Two kids with a dog in between them sitting on a couch

There are many ways to find a dog to add to your family and not support puppy mills. One of the best options is to adopt from a shelter or rescue, and another is to work with a responsible breeder.

As you begin to research dogs, we recommend that you identify the characteristics you want in a dog and how you want to incorporate a dog into your life.

Some of the most important considerations include:

  • Energy Level – how much energy will your dog require and how much time will have to provide exercise for your dog?
  • Personality & Intelligence – do you want a dog that follows your every command or are you more laid back and accepting of a dog that might have selective hearing?
  • Living Arrangements – do you live in an apartment, house with a fenced yard, farm? Different living conditions will help you determine if the dog you’re thinking of adding to your family will fit in well or create problems with your neighbors.

Dachsund running in a field with a frisbee

By thinking through what characteristics you’re looking for you’ll be in a great position to find a dog that will integrate into your life most effectively. Dogtime has a more comprehensive list of dog characteristics for you to consider.

Once you’ve got a good idea of what kind of dog you’re looking for, adoption is one of the best options. There are two primary paths to adopting a dog – adopting from a shelter or adopting from a rescue.

Adopting from a Shelter

Adopting from a shelter can be a fantastic experience. There are many shelters throughout Ohio, and each will have their processes for adoption. If you’re looking for a puppy, they often go quickly, so we recommend visiting your shelter to learn the adoption process and talk with the staff about what you’re looking for in a dog. Shelters also often have pure-bred dogs. They might not always know the full history of the dog but they can help identify a dog that’s a good fit for you and your lifestyle.

Columbus Dog Connection has a comprehensive list of shelters and humane societies.

Adopting from a Rescue

If there isn’t a shelter nearby, or if you’re not having much luck finding a match at your shelter, a rescue is another great way to adopt. One of the advantages of adopting from a rescue is that often times the dogs are staying in foster homes. This gives you the ability to meet with the foster parent and get a deeper insight into the dog’s personality and how she lives in a home. Also, there are many breed-specific

Columbus Dog Connection has a comprehensive list of rescues, including breed-specific rescues (including tips on how to avoid a rescue broker).

Working with a Responsible Breeder

If adoption isn’t working out, there are thousands of responsible breeders that have the best interests of dogs in mind. With some due dilligence and patience you can find a dog that matches what you’re looking for!

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) offers extensive guidance on how to work with a responsible breeder.

We believe life is better with a dog (or two) and we want to help people avoid the pitfalls of supporting puppy mills. If you have a question or suggestions, please contact us!