How should I acquire a puppy?

After years of deliberation, my wife and I decided to pull the trigger and get ourselves a dog. (For one thing, we both work and felt it would be a problem to leave the poor guy hoe alone all day. But now we’re working from home. Yay, coronavirus.)

How should we go about it?

We love the idea of rescue. But the shelters around here all seem to be closed, or have limited inventory.

We also like the idea of getting a breed that matches our criteria (the AKC – among others, I’m sure – has a tool that lets you enter your activity/bark/shed/etc parameters and it picks the best breed for you). But this is going to be a pet, not a show dog…bloodlines aren’t important. And jeez, purebreds are pricey.

There are a few mutt puppies on craigslist. What is the risk of getting a rando puppy from some random guy?

My advice is to look for a rescue group that fosters. You could get a mutt or maybe find a group that specializes in a breed - they very well could have gotten a pregnant purebred and now have puppies.

These groups don’t really close like shelters do since all their animals go to private homes.

The benefit of getting a dog from a group that fosters is that the dogs come with a good foundation from someone who knows how to socialize and train dogs. There still will be a lot of work and training to do (you need trained!) but they dogs got a better start than they would have from a random guy with a litter.

Sometimes people travel hundreds of miles to get a rescue from a specialized breed rescue. Don’t discount that if you’ve got a breed in mind!

I would stay away from CL and pounds since you might not have the experience to be able to judge on your own which dog would be best for you. There’s nothing inherently wrong with dogs from those places, but there is going to be a lot more unknowns. Since this is your first dog, there is some benefit from getting it from a reputable kennel or foster group who can listen to your needs and help decide which puppy would be best.

Also keep in mind that each dog is an individual and will have their own quirks and unique behaviors. No matter what characteristics you seek out, the dog you pick may or may not end up fitting that profile. But the good thing is that dogs are very eager to please and you can often train your dog as you need. So if your quiet puppy becomes a barker, realize that you can change something like that through training.

I have heard that dogs are in short supply because many people are adopting for the same reason you are. You might need to widen your search and take more time in order to find the right puppy for you.

After I had to put my previous dog down about eight years ago, I waited a few months and then went to the pound. The first trip didn’t pan out. I mean, I wanted to take them all home, but there wasn’t one that just seemed to want me. On the second trip there, one tiny scruffy pup really wanted my attention. I decided that if I slept on it and still wanted a new dog, I’d get him. I went back the next day and got him, sort of- they made me wait for another day while a local vet neutered him and checked him out. I had to wait another day.

Since then, I have found he’s epileptic. He has a seizure maybe once every month or so. Also, he had a bout of immune-mediated hemolytic anemia that took a few months of treatment to get past. He’s been fine since then.

Has he had a few troubles? Yes. Do I regret a single moment with him? Absolutely not!
Please don’t rule out dog pounds/animal shelters as a source for your new best friend!!

I know there aren’t many dogs available here in the Northeast, cooperation between shelters has worked well and many people decided to get a dog while home quarantining. I got Duke last year from a rescue operation in Tennessee, he was advertised as a Norwegian Elkhound, but aside from a curly tail there is no other resemblance, They brought a truck full of dogs up to CT for distribution to new families, for some legal reason they can’t do that here in RI. You always take some risk with a dog, whether it has AKC papers from the finest of breeders or you find one on Craig’s List. So check online for available dogs, but do your homework before accepting a dog brought in from far away.

Before any of that though, what experience do you have caring for a dog? Why do you want a brand new puppy instead of an older ‘previously owned’ dog? What will you do if or when you can’t work at home anymore?

ETA: There are dogs available though, we just adopted Sammy two weeks ago from a local shelter, he’s a 6 year old Siberian Husky, he and Duke are getting along fine, but he sheds enough hair every day to knit another small dog out of.

Not all purebreds are super-expensive, unless you’ve got to have an “it” breed. Look around.

“What is the risk of getting a rando puppy from some random guy?”

You could wind up with a sick animal or one from a line predisposed to health or disposition problems that won’t manifest until later on. Such problems can also occur even with a reputable breeder but your odds are better. Try to visit at least a couple of times, hopefully see both parents as well as the pup and their interactions with people.

Breed-specific rescues might be worthwhile. We’ve thought about getting a Lab from one, maybe a TSA or blind school dropout. :slight_smile:

I would also have a real think about your work situation in the future. Covid/working from home won’t last forever - will you have the funds to pay for a daily dog sitter or walker?

Not dogs, but I got my two registered bengal cats from a rescue that acted as a go between for the original owners. The cats stayed with the original owners until I adopted them. I got $3000 worth of cats (what they originally paid) for a $200 adoption fee.

The original owners were unaware of how much attention these purebred cats needed and were shocked that when they left them for business travel that they would tear up the house.

It sounds like breed-specific rescue is the best-of-both-worlds solution - now I just need to find one. Thanks for the tip.

to answer some of the questions: I think I’m leaning towards a puppy (perhaps not literally, but 1 year old or less) just because a dog’s life span is short enough already.

And there’s no chance I’m going back to a 9-to-5 office job. My employer has told us that we’re WFH for the remainder of the year, after which I’m taking retirement.

I know at least one other person said it, but I’ll echo that you find a rescue that utilizes foster homes for the dogs. My aunt used to run a statewide doberman rescue (though they had all kinds of dogs, a few cats, some lizards and gerbils too). The nice thing about the fosters is that they report back to the rescue with all kinds of info about the dog. Most of the listings on their site tell you about that dog in specific instead of just the breed. So instead of just getting a standard blurb from the AKC site about schnauzers, you’ll see 'While Maxi needs to be walked a few times a day, she loves to spend the day in your lap or lounging around the house. She’s great with other dogs but she’s a little too rough if you have small children" and so on.

Also, and I’m sure this depends on the specific rescue, you can tell them exactly what you’re looking for and at some point they’ll run across it. So you want a dog that doesn’t bark much, is good with kids, will be okay when you go back to work, doesn’t shed and they’ll call you someday and tell you they have a bichon or toy poodle.

Have you looked at They list by breed, or size, or sex, or age. Some listing are from shelters, others from foster groups.

I’ve never gotten a dog from them, but I’ve looked at the site a lot after my dog died in 2018. I was fortunate enough to make contact with someone who needed to re home a Mini Aussie for heath reasons.

[quote=“GaryM, post:11, topic:915122, full:true”]
Have you looked at ? They list by breed, or size, or sex, or age. Some listing are from shelters, others from foster groups.[/quote]

This is where I found the foster group that was sponsoring my pets. Highly recommend.

I was aware of petfinder but hadn’t yet used it seriously. Too busy playing on the AKC site looking at cute puppy pictures. :slight_smile: Thanks for the tip!

We got a 8 week old Maltipoo puppy about 5 weeks ago (he is now 13 weeks old) from a local (Houston) seller that we found on Craiglist. This, after an exhausting two month search for a non-shedding puppy from any shelter around the country - there were none.

Then we got swept up in the hell that is Craigslist. We were not aware of the lengths that scammers went to screw us out of $100 or $200. Several of them had basically the same story. They were out of a job and moving into an apartment, or their son/daughter left the puppy with them etc. When we would contact them it would turn out they were actually in Oregon, Florida or Wyoming. They would then send us a lengthy questionnaire that we sincerely filled out and sent back. Then would come the request to send them the “rehoming fee” after which they would send the puppy. But, when asked for a telephone number, would keep sending us the request for the fees.

Things got really suspicious when two of these sellers sent us the same questionnaires from different parts of the country. Then we got lucky with a local seller who asked us to come see the puppy before deciding to buy it - and that is what we did.

So, if you ever get a request to send money before you can at least talk to the seller, just don’t. Also, none of the sob stories are true and dont send answers to lengthy questionnaires unless from a shelter. Good luck!

BTW - our puppy is just a bundle of pure joy. We got so lucky.

Whoa. Thanks! I noticed that a lot of the cl ads I read referred to “rehoming fees” and I’d never heard of such a thing, but chalked it up to my ignorance on the pet acquisition process.

I have a co-worker who has been trying to get a puppy for months. He finally has a commitment from a breeder hundreds of miles away. He says he tried using Petfinder, but every dog disappeared within minutes. This is the second breeder he worked with – the first one fell through when the bitch had fewer live puppies than expected. (Not a scam, he never paid anything, and the breeder sounded upset.)

So I’d say, get a puppy however you can. I mean, try to avoid actual scams and animal abusers, but I don’t think you need to feel all guilty about using not-the-best-source.

I’ve been seeing stories that our local shelters are looking for people to foster animals. They are filling back up now, and they are limited with staff and volunteers because of the pandemic. You might consider fostering a dog and see how it goes. If you get a dog that doesn’t work out, you would be able to exchange it and foster another one.

Once air travel between the US and Caribbean open up again, consider adopting an island dog. Vacationers like me are signed up to transport dogs from St Martin to a US airport.

ETA: A nice story about the woman on St Martin who we work with.

We got ours 6 years ago and the process was an ordeal. Mrs. L wanted one—a house isn’t a home without a dog, she says—so she took the lead. Dayum, I know people want to protect animals and all but the hoops to be jumped through are sometimes amazing.

She was (and is) interested in bulldogs, but they have health problems typically so the questionnaire could be condensed into one question: will you be home pretty much all the time? But in general neither of us has to have a purebred anything. Somehow we ended up with one, the lab seen in my avatar—but she came to us spayed. I’m guessing that was to defeat those who would breed her in a puppy mill.

“Rehoming fees” are often legit. They paid to get the dog vaccinated, chipped, whatever and that saves you time and trouble. Shelters may require neutering and reimbursing them for it is fair enough.

I’ll defer to others who deal with this more but “fostering” (as far as the group we worked with) isn’t what I thought.

We decided our dog might like a companion to keep her stimulated while we’re at work, as well as chase each other around the yard for exercise etc. They brought us a basenji mix, which we found to be an alert, smart, energetic dog. It didn’t work out because the basenji insisted that one of them be the alpha and ours just wanted to chill. But she wouldn’t defer to the basenji. The situation ended up with a little bloodshed.

When one of their people came to take her back, the “parent” was very hands off. I gather that they don’t want the dog to become attached to the foster parent because then it’s like ripping off a bandaid when they rehome, and it may take multiple times to get the right fit. So in the interest of not confusing the dog emotionally, the foster parents don’t get too close.

I thought it must be odd to foster a dog. You’re loving them from a distance, in a way. But I’m glad there are people willing and able to do so.

There’s something to be said for both. I appreciate having the dog already house trained by previous owners. But ours had been given up in a divorce—she went from a full family with kids and lots of pets to…a foster. Then she was adopted by a lady whose cat didn’t like her, so back she went. Then we got her. She’s sweet but not surprisingly, kinda neurotic. Mrs. L says it took years before pup accepted that she’s secure again, really home with us.

Previously abused dogs could also be difficult or impossible for some adoptive owners. Sometimes you’d know the history but not always.

Ours never chews shoes, never pees or poops in the house, very rarely barks, naps a lot, greets us at the door every time we come home…she’s sweet, pretty mellow.

She sheds quite a bit for a short hair, eats underwear if we leave it in the laundry basket, pesters company in a friendly way, insists on a daily walk, is a total ho about food and treats, will not frickin’ move when lying on our bed…

If you can work with a group that let’s you have a trial basis, that’s ideal. What works in one household may not in another. Good luck!

We went to the pound when we were ready for another dog after we mourned our last one.

There are hundreds of dogs that need adoption at pretty much any pound you go to. Most have websites so you can see the dogs before visiting.

I went to the Sacramento County pound. My wife cannot set foot in their, as she would be overcome and we would have to adopt 50-100 animals.

I saw a sweet little pit bull mix. They put me inn a room and brought her in. She jumped up in my lap and I fell in love with her immediately. We didn’t want her to be alone, so we needed to pair her with a male. They brought several in till she found one she liked and he liked her. He is a labrador\pit mix.

We paid the fee to adopt and have them fixed. It turned out to be less than half the advertised price. We picked them up a couple of days later. It took them a bit for them to get comfortable, as it was a obvious they have been abused. They peed in the house a few times and destroyed a TV remote and a pair of my glasses, but they have settled down.

We have had them 3 years now and cannot imagine life without them.