New Dog Selection
Humans are emotional creatures. Almost every single one of us will smile and coo at the sight of a puppy. We want to hold him, pet him, play with him, and take him home. Many times, one member of the family falls in love with a puppy because of how he looks and how cute and playful he is, while the rest of the family goes along with the plan, and the puppy comes home. At other times we take a puppy home because we had one "just like him" in the past. Then, the puppy starts growing... It may not be so cute anymore... the furniture is chewed... the carpets are stained... the barking does not stop... you can't go for a walk without him attacking every dog he sees... etc. etc. etc.
How do we get into that kind of situation? Is it really the dog's fault? Is it our fault? Or did we simply get a dog whose needs and character did not match our family's? Different dog breeds have different energy levels, require different amounts of physical exercise, are easier or more difficult to train, and may or may not easily get along with other animals. Also, different family types lend themselves to specific types of dogs. Is your family physically active? Do you spend much time in nature (hiking, farming, hunting, etc.)? Will there be somebody at home all the time or are all the members of the family out all day? How much time do you have to train and socialize the dog?
Another point to consider is that within the same litter, some of the puppies are dominant and strong headed, while others are more laid back and easy to get along with. A strong, dominant dog is great if you are very active, have strong presence, and enjoy challenging yourself and your dog physically and mentally (obedience competitions, rescue work, agility competitions, etc.) A calmer, less dominant dog may be a better choice for less active families, especially if they have small children. A less dominant and assertive dog is easier to be trusted around small children who may treat him a bit rough in their play.
Then again, maybe you have your heart set on rescuing a shelter dog. There are many dogs in shelters in every town who need a loving home. Taking one of these dogs and giving them a home is one of the most satisfying things we can do. But these dogs are in a shelter for a reason. Some of these dogs have been surrendered by their owners, who were unable to provide the dog with proper leadership and discipline and deal with the resultant behavior of the dog. Just like with puppies, a rescue dog should be chosen wisely, to ensure that both dog and human characteristics and needs are matched properly.
This program consists of three parts: the interview, the recommendation, and (optionally) physical selection of puppy or dog.
The first part is the interview. I will come to your home to meet you and your family and discuss your needs and wants with regard to the dog. I will ask you many questions regarding your lifestyle and family activities, the amount of time you can dedicate to the dog, as well as your past experiences with dogs.
The second part is the recommendation. I will analyze your answers from the interview and return to you within a few days with recommendations for breeds that best fit your family profile. I will provide pictures, written descriptions, and a list of contacts (breeders, breed clubs, etc.) for every breed I recommend. I will also provide a list of requirements that you should communicate to the breeder to ensure that you get a healthy and well-cared for puppy. If the family wishes to adopt a shelter dog, I will provide a set of characteristics that the family should look for in the shelter dog's behavior.
The third part is optional. If the breeder of your choice is located within driving distance, I can accompany you to the breeder, evaluate all of the available puppies, and help you select the one with the right energy level for your family. Again, if the family wishes to adopt a shelter dog, I can go with you to the shelter to help you evaluate the dog and make sure that your choice matches your family's needs.
The interview takes approximately two hours, with the follow-up recommendation session taking approximately one hour. The cost for both sessions is $225.
Puppy or shelter dog selection costs $75 for each trip.
Please add $35 to each lesson if one-way travel in excess of 35 miles from Trumbull, CT is required.
How to Enroll