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What is the correct way to screen a potential new owner?

Discussion in 'Rescue & Adoption' started by DocReverto, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. DocReverto

    DocReverto Formerly CRD

    As you all know I am pretty upset over what has happened to Cupcake.
    I would really like to hear your opinions on what you think is the correct amount of screening for a new dog, be it a new puppy or a rescue.

    I know too much screening keeps dogs in shelters, and really does no good whatsoever.
    I also know too little causes situations like the one I have just witnessed.

    So what do you think?

    Would really love some breeder input here...
  2. dogpack

    dogpack Jr Member

    I think shelter vs breeder screening is a whole different ball game. Most people waiting on a breeder pup have been on a waiting list for a while, which IMO shows some level of commitment.

    What I would like to see in a shelter environment, is to have potential adopters come spend a few hours with the dog, get to know them, and then be sent away for a 72 hr (min) cooling off period to make sure they really want the dog. References MUST be followed up on. Home checks as well.

    I also like to see new owners (buyers or adopters) commit to at least one 6-week round of Obed classes. I'm a firm believer training strengthens a bond, and with a trainer handy, alot of questions can be answered that people may feel embarrassed to ask a breeder for potential back lash (why didn't you think of this before you got the puppy type attitude).

    Id also like to see new owners have one on one time with the dog while Someone watched from afar inconspicuously. Are the people really into the dog? Is the dog into them? How do they respond to obnoxious behaviour. Etc.
    • Like Like x 7
  3. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    I like all of those! :thumbsup:

    I think you are right about being on a waiting list with a breeder shows some kind of commitment.

    I think committing to an OB class would be wonderful, but I don't know how that can be enforced. It makes a lot more work to shelter people already overworked to follow up like that, but still, a wonderful idea. I agree totally that it not only gives the dog some training but tightens the bond with someone they just met. Both dog and owner.

    A 'cooling off' period might keep the impulse buyers away too. It's soooo easy to fall in love when you go to a shelter. Thinking with your head instead of your heart is a tough job.

    Interaction should be a given. When my daughter was leaving the nest after college, she wanted to take the family cat, whom she loved. :nono: No way. He's mine now! :love: I said we'll get you your own! We went to a shelter and it was only after sitting in a room for an hour or so that we could really see the personality and bond that one cat was finding with us.....and it was NOT the cat we picked at first sight! :rolleyes: 12 years later she still has this cat and adores it. The cat even fit in when she had twins! (my daughter, not the cat! lol )
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Marinegeekswife

    Marinegeekswife Hot Topics Subscriber

    I am loving all the suggestions so far. I absolutely agree on having them meet with a caring staff member and the dog. During that meeting I think the staff member should ask some very pointed and some more subtle questions like what they expect from the dog and do they realize the dog will need x amount of exercise. Questions are much more telling about a person than just spouting off a ton of information and kicking them out the door. If you interact they are more likely to actually take in the information. The staff member also needs to be able to meet with the facility director and have a significant say in whether the animal is released to these people if they see a potential major concern. I also love the idea of a waiting period as it gives them a chance to really think about what all this could mean without the influence of the adorable face right there pleading "take me home". I would also suggest sending home some information during this waiting period so they have a chance to learn more about animal ownership. Training is a major issue and I feel that the person should be required to take at least a basic training course that is either cheap or included in the adoption price. The only way to try to make them take this seriously is to implement some sort of penalty fee for not completing the course within a reasonable time, say $500. You can't make it too much or it will scare people away but you also can't make it too little or they'll blow it off.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. dogpack

    dogpack Jr Member

    "During that meeting I think the staff member should ask some very pointed and some more subtle questions like what they expect from the dog and do they realize the dog will need x amount of exercise. Questions are much more telling about a person than just spouting off a ton of information and kicking them out the door."

    The only part I see wrong with this, is that people lie, and some lie very well.

    I like to sit back and watch. Do these people think it's cute when a 50+ lb dog is jumping on them? How do they deal with the obnoxious behaviour. Do they try to redirect? Do they reprimand? How harsh? Etc.

    Offer to accompany them on a walk with the dog. Do they allow the dog to pull the snot out of them? Chase things? Do they at the very least attempt to refocus the dogs attention?

    While I don't think these sort of things are deal breakers, I think it's sets a baseline for what type of dog might be better suited for these people. It could indicate the chances of these people possibly returning this dog. It also gives an idea of what type of training the people need, to be able to train the dog.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Did you mean $5.00 or $500.00? lol I'd say that would scare them away! :rofl:
    • Like Like x 1
  7. DocReverto

    DocReverto Formerly CRD

    Great suggestions so far, keep it going! I absolutely love the waiting period. I think that should always be mandatory.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Marinegeekswife

    Marinegeekswife Hot Topics Subscriber

    I absolutely agree and I think observations from the staff should be a factor as well. I just think a careful questioning session gives the chance to learn more about the people while giving them further information.
  9. Marinegeekswife

    Marinegeekswife Hot Topics Subscriber

    Nope $500. I would be willing to say $250. That isn't the price of the class, that is the price of failing to do the class at all as the contract stated they must. It must be enough to make them realize how important training is but not so much that it scares them away from adopting. They will only be charged the money should they fail to hold up their end. Obviously some exceptions have to be considered for family emergencies and things of that sort that prevent them from coming and it should be a reasonable amount of time like 4 or 6 months to get it done.
  10. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Sadly, true.

    Well, think about Cupcake........I think these people expected too much to allow her out with a leash, first of all. And it shows naivety on their part, of dog ownership. I wonder if this was their first dog. My thoughts go to, how do you avoid a situation like that? That fact that the dog got away from them twice is what put it over the edge for them to even want her.........but hey, it's not the dogs fault! They didn't give her a week! And no thoughts of, "Well, we should get her in a class ASAP".....no, they give up instead. :facepalm: Shows immaturity and lack of knowledge on owning a dog.

    I'm wondering how you find that out before you rehome a dog, ..........and hence this thread, huh? ;)
  11. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    :eek: LOL Man, you mean business!! I don't know, seems a bit high to me. I guess it would ensure they would do it but if they didn't how the heck do you be sure you will get that money.
  12. Marinegeekswife

    Marinegeekswife Hot Topics Subscriber

    You make it part of the contract they sign to adopt so you have the option of legally pursuing them. It has to be high enough for them to see it as a serious risk or they will just blow the class off and take the hit.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. dogpack

    dogpack Jr Member

    In the case of cupcake, a few ideas (and this is just my opinion of course)

    Was a home check done? If there was lack of fencing, how do you intend to take the dog out?

    What background experience do they have with a dog? References? Previous adoptions? What happened to these dogs?

    Did the staff observe interaction between the people and the dog? Perhaps a suggestion for a less energetic dog would have been more beneficial.

    Did the people wait it out a few days/a week before making their decision? Perhaps they would have come to realization on their own that cupcake was too much dog for them.

    Now, some may find this a bit harsh, but.... After the first incident. Were the people charged with having a dog running at large? Perhaps if they had been, it wouldn't have happened a second time?
    • Like Like x 2
  14. MyBuddy

    MyBuddy Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Yes! And a short interview with the prospective owners Vet should be a must. Kali foster required that and she said it gives her the best information on lots of questions: How long you've had dogs, how often you come in, are the UTD on required shots, is their condition good, are they spay/neutered, how many other dogs do you have, etc etc. And of the most important was being able to ask the Vet what HE thought and did HE think this dog would even get along with the possible other dogs in the household.

    In my case, I was bringing home a 10lb 5 month old pup to a man eating 100lb Doberman! LMAO Ok, not quite man eating but the size difference was a concern but my Vet told her he was more worried about Buddy! :spit: And of course, he was right. :tap:
    • Like Like x 1
  15. DocReverto

    DocReverto Formerly CRD

    My comments in red.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Luvmydoberman

    Luvmydoberman Hot Topics Subscriber

    All great suggestions. As MB said, check with the prospective owner's vet first. I didn't get a home check or anything until someone from Soph and Dixie's rescue spoke to my vet. They also come and do a home check and require at least basic obedience classes which is listed in their contract. My home check was brief, made sure I had a fence, etc. I think it was shorten when Soph's foster who happens to be the one to do the home checks, came into my yard and saw the carpeted ramp for my old girls to use to get in and out of the house.:) I'm not sure if they would really take action if an owner chose not to comply with obed classes, but it states the rescue can take possession of the dog if you don't within a certain time frame.
  17. MeadowCat

    MeadowCat Well-Known Member

    Always get multiple references, and check them!
  18. DocReverto

    DocReverto Formerly CRD

    Ok. I get all of that when a slow rescue, or individual rehomes a dog.

    Now what about shelters, and rescues. That are constantly overloaded with dogs? Running that entire process would substantially limit the amount of dogs that could be placed. I guess I am just curious what the correct balance is.

    I was very diligent when rehoming Jala, and everything had to be perfect. Now if she were at a overcrowded shelter, I wouldn't expect the same process. I would expect a thorough check, but nothing ridiculous like I did.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Rits

    Rits Admin Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    County shelters/city shelters tend not to do as thorough checks. I'm sure there are some dogs that end up back at the shelter but then there are probably many pets that are adopted into forever homes because of the quick process for both parties, especially hestitant owners that may indeed be good homes but don't look good on paper for one reason or another (no fence, but has method to contain dog such as leashed potty)
    • Like Like x 3
  20. TX_dobe

    TX_dobe Member

    Shelters and breed rescue I look as do different things. We mainly do vet checks, make sure they have a fence yard and have a job. Now I think I spend at less an hour if not more with each adoption. If they have a dog already in the house I want to see how the new dog acts with theirs. We have about 15 to 20 dogs at any given time and we know most of the dogs very well. If you start adding you have to take the dog to a training class then this then that it will keep a lot of people away. Then if they do not go by the contract who will enforce it. It takes money to take people to court. I also have seen some people come out and their dogs have never been to a trainer but are very well trained. Shelters are like Car Max. They have everything but may not have what you are looking for. They have so many coming in every week they have to get some out. So they have to be even less strict then rescues.
    • Like Like x 1

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