Before You Adopt

Should you get a dog? Consider this:

  • Do you have enough space to house a dog properly? How will you keep the dog under control? Barking and free roaming dogs are a nuisance to neighbors, endanger the dog and dog laws forbid it.
  • How will you teach him the rules of the house? Chewing, barking, digging, house soiling, etc. are normal dog behaviors. Dogs usually continue these behaviors until effectively trained. Can your family accept this and be patient, kind and consistent during the teaching process?
  • Do you have permission from the landlord, preferably in writing?
  • Do you have enough time and energy for the daily activities? Will it be difficult to spend the time (and money) to train, exercise and groom? Will the dog blend into your routine or will it become an annoyance or burden?
  • Do you have the emotional stability and staying power to be a responsible owner for the lifetime of your dog?
  • Who will be the one to walk, feed, clean-up after, train, play with and groom the dog. The one to get him licensed and provide him with medical care? This is a job for adults and older children. If you have children, can you teach them to be respectful of the new dog?
  • Will you mind shedding, fleas and odors? Do your friends and relatives have allergic reactions to dogs?
  • Have you considered the cost involved in caring for a dog, like food, equipment, vet bills, a license and insurance in some instances.
  • Will you be a responsible owner by providing routine health care and develop a relationship with your own veterinary?


  • The landlord objects to complaints from other tenants – behavioral problems
  • Not enough time for the dog
  • Owner moves
  • Unable to housebreak or otherwise train


  • 52.3 million dogs live in the United States, 37.9% of all households own dogs, 1.5 dogs average per household
  • 8/4 million dogs are euthanized each year, that means one every 3.7 seconds.
  • Of the estimated 52.3 million dogs, a little less than 27% end up in shelters.
  • Of the 13.9 million 44% or 6.1 million are surrendered by owners.
  • 56% or 7.8 million are picked up as strays.
  • Approximately 60% of all dogs entering a shelter are euthanized, 15% reclaimed, 25% adopted. One out of 5 dogs born find permanent homes.
  • 25% to 40% of shelter dogs are purebred


If you never have bred before and you have the slightest inclination to breed your dog, don’t. Too many stray and unwanted dogs are the product of casual breeding or accidental breeding. When a dog is born from an unplanned litter, chances are it will be condemned to a life of misery, deprivation and death.


As dogs get older their needs will change and they may become more prone to sickness. In order to ensure the older dog’s comfort, remember the following:

  • Routine is important to older dogs. Without it they can become confused.
  • Dogs become accustomed to a certain size and type of food. They also expect to find their food dish in the same spot and to be fed at a regular time.
  • If dogs are overweight, they may die prematurely because degenerative diseases develop faster. Diets should be low in calories.
  • If dogs are too thin, they should receive a high calorie diet and see a vet. They could have an infection, blood disorder or parasites.
  • Always have water available. Fluids are important for older dogs because water carries waste through the kidneys.
  • Vitamins and minerals are vital for an older dog’s metabolism
  • Watch the older dog carefully for signs of illness. Symptoms of illness become less conspicuous as dogs age.
  • Avoid exposing dogs to a chill. It might reduce their resistance to disease. If dogs do get a chill, heat from a hot water bottle or a blanket should be used to raise the temperature to a normal level.
  • If dogs are healthy, include daily exercise in their schedule.


Many people consider adding a young dog to the household when their current dog grows older. However, some people are often afraid that the presence of a younger dog will be a nuisance in the last months or years of the old dog’s life, and don’t want to cause their older dog grief or discomfort.

Dogs usually fuss less about this than the owners. In fact, the presence of a puppy in the house could invigorate the older dog. There’s a new interest in life and dogs of 10 or older could begin to respond to activity again.

Older dogs can teach manners and canine survival skills to pups. Your older dog may even help housebreak the puppy because he/she can detect when the puppy needs to go out. The older dogs are better than humans at detecting subliminal signals.

There are a few things you need to remember when you introduce the pup to the older dog:

  • Get a pup of the opposite sex from the resident dog.
  • Give the older dog a little more attention so he is not jealous of the new addition to the household.
  • Do not let the new pup infringe on the privileges and routines of the older dog.
  • Introduce the new dog to the resident dog on neutral grounds before taking the new pup home.
  • By following these steps your older dog will enjoy a new friend and your new puppy will have a great teacher.


To Prevent Undesirable Elimination:

  • Do not let you dog wander all over the house without supervision
  • Keep you dog confined in a small area, like a kennel at night or den or other small area that you can observe during the day.
  • Keep the dog in view, or attached to you by a leash.
  • When the dog sniffs and circles around, take him to the desired elimination area.
  • Feed measured amounts of food. Pick up the dish after eating and take him to the desired elimination area.
  • Dogs also need to eliminate after being confined, eating or drinking, playing and resting or sleeping.
  • Take the dog to a selected place for elimination each time.
  • Say special words that you want your dog to associate with desirable elimination.Say quiet words of praise when the dog begins to eliminate.
  • When the dog is finished, praise enthusiastically, pet, and/or reward with food.
  • Once the dog learns, continue the praise and discontinue the food reward as desired.
  • Prevention is the key to success, but if someone fails to prevent your dog from having a soiling accident. . . Don’t scold. . . Quietly clean up the mess. . . Deodorize the soiled area.

the web site address for the American Kennel Club is