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We're adopting a poodle mix (possibly a cockapoo) from our local shelter. She's 8 months old (they think), and when we were playing with her in the play-yard she seemed really sweet, and friendly, but still ran around and had fun. When other dogs were barking at her she didn't bark back, but seemed curious of them. She and another dog were playing/faking each other out through the fence and and our pup seemed to be comfortable around other dogs.

The only issue with her is that we have no idea of her history. She was transferred up with a group of smallish, highly adoptable dogs to our Washington kennel a few days ago from California, because of overcrowding in the shelters there and she and many other were going to be euthanized. She has badly matted fur (that they'll shave off before the kennel spays and microchips her and we take her home), so she must have been in the California kennel slightly neglected for some time. It's possible that she was rescued in a puppy-mill raid. Though she seemed fine around us and other dogs, even around men, we're wondering how lack of early training or socialization will affect her bonding with us. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? We want to be a good home for her.

I was reading in a dog book that if puppies cannot bond with somebody from 4-5 months, they will have trouble bonding in the future. Is this true? We really don't have any information at all on her background because she was a transfer.

Thank you so much!
 

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If she seemed social with you, other people, dogs, etc at the shelter then I wouldn't worry about it. Being in a shelter can be a very stressful situation for most dogs, if they are showing a solid temperament there, chances are good they will show a solid temperament elsewhere. You may have to show her "life" (traffic, stairs, livestock, etc) depending on what she has or hasn't been exposed to, but it sounds like she will be a dog that has a decent start already. I would expect her to show shyness or other issues with people while at the shelter if there was a chance of a bonding issue.
 

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If she seemed social with you, other people, dogs, etc at the shelter then I wouldn't worry about it. Being in a shelter can be a very stressful situation for most dogs, if they are showing a solid temperament there, chances are good they will show a solid temperament elsewhere. You may have to show her "life" (traffic, stairs, livestock, etc) depending on what she has or hasn't been exposed to, but it sounds like she will be a dog that has a decent start already. I would expect her to show shyness or other issues with people while at the shelter if there was a chance of a bonding issue.
Absolutely agree, especially in such a young dog.

I have two small dogs that came from shelters; one was 9 YEARS old when I got her and had spent her life in a puppymill, badly neglected, but her personality is such that she has never met a stranger, takes everything in stride, and is a absolute Velcro dog. Bonding was not an issue, she seemed to immediately gravitate towards love and attention. Her basic temperament is sound, and she needed very little in terms of socialization.

My other little dog is the exact opposite; he is shy, terrified of everything and is only now (after 6 months) relaxing around me. However, I knew what I was getting into when I first met him, as he was completely shut down; the shelter told me he had spent his entire life in a small kennel with very little human contact, and he cowers and shakes whenever any person approaches him. I know he is going to require a lot of work, but I think he's worth it.

Your puppy doesn't seem to be carrying much baggage; he'll probably be like my Gidget, a little social butterfly. Some dogs just seem to be blessed in that they can overcome any kind of adversity without showing any damage.
 

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It can sometimes be difficult to gauge the personality of a young puppy from an unknown background. But by 8 months her basic personality should be fairly obvious. If you liked what you saw when you were with her, don't worry about it.
 

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I fostered two 6-7 month olds from the shelter and I don't think they had any trouble bonding with me. They were pretty starved for someone to bond with at that point anyway so it didn't take long before they were napping at my feet and coming over for a snuggle when I called them. The main issues were that they were harder to potty-train, and that they were scared of being left in their crate at first, but learned after about 5 days that I was not abandoning them and would be back in the morning. :) I definitely think the little bit of extra work I had to do was worth it though. You're also past the teething, bitey phase which can be a pain (literally).
The poodle mix sounds really well-adjusted. I agree with Willowy - I think what you see in the play-pen is what you get at home for the most part. The only difference in personality from play-pen to home that I saw was that the energy level was more moderate. The nutso pup chilled out because she was finally getting exercise more than maybe 2x a week and the shyer quiet pup got more playful as she gained confidence and felt comfortable.
Hope that helps :)
 

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Welcome to DF, anyother!

Dogs personalities sometimes change from shelter to home life, but if she seemed confident and happy at the shelter, then that's probably what you'll see at home. As you said, you have no history on this dog; you have no idea if she was poorly socialized. Previous training is sometimes a little more obvious, but sometimes dogs that don't have any formal training still had plenty of stimulation (toys, other dogs, people, etc.) at a young age, which can make them quick studies, once you actually attempt some real training. It is my firm opinion that most former owners aren't abusing or neglecting their dogs. Dogs with baggage are common in shelters, but it's certainly not the majority, at least in my area (and I suspect yours).

IMO, bonding isn't something that just happens between a dog and the person who raises it. Bonding occurs by doing fun things together, and that is not dependent on age. You're the one who feeds the dog, cuddles with the dog, provides walks, toys, treats, etc. Spend some time each day working with the dog on learning various commands, games, etc. This should be the highlight of the dog's day, and you'll become the most important thing in the dog's life. You'll see a bond forming in no time.

I adopted my dog from a shelter when she was 7mo old. Although she lacked manners and prior training, she had absolutely no baggage. She loves all people and all dogs, and has no fear. She bonded to me quickly despite being tossed around between several previous homes. I think her food motivation and intelligence might have helped there - she learned quickly that everything good comes from me. We hike regularly, and she won't let me out of her sight, even off leash. We enrolled in obedience classes immediately after I adopted her, and then later we graduated to disc (frisbee) and agility classes. Nearly three years later, we compete in both sports. Our bond is very strong, and it comes from doing so much together.
 

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I have also adopted 3 dogs from rescues and shelters. One of them was a 9 mo. old Lab/Rott mix and literally hated children and men......I worked with her and she bonded to me within a few days because I was attentive and good to her and showed her that she could trust me. She is now 8 1/2 years old and is one of my Sister's dogs. She loves men and loves the three children she lives with....and still loves me. She is an example of a dog with baggage turned around. She had been neglected and physically abused and a big skeleton when I rescued her.

I also rescued a 4 week old pup who has some aggression issues now.....but are slowly improving. He belongs to the same Sister now who is taking him to training classes. He was not with his Mom long enough but was headed for the pound or worse when I came across him.........long story turned happy now.

I have rescued a pup for myself and she has only one issue that I am working on.....and she is improving every day. She is now 8 months old and was a lover of all people and dogs at the place I rescued her from. She is still that way, 3 months later.

If you do good things for your dog.......it will give you good things in return. I would suggest some training classes to help you bond also.A very nice person on this forum gave me a training schedule for my new rescue................and like he said.............show your dog that all good things come from you.

These are just three examples of rescued animals who would have otherwise been PTS. They weren't so bad after all. They just needed patience, training, respect and someone to give them some love.


Good luck!
 

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I rescued a dog that had basically turned feral (was a stray for about 3 yrs...wouldn't let people get w/in a 100 feet of him.) It took me 9 months of leaving food and water for him, daily, before I was able to catch him. That dog will do anything for me now. It took him about 2 months to stop barking and charging after my husband if he got up to move. It took another 5 moths before my husband could pat him, while standing up.

Now, Rusty is the best dog ever. I can clip his nails, give him a bath, etc. He's never displayed any aggression to me, even when scared. So yes, I believe all dogs can bond. It just depends on how patient and how consistant you are. Also, being low key (not a noisy, yelling household) helps.
 

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I was reading in a dog book that if puppies cannot bond with somebody from 4-5 months, they will have trouble bonding in the future. Is this true? We really don't have any information at all on her background because she was a transfer.

Thank you so much!
Look at the dog in front of you now. If she is social and friendly, that is the dog you are dealing with. It can be more difficult with a dog who has had a lot of connections, or not enough connections. But if she seems outgoing and normal, she probably is.
 

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I think the bond with a shelter dog is super strong. Lulu has been with us almost 3 months now (we got her at 14 months!) and she was at the humane society for almost 3 months. We brought her home and she was super energetic from being stuck in the kennel that long. We bought a crate, clicker and treats so we could start clicker training her. She had absolutely no good manners when we got her and while it's been harder trainer her for her old bad habits 3 months later she's doing amazing compared to the dog we have. She loves to cuddle, loves people and other dogs. (We try to introduce her to everyone, other pups included!) I love getting shelter dogs because you have almost an instant bond with them and after a week it's like you've known each other for a long time once they realize you aren't going to abandon them!
 
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