Finding the Right Adult Dog

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.


The Cowardly- Lion - I'll find my- courage
Barked: Sun Jul 14, '13 3:50pm PST 
So, my brother-in-law and his wife recently ended up with a boxer/lab mix puppy (which I personally think is a huge mistake; random puppy from a byb bought on a whim, with a 18 month old in the house? No thanks). The puppy is adorable and very sweet, but... I'm discovering that I'm not a big fan of puppies in general. Adult dogs, like Leia? Awesome! Puppies? Not so much. They're just too 'much' for me; hyper energy (but can't do heavy exercise), always getting into things, having accidents, needing basic training like 'no biting' and 'play nice.' I actually like training, and I understand that no dog comes perfect, but I prefer a dog who has the maturity to absorb the training without needing to start over when they hit adolescence. Basically, puppies remind me of small children, and I already know I don't want any of those!

So, what this is all leading up to is the problem my puppy-dislike is creating for me in terms of future dog plans. I had been planning on getting a Golden Retriever when Leia passes away (many years in the future, let's hope), followed by either a Standard Poodle or a Clumber Spaniel (I'll have both eventually, it's just the order I haven't worked out yet). I really, really want to own these breeds specifically, which is why I wasn't planning on general rescue. My question is this - is it possible to find an adult dog of these breeds, either through breed rescue or retired breeding, that doesn't have innate behavior problems? One of my main requirements for our next dog is a bomb-proof temperament, a true take-anywhere dog, and that seems hard to find in the limited environment of breed rescue. I don't mind providing training - it's the basic temperament, no fear or aggression issues. How could I go about finding a dog like that in rescue? Is it possible to do long-distance (most breed rescues aren't represented well in Utah or surrounding states)? Should I just give up on having my purebred dogs, or resign myself to dealing with puppyhood? I'd really appreciate any thoughts.

Black dogs rock!
Barked: Sun Jul 14, '13 6:04pm PST 
Possibly difficult, not impossiblesmile I think your best bet would be a reputable breeder who takes back dogs due to unforeseen circumstances. They need to be re adopted to someone , right ?smile

The Snuggler
Barked: Sun Jul 14, '13 6:32pm PST 
Find breed specific rescues near you. A lot of rescues will tell you if a dog has problems because they want to know that they will be sending a dog to their furever home. They need to know if you can handle a problem or if you don't want a problematic dog. Every rescue that I've researched make their potential adoptees go through a rigorous adoption process and help pair a dog to you. Usually any given rescue has a couple or more dogs so you do have your pick. Look for the rescues that have their own webpage and have the adoptable dogs on their own website instead of linking you to petfinder, or other pet adoption website. These rescues usually have a lot more information on their dogs, such as temperament and a good description of what the dog likes and dislikes.

hope this helps. smile


Because I'm- Duncan, that's- why

Barked: Sun Jul 14, '13 10:41pm PST 
blue dog Hey Leia! I empathize with your plight, being not especially a "puppy person" myself. A couple of random thoughts....

First, if you want to get an adult dog from rescue (hooray!), it might require a little patience, flexibility, and/or creativity. Granted, Goldens and Standard Poodles are pretty common in rescue, so those might be easier to get a hold of compared to your Clumber. Anyway, you might want to reach out now (or soon) to the nearby breed rescues, (as well as breeders who may get returned adults they need to place). You may wish to contact all-breed rescues also, just in case. Anyway, tell them what you are looking for, and do their application process in order to be pre-approved. They will probably put you on a waiting list for that SPECIFIC dog that you want/need. The thing is, though, when one arrives, you might have to go ahead and take him/her....even if it's sooner than you planned.

Another idea would be to wait until the time you have planned to begin your search. Contact your nearby breed rescues, all-breed rescues, and breeders who may have returns. Also, keep an eye on the shelters. Many of them don't post their dogs online anywhere, or if they do, the listings aren't updated. So, visiting the shelter in person can be a better tactic. (But try to stay focused on what you need, lest you wind up taking some other dog home!) You could also possibly get on wait-lists with your local shelters, so they'd notify you if they get a dog with your specs.

If you want to expand your rescue search nationwide, there are sometimes options there. Some rescues will insist on a home check, or just not be willing to do a long-distance/ out of state adoption. But some may be willing to work with you. Most likely you'll have to pay for additional transport costs, though.

As an aside, of course no dog is truly "bomb proof" - they all have their limits! Some just have waaaaay higher limits than others!! One of mine is amongst the most "bomb proof" I know - Rain - she's even tempered, tolerant, a loves-everyone type. I often call her a Lab in a terrier suit. But oh lordy, we introduced her to our Pit Bull foster, who is dog aggressive (if we're calling it like it is), and she was more than ready to stand her ground. Actually she was more like "IT'S ON!!!!!!!!!" I was so shocked!! (Don't worry, they were on leashes, they didn't get to each other...)

Good luck on your decisions. As a fellow non-puppy-person, I have a similar dilemma. I am wanting/ planning on a rare breed for my next, that is not generally available in rescue. I have pretty much resigned myself to buying a puppy, and ALL the work it will entail to raise a puppy carefully, ....not because I'll enjoy the puppy, but because it will be worth it to get to the adult dog of my dreams.

The Cowardly- Lion - I'll find my- courage
Barked: Mon Jul 15, '13 4:22pm PST 
Bunny, that was what I was thinking, but the problem there is how seldom good breeders get returns... At least, I think it's seldom? Now that I think about it, I have no clue. But I'm definitely going to be making those breeder connections regardless, as they seem to have the best knowledge of where the dogs are at and what's available.

Roman, I wish our rescues here were more like yours seem to be! Even the 'picky' rescues don't usually follow through with home checks, interviews, or any sort of matching service. There's just too many dogs and not enough adoptions, so they jump at every sign of interest. I know a good friend who got a totally unsuitable dog that way, because the rescue outright lied to her frown It makes me wary of trusting their word. I would love to be interrogated and matched up by a rescue if I can find one that does it!

Duncan, you're right, the Golden and Poodle aren't the ones that worry me, hahaha. Those darn Clumbers are so hard to find! I think I'll take your advice about getting in touch with the rescues now, so that I can give them as much notice as possible to find that perfect fit. I'll start contacting breeders as well, to try and get into that loop. The local shelter waitlists are also a good idea. Thanks for the heads-up on the problems of long-distance; I think I'll have to go nationwide for the Clumber, but maybe I can get the other two closer to home and avoid that whole rigmarole. Also, about the bomb-proof thing, thanks for your thoughts. What I'm really looking for is that 'love everyone,' outgoing and confident temperament; I totally understand that dogs have their limits, though. Even the most easy-going dog gets angry or afraid at some things. I'd just like to keep it to a minimum.

Out of curiosity, what breed are you looking into? You don't have to answer, I'm just nosy laugh out loud

Everyone, thanks for your time and advice! I really appreciate it and anything else you might have to add!
Star BN RN- RA

Barked: Mon Jul 15, '13 6:58pm PST 
If you contact a couple breeders you will probably be able to find a great bombproof dog...not only do they occasionally get returns but when the adults are being retired they tend to place them. My friend got a great 3 yr old golden from a breeder who was retiring her from the show ring the dog is bombproof..it comes to work every day and is wonderful.

The Snuggler
Barked: Mon Jul 15, '13 7:09pm PST 
Oh geez. How unprofessional of that rescue. I know there are a lot of dogs that need to be adopted but if dogs are returned because of their lack of interest to find a home that is suitable for the dog, they are putting a lot more work on themselves.

Look for a rescue that has a return policy. That if the dog is not working out, the dog can be returned to them. Kinda like a good breeder does. LMRS, the rescue I got Roman from, has this sort of policy. These rescues usually are a bit more cautious about who takes their dogs and finding a good match for them. They actually care about the dogs and aren't like BYBs who are just looking for a fast turnover rate of dogs to make more money (Yes there are rescues that do this). The rescue should have foster homes that you can visit to see the dogs temperament and levels of activity, and talk to the foster parent about problems if they have any. The foster home should be heavily screened too. A good rescue shouldn't have the dogs in a kennel for any given time except for medical observation if the dog was a stray or had a checkered medical history, or needs to be in isolation due to a severe medical problem and can't be around other dogs. They should have a regular vet that the dogs go to if they have any medical problems while they are in foster care and they should pay for any and all testing required, vaccinations, spay/neuter, deworming costs, emergency care before they are adopted. If by chance the dog is adopted before the dog has some of these treatments, like deworming or spay/neuter, they should pay for them after they are adopted (Roman's rescue does this). All their dogs should be micro-chipped and/or tattoo'd for identification purposes just incase they run away from their foster homes, so they can be returned to the rescue. They should be doing initial adoption applications, meet the dog session (which I got to skip because it was my mother that was fostering Roman and I was helping with him), home visits and follow-ups. They don't have to have adoption perks, but it's sometimes nice to have them, like a month of free pet insurance after adoption and a welcome home kit was what Roman got.

I know it's a long list, but this is what I would expect of any rescue I get a dog from. I'm pretty sure I could add to the list, but my brain isn't letting me think any more. laugh out loud

I would think that breed specific rescues would be like this, but who knows. LMRS isn't breed specific but they are size specific, dogs 20lbs and under, and all of this is what I got from LMRS.

I wish you all the best of luck finding a reputable rescue or shelter and a dog that is suitable to you and your home. hug

Edward - Sweet to the- core
Barked: Tue Jul 16, '13 5:59pm PST 
I don't think you will have that hard of a time getting a Clumber if you are motivated and have good references. Unfortunately, more and more are showing up in rescue. They have had some fairly big puppy mill rescues in the past few years - one was fifteen dogs. For a rare breed it can be tough to find placement for that many rescues just because a lot of people don't know much about Clumbers. And once you are established and "in" in the Clumber world adult placements are not hard to come by. I have adopted a Clumber returned to the breeder, and after his death last year when I was looking for another Clumber I had a number of Clumber adults offered to me (retired show dogs not used for breeding). My advice is to go to the National Specialty, get to know people and learn more about the breed. This is definitely not the breed for everyone, but for the right person they are the best smile

The Cowardly- Lion - I'll find my- courage
Barked: Wed Jul 17, '13 4:35pm PST 
Star, thanks for your advice. I think a retired show dog would be ideal for us, if we can make those contacts with the right breeders. It's good to know that others have found the kind of dog I'm looking for!

Roman, thanks for the advice on the rescues. Hopefully I can find one that meets those requirements, or at least comes close. Leia's rescue is one of the better ones around here, but still didn't do a home check or any follow ups, so it's kind of hit or miss.

Edward, I was hoping you'd show up! I had seen elsewhere on the forum that your Clumbers had been adult rescues and returns. It's really sad that there's so many coming into rescue and not enough homes; I had no idea, I thought they were so rare it wouldn't be an issue. I'll definitely start making those breeder contacts now and start going to the big shows if I can. Thanks!