Temperament Testing in Shelters, Can’t Test It All


The above short article indicates there is always room for improvement, which is good.  Usually, a family with kids does not need an aggressive dog. Our opinion is still the same, we don’t recommend shelter or rescue animals for families with kids, or for novice owners.  We recommend getting a puppy from someone who knows the background of the parent dogs, and unless there is an overwhelming need, we don’t recommend dogs that are known for heavy aggression, since most novice owners have no clue as to how to handle a tough dog. When people watch Cesar Milan handle biting dogs, it may look easy but trust us, it’s never ever easy and it’s not worth the risk.  As we have long stated, pack aggression is a key element to avoid. As for bully dogs, we like them but for owning one, be sure to become educated BEFORE you actually own one, as they come with potential liability simply because of what they are, even if they are NOT a problem behavior-wise. Dog-dog aggression for bulls is not considered a character flaw in the breed type. Therefore, it is up to the owner to ensure control, or face the consequences. Many guardian dogs and northern dogs are aloof and breeds like akita, chow chow, shar pei and others simply may not like other dogs. This is not a character fault, it is a characteristic generally of some dog breeds. If you fear dogs, you probably should not own one unless it’s 5lb.

While certainly there are dogs in shelters that do no pose issues, there are many dogs killed during the first round of testing.  We had never actually owned a “shelter” dog before, but had done rescue for many years, probably getting homes for hundreds and hundreds of pups and dogs, like 700-800…  Finding an adult GSD at a local shelter, we decided to try her out, knowing we could return her at no cost and get a refund within 30 days. The shelter fee was over $140 even though the dog had already been altered when it arrived at shelter.

Interestingly, the dog does not bark at people, almost ever.  We were NOT told that the dog was dog aggressive or that she had issues with dogs.  Nevertheless, perhaps due to past experience, the dog will fence fight with neighbor’s dog. We surely were not going to bring it outside and “meet up” with other dogs to test it out?  Guardedly, we took her to a pet store once, and carefully would not allow her close to other animals.  She did not try to leap out at any animals, but we didn’t give her a chance to do so.

Our experience with the animal indicates she was trained before going to the shelter, was afraid of dish towels and brooms but otherwise friendly. Chases cats. Very atypical GSD. Friendly to people. Knew commands, housetrained. Overall, can’t complain but wanted a dog that barked at strangers. OK there are a lot of dogs that will do that, like a chihuahua? LOL