Guide to Getting a Dog

Guide to Getting a Dog

Everything you need to know BEFORE you get a dog!

Looking for a Puppy? Adopting a Dog?

You Need to Know:

  • What You Want
  • Exactly What You’re Getting
  • What to Do (right away)
  • and especially … How To Avoid Being Behind Before You Start Training

Whether you are looking for a puppy or adopting an adult dog, choose carefully. Whereas there are some stellar dog breeders and exceptional shelters and rescue groups, there are others that are not so good. In fact, if you rank-order individuals from any profession according to any criterion, by definition, half of them will fall below the median. Most people take this into account when looking for a plumber, a school, or an automobile mechanic but few people even consider this when searching for a professional, e.g., a doctor, lawyer, dog breeder or a shelter/rescue, we just assume, they’re all wonderful.

And so how do you tell whether a dog breeder or shelter/rescue is above or below average? Basically, it all depends on the puppies and the dogs that they produce.

To evaluate dog breeders: The criteria largely comprise the puppies’ education (house training, chewtoy-training, manners training, neonatal handling and socialization with people and potential longevity. The big question is: Did the breeder raise the puppies to be confident, friendly, engaging, well-behaved and well-mannered companions, or were the pups raised akin to livestock?

When Assessing a Shelter/Rescue: The criteria have been set forth in Open Paw’s Minimal Mental Health Requirements for Shelters, especially in terms of the dogs’ education, entertainment, comfort and companionship. Raising puppies, or housing dogs, in cages without catering to these very basic requirements is simply not sufficient. The big question is: Did the dogs become more adoptable, or less adoptable, during their stay in the Rescue/Shelter?

We provide many free online educational materials to help you search for, choose, raise and train your puppy. For starters, please download our two free eBooks — BEFORE You Get Your Puppy and AFTER You Get Your Puppy. Additionally, you’ll find our free, multimedia, educational website extremely helpful — has hundreds of videos, podcasts, blogs and articles about puppy/dog behavior and training, plus an online, developmental Training Textbook. And for those of you who are insatiably interested in learning more about your new best friend, the All-Access Pass for offers four of my books, 12 DVDs, plus over one hundred hours of dog training seminars and workshops, with additional content added monthly for a monthly subscription (cancellable anytime) of only $20. Without a doubt, this has to be the best deal in dog training.

Additionally, it would be a good idea for you to see what we recommend to Breeders and Shelters so that you know how to find a brilliant breeding kennel and select a well-raised puppy, or find a superb shelter to find and adopt the perfect dog for you and your family. Once you have chosen your puppy/dog, see what we recommend to Veterinarians and Trainers. These are all free courses.

If you are thinking about getting a dog, please take this course before you do. A little preparation can make a world of difference, to you and your dog. 

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Dr. Ian Dunbar
Dr. Ian Dunbar
World-renowned dog trainer, veterinarian, and animal behaviorist

About the instructor

Dr. Ian Dunbar is one of the world's most respected experts on dog training and behavior. He grew up on a farm, training cows, chickens and yes, dogs. He received his veterinary degree from the Royal Veterinary College at London University and his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. 

In 1982, he designed and taught the world's very first off-leash puppy socialization and training classes – SIRIUS® Puppy Training. Subsequently, he created and developed the San Francisco SPCA's Animal Behavior Department, he started the American Kennel Club's Gazette "Behavior" column, which he wrote for seven years, and he designed and organized the K9 GAMES®.

In 1993, he founded the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. With over 5000 members in 48 countries, the APDT has grown to be the world's largest association of dog trainers.

He has authored numerous books and videos, including five seasons of Dogs with Dunbar, a popular television program in the UK.

He has given over one thousand seminars and workshops around the world and has been instrumental in the rise of reward-based, fun and games, scientifically sound dog training methods.

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What others have been saying about this course:

David Gabriel

"Guide to Getting a Dog“– An Ultimate Must Read for Every Future and Existing Dog Owner/Breeder

If only each prospective and current puppy owner and breeder in the world would read this guide and 2 books accompanied to it, then apply basic principles written in very simple and understandable language, my educated guess is that ALL problems c...

Doris Curran

As always, perfect

This is something that needs to be widely dispersed, and hopefully those who desperately need this information will find it and heed it. Well detailed and explained. Never get enough of your experience and information and always look for more. Tha...

Suzanne Brean

Excellent Guide to getting a new dog

Very well written. Covers the aspects that you should think about before buying a dog from a breeder or even a shelter. I know many breeders that do not follow any of the information provided in this guide and shelters that import dogs with no his...