Bringing a dog trainer on board before you adopt will help ensure that you and your new pet start off your relationship on the right foot.
With a dizzying array of adoption organizations, shelters, and thousands of dogs available for adoption, how do you find the right dog? And how do you ensure a positive experience for your entire family? The single most important thing you can do before you adopt a dog is to talk to a dog trainer in your area.
To first-time dog owners, this notion might seem like you’re putting the chicken before the egg. But any pet professional or seasoned dog owner will tell you that a having a dog trainer guiding you through the entire adoption process can not only save you a lot of time, money, and heartache but can also ensure that you and your new pet start off your relationship on the right foot.
Questions to Ask a Dog Trainer
1. Why Type of Dog Should We Get?
There are countless ways a professional dog trainer can help you and your family find the perfect rescue dog. Let’s start with how a trainer can help answer one of the most commonly asked questions: What type of dog should we get? We asked dog trainer, and owner of Dream Come True K9, Blake Rodrigues, who specializes in working with difficult dogs how he would respond, and he suggested:
“Choose a dog with a temperament (versus how the dog looks) that fits your lifestyle, while also making sure that your lifestyle fits a dog needs.”
This is a great piece of advice to always keep in the back of your mind when considering which type of breed to adopt. Dogs fall into one of eight distinct groups: Herding, Sporting, Working, Terriers, Toy, Hounds, Non-Sporting and Miscellaneous Class. These groups represent the type of job a dog was originally bred for, and when you understand their job qualifications, it will give you valuable insight into their temperament, exercise requirements, and other unique characteristics of that particular breed. It’s the dog trainer’s job to assess your family’s lifestyle and home and then recommend a few different breeds within a particular group that would fit nicely within your family’s dynamic.
2. How Do I Choose My New Best Friend?
Now that your trainer has helped you figure out what types of dogs would be the best fit for your family, the next objective is to start searching for your new best friend. This is when having a dog trainer by your side can make all the difference! A dog trainer can recognize and understand canine body language and will have a good understanding of an individual dog’s personality and temperament within the first few minutes of meeting a dog. Once you have narrowed your selection to a few candidates you and your trainer should take each dog for a walk (away from the hustle and bustle of the kennel) for a few quick temperament tests that will give you an idea of the dog’s personality. For example, how does the dog react on the leash when it sees other dogs or hears a loud noise? Is the dog comfortable walking on different surfaces? Up stairs? Does the dog eagerly approach children or shy away? All of these reactions tells the trainer a story.