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I don't want to buy a pup, even from a breeder. However, I am not a good enough alpha for a rescued dog with issues. I have a few dogs already and they obey me enough, but I've had them since puppyhood. They were from a throwaway litter, and were about to be taken to the humane society! Ugh! We took two of the puppies.
I would prefer to adopt a baby so I could start from scratch and do the Puppy Classes and all that. Also, I'm not really strong enough to deal with a bigger dog who may pull. I know they aren't supposed to. My boys almost never pull. However, some still copy their old bad habits and it's hard for me to hang onto them. I always do, but they aren't big dogs either.

It seems that rescues have mostly older, abused dogs who need a really strong alpha. Yet I hate puppy mills and have no interest in even giving money to a so-called reputable breeder. Our home would be great for a dog who needs a person there all the time. I took early retirement (I'm 55) and take my boys everywhere with me and give them lots of time. A dog park isn't too far away either. Any suggestions?
 

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I got my two puppies (Cara and Mia) at the shelter. They can usually give you some idea of what the breed or mix is so you could get an idea of the size. So that's probably what I would do.

Alternatively, you could meet with the adult dogs at a rescue organization and take them outside, spend time with them and even bring your dogs in to meet them and see what kind of feeling you get.

Did you want a specific breed? Because if not, I would think a shelter puppy would be your best bet.
 

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A FourIsCompany said, you can always go to the shelter and walk dogs to help find you one that will work well for you.

I don't know about where you live, but at our local shelter they often have litters of puppies or single puppies that are young enough to have that opportunity to not have too many issues.

In hindsight it would have been nice to start from absolute scratch with a puppy, but the only real problem I have had with either dogs is Bridgette's complete lack of recall. That has been the hardest thing to work on and it's often easier with a puppy to start off leash training and such.

But like I said, you can always go and meet dogs. I had two dogs come in from the HS this week that were adult and taken to the shelter because their families could not afford them. They were both spayed, house trained and one of them knew many tricks.
 

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Adult shelter dogs don't automatically come with issues. Most are there because of the owners, not because of the dogs.

The easiest-going dog I've ever had was a huge, very strong black lab. He was 4-5 when we got him and my then 8-year-old daughter could comfortably and safely walk him anywhere, though he out-weighed her about 2-to-1.
 

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Thanks! I will go to the shelter and talk to the workers about who is calm and maybe walks well. I heard black dogs have trouble getting adopted so I'd like to adopt a medium black dog maybe. One of my pups is a black lab-mix, not too big.

I appreciate the suggestions!
 

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A dog from the shelter is no different from the dog you go to pick up from the new born litter down the street. They are not always dumped becuase of major behavior issues, some are dumped because they jump, others for chewing, others for nothing then the owner did not want them.

You DON'T have use DOMINANCE to own a dog. Use Nothing in Life is Free. Rolling a dog over does nothing. Alpha and dominance is over used.....Dogs just like to know someone else is making the decisions and that means giving your dog rules and boundries, like children (would you call parents in the home Alphas??? Yes, but not because they roll there children over and growl at them, but because they set structure and rules and boundries). Your dog is not alpha because he walks in front of you.......he's just being a dog and trying to get where he's going as fast as possible. Your dog is not being alpha because he walks through a door before you.. he just has no impulse control.....that has to be taught. Your dog is not alpha if he places his paw on you, he does it because it gets your attention.

The alpha/dominance is over done.........did you know the guy who did the study on the wolves that started this whole theory wishes he could retract it for how much popularity the not fully studied "theory" caused. Society has to keep up with the new developed research and dump the 20 year old idea of dominating your dog.
 

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Thanks! I will go to the shelter and talk to the workers about who is calm and maybe walks well.
That's the best way to go, I think. Don't be afraid to really grill them about the dogs you're interested in. Tell them exactly what your needs are and why you need a dog that's laid back. If the first person that helps you isn't helpful enough, ask someone else. And when they point you to the best dogs for your situation, spend some real time with them. Some people feel rushed at shelters, and forget that they can take more time to really get a feel for the dog they're thinking about adopting (make sure you go in the morning).

You can also test them for resource guarding by bringing a few bully sticks and giving them to dogs, and then take them away. You can expect some resistance, but if the dog growl or snaps at you then you know the dog might have issues that you aren't prepared to work with. You can also walk the dog, and ask them to test the dog with other dogs and a cat. If they tell you the dog is good with other dogs, don't necessarily take their word for it. They might not mean to lie or anything, but they might not really know because they may not have tested it one on one.

I think one of the biggest mistakes people make at the shelter is judge dogs by their superficial appearances. People see a cute little purebred and fall in love, failing to notice its neurotic or aggressive behavior. Or they make excuses for it, thinking it's just the shelter environment that's causing it. As long as you know what you're looking for, and it sounds like you definitely do, you should be okay.

Oh, one other thing: I recommend not getting a young puppy. Some dogs are genetically hardwired to be "alpha," dominant dogs, and you mentioned that you don't want this. Or a multitude of other genetic physical and psychological issues can be there, and you might not necessarily pick up on it in a young puppy. Plus you really, really don't know what size the dog will grow up to be, which you said is important.
Oh, and yet another thing: you can also choose to foster-to-adopt. That way you can test the waters with your new dog and if it proves too much to handle, you can find an adopter.
 

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30% of shelter dogs are purebred, so if you're looking for a certain breed, then a shelter is still ideal. Though, you cannot determine a dogs' personality through its breed. Look on petfinder, there are plenty (way to many) purebred pups in shelters. You may want an adult dog, though, so you can see its fully developed personality..Good luck in finding a dog.
 

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Working in rescue, with the economy the way it is, we get dogs of every age. If you really want a breed specific dog, that might be the way to go.
 

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The last few posters are talking about going with a specific breed in mind, and I have to interject that I think that's exactly how a lot of people get into trouble.
When people who adopt a dog see the breed and not the individual dog, they make mistakes. They lose some of their objectivity, and they fail to see the dog for who s/he really is. I think looking for and testing traits in a particular dog is infinitely more important.

Also, I have to say that at shelters the purebred dogs are often less stable (in my experience) than the mutts. Think about it: most of the purebred dogs that end up at shelters are from puppy mills and can have serious congenital defects, both physical and behavioral. (Not all of them do -- but it's more likely.) Whereas the mutts are usually bred from family dogs and are a more often stable.
But I want to reiterate: these are generalizations, and like all generalizations they're not always true. That's exactly why people should go to shelters and judge the dog for who they are (ie, the traits they exhibit), not for what breed they belong to.
 

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Every dog is different. I have three dogs (2 were rescues).
The small dogs I have.. I have more problems with them then I do the bigger dog. I just adopted him about 5 months ago and he is between 2-3 years old. He is the best dog ever!! The little dog I adopted had soo many problems etc. with bite inhibition she truely was crazy when we first got her. so it really does depend on the dog not specifically the breed.

I know dogs that are darker in colour are often overlooked due to their colour and they can be super sweet!!
 

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Just another add-on to what everyone else has said:

If you live in an area with more than one shelter within driving distance, try to find a smaller shelter with few employees/volunteers rather than a large one. There you have a better chance of finding out more about the dog's history and temperament because the employees/volunteers have spent lots of 1-on-1 time with each dog. In the most extreme cases, you might even find a shelter that is staffed by one person who knows everything there is to know about each animal.

Good luck in your search!
 
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