‘Adopt me! I’m already trained!’
Some of my friends and family members have purebred dogs from breeders.
Many of them were first-time dog owners, and they believed they would have a better chance of getting a “good” dog if they went to a breeder vs. a shelter.
I know some of you are screaming at this point – “No!!”
But whether we like it or not, there is a large group of people who believe shelter dogs might come with “issues,” and that is reason enough for them to go to a breeder.
This is where shelters are missing out on a marketing opportunity, because shelter volunteers know something the average dog seeker may not.
Shelter dogs are good dogs.
Shelter dogs are already trained.
Shelter dogs are already socialized.
Most first-time dog owners do not have experience with training. When they buy a puppy from a breeder, there’s a chance they are not going to train that puppy very well or exercise that puppy as much as they should.
In six months, they might have a teenage dog with behavior problems such as chewing, barking, jumping, peeing in the house, possessiveness, pulling on the leash, etc.
We all know at least one person who bought a puppy from a breeder and ended up with an out-of-control dog, correct?
What if these same people had gone to a shelter or rescue and asked for help choosing a well-grounded, calm dog?
What if, instead of turning so many potential dog owners away, shelter volunteers were more helpful and encouraging?
There are so many good dogs sitting around in shelters that would be ideal for first-time dog owners.
Shelters are missing out on a large chunk of the market.
Shelters do a lot of marketing intended to play at people’s emotions, trying to make them feel guilty.
Adopt! Don’t shop!
Don’t buy while shelter pets die!
Playing to a potential adopter’s emotions will work for some people, but not all.
It doesn’t necessarily cater to the single, 20-something looking for a good apartment dog.
It doesn’t necessarily cater to the family looking for a gentle, socialized pet.
Or what about the single, working parent with two preschoolers?
Most people like the idea of saving a dog’s life, but they also want a good, family dog.
Not a purebred dog. Not a certain breed, but a friendly, good dog.
What if we did a better job educating the public about shelter dogs? What if we stopped portraying shelter dogs as piteous, suffering creatures?
What if we did a better job showing people that shelter dogs are, for the most part, good dogs? And that they are waiting in shelters by the thousands?
Not only do shelter workers have the ability to match these good dogs up with the right owners, but they have the ability to educate new dog owners about training, exercise and socialization. They also have the ability to offer resources down the road if problems do come up.
People who buy dogs from breeders often do so because they want a dog without “baggage.” They want a dog that is safe for their families.
Perhaps this should be your shelter’s goal for the year. Start a marketing campaign to advertise all those good dogs in your shelter.
The dogs can speak for themselves, if you let them.
Adopt me! I’m already trained!
Adopt me! I’m housebroken and come when called! I sleep quietly in my crate!
Adopt me! I passed my first obedience class! And I snuggle with kitties!
Adopt me! I let kids pull my ears! I’m also a Canine Good Citizen!
How many good dogs are sitting in your shelter right now?
Tweety is up for adoption with the Humane Society Fargo-Moorhead. She is a good dog who loves everyone she meets, according to her profile! Edit: Tweety has been adopted!