What to know about picking a dog from the Pound

I get asked this question a lot – can I train a dog that has been purchased from the pound? As you might expect there is no simple answer to this however, I have a few rule of thumbs I can pass along to you before you make the purchase. First, plan to spend a LOT of time with the pup you are interested in. Shelters are VERY STRESSFUL for dogs and with all that noise and activity going on you don’t always get a true representation of the pups personality if you just meet and greet them in their run at the shelter. Be sure to take them out for a walk on the grounds to see how they act away from all the chaos. Plan to go out on a picnic with them there so you can see how they act over the hour or so it takes to munch your sandwich. See how they act around the food you bring. How do they interact with your children or spouse? All these things are important to find out before you bring the pup home to your house. Second, make sure that the shelter will allow you to take the pup for a few days if you are really getting serious about it. This is a tough call for shelters but some are willing to do it. It’s a lot of work to "check" the dog out and then check it back in if things don’t really work out but you can’t get any better idea of how the pup is going to do with Fluffy your cat than to bring it home. Third, whether it’s a trial basis or for good, introduce the pup to your home while it’s on leash. Most people don’t uderstand that you can use a leash in the house to prevent craziness just like you use it outside. It’s a good idea to keep the new pup under control for the first couple of hours in the new home and the leash is just the tool for the job. Fourth, Find a dog trainer IMMEDIATELY. A well trained dog is a safe dog, and you want to teach your new best friend manners just like you would a child. It needs to know how to greet people, how to walk on a leash properly, and how to get along with other dogs. All these things take training and attention and it’s just easier to learn how to do that from a professional trainer. Fifth, dogs take a lot of work, but they also bring tremendous joy. Take the time to understand your new pup and to socialize it correctly. You’ll be glad you did and your dog will be happier to be a member in good standing of society. Steve Haynes Austin Dog Trainer Fidelio Dog Works 512.231.8095

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