I won’t lie to you and say that every puppy that gets adopted from the animal shelter or dog pound is going to grow up to be a nightmare. Just most of them. [And by puppy, I’m talking about a pup from 8 to 16 weeks of age].
Does this mean that you should not consider adopting a puppy from an animal shelter? Of course not.
But you need to be very, very careful:
The reason I take this position is because the first 16 weeks of a dog’s life are the most important in forming the dog’s personality and future temperament. Next to genetics, the first 16 weeks affect more attributes of the dog’s stability and personality than any other factor.
Some dog experts will actually argue that the environment during the first 16 weeks of the dog’s life is MORE important than genetics…. and I’m not one to argue, except to note that one can never overcome genetics. And at the same time, it is rare that you can compensate for a dog who has passed through his various critical stages and not been properly socialized.
You can bet pennies to dollars that puppies dropped off at the pound are not going to be properly socialized, nor will they be from good genetic stock. (Think about it… if you had a champion X breed dog, and paid $500 for a stud fee, would you dump the puppies in the pound? No. You’d sell them, or at least see that they were placed in good homes).
Secondly, it is a rare adult dog who can survive an extended stay at the local dog pound without picking up some form of virus or disease. And puppies, when their immune systems are at their most vulnerable, do not have the strength to fend off all of the nasties that can be picked up.
Considering that raising puppies in a sterile, clean, professional kennel is hard enough to keep the puppies from getting all kinds of diseases, you can bet that stumbling onto a puppy from the pound that will grow up to be both temperamentally and physically sound is next to impossible. You can be assured that you will run into some problem. Sometimes, people get lucky, and it ends up being a minor problem that can be easily fixed. Other times, you can find yourself with a canine time bomb on your hands.