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Successful Dog Adoption Paperback – September 1, 2003

29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Expert guidance in choosing the right dog –the first time

Written by a renowned expert in shelter adoption, Successful Dog Adoption delivers all the information you need to find the perfect dog at a shelter and make him part of your family. In easy-to-understand language, Sue Sternberg helps you decide if you’re ready to adopt by evaluating your reasons and translating them into what you should look for in a particular dog. She shows you how to find a reputable shelter, prepare for the adoption process, and work with shelter personnel to make sure they have appropriately screened their dogs. You’ll also learn about "rescue" dogs and why one might be right for you.

This practical guide covers all the vital issues you need to consider when adopting–choosing a male or female, a puppy or an adult; identifying fearful dogs or dogs who will bite; and seeking out a dog with the ideal temperament. Featured here are detailed tests and observations used by professionals to ascertain the temperament and compatibility of shelter dogs–now made available to the public for the first time. You’ll discover how to determine risk factors in an unknown dog, gauge a dog’s potential reaction to guests and strangers, and predict the compatibility level when you add another dog to your household.

This book also offers invaluable advice on training your new pet, including guidance in housebreaking, selecting a training class, and helping a dog who gets carsick or doesn’t like to be home alone. And, if you still experience difficulties with your dog, Sternberg gently discusses the steps you can take.

Authoritative and friendly, Successful Dog Adoption is the one-stop guide for finding your own "superdog"–and keeping the dog-owner relationship fresh and rewarding for years to come.

About the Author

SUE STERNBERG is one of the foremost authorities on successful shelter adoption in the United States, with more than 23 years of canine behavior experience. She is the Executive Director of the Community Animal Shelter Association (CASA), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to pet owner outreach, safe animal adoptions, and quality-of-life issues at animal shelters around the world. Her extraordinary work with dogs is the subject of a Winter 2004 HBO documentary, Shelter Dogs.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Howell Book House (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764538934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764538933
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By "sscragg" on October 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you're thinking of adding a dog to your family (even if it's not the first), you can't afford to be without this book.
Sue Sternberg has her finger on the pulse of shelters and breed rescue as they stand today, and minces no words in describing for adopters how to find the BEST DOG EVER.
With her trademark compassion, humor and wisdom, Sternberg instructs would-be dog adopters on how to successfully negotiate an adoption, from the moment you decide you want a dog (or even before you decide), to the first phone call to the shelter, to your first weeks at home with your new companion.
Most important, she includes information to help you determine, from an expert's point of view, whether the dog you are considering will be SAFE, or whether the dog is a ticking time bomb... BEFORE the dog is in your home.
She also writes chapters on training your dog (including a list of dog sports you can dabble in with your new companion) and what to do when a dog's problem behavior seems overwhelming. In a chapter on Internet adoptions, Sternberg provides a straightforward (and achingly insightful) dissection of ads describing dogs available for adoption.
Her recommeded adoption process may feel long to some readers, especially if you're eager to adopt or facing an uncooperative shelter staff or rescue group. But following Sternberg's advice -- however long it takes -- is time well spent, not only for the safety of your family, but for the added enjoyment you'll get from your new friend.
How valuable is this book? No dog professional, shelter worker or rescue volunteer should be without a copy, either.
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38 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Even in the hands of professional dog persons, the test has not been proven accurate. In the hands of a novice, your gut instincts may serve as well. In fact Jean Donaldson of the SFSPCA, in a small sample of 8 dogs, had a 75% WRONG rate. Dogs that failed went on to never bite anyone and a dog that passed wound up biting. Don't just take this test as science. It isn't. Notice that the author has referenced no other authorities but herself.
It is an engagingly written book, and has much useful information, but the test is very, very controversial among shelter people and dog-knowledgeable people.
Take it with a grain of salt. No, take it with several grains of salt.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Chai on November 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
What a great book! It is very well written, authoritative without being condescending, easy to understand without being simplistic and sometimes downright funny. I started reading at random and just could not put it down. Recommended for anybody who wants to adopt a dog - even if you do not believe in or want to try the test described in the second part of the book, there is a wealth of information on the first 100 pages alone.

I feel I have a much, much better chance now of finding the "Love of my life" dog we are all hoping for.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Miller on February 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading this book, I feel that Sue Sternberg long ago designed a method to deal with a very real problem - canine overpopulation. Her answer to that problem was to weed out anything but the most sturdy and friendly of temperaments in dogs in a shelter setting. It seems in order to justify the killing of certain dogs based on her standards, she labels dogs with certain characteristics as potentially dangerous. While I can understand her thought process regarding placing super friendly and amendable dogs in inexperienced homes, I can not condone the disservice she does to the understanding of canine - human relationships by mislabeling so many dogs and their natural traits as "potentially dangerous" and writing them off. This adds to owner misunderstanding and not gaining a steady foothold in dog behavior and how to communicate, understand, bond and work with the species.

Page 100 - when she states that she created and refined the Assess-A-pet and "I stand by it, having been in the shelter field studying temperament testing longer than anybody else." What studies? There are none named. There are no statistics, research information, nada to support her claims. She's been at this 20+ years but devised no formal system to check her methods. She created a temperament test when she was essentially a novice in the shelter system, she has a very obvious poor understanding of how nature and nurture mix together. But she "stands by" this test? As previous comments mention, the research that has been done (by others in the field mind you) to test her methods show an extremely high error rate in predicting dogs that will or will not bite.

My jaw dropped at some of the things that would fail dogs.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John A. Lefcourte VINE VOICE on December 14, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While the author's test may not be 100% accurate, her premise is that one should be VERY careful in adopting dogs in order not to get an aggressive dog. This is something that most other adoption books gloss over. The author is concerned that many agencies seeking to have dogs adopted are more concerned with getting the dog a home than in protecting the adopting owner. Why adopt trouble?

I've had 12 dogs in my life and am thinking of adopting when my 12 year old dog dies. I've been reading as many books as I can about adopting dogs and adult dog behavior and this is one of the best that I've found.
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