The Benefits of Adopting a Dog

Corey McCusker  00:02
Well, hello dog lovers and welcome to Muttz With Mannerz™ Canine Academy Podcast, where we’ll share dog training tips and educational information to help you raise your pup, young or old, so they can be a loving part of your family and your community for life. I’m your host, Corey McCusker, Canine Coach – along with me, I have my co-host, Diane Purser, Canine Educator.

Diane Purser  00:26
Hi, everyone. Thanks for listening in.

Corey McCusker  00:29
We have a passion for pups and we thank you for joining us today. Today, our podcast will highlight the benefits of adopting a dog, how to find the right shelter or rescue, and what to expect.

Diane Purser  00:42
Like all of our podcast information and tips, we know that in most cases, we are not able to give you everything you might need to work on by yourself. So we will always, at the end of the podcast, give you ways to find more information, or how to contact Muttz with Mannerz™ for personalized help.

Corey McCusker  01:01
So, Diane, where do we start, if we’re thinking of adopting?

Diane Purser  01:05
Well, you’ve been thinking about growing your fur family, and with any big decision –  and this is a big decision – there is so much to consider. Many assume you need to go to a breeder to get their dog, but maybe you might consider adopting one instead. If you’re considering a new pup or dog, going to a shelter or rescue is something to explore. And there are many benefits going this route which we will discuss through this podcast. At Muttz with Mannerz™, we support adoption and we want to share the good reasons why.

Corey McCusker  01:39
So, you decided to consider adoption. We’re going to highlight some of the key reasons to consider adopting a dog. First, there are so many dogs that need good homes, many of which are mature – meaning they are past the puppy stage – maybe a year or older. These dogs are less bother, which we’ll talk about later. When you go to a shelter or rescue you’ll be surprised as you may find the ideal match for your family and how good the investment is. The reward you will experience when you adopt fills your heart and know you are making a positive difference when you do this. Diane, before we go into all the good reasons to adopt, can you first talk about where one can adopt from and how to make sure it will be a positive experience.

Diane Purser  02:31
Sure, but let’s first, before we get into shelters and rescue, touch on what to look for in a reputable breeder. So good breeders put a great deal of time into caring for their dogs, researching and deciding which dogs to breed and screening the potential buyers. They are very involved in their breed clubs. They participate in shows and other competitions, and their dogs are a huge part of their lives. They do all of this because they care about the dogs and the breed – not to make money. Ethical dog breeders usually make at most a small profit from the sale of their puppies, because most of the money their clients pay goes to cover expenses such as health screening for genetic disorders, stud fees, vet fees and registration. The only way you can know for sure that a breeder is responsible and humane is to visit and see firsthand the conditions their breeding dogs and puppies are kept in. Be sure you visit before you hand over any money. You’ll need to ask specific questions and ask to see certain paperwork to make sure they meet the standards of a good breeder. 

Diane Purser  03:45
Now, what should you be looking for in a reputable rescue group? There are several things to look for when researching various rescue groups that you can trust. The group’s knowledge of their dogs, a reputable group will have vetted the dog’s health as much as possible, and at the very least, they should know whether the dog has been spayed or neutered, whether they’ve seen a vet and what health records exist for the dog, and what treatments such as deworming have been provided. Ideally, the rescue will also have information about the dog’s temperament and personality. The group’s transparency is also very important. Usually a reliable rescue group will display its not for profit status, Board of Directors, and tax status. Rescue should have some online presence as well as a physical address and phone number. And lastly, really important, the group’s personality. Rescue groups are normally made up of volunteers who put a lot of heart into their work. The people you come into contact with should seem happy and committed to working with the group. At the least, there should be a general sense of well-being and organization. All reputable humane societies and SPCA’sconduct temperament tests on the dogs in their care to ensure they are safe to be adopted out. And many also have programs to match up adopters with dogs whose personalities will best fit their lifestyles and preferences. Rescue groups have foster homes where the dog is living with them for a period of time, allowing them to understand the dog’s personality so they can share with the potential adopters. Regardless though, of whether you get your dog from a breeder, rescue or shelter, nothing is ever guaranteed. Reputable groups will always do their best, so research and ask lots of questions. Corey, let’s get into the benefits now.

Corey McCusker  05:50
One of the first benefits is you can bypass the puppy stage and adopt a mature dog. Adopting a mature dog usually means introducing them to your family will be much easier. When you get a puppy it’s time consuming, and your life may be very busy with little time to potty train, plus teach them obedience and manners. And you’re also with the puppy stage dealing with the nipping and biting. It does take a lot of time, patience and knowledge when you get a pup. If you really want a dog for companionship, and you’re ready for a fur family, a mature dog, older than one or two years may be available and waiting for you at a local shelter or rescue. Once you’ve determined what you can provide for a dog based on your lifestyle, and what age would be best for you, it’s time to go looking. Unlike a puppy, an adult’s personality and temperament are already well established. They have also reached their full adult size and their coat has grown in. You will have a good idea of the dog’s playstyle, maintenance, energy level, health, how they are with humans and other dogs, so you can determine if they’re a good fit for your family and lifestyle.

Diane Purser  07:05
Corey, yes. You know what, you’ll get a great dog. Animal shelters and rescue groups are usually filled with happy, healthy pets, just waiting for someone to take them home. Most rescue dogs end up there because of human problems. Lifestyle changes happen such as moves, financial stress, allergies, marital breakups, or the owner passing away, which are not the dog’s fault but impact them, unfortunately. Most are already house trained, as you mentioned, and used to living with families. They just need some time to adjust and get comfortable. Now, if you happen to have your heart set on a specific breed going to a shelter or rescue you may be unable to adopt the dog you like immediately. There are, however, many breed-specific rescues. And shelters often have purebreds in as well. In Ontario, there is a rescue directory compiled by the dog rescue, Speaking Of Dogs, and in there it lists many breed-specific rescues for you to contact. Whether you get your pet at a breed-specific rescue or from a reputable shelter, you’ll often have access to resources about your new family member, and maybe even classes or how best to take care of them.

Corey McCusker  08:26
That’s great, Diane. When . . . You know we want to talk about when they come home. So when your new dog comes home, you have to remember they need to adjust to their new environment. Remember, they are meeting new people, new places, smells and routines. We’d like to give some guidelines and reference the 3-3-3 rule. That means we need to give the dog three days to decompress, three weeks to learn your routine, and three months to start to feel at home. Your dog, in the first few days, may be feeling overwhelmed, scared, they might be figuring out the boundaries and not comfortable. The next few months they’ll start settling in. They’ll realize this is their forever home and they’ll let their guard down. After three months, they should gain a complete sense of security with their new family and have trust and bond with all the family members. 

Corey McCusker  09:23
Realize also, that when adopting a dog that has come from another home, or two, and have not had the best care, they need time to adjust to the new environment. We’ve just given you some timelines on them settling in. When you bring your dog home you may have issues to help them work through that have been brought to your attention by the shelter or rescue. This could be they may be uncomfortable with dogs and people, they may be scared and very timid of everything around them, and they may have no manners and need some training. To help you with your new dog, it’s important to have a support system to help you build that solid foundation for everyone – the dog and the family members. Just like you need this for a puppy, you also need this for an adopted dog. That support system could include a trainer that is experienced dealing with rescues – your rescue may even have a recommendation for you. A veterinarian to help you with all the medical needs, and very understanding family and friends to help with the socialization and training.

Diane Purser  10:31
You know, adopting a dog can be good value for your money. The cost of adopting a pet at an animal shelter or rescue is a fraction of what you’d pay from a breeder or a pet store. It’s often less expensive than getting a dog for free because the adoption fee usually includes things like spay and neuter surgery, a complete veterinary checkup, vaccinations and a microchip ID. These services alone will cost at least $500 – but usually more – if you have to pay for them yourself. You know, people often wonder and ask why it costs something to adopt a shelter or rescue dog. And you have to remember they do all of their work – the shelters and rescues – and care primarily through donations and adoption fees. They are often looking after that dog for an extended period of time. So food and medical care are expensive. Remember, they are not in it for the money. They are in it to help their dogs find a good home. 

Diane Purser  11:37
Adopting a dog is also a rewarding experience. Each year thousands of adoptable dogs are euthanized simply because too many come into shelters and too few people consider adoption when looking for a dog. When you adopt a dog there is a satisfaction and reward of knowing you have saved a dog’s life plus provided them with a good home. There is also the benefit of knowing you have saved more than a dog’s life, as you’ve freed up space to welcome another rescue into the shelter. The joy you bring to the dog’s life is minimal compared to the joy they will give you with their unconditional love and companionship. Not only do dogs give you unconditional love, but they have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally, and physically beneficial to yourself – to their companions. Caring for a dog can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessen any feelings of loneliness. And when you adopt, you can also feel proud about helping an animal in need. If you buy a puppy from a pet store, online seller or flea market, you’re almost certainly getting a dog from a puppy mill. So we want to make sure we’re making a positive difference. 

Diane Purser  12:56
The world has more dogs than homes for them. By adopting from a shelter you are helping, rather than contributing, to the pet overpopulation problem. You’re also helping fight puppy mills and saving a dog’s life. We’ll discuss puppy mills in another podcast, but basically you are supporting a facility that puts profit above the welfare of a dog. By adopting a dog, you can be certain you aren’t giving them any profits. Those of you that have already adopted know the benefits. But those future dog owners out there considering adoption, we hope that we have provided you with some of the benefits you need. Adopt, don’t shop.

Corey McCusker  13:38
Thanks, Diane. You know, I just want to summarize what we’ve talked about. And we talked about that adopting a dog can be a very rewarding and positive experience for you and your family. We talked about how a mature dog are less bother – and you skip that puppy stage. When you go to a rescue or shelter they’ve already done the work for you and what you see is what you get. You’ll get a great dog, and it’ll be an ideal match for your family because the research has been done, not only by you, but also by the rescue. And you know you mentioned the investment – it really is good value for your money, and it’s such a rewarding experience, and you definitely are making a difference  – a positive difference. Always remember to do that research first, regardless of where or what type and age of a dog you want. Owning a dog is a big responsibility and you really need to understand what’s involved to ensure you’re ready and make the right difference. 

Corey McCusker  14:33
And I just want to share my own personal experience because I recently, I mean I’ve adopted many times, but recently we just got our new fur baby, Skye, and I did go to Speaking Of Dogs rescue. I did get a puppy who was from the Manitoba reserves. They were helping out another organization. And when I did apply for it everybody thought because of me being a dog trainer and having the facility that I would automatically be accepted. But I wasn’t automatically accepted. It was first application looked at first. I think I did get one of the first ones in. I was interviewed by a person. I was interviewed by the organization, the owner. I also had to provide three references. All of my references were called. I had to provide my veterinarian information. My vet was called to make sure that one, I did have a vet and that I had a good standing with them from previous history with my dogs. My home had to be looked at to make sure I had the right home environment, that I had a fenced-in backyard. And then we were accepted. And we did go through and meet the dogs and the mother. I was fortunate to see Skye’s mother too. But I also signed a contract where she was not mine until I actually got her spayed, because the rescues are really trying to help get dogs in a home. And they don’t want their dogs to be breeding dogs. So that was just a great process for me to go through. And that’s what I would expect. And they do own those dogs and care for those dogs. And the investment was minimal. So, I just think, you know, adopting is such a great experience. And you know, working with these rescue organizations, they put their heart and soul into it and so much time, and they are volunteers –  it’s not like they’re getting paid. And do you have any of your own last words or your personal experience?

Diane Purser  16:24
Well, like you, I’ve also adopted a number of dogs from rescues, but just to also just talk about the process with a shelter because I’ve also adopted from a shelter, and it’s very similar. Granted, they don’t have the same family-type situation foster homes. Although some of them do have it to a limited degree, like a rescue does. But a shelter that is reputable, will very much go through a similar process that you went through at the, with the rescue, to make sure that in the end, everybody is happy and that that dog is not returned.

Corey McCusker  17:01
So true. So we just want to thank everyone for joining us today to discuss the benefits of adopting a dog. And if you do want to learn more or listen to other podcasts, please visit our website And if you have any ideas or want to hear other topics on our future podcasts, or if you have questions, please email Any last words, Diane?

Diane Purser  17:31
Just, I want to let everyone know that we will be providing links in the show notes to give you more information on rescues and reputable breeders so you can see that detail.

Corey McCusker  17:43
Okay. Thanks everyone. Have a great day.

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