I have the opportunity to adopt a 4 month old yellow lab (male) from a family that is in financial straits and has to move into an apartment.......The lab lives about 3-4 hours away from us.....Can you suggest what questions I need to ask or consider before adopting this dog, and if you think seeing it before committing to it is important? I want to do this with my eyes wide open - no surprises......I really don't know anything about this family that is giving it up for adoption. I assume the dog has been well treated, but how can I be sure? And are mistreated dogs "scarred" for life if they are young like this one.....ahhh, I am nervous about this! Also, does anyone have information about what the different characteristics are for male versus female dogs....is one easier to train?
Personally, yes I think it's important to see the pup before deciding. Ask about the dog's background (if you don't already know these things)...where'd they get the dog, do they have paperwork for it (pedigree, health clearances, etc.). Ask to see all of that. Ask about the sire and dam of the puppy, what do they know about them?
Spend time with the puppy, playing, petting, observing. How's the pup with children, other dogs? What does the puppy's body language seem like...tail tucked between legs, or up wagging? Those types of things.
Does he know any commands, had any training? Does he shake, sit, etc? Housebroken?
If there are any problems with him, since they've been with this family? Yes, they can be overcome, if it's a matter of problems due to training or non-training from being with this family.
Males are sometimes more dependent than females....other than that I don't know. Others will probably have good suggestions or advice.
But definitely spend time with the puppy; that will tell you some things you need to know before deciding. Good luck.
Generally puppies are not scared for life...they bounce back quick. I am fostering a 5.5 month old whose owner kicked him and broke his leg...and he's as sweet as pie...even around men. The kicker is how much time do you have for training and showering this dog with love, affection, and exercise?
Ask about where they got the dog, what types of vaccinations it's already had..ask to see the vet paperwork, or the vet's number to follow up on the dog with them. Ask if it's house broke or crate trained, what types of interaction (cats, other dogs, kids, babies) it's had.
Find out everything. There shouldn't be anything to be nervous about unless it's been tied up outside it's whole life.
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
Good advice already. Ask them if they have noticed any quirks, things he won't do or doesn't like to do. What food they are feeding him because you are going to want to keep him on the same thing. If you want to change the food you should do it gradually.
Anothe option you might consider is hiring a professional trainer to come evaluate the puppy with you. A four month old puppy is malleable enough to adapt quickly, but a trainer's impartial eye might spot some problem areas that you don't see under the 'cute puppy' skin.
You may also want to clarify with the present owner about the contract they had with the breeder. Most reputable breeders have 'first dibs' if and when the dog needs to be rehomed - although the breeder might be happy to place the puppy with you, they will want to know where their 'offspring' are ending up.