Many things to consider when adopting a pet from a shelter

Picking the right animal is the first step in having a good relationship with a pet.

"There are things to watch out for when adopting a pet from a shelter.

We don't know what the character of the dog or cat is when it comes in, or the bad traits it may have," said Lane Plunkett, Mohave County Animal Control operations supervisor.

"See how you interact with the animal while you are with the animal at the facility.

Take the dog out to the fenced yard here and spend some time interacting with the animal," he said.

The breed of a dog can also be a clue to its behavior.

Working breeds, such as malumutes, huskies, chows and shepherds, are good for adults.

Older persons might want to get a small breed - Pekingese, Chihuahua and toy breeds, such as toy poodles that are easier to care for, Plunkett said.

Families with children should get a good-natured dog such as a golden retriever or a yellow Labrador.

When a pet owner brings a new animal home there is a period of adjustment, Plunkett said.

Once a puppy or a dog has been chosen, the pet owner should consider obedience training, Plunkett said.

"Research shows that pet owners who take the time to train their dogs are more likely to keep them longer than owners who don't," he said.

"We recommend that pet owners provide their pets with basic obedience training.

Behavior problems are an important reason why otherwise healthy pets are turned into shelters."

The three-hour class includes general obedience training, walking on a leash, sitting and staying.

"We work a little bit on behavioral problems.

Basically we train the person in how to work with, and understand your animal.

You have to be patient, but you can't give in - you have to be firm," he said.

"You can't expect them to realize what you want them to learn in just a couple of days.

It takes time.

It is like having a puppy, no matter how old it is - you are starting all over."

Mohave County Animal Control, as well as the ASPCA, agree that training is critical when pet owners first adopt a shelter dog.

Plunkett said that when training a dog you can not give in, even once, to bad behavior because if you do the dog will do it again.

A one-time training class is offered free of charge to anyone adopting a dog from the shelter.

The dog handler must be at least 18 and must present a certificate from the Mohave County Animal Shelter.

The handler must also sign a waiver of liability at the time of scheduling.

Call 753-2727 to register for the class.

The animal control facility is located at 950 Buchanan.

The cost of adopting a dog from the Mohave County Animal Control facility is $35 toward spaying of neutering, $20 to license a dog older than 4 months and $15 for the adoption.

Puppies 4 months and younger do not need a license.

Dogs and cats can also be adopted from Pet Protection, a Kingman nonprofit organization.

Volunteers rescue stray animals and take care of them until a home can be found.

The Pet Protection animal shelter is located at located at 7729 Sanctuary Road on 5 acres of land at mile marker 49 on Highway 93.

It is against the policy of the organization to euthanize any animal, said Pet Protection president Diana Moll.

For more information call 753-3408.