the right dog for you: Working with animal shelters
animal shelters have websites that show the dogs available for adoption--
you might call and find out how often that site is updated. Sometimes
they only have the resources to update it once a week so it may not
be super current (remember, these organizations are nonprofits dependent
on volunteer resources so don't criticize-- volunteer!).
can find a great list of shelter websites at the Lab Rescue Website.
Thank you to the Lab Rescue folks for maintaining such a great website.
Our show featured Ken White, the President of the Peninsula Humane Society
/SPCA. I give him an A+ for vision, common sense, and leadership.
you rent, be sure to work with your landlord in advance of trying to
adopt a dog so you can bring in proof (usually a copy of your lease)
that states that you as a renter are authorized to have a pet in your
you have kids, don't bring them with you to search for a dog-- they'll
fall in love with each one they see, and it will be emotionally difficult
for all of you. You the adult should first search for a dog based on
your own critieria. When you meet a dog that you are SURE you want to
adopt, after you've spent at least an hour with it, make an appointment
for the rest of your entire family to visit with the dog the next day
or so (most shelters will hold a dog for a day for you if they know
you are that serious). At that point, see if the dog gets along with
the rest of the family. Remember, your kids will love any dog you bring
home-- so use adult criteria to choose the new member of your family.
Give your children a strong sense of participation by letting them choose
the new name, or by letting them choose the leash, the dish, the collar,
the color of the ID tag, etc.
the right dog for you: Factors to consider if you have kids
discussions on the question of whether to get a puppy or an adult dog
Santa Clara Valley Humane Society
From a Lab
The virtues of
should ask a breeder
articles on kids and dogs:
Kids and dogs-
a common sense approach
Resources from one of my
favorite websites, dogplay.com
article from the Santa Clara Valley Humane Society
Should I plan to have my child be responsible for training the dog?
No. That's an adult responsibility. Read why here, in this excerpt from
Diane's dog training website.
Q: I want my kids
to train my dog, so the dog will respect them. Should I have my son
or daughter go through the training?
A: We're going
to get your dog to a point where it actually understands the meaning
of certain commands. Once it does, you can teach your kids how to give
those commands correctly. Most people don't realize the importance of
consistency while a dog is learning, and the subtle ways in which a
command is given-- one person says the word like a question ("Fluffy,
sit?") while the other person says it like an Army sergent ("Fido,
SIT!"). These are two completely different (and confusing) experiences
to a dog who is learning something new. What you do with your body when
you give a command matters a lot, too, and varies from person to person
unless great attention is given to it.
I want you,
the adult, to learn how to train your dog. Once your dog is well trained,
then your kids can learn how to effectively "command" the
dog. These are two very different stages. Your kids are very welcome
to come watch classes if they are patient enough and old enough to sit
quietly and watch for an entire hour. But they won't be participating
in the exercises in class, and your attention will need to be focused
on the class. We'll be going at a pace that would make it impractical
for someone under 18 to try to keep up (classes that incorporate children
go much more slowly and cover a lot less material than we'll cover).
We'll be able to structure a few of the homework exercises to include
children who can assist you with the training-- for example, they might
toss the treat on the ground when you click. The timing of the click
is very important. The timing of the treat-toss is not. We don't want
to make the dog off-limits to the rest of the family! We just want to
preserve the training activity so you get the most value from your 8-week
If you are having
behavior problems between the kids and your dog, let's discuss them
and address them. Having the kids train the dog is not necessary to
fix those problems. But I do agree that we all want to get to the point
of having a well trained dog that obeys both the adults and the children
in the household.
If there is
enough demand among my students I will offer a special 2-hour seminar
you can bring the kids to that will serve as the foundation for enabling
them to understand the basic principles of positive reinforcement and
consequences we'll use in our training methods.