Families, children, and dogs

Small children (5 years and under) and small dogs don’t always mix and is one of the top reasons dogs are surrendered to kill and no-kill shelters in the United States. As a result, Pet Savers does not typically adopt dogs to families with very young children unless the circumstances are fitting.


  • icon_specialneeds1 Special Needs
  • icon_needs_fixin_dog1 Needs to be spayed or neutered
  • icon_needs_yard1 Needs a yard
  • icon_paired1 Pair-bonded
  • icon_specialrate1 Special Rate
  • icon_utd0 May not be up-to-date on vaccinations
  • icon_utd1 Up-to-date on vaccinations
  • Heart Worm Positive

Pet Care: Dog Training


Here are some tips to help you train your adopted dog:

  • When giving a command, use simple one word commands: Come, Sit, Off (which should mean get off the couch, don’t jump on me), Down (which should mean: lie down); Let’s Go (which should mean come this way); and Heel (walk politely by my side — no sniffing around) etc. Also, make sure you have a release word to release the dog from the command (i.e. OK)
  • Use hand signals along with the commands to make it visual for the dog.
  • As soon as the dog starts to respond to the command, praise the dog.
  • Use the tone of your voice to distinguish between a command and praise. Lower tone for a command, higher and more excited tone for praise.
  • Say the command once, and if the dog does not respond, gently guide the dog into the appropriate behavior (for example “Sit”). Again praise the dog once it performs the desired behavior.
  • If a dog is frightened of something ,for example thunder, do not sooth the dog, it will then think that it should be frightened. Instead, in a happy excited tone, try to distract the animal to a toy or other activity.
  • It is very important to socialize a dog. Begin socializing your puppy as soon as it has had all its shots. Socialize the dog with both people and other animals.
  • For an adult dog that has been adopted socialization is also important. If the dog is dog aggressive use a Sporn halter to exert control when it encounters other dogs. When the dog becomes aggressive, shake an empty Coke can with coins in it, in front of his face; or, spray his face with a water/vinegar solution. while saying loudly and in a deep voice “shame on you!” This problem may also require the assistance of a professional trainer.
  • Exercise the dog regularly. Walks, playing catch, swimming are all great activities. An exercised animal is a happier animal. Young dogs should not be over exercised, particularly on hard surfaces. Ask your veterinarian about an exercise routine. Don’t jog/run with your dog until it is approximately two years old.
  • Training should be fun. Get excited when your dog carries out a command. Use his toys for distractions and then let him have them at the end of the training session for a reward.
  • Never, ever hit the animal to discipline it. A firm “no” should work. If not, a time out in a quite area is appropriate. The time out should be for a short time (couple of minutes).

Common Mistakes

  • Giving a dog an old sock to chew, someday the dog will discover the laundry basket and think he has found his toy box. The dog should have toys of his own.

  • Letting a puppy on the furniture when he is only 15 pounds, but when he is 60 telling him “no.” Never let a puppy do something when he is little that you wouldn’t want him to do when he is full-grown.

  • Taking the food bowl away from a dog that is food possessive. Instead of taking the food bowl away, try feeding the dog in portions, and take and refill the bowl. When the dog finishes each portion praise him. At the last portion feeding drop a special treat into the bowl. The dog will learn that you taking the food bowl is a good thing. Remember to wait until he is done with each portion before removing the bowl.

  • Never, ever play “Tug of War.” It teaches the animal to keep items away from you and can create dominance issues.

  • Never call a dog to you via the “Come” command to punish it for bad behavior. The dog will then think that if it comes to you it will be punished.

  • Never discipline a dog for bad behavior unless you’ve caught him in the act. If you catch an animal chewing on something he shouldn’t. Firmly say “No” and as soon as he drops it, praise him.

Recommended Books

  • Bauman, Beyond Basic Dog Training
  • BenjaminSecond Hand Dog
  • KilcommonsGood Owners Great Dogs
  • Rutherford and NeilHow to raise a puppy you can live with
  • SpadaforiDogs For Dummies
  • Volhard and BartlettWhat All Good Dogs Should Know