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Finding a New Home for Your Alaskan Malamute: 3

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Step 4. Get your dog ready

Your dog will be much more appealing if he's clean, well-groomed and healthy. First, take him to the vet for a check up. Be sure he is up to date on, his DHLPP and rabies vaccinations and heartworm negative. Tell the vet about any behavior problems so he can rule out physical causes.

If your dog isn't spayed or neutered, do it now! Don't waste your time trying to sell your dog as "breeding stock" even if he's AKC-registered. Frankly, no reputable Alaskan Malamute breeder will want him unless he came from a well known show dog fancier in the first place. The only kind of "breeder" who'll be interested in your dog will be a puppy farmer or a dog broker. Brokers seek out unaltered purebreds for resale to puppymills or research laboratories. That's not the kind of future you want for your dog.

Spaying or neutering guarantees that your dog won't end up in a puppymill. It's the best way to insure that your dog will be adopted by a family who wants him only as a best friend and a member of the family. If you can't afford the cost of surgery, check with your vet, local shelter or rescue group for information about low-cost spay and neuter programs that are available in some parts of the country. Having your dog neutered or spayed is the best going away present you can give him. It may save his life! Give your dog a brighter future - make the appointment today!!

If your dog has never been tattooed or microchipped, this is a great time to do it. It's not unusual for newly adopted dogs to get loose and become lost. A permanent ID will help your dog get back to you or his new owners.

Groom your dog. You want your dog to look beautiful and make a good impression. He needs to be clean and well-dressed! Get rid of those mats and tangles and give him a bath. Make sure his nails are clipped. If you can't do these things yourself, take him to a groomer. Get rid of his old rusty choke chain and buy a nice, new, strong collar and lead.

Set a reasonable adoption fee. The key word is "reasonable". You can't expect the new owner to pay you anywhere near the same price for a "used" dog as they would for a shiny new puppy. A reasonable range might be between $65-150, enough to help offset advertising and veterinary costs.

Step 5. ADVERTISE!

Word of mouth doesn't go very far. Don't be afraid to use classified ads to advertise your dog. Done right, it's the most effective way to reach the largest number of people. It's easy to write a good ad that will weed out poor adoption prospects right away.

Your ad should give a short description of your dog, his needs, your requirements for a home and of course, your phone number. The description should include his breed, color, sex, the fact that he's neutered and an indication of his age. Hints: if your dog is less than 2 years old, state his age in months so he'll be perceived as the young dog he is. If he's over three, just say that he's an "adult".

Emphasize your dog's good points: Is he friendly? Housebroken? Well-mannered? Loves kids? Does he do tricks? Has he had any training? Don't keep it a secret but don't exaggerate either. Knowing his name doesn't make him "well-trained"!

State any definite requirements you might have for his new home: fenced yard, no cats, kids over 10, whatever. Try to say these in a positive way - for example, saying "Kids over 10" sounds better than "No kids under 10". If your Alaskan Malamute doesn't like other pets, say "should be only pet" rather than "doesn't like other animals".

Always state that references are required. This tells people that you are being selective and that you're not going to give your dog to just anybody. This statement will do a lot to keep people with bad intentions from dialing your number.

Never include the phrase "free to good home" in your ad even if you're not planning to charge a fee. If possible, don't put in any reference to a price at all. The chance at a "free" dog will bring lots of calls, but most of them won't be the kind of people you're looking for and many of them will be people you'd rather not talk to at all.

Your ad should look something like this:

"Alaskan Malamute: beautiful, gray/white, young adult male, neutered. Friendly, housebroken, well-behaved. Best with children over 10. Fenced yard, references required. Call John at 555-1234"

Along with your local newspaper, advertise in all major papers within an hour and a half's drive. Schedule your ad so that it appears in Sunday's paper - the issue that's the most well read and widely circulated. If your budget is very limited, choose to run your ad only on Sundays rather than throughout the week. Nearly every community also has small, weekly "budget-shopper" newspapers that offer inexpensive classified ads. Take advantage of them!

Don't be discouraged if your phone isn't ringing right away. Most people give up too soon. It can take a month or more to find a new home, so plan on advertising for several weeks. Put a phone number in the ad where you can be easily reached or use an answering machine. People can't call you if no one's home to answer the phone.

Newspapers are just one way to advertise. Take a good cute photo of your dog and have copies made. Duplicating photos can be done for as little as a quarter each at most photo shops. Make an attractive flyer on colored paper that you can have copied for a few cents each. Attach the cute photo of your dog. Your flyer doesn't have to be expensive, professional or computerized, just neat and eye catching. Since you're not paying for words, you can write more about your dog than you could in a newspaper ad. Be descriptive!

Post your flyers at grocery stores, department stores, vets' offices, pet supply stores, grooming shops, factories, malls, etc. - anywhere you can find a public bulletin board. If you have friends in a nearby city, mail them a supply of flyers and ask them to post them for you.

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Making Dogs Adoptable
Vet Check-up
Spay or Neuter
Microchip
Do Training Refresher
Groom or Bathe
Set Reasonable Adoption Fee (NEVER Free)
Advertize Honestly

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