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What to Consider Before You Pick Out Your New Dog

By: Theresa Pitner | August 17, 2019

What to look for when you are buying your puppy from a breeder, adopting an adult dog from a shelter, or a senior from a rescue group:

Puppy:  Try not to focus on the cuteness but instead look for the pup that is lively and bright. The puppy needs to be bright and alert.  If he is terrified or cowering he could be sick or have some innate behavior issues. If you are buying from a breeder, the mother should be on the premises.   If they do not, this could mean they bought the pup from somewhere else.

Reputable breeders sell only their own puppies to ensure the health of the line.    Ask to see the mother’s pedigree, vet records.  If the things are not provided there is a good chance that somebody’s is simply trying to make money rather than trying to improve the breed and produce sound, healthy dogs.

Adult: When picking out a dog in a shelter environment it is important to focus on his behavior in the kennel.  Too many people I notice pick a dog because of what she looks like or they are looking for a particular breed of a dog.   The dog need to be interested in you, tail wagging in circles, and are relaxed when approaching the dog run.  Ask to take the dog out of the kennel area.

Rowan Co. has a wonderful fenced in area to take the dog.  There are several pluses adopting an adult dog however the 1st 2 are: You know his full-grown height and the grooming he’ll require.  Check the dog’s mouth for tarter build-up for the age and for possible gum disease.  Also check for signs of diarrhea and eye, ear, and nose discharge.

Senior: It is not uncommon for very expensive, well-bred dogs to outlive their usefulness or novelty with folks who bought them on impulse and no longer want to take responsibility for them.  Some noted reason why dogs are surrendered to a rescue:  allergies, the owner’s death, lack of time, change in work schedule, new baby, move to a place prohibiting dogs and prospective spouse dislike of dogs.

If health problems arise balance them with the advantages that an older dog can offer.  Probably was at one time housetrained, may need less exercise, can make a bold statement about compassion and the value of life of all ages.

With positive reinforcements an older dog can learn manners if she lacks them.

Theresa Pitner

Theresa has worked with people and their beloved canines since her family moved to Salisbury, North Carolina in 2000. Her 20+ years of experience as a social worker has given her the unique perspective that teaching the human is the first step toward understanding and improving the relationship with the family dog.

Training that makes sense!

Understanding Your Dog’s mission is simple, help people and their dogs have the best relationship possible. Theresa Pitner, the experienced dog trainer for Understanding Your Dog, accomplishes this by providing training that makes sense to humans so they can enjoy their relationship with their pet.

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Understanding Your Dog’s mission is simple, help people and their dogs have the best relationship possible. Theresa Pitner, the experienced dog trainer for Understanding Your Dog, accomplishes this by providing training that makes sense to humans so they can enjoy their relationship with their pet.