5 Myths about shelter dogs debunked

Puppy in shelter cage

The Truth About Shelter Dogs:

There’s a lot of buzz in the pet owner world about the merits of adopting a dog from a shelter rather than from a pet store or breeder. This point hinges on the fact that using dogs as a for profit business has, again and again, lead to abuse and neglect of our four-legged friends. Still, despite the atrocities that many dogs can be subjected to, and the number of abandoned dogs left in animal shelters, many prospective dog owners opt out of adoption in favour of pet stores or backyard breeders.

There are a number of misconceptions that lead a prospective doggy parent to decide against bringing home a dog from the local animal shelter. Some believe there might be something wrong with a shelter or rescue dog, another misconception is that a shelter dog will have diseases. The thing is, however, these ideas about rescue dogs are just plain incorrect.

5 Myths About Rescue Dogs Debunked:

They were given up by their first family because somethings is wrong with them: A common misconception of shelter dogs is that they ended up in the pound because they were a stray wandering the streets and causing havoc, or because they are aggressive.

The reality is quite different. Most dogs end up in a shelter because they haven’t lived up to expectations. Whether that expectation was that the tiny German Shepard puppy wouldn’t grow quite as big as he did, or the energetic Border collie wouldn’t be quite as energetic as he ended up being – people can be quite flippant about their dogs when expectations of dog ownership don’t match-up with the reality and responsibility of dog ownership.

Another common reason that dogs are surrendered to shelters is that their family cannot afford to take care of them anymore, because their family moved somewhere that is too small for a dog, or because their family are renters and their rental property won’t allow dogs.

Int ruth, the only thing wrong with a dog in a shelter is that he doesn’t have a loving forever home.

They may have a past that predisposes them to behavioural issues: Some prospective dog parents worry that a shelter dog might have hidden behavioural issues related to past ill-treatment or trauma.

While a shelter dog may have been abused in the past, dogs who are brought into shelters undergo rigorous behavioural testing to ensure that they aren’t likely to have serious issues like aggression. This is why, when you see dogs in the pound, you might be cautioned against bringing a dog to a home with small children or other pets.

Behavioural issues aside, a dog adopted from a shelter might have a past that you don’t know about, but that isn’t really a problem. A dog isn’t sitting and ruminating in the past, so you shouldn’t either. Instead, give a dog something to look forward to and adopt from a shelter.

They might be sick or carry a disease: This one isn’t really a myth. It is true that a dog adopted from a shelter could be sick, though it is unlikely. Most dogs are vaccinated against common diseases at the shelter and most shelters will provide you with a voucher for a free vet check-up so that, if something does go wrong, you will be able to get your new dog the care that he needs.

While there is potential that you dog could be sick, a dog who is left in most shelters will be destroyed. Adoption saves a dog from this certainty.

They will be a mix breed that I won’t know: In the past, there has been a great deal of importance put on dogs being purebred. The reality is that purebred dogs are prone to health problems and behavioural issues related to their breeding. German Shepherds and Labradors, for example, are prone to hip dysplasia while terriers are habitual diggers.

A mixed breed dog comes from a heartier and more robust gene pool. If you’re curious about what breeds went into the creation of your shelter puppy or dog, there are many companies who offer DNA tests for dogs.

They will be too old to properly bond with: Bringing home a puppy is like bringing home a doggy blank-slate. A new puppy has never been loved or trained by anyone else and you have the option to mold him into whatever kind of dog you want him to be and many believe that a puppy will grow to love you more than an adult dog adopted from a shelter.

This sort of thinking is what gets many prospective dog parents into trouble. A puppy always seems like a good idea, but the reality is that, with a puppy, he really is a blank slate. He’s a blank slate with no training who is completely at the mercy of his puppy wants and instincts. He is a blank slate who is growing quickly and stockpiling energy which he expends by rushing crazily around the house. He’s a blank slate who is going to cost you a lot of time in training and potentially money if his hobbies include chewing.

There are many advantages to adopting an older dog. You will know exactly what you’re getting so there won’t be any surprises in terms of size or appearance. You’ll be getting a dog who is already house broken, who knows not to chew, bite or play too rough. You’ll be getting a dog who has already gone through the rambunctious puppy phase.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of adopting a dog from a shelter is that they do bond with you. Dogs who have been neglected, abandoned or surrendered tend to form the strongest bonds with their owners. They bond with a fervor that can’t be anything but thankfulness and gratefulness.
Dog ownership is a genuinely rewarding relationship. Adopting a rescue dog or one from a shelter is all the more so. When you adopt from a shelter, you not only gain a friend for life, you also save a life.

by Julia Sakr

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