My Real Estate Attorney Adopts A New Puppy… Here’s What I Recommended

I received a call last week about the news.

My good friend and real estate attorney, Charlie Brown (yes, that’s his real name!) finally “gave in” to his three kids and let them have a dog.

They were out at a friend’s ranch, and an 8 month-old collie-mix happened to wonder up and start playing with the kids, age 11, 7, and 5.

The dog looked healthy and was very social, which is the only reason Charlie’s wife let the kids play with the dog.  In fact, Charlie thought the dog must belong to someone, he was in such good shape.

Charlie asked the ranch hand if anybody owned the dog.  The ranch hand told him that they’d checked around, but it was a stray.  The dog just showed up several days prior, and that nobody in the surrounding area knew who’s it was.

This happens a lot in the country.  Somebody owns a dog, can’t keep it and they dump it off in the country, thinking it will survive on it’s own.

Well, this dog got lucky when he found Charlie Brown and family.

“Can we keep him?  Can we keep him?” the kids begged.

Apparently, the dog was smart enough to stick around and since he was still hanging around the next morning–Charlie made the decision:  “Okay… we’ll keep him.”

Now, normally I’d issue the typical warnings about “letting the kids” adopt a dog, as the burden of responsibility always falls on the parents’ shoulders.  But Charlie knew this already.  In fact,
he’d been planning on getting the kids a dog for quite some time, but secretly knew it would really be “his dog.”

“So, Charlie Brown… are you going to call him, ‘Snoopy’?” I ribbed him.

“No,” he replied smugly.  “I think I’m going to call YOU Snoopy. We’re calling the dog ‘Chamberlain.”

“And by the way, Mr. Dog Trainer…” Charlie continued, “… What do I do, now?”

The first thing I advised Charlie to do is to take ‘Chamberlain’ to his local veterinarian for a full check up… including blood work.

Next, I advised him to download a copy of, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer: An Insider’s Guide To The Most Jealously Guarded Dog Training Secrets In History!” from the Download Library at  (See column at left).

Charlie started reading our article on “Housebreaking In A Hurry” and realized that he needed a crate so that his new dog won’t get into trouble or have “accidents” in the house when he’s

I also recommended a training collar, a tab (a one foot leash for the house) and a leather six foot leash.  (Charlie is also reading “The Perfect Puppy E-book” – also available in our download
library–to get more detailed information.  Like any good real estate attorney, Charlie likes to learn as much as he can about a subject and pay attention to details.  These are good qualities for responsible dog owners, too).

Charlie wanted to know what type of bowls he should feed “Chamberlain” with.

We’ve always used stainless steel bowls.  I use one for water and one for feeding.  (Feeding should be done twice a day for an 8 month-old puppy.  The food should be left out for only 5 minutes, after which it gets thrown away).  I’ve been told that the metal bowls do not allow bacterial growth like the plastic ones do.

Well– I received an email from Charlie this morning, telling me that they are having A TON of fun with their new dog, and that everything is working out fine.  I love these kind of updates,
because they make me feel like my life’s work has some meaning.

Two Questions You Must Ask Before Adopting A Dog From A Shelter

Ask these two questions to any animal shelter you’re thinking of adopting a dog from.  The answers may surprise you

“What medical care has already been provided, and should I be aware of… before adopting a dog from you?”

There are certain baseline medical needs that must be met before you take a dog from a shelter: she needs to have been wormed; her blood needs to have been checked for heartworms (in most areas of the country); and her ears and skin need to have been checked or treated for mites and other parasites. And she needs to have had her first vaccinations for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza (DHLPP), as well as bordetella, coronavirus and (if she’s old enough) rabies.

Be certain that any shelter you contact provides at least these basic services. Spaying or neutering is another basic medical requirement that a shelter may or may not provide. Many shelters spay or neuter all dogs six months of age or older before they leave the facility, and that’s ideal for you.

But lots of shelters, understandably, don’t have the money to provide such services, before adopting a dog.  Nevertheless, they’re acutely aware of the importance of stemming canine overpopulation, so good shelters always require adopters to have their dogs spayed or neutered within a reasonable time period after adoption. Some require a deposit, which is refunded upon submission of proof of spaying or neutering, while others give adopters low-cost spaying/neutering certificates from area veterinarians or provide low-cost services themselves.

In some areas, it’s becoming common practice for shelters to spay or neuter all their dogs – even those under the traditional minimum six-month age. Opinions are mixed on this approach to population control. Cities and counties whose shelters alter 100 percent of their animals report a dramatic decrease in the numbers of stray animals on their streets and of animals euthanized in shelters. But some experts believe that medical complications can arise in dogs who are spayed or neutered too young.

If you adopt a dog, make sure she’s been operated on by a reputable veterinarian and is certified healthy before you take her home.

The second question is: “Do you evaluate your dogs’ temperaments, before adopting them out?” At some shelters, you’ll find formal temperament evaluations posted on each dog’s cage that you can read, before adopting a dog. At others, you’ll find staff members who can tell you all about each dog’s personality.

Either approach is fine. What’s not fine is a shelter whose employees know little or nothing about the natures of its animals. Since you’ll have only a limited time to spend with the dogs you meet, you’ll want to find out about their habits, quirks, assets and drawbacks from the people who have been caring for them. Ask whether the shelter does any formal temperament testing of its animals (that is, specific exercises designed to assess a dog’s level of dominance, submissiveness, protectiveness, etc.). If the answer is no, ask whether the staff has spent enough time with the dogs to know their dispositions and to know what kinds of adoptive homes will likely be best for them.