Adopt Vs Shop: The Simplified What To Do When Getting A Dog Or Puppy

November 29, 2021
November 29, 2021

I’m talking again about another subject that I’m very, very passionate about, shockingly, which is the Adopt versus shop decision, which is a big decision.

And when it comes to your puppy, it’s a massive freakin’ decision to make before you even get them.

I want to have a chat with you about when you’re getting a puppy, whether you should choose to adopt or whether you should choose to shop.

Please note!
This post has been mainly AI Generated from the video below! If you notice any weird phrasing?
Ping me an email and let me know, because I clearly missed it when editing!

And I want to talk a little bit about the Adopt, Don’t Shop campaign that last chance for animals came out with a number of years ago now. And I want to give you guys kind of my analogy of how I help my clients make this decision for themselves so that you guys are best placed to make the most informed decision for you and your family.

The obligatory caveat!

I am a huge fan of the works rescues do. I think they have a very honourable job, and that it’s hard. But we as a society have to do more to lessen their work. And understanding the problem is a huge part of it. This is not, in any way, made to diminish the work of charities, rescues, humane societies or otherwise.

When You Buy A House…

Moving swiftly on… I’m now going to talk about houses. It was like a bit of a tangent. But this is the analogy that I was getting at. So when, like buying a puppy or getting a dog, no matter what aspect or age that you’re considering doing that app, my best way of explaining it to somebody who’s never done it before, is houses.

You have a few options to find the house of your dreams.

Buy Old & Renovate (Older dog)

Whilst you’ll have no teething issues (quite literally when you face our analogy!), you may have things to fix, like a leaky roof, random electricity problems, or even just the decor… The ugly chair rail from the 1980’s or that wonderful pink bathroom suite (Yes, I’ve been dealing with this lately!).

That’s adopting an older dog.

They may have behavioural issues. They may have dietary requirements, or ongoing medical concerns…

The big problem here is that some adoption centres, humane societies or similar don’t necessarily do the equivalent of ‘surveys’ to make sure the dog is behaviorally sound before giving them to you.

a shiba inu puppy - what a cutie! But would they be right for you? Should you adopt or shop?
a shiba inu puppy – what a cutie! But would they be right for you? Should you adopt or shop?

Buy A Turn-Key Home

Buy new – you could also buy a new home. The new home can be pretty much exactly what you want it to be, right? If it’s built by a craftsman, it will almost be the case that you can walk into your new home and just make it yours. Turn the bare bones into your dream home.

When you look at a house and you’re looking to buy a house, that’s your new puppy from a responsible breeder. A well bred new puppy, is the same as a well-built home built by a craftsman. Somebody who really knows what they do, that person who can put things together and is going to put things together in the right way such that the home flows, that the electrics are in the right place, that everything is where it should be and how it should be.

And that’s not an easy feat is it?

A Lesser Built New Home…

I mean, I’ve lived in a new home that wasn’t built by a craftsman that was kind of one of those cookie-cutter homes? And goodness only knows there was probably just as many problems with it.

And that home? That home is Indie. He had his problems because his ‘build’ wasn’t considered, it was just made without mind for how he was going to be ‘used’ or what his function was going to be. Indie was backyard bred, and it will likely be similar from any less than reputable breeder or puppy mill.

The equivalent of your surveyor is someone like me. A discerning trainer who tries to understand dogs.

But what if you’re a craftsman too?

Well, if you’re a builder, craftsman or someone who knows about houses you can walk in and know what you’re looking at. But with dogs? That’s pretty hard.

If you are a trainer or behaviourist? You’re more likely to be able to take on what we fondly call a “project dog” – but they’re still going to be emotionally taxing, possibly expensive and they may not be right for you – even then.

So what’s best for me? Should I Adopt, or Shop?

That totally depends. Do you have the time and capacity for a rescue dog? Do you have the ability to expose yourself to a certain level of risk, financially, emotionally or otherwise? If you do? Adopt.

If you don’t? Shop responsibly.

It’s not easy, but it is doable.

Stop The Social Pressure To Adopt.

I say this because I have genuinely experienced I mean somebody in my local in my local Facebook group turned around and I was like

“I’m looking to get a responsibly bred (whatever) breed. Does anyone have any recommendations?”

And I was shocked and rather disappointed to see that said person got probably 90% of the responses were this Humane Society this, rescue this, charity or foundation or whatever it is. And it felt a lot like bullying, essentially, because she had already taken the time to consider what was best for her and her family.

She had decided that a puppy was the way forward and then got a load of comments saying “Adopt, Don’t Shop”.

A Bohemian Shepherd, a gorgeous, smaller, slightly healthier version of the German Shepherd - but with less temperament issues, typically...
A Bohemian Shepherd, a gorgeous, smaller, slightly healthier version of the German Shepherd – but with less temperament issues, typically…

It’s very much a shame, you know, because we do need responsible breeders, we do need that aspect, because the better our dogs are bred, the longer that they’ll live, the easier they will be to train, the less behavioural issues they have, and the less veterinary issues they’re going to have.

And that’s not a promise that’s not a guarantee you because things happen. And you know, the world and the environment happens.

A well bred puppy is going to be a more solid dog, they are going to become they’re going to have a more solid foundation for you to build upon.

And that’s why they are like what I would call the turnkey new home by a craftsman because the craftsman is the breeder.

The new home is a blank canvas, I mean you can’t change where it is you can’t change I mean you could change like the inner structure, but you know what I mean? The houses the house is going to have the footprint that it has. And it is it is what it is and it is where it is. But anything within that you can change.

Puppies Are Nature & Nurture

There is no such thing as a blank canvas when it comes to puppies, they all have a history, they all have something going on within their DNA that actually will change and adapt and bring in memories and influences from their parents.

If for example your dog’s mother was absolutely terrified of fireworks if you do need help with fireworks do have a video on that so just message me and I can forward you the link if they had a massive fear of fireworks that can and probably will transfer from her to her litter and it will from the Father to so temperament is huge. Okay, so what breeders do is as much an art as it is a science the same as what I do. It’s it takes time it takes precision and it takes knowledge and care so if you find a good breeder support them if you find a bad breeder don’t support them.

The Truth Behind The Adopt, Don’t Shop Campaign

It has to be said that actually adopt don’t shop that campaign for last chance or by last chance for animals actually agrees with that. When you look into what the actual meaning of adopt don’t shop is.

It’s actually the case that they’re saying adopt puppies don’t buy them from pet stores or from puppy mills, they are not saying don’t get a puppy from a responsible breeder.

It has had phenomenal media coverage. And like it’s on the tip of so many people’s tongues.

We have to remember that it’s not necessarily been just because it says adopt don’t shop doesn’t mean adopt don’t support responsible breeders. There’s a fine line, right?

We have to remember that and please, please please, if somebody is ever talking to you about buying a puppy, just encourage them towards a responsible breeder as opposed to an irresponsible breeder. That’s that’s what the Adopt don’t shop is actually truly about, at least from my reading and from my understanding, by all means last chance for animals Come talk to me if I’m wrong!

Confused? Here’s Your Answer

If you are looking for a new puppy, if you are looking for, you know, something to fill that dog shaped hole in your life, you knowing where to start is a real big problem.

So I’m starting a Puppy Matchmaking service (the name is a work in progress!)

could the dandie dinmont terrier be your dream match?
could the dandie dinmont terrier be your dream match?

And hopefully, it’ll give you an idea as to whether you want to shop, or you are willing to adopt shot responsibly.

I’m going to start helping you guys to match you with potential breeds of dog that might match what you need out of your life for the dog.

From my experience, and from what I can see, a lot of the friction with new puppy parents and with dog ownership in the long term comes from the fact that people tend to not consider what their dogs need, what the breed of dog is known for what they will be like in their home.

I totally get it. Because it’s one of those things that is really difficult. And I mean, really difficult to even comprehend. Before you get a dog, because you look at a dog and you go, I like Australian shepherds, I like Belgian malinois. I like Coonhounds.

But owning those dogs is very different to a what you’re going to see on social media, I promise you or be what you read online. Even like even if you go into the Facebook groups like that a breed specific and go, “Hey, can you tell me about the Pekinese”. They’re gonna they’re gonna tell you stuff and not all of it’s going to be appropriate.

So what I’m trying to do is to how it will work is that you and I will go through a conversation, a real conversation about what you would like from your dog, what breed you do like, what breeds you don’t like, what grooming requirements, barking requirements, all sorts of other things.

I will take all that information, we’ll agree another convenient time to chat, I will walk away and prepare for you – by the way, did you know there are over 400 breeds recognised across the world? Lots of choices!

We’ll join the call and I will present you with a small breed portfolio of five or six dogs that I think would suit your lifestyle, your family, your home the way you live, and what you want from a dog.

Because this way, we can we can set you up on the right track for the right dog.

Okay, because, for example, I mean, I speak a lot about my Coonhounds on the one of the brains that I mentioned there. Would I ever buy a Coonhound again?


Why? Because they don’t actually suit the person that I am. Mr Rebarkable (my husband) bought the two Coonhound puppies home a number of years ago before we were together, and they’re just they’re not practical dogs.

They’re wonderfully cuddly. And they’re, they’re wonderful dogs. But they come with a massive, massive price tag and that price tag is howling. They can’t really go off lead. They have such an enormous prey drive. And don’t get me wrong, this is all stuff I’m working on. This is all stuff that we are constantly training on. But I would not get one again.

Ali! Matchmake Me A Puppy!

Want to know what puppies will become your ideal dog?

Want to have a trainer guide you in what breeds you’d love?

I did one of these lives on Instagram actually and Tori Mistick joined me, She’s a wonderful pet blogger on wear wag repeat. Because she popped up, and I know she has two chocolate labs, I used Labradors as an example. And one of the things she said was,

“If you don’t like Labrador things, don’t get a Labrador.

Tori Mistick

And that’s exactly it.

I want to make sure that you and your dog are gonna share the same interests, I want to make sure that you and your dog are set up, so that you can enjoy your lives together. And that there’s minimal friction, because it’s kind of like your two peas in a pod, as opposed to being chalk and cheese.

If that sounds good, or you just need guidance? Let me know.

I’m always happy to help future puppy parents succeed in their lives together with their woof!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!

Thanks to for the images!


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