Buying or Rescuing a Puppy

Find out the best way to get a new puppy.

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Typically, people get puppies when they are young and cute and not too hard to handle, says Hansen. Without proper guidance, though, a puppy becomes bigger and more difficult to live with. Some people become overwhelmed and surrender them to local animal shelters.

Still, adopting a surrendered or stray puppy from a shelter can be a success for both you and the dog. Finding-and keeping-a dog from a shelter boils down to what Hansen calls realistic expectations. Do not expect to breeze into a shelter and walk out with puppy in tote five minutes later. You will be interviewed, and you may have to come back the next day or so before you can pick up your puppy.

You want shelter officials to ask you a lot of questions to make sure that you are prepared for a new puppy, says Hansen, whose home includes two former shelter residents: Cricket, a 4-year-old Boxer, and Culver, a 3-year-old Pug-Chihuahua mix.

Among the questions to expect:

- Have you ever had a pet before? When?

- How much time do you spend at home on an average day?

- Are there children in your home? How many? How old?

- Will this puppy be a companion to another pet?

- Do you want a pet that will participate with you in outdoor activities?

- Are you willing to teach your dog basic obedience commands?

- Is your home big enough to accommodate a puppy once it becomes an adult?

- Do you want a lap dog that will be affectionate and cuddly?

- Do you prefer a certain physical appearance, size, coat, coloring?

- If you rent, are pets allowed? Is there a weight limit or number limit?

Top-quality shelters are more than just adoption centers. DFL, for example, offers obedience and puppy socialization classes. The organization provides handouts containing behavior and training tips. It also operates a free behavior hotline for anyone who needs help solving a perplexing puppy problem. Each month, the DFL shelter also offers a free, two-hour pet parenting class to educate new adopters about what to expect now that a dog shares their lives. Although most of the dogs at shelters tend to be mixed breeds, it is not uncommon for a purebred dog to be in one of the kennels awaiting a new home. If you know you want a certain breed, you can submit your request to area animal shelters.

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janet   bethlehem, PA

8/25/2009 4:30:28 AM

good article thank you

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