Dog Adoption Mistakes – Choosing the Wrong Dog for Your Family

by Jonni

Why some dog adoptions don’t work out.

If all dog adoptions worked out well, there would be very few dogs at the local shelter. Unfortunately, there are times when the dog you bring home turns out to be the wrong dog for your family. This could be caused by choosing a dog breed with the wrong characteristics and temperament, or by choosing an animal that simply has more energy than you do.

Perhaps the most common reason for failed dog adoptions is the new dog’s boredom – the animal simply doesn’t have enough to do, is left alone too long, or it isn’t given the kind of attention and training that he needs. When this happens, the dog looks for something to do – and it isn’t usually what people want him to do.

Most dogs have been bred to work.

Today our cities and suburbs are filled with working dogs that are out of work. These unemployed canines dig, bark, escape – and occasionally terrorize their neighbors. Many end up at the pound or get put down because they are quite simply the wrong dog in the wrong place.

Therefore, it is extremely important to match your future dog, whether it will be a puppy or full-grown animal, to the job you have for it to do. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t have a collie unless you own sheep, or that you shouldn’t own a Rottweiler unless you own a castle. Even a lap dog doesn’t need to be small – many Labrador retrievers would be happy to fill that role. But it is important to have something to do that your new dog will excel at, and their adaptability to your situation will depend, in large part, on their genes.

Suburban jobs for a dog may be chasing the Frisbee, jogging with their owners, going for rides in the car, or warming your feet while you watch TV. You can find a dog from the classic working breeds, or a mutt with working ancestry, who will be willing and able to play whatever role you may have in mind for it. Just don’t get an English bulldog if you want him to win the local Frisbee competition – or if you need a running partner.

And don’t get a well-bred, top-of-the line Weimeraner if you can’t spend at least an hour a day giving him strenuous exercise. If you like the looks and personality of a Weimeraner, but need him for less enthusiastic and energetic pursuits than hunting game, find that rare dog that has little talent for hunting but a great temperament. (The local Weimeraner breeder will be happy to sell you a pet that can’t cut it in the hunting trials.) Even better, get a senior dog that has slowed down enough to match your own energy level. See how it works?

Need a slower dog? Get an older dog.

This issue of energy level is a particularly good reason for buying a used dog, especially a senior dog that is ready to retire from the job he was bred to do. Even greyhounds slow down a little when they get older. An older dog ready for retirement will give you many years of love and affection, and he’ll be able to live gracefully in a home that would bore a younger dog to distraction.

This is an especially important consideration if you need a house-dog but you don’t really want one of the companion dogs that were originally developed to entertain the women in royal households. If you have your heart set on a larger dog, but its only job will be keeping you company as you work on your computer or watch TV, an older dog may be the only one that can do the job without going slightly insane.

When the dogs and their people don’t match, and their needs are too different, the dogs often end up looking for new owners. The adoption seemed like such a good idea in the beginning, for both human and dog – but reality has a way of interfering with the best of our fantasies.

But even if you’ve had a bad experience with a dog in the past, the right one is still out there, waiting for you to take him home and give him the chance to be that once-in-a-lifetime dog. You have the job, he’s got the talent and the personality to do it right – you’ve got a match made in heaven.