SIRIUS® Guide to Getting a Dog

SIRIUS® 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. The big question is: Did the dogs become more adoptable, or less adoptable, during their stay in the Rescue/Shelter?

Raising puppies, or housing dogs, in cages without catering to these very basic requirements that strongly influence the puppies’, dogs’ and owners’ future quality of life is simply not sufficient.

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
Expert 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 received his veterinary degree and a Special Honors degree in Physiology & Biochemistry from the Royal Veterinary College (London University) plus a doctorate in animal behavior from the Psychology Department at UC Berkeley, where he researched the development of social hierarchies and aggression in domestic dogs.

He has authored numerous books and DVDs about puppy/dog behavior and training, including AFTER You Get Your Puppy, How To Teach A New Dog Old Tricks and the SIRIUS® Puppy Training video.

In 1982, Dr. Dunbar 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, the American Kennel Club's Gazette "Behavior" column, which he wrote for seven years, and the K9 GAMES®, which were first held in San Francisco in 1993 and continue as annual events in Japan and France. He hosted the popular UK television series Dogs With Dunbar for five seasons and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including the Today Show (US) and Dash Village (Japan).

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