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Five Myths About Shelter Dogs

According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter a shelter each year. Many people dismiss the idea of adopting a shelter dog because of the many myths surrounding shelter animals. In today’s blog post we’re going to break down five myths about shelter dogs.


Myth 1 : Shelter Dogs are not trainable.

Whether you purchase a dog from a breeder or adopt from a rescue or shelter, when welcoming any pet into your home you will need to focus on training in order to help them understand expectations and develop a daily routine. There is a false belief that shelter dogs are untrainable. In fact, often times shelter dogs will work on basic commands with volunteers at the shelter and are ready and willing to learn more when they join your household.

Myth 2 : You can’t find the breed/size/age you want at a shelter

Dogs enter shelters for many reasons which means if you are looking for a specific breed it is probable that you can find it in a shelter or from a rescue group. Dogs in shelters are not necessarily all mixed breeds. You can find often find purebred dogs in the shelter. There are also many rescue groups that focus on helping dogs of a specific breed. Whether you’re looking to take in a sweet senior or want a puppy, shelters have you covered.

Myth 3 : Dogs are in a shelter because something is wrong with them.

Dogs can enter a shelter for a wide variety of reasons. Some dogs come in as strays and their owner never comes to get them. Some are seized from households not providing proper care or living conditions. Many shelter dogs are there because their previous owner was unable to keep them for reasons that are not the fault of the dog. Perhaps the owner took ill or passed away. Perhaps they lost their job and couldn’t afford to care for their dog properly. It is important to understand that the fact that a dog is at a shelter does not mean there is something wrong with the dog!

Myth 4: Shelter Dogs have too much bad history

It’s an undeniable fact that the dogs you’re looking at have a history but that is not a bad thing. In fact it can be the opposite.  Dogs that have come from a previous home are often trained and house broken. History can be a good thing. Part of having a history means you can see a dog’s personality which can be an important part of seeing if a dog is right for your lifestyle. Many dogs whose history might not be rosy are even more appreciative of their new loving home.

Myth 5: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

While you can find dogs of all ages in a shelter there are several misconceptions about adopting older dogs. Many believe older dogs are unable to learn new things. This is a myth. Older dogs are able to grow, learn, and adapt. A senior or adult dog will be just as willing to please you as a puppy would. With a little leadership, patience, love, and direction you’ll find your adult or senior dog is ready to pick up new tricks and habits.

If you are interested in learning more or ready to bring a new pup into your family check out a few shelters and rescue groups in the Northern Virginia Area:

Fairfax Animal Shelter

NOVA Pets Alive

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