoints supports this, finding that animal adoptions rose over 12 percent in 2020.

I was very excited and busy this past year and half to help out a numerous amount of rescues with behavioral issues, that are now wonderful, obedient family dogs.

One particular dog was Ryder, a rescue who was extremely fearful. He didn't even want to leave the parking lot, the First Private Lesson. He was very stubborn, and wouldn't move. With some patients, positive rewards and a fitted prong collar he was able to be comfortable enough to walk loosely on a leash by the end of the lesson. His Owners were willing to spend the extra time training him that he needed this summer. He was then able to join and graduate a Group Class, held by me and my mother with 10 other dogs, and be comfortable in the park.

But Not Everyone Spent The Time Researching and Evaluating What Dog Fits Best Into Their Lifestyle. And Most iImportantly Spent The Time Training That Dog.

Now they either have an older, bigger dog that “It Was Cute When They Were Little” phase is over and the dog isn’t listening to anything the owner tells them. Or a now have a dog who is finally comfortable in their home but is now destructive and is driving them insane. And the owner really didn’t research the breed(s) and made sure that dog would fit into their lifestyle…

Each Breed and Even Individual Dogs Have Their Own Traits, and Qualities. Some breeds are naturally more fearful than others, and may require extra training…Even If They’ve Never Had a Traumatic Experience, and Come From a Loving Home. For example, German Shepherds particularly go thru a fear period and could walk past the same statue 100 different days and on the 101th day they are afraid of it. And you need to physically show your dog that the statue isn’t going to try to eat them. I had to do this with my German Shepher puppy, Athena. She was afraid of a dinosaur statue at the park, and I had to physically go up to it and show her that it was “okay.”

While a Gourden Setter could care less about the statue, and will try to pull you down chasing a bird. This happened while I was working with one of my students Molly at the same park. She could care less about the dinosaur statue, she wanted to chase the birds in the bush.


So Adopt Smart, Or Buy Responsibly. Do your research, start training your dog when you first get them. You will bond faster, your dog will want to please you and listen to you better. And prevent the “behavioral issues” from starting.

Seek a trainer! We’re here to help you when you need us. You’d be surprised at the things you will learn. Training will mentally and physically tire your dog out, which is super important especially for those working and hunting breeds!

Make sure when you get a puppy or a new dog you know you have the time for them, especially a dog with a bad history, or a dog that you don’t know their history. There's nothing wrong with then they just may need some extra care and time 🐾

-Drago, a Rescue We Worked With-

A Rescue Program that I highly recommend: Kramer Foundation, located in Elmira NY.

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