Dog Pound Dogs Can Be the Best Dogs

Can you find a good dog at the dog pound? Aren’t they all “problem” dogs?

Actually, some of the best dogs are at the dog pound or humane society. That’s why animal trainers for the movies and TV often visit their local shelter. They aren’t looking for a mutt to “save” or rescue – they’re looking for the next Benjie, Eddie or Murray – and they know that the best place to find them is at the pound.

Other wonderful dog pound dogs have been put to work as search and rescue dogs, finding drugs for the border patrol, acting as ears for their hearing impaired owners, and providing hours of loving canine therapy in nursing homes.

And, of course, millions of loving, loyal dog pound dogs have found their way into the hearts and homes of people just like you. I’ve got a dog who spent some time in the local shelter before I found her. So do many of my friends, family members, and coworkers – and we’re all convinced that we’ve found the very best dog in the world.

But most of the dogs at the dog pound are grown up. Isn’t it better to get a puppy?

Puppies are so darn cute – who can resist them? But there are some very good reasons to choose an older dog instead – and that usually means finding an older dog at the dog pound:

  • You get an instant exercise buddy. Are you a runner, jogger, (or couch-potato who should be at least walking around the block occasionally)? If you adopt a dog from your local animal shelter you’ll have an exercise partner for tomorrow’s run or walk. Excuses won’t work anymore – you’ll have someone who needs that exercise as much as you do.
  • Are you more in need of companionship than exercise? If you adopt a dog, you’ll have an instant friend. Sure, a puppy might grow up to be exactly what you need, but a full-grown dog will give you the loyalty and love you’re looking for as soon as you bring her home.
  • Do you want a dog, but feel exhausted just thinking about adding more chores to your life – like housebreaking and civilizing a puppy? The good news is that most (but not all) of the dogs in the dog pound are already house trained and ready to learn your rules. Some adjustments may be needed, but if you choose the right adult dog you’ll skip the most destructive phases of her puppy-hood.
  • Are you slowing down a bit yourself? Getting a little older? Not getting up and down the steps as fast as you used to? One of the best-kept secrets in the pet industry is the value of choosing a senior dog. And there are senior dogs at your local animal shelter. My own Border collie was 9 years old when I found her at the humane society – she was “on sale” because the shelter folks know how wonderful these older dogs are, and they can’t bear to see them miss out on a loving home for their golden years. I couldn’t possibly keep up with a younger collie, but even greyhounds slow down (at least a little) when they get older. And older dogs tend to be more tolerant of being alone while you work, which is a big cause for concern for many people.
  • If you have children, one of the very best reasons to find an adult dog at your animal shelter is temperament testing. Usually, the people at your local dog pound will test their dogs to make sure that the dogs that go home with their clients are people-oriented, non-aggressive, non-biting dogs. Not all shelters test their dogs, however, and the variation in methods is fairly wide. Even if they don’t test the dogs, you can do your own temperament testing when you find a dog that appeals to you. Adult dogs have their personalities and characteristics already formed, so what you see is what you get.
  • The cost of a dog adoption from a dog pound is often much lower than the cost of buying a puppy from a breeder. If you’ve checked the want-ads in the paper lately you know that even cross-breed puppies are being sold for over $400 (I recently saw an English bulldog/terrier mix puppy for sale for over a $1,000.00!) The fees at the dog pound will vary from place to place, but it usually runs between $35 and $200. And this often includes spaying or neutering. Here in Portland Oregon the dogs are also given microchips before they leave the Humane Society shelter, they’re given a coupon for a free health check with a veterinarian, and they even come with a month or two of free pet health insurance. Adopting a dog (and owning one) does cost some money – if you get carried away with toys it can cost a lot – but the initial cost of a dog-pound dog is fairly low.

If you’re careful while choosing your older dog from the dog pound, you could find yourself living with the best dog you’ve ever owned.