Busting the Top Five Myths About Adopting a Dog

Busting the Top Five Myths About Adopting a Dog
“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever,” wrote author Karen Davison. For many adoptable dogs, though, myths and misconceptions prevent them from finding a family. In fact, one of the most common assumptions about shelter dogs is that, because their history is usually unknown, it’s a risk to bring them into your house.

In reality, shelter dogs make incredible additions to any family! Not every dog is the right fit for every family, of course. But all dogs are capable of learning and thrive in a home environment filled with healthy food, positive training, and--of course--love.

Unfortunately, some people still believe common myths about shelter dogs, so we’re busting the top five myths about adopting a dog.

Myth: There are no purebred dogs in shelters.
Dog lovers looking for a specific breed often think they can’t find them in shelters. The data shows otherwise: According to statistics tabulated by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) upwards of 25 percent of dogs in shelters are purebred. Plus, numerous rescues across the country specialize in saving purebred dogs.

Myth: Shelter dogs have behavior problems. That’s why they’re in the shelter.
The most common reasons people drop dogs at shelters according to The National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy are, first, that the owners are moving and not taking the pet along, or a landlord doesn’t allow the pet. In the list of 10 most common reasons for relinquishment, the only behavioral reason cited was biting, which was in the tenth spot. Biting is problematic, but it’s interesting to note that the study found that 96 percent of the dogs relinquished had no training at all. A little training can go a long way! Remember, too, that a dog from a breeder won’t come trained, so you’ll be working on behavior regardless!

Myth: Shelter animals are old. There aren’t any puppies for adoption.
Puppies fill shelters all year long. In many cases, pregnant dogs are placed in foster homes to deliver and rear her pups, so visitors to shelters might not see the puppies to know that they’re there. Puppies are also in high demand, so they get adopted quickly. If you’re interested in a puppy, start a conversation with your local shelter to find out how you can be matched with a puppy. And, btw, old dogs make incredible pets, too!

Myth: Shelter dogs are unhealthy.
This myth seems to emerge from the idea that strays coming into the shelter will be fleabags or worm-infested. Sure, that does happen, but shelters work hard to take care of the health and wellness needs of the dogs in their care. Plus, shelters typically take care of spaying or neutering the dog, along with administering vaccinations and providing for the animal’s health, so you’re getting a healthy dog who’s ready to settle in with you!

Myth: You can’t train a shelter dog.
All dogs are capable of learning. All dogs are individuals--just like people--so some learn faster than others, regardless of whether they live in a shelter or came from a breeder. Many shelter dogs feel bored in the shelter environment, so bringing them home opens up a whole new world of enrichment. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find your shelter dog ready to learn new things, from obedience to tricks. If you can find a professional trainer who utilizes positive, science-based methods, they can help you figure out what motivates your pup and how to overcome any obstacles your new dog may be facing from a previous home or from the shelter environment.

At the end of the day, adopting a dog can be a rewarding experience filled with joy, love, laughter, and--yes--sometimes frustration. But you’re changing the world for that dog, and we can guarantee that dog will change your world, too!