Thinking about adding a new dog to your household can be exciting, but overwhelming too!
This is Part 2 of our series of posts to help you through the process. In Part 1 we talked about some of the questions you should ask yourself before you start your search for your pet. Now it’s time to discuss where to look for your perfect pooch.
One of our most commonly asked questions is “Where should I look for a dog?”
There are various places you can search for a dog, depending on what you have in mind after reviewing the questions in Part 1 of this series. There is definitely no shortage of dogs in the world, so the good news is that without a doubt there’s one out there that is just right for you.
The first thing you may want to think about is: are you going to adopt a dog from a rescue organization or shelter, or will you be purchasing a dog from a breeder?
Both are great options and it all depends on what you are looking for and what kind of dog fits your lifestyle.
If you’re looking for a young puppy or a specific breed, contacting a breeder may be your best bet.
There are lots of people that simply have a preference for a particular breed, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is often a specific breed that people may connect with more than others. Maybe you grew up with Golden Retrievers or perhaps Poodles are your thing?
Most breeders specialize in breeding one particular kind of dog. This also means that they should be fairly knowledgeable about that breed. If you are looking into a certain type of dog but are unsure about what that breed’s traits are, the breeder is the person to ask. You may want to ask about general temperament, energy level, and breed-related health problems. Another perk is that you will also be able to ask questions about the personalities of the sire (male parent) and dam (female parent), which is often quite telling of what your future dog will grow up to be like!
Reputable breeders will be registered with the Candian Kennel Club. You do not need to have a license to breed dogs in Canada, but you cannot sell a dog as purebred unless you are registered with the CKC and can provide documentation stating so. It is also illegal to charge extra money for these documents. In order to register a dog with the CKC, both parents are required to be recognized as purebred with them as well. However, just because a breeder’s dogs are registered with the CKC, this does not always mean the breeder is reputable.
A reputable breeder’s dogs will be well taken care of, meaning they have clean and roomy living conditions, are well-fed, only bred when they are over 18 months of age and are not taken from their mothers before eight weeks of age. The breeder should be introducing you to the parents as well as showing you where all their dogs reside. They will also provide you with a health guarantee and contract stating you are able to return the dog within an agreed-upon amount of time if needed be.
Some red flags to look for are the breeder not allowing you to meet the parents of the dog or being unable to answer your questions about them, unsanitary and cramped living conditions, or withdrawn and unhealthy looking dogs. These are all signs of a backyard breeder or a puppy mill. If you do come into contact with these people, we advise reporting them to the city’s animal services immediately.
Another huge reason people may be more inclined to get a dog from a breeder is allergies. How many dog lovers out there are allergic to dog dander? We know of quite a few! For people who deal with severe allergies, this may be the most reliable way to purchase a dog that is considered “hypoallergenic”.
Although there is no such thing as a one hundred percent hypoallergenic dog, there are lots of breeds that do not cause the majority of people’s allergies to dander to flare up. A dog that is referred to as hypoallergenic does not have a shedding coat. Some breeds considered to be hypoallergenic are Poodles, Barbets, Maltese, Colton De Tulear, Bichon Frise, Portuguese Water Dogs, Wheaten Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Chinese Crested, and lots more! You may be lucky enough to find a non-shedding dog from a shelter or rescue organization, but it is often difficult to tell if they are true “non-shedders” from a couple of visits with them.
If you’re the kind of person or family that is looking for an adult or senior dog, and are open to different breeds and temperaments, looking for a dog in a shelter or rescue may be the direction you’ll want to go in.
The great thing about finding your dog this way is that there are always dogs looking for homes no matter where you are, and plenty of dogs to choose from. Most importantly, you are saving a dog’s precious life and giving them the amazing opportunity of finally having a loving and forever home.
There are also some factors to be mindful of when you are rescuing a dog, as you will be unsure of their history. They may require additional training, socialization and more time to adjust to their new surroundings. It is important to look for indications of behavioral issues when meeting a dog, although these signs are not always obvious during the initial meeting. This is why it is also crucial to have an agreement with the rescue that there will be a trial period with the dog in your home and that they are willing to take the dog back if unforeseeable circumstances arise.
If you reside in Toronto, we recommend starting your search at The Toronto Humane Society and Toronto Animal Services as they have new dogs brought in almost daily. There are many dogs looking for homes right here in town. As well as the Humane Society and TAS, there are also many different smaller rescue organizations in Toronto. Some are breed-specific rescues and some accept all types of dogs! Two great rescues in Ontario are, Adopt A Dog Save A Life, Golden Retriever Rescue, and there are many more listed on our resource page.
If you’ve thought about adopting a dog from another country, there are also rescues that drive and fly dogs to Canada every day. These would include Save Our Scruff and Redemption Paws. Be aware that dogs from other countries may come from very different backgrounds from what they will experience here. They may well require a lot of patience and work to make them feel comfortable in your home.
The most important tip we can give to anyone looking for a dog is, don’t buy a puppy off of Kijiji or from a random person in the park!
If the seller can’t provide you with valid documentation of veterinary examinations, vaccinations or spays/neuters, it’s a good indication that the dog was probably never seen by a vet in the first place. Always ask for proof, and verify that the documents are real–shady sellers will often fake them!
As always, If you have any additional questions about where you should look for a dog, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email!