Adoption Process

Our adoption process is designed to help you and the right dog find each other. Our goal is to place each dog into a permanent, safe, and loving home.

To adopt a German Shepherd Dog from us, you must:

  1. Complete an Adoption Questionnaire, either online, or hard-copy (pdf format). If you do not own your home, you must have your landlord complete the Landlord Letter.
  2. Be interviewed by an adoption counselor.
  3. Choose, and be chosen by, the right dog.
  4. Live in one of the 14 Northern California counties we serve.
  5. Allow a home visit by an adoption counselor.
  6. With our approval, sign our Adoption Agree ment, and pay the associated fee.

If you come to an Adoption Day, the process of adopting can be completed in any order; otherwise you must complete an Adoption Questionnaire before we can assist you further. Normally, all our requirements must be met. Home visits may be waived in rare circumstances. We do not adopt to homes outside of Northern California.

After we receive your online Adoption Questionnaire, we will call you to begin the adoption process. Due to our home visit requirement, we only adopt to homes in Northern California. We encourage potential adopters to come to one or more Adoption Days because that is the best way to meet several German Shepherds and to find your new companion.

If you attend an Adoption Day and choose a dog, you may be able to adopt the same day, if all adoption requirements are met. The entire adoption process can be completed on the same day, or it may take longer.

If you can not come to any Adoption Day, we will try to assist you using email, the mail, and the telephone. This will probably take longer because the people who will help you are volunteers who usually have jobs, and scheduling meetings with dogs can be complex because our dogs live in many homes and kennels.



Rough beginning but happy ending
Post Date: 3/17/2017 11:23:52 AM

We chose to interview Kobalt because he was, we were told, good with other dogs, and very patient when his people left. He was a rescue from Sacramento, about five years old, who'd been found on the street. No history. But he was very pleasant when we met him, and we made the decision to adopt him. The first week, he did not like it when we left, even when we tried to crate him in another room from where we were. But he did seem to get along with other dogs. As the week went on, his social anxiety lessened, but so did his tolerance for other dogs. He barked at them, lunged at them, and got into a couple scraps when we were surprised coming around corners, not expecting him to be aggressive. We worked with a trainer to curtail that behavior, with minimal success both in the positive reinforcement method and with the prong collar. It had been seven years since we had a dog, and so our adjustment was almost as rough as Kobalt's. In those first couple months, there were several incidents that made us question whether he was the right dog. He was aggressive toward a house guest; he was rough with some of the neighbor kids when we tried to include them in playing ball with him. We even reached out to the GSRNC to ask about these behavioral issues and they recommended another trainer to us, who unfortunately did not work out but at least gave us some hope to persevere. We knew he was a smart dog and it was a real pleasure to see him learn some things, so we had hope for him. The following month, we were gone on three trips of a few days each, and because we couldn't be sure Kobalt would get along with other dogs, our choice of boarding was very limited. He came back from one place having started to chew at a spot on his flank, which stopped as soon as we got him home. He was well-behaved in another, but when we took him back there his separation anxiety kicked in again and the boarder couldn't leave him alone. We had gotten to the point of desperation--if we couldn't even board him somewhere, we couldn't keep him. We made the difficult decision after picking him up from that last trip that we should try to rehome him. But that next month, he settled down quite a bit. He'd had a lot of disruption in his life, and we feel that after three months, coming back to us after being boarded multiple times, he finally came to trust that this was his new home. He was more affectionate with us than he had been, and we understood better how to manage him on walks. We were good at dog avoidance from our previous dog, so we just had to remember how to do it (and Kobalt doesn't seem aggressive toward other dogs as much as our previous dog was; he's more just excited and sometimes nervous). We found that every time we started to write a letter about our decision to rehome him, we felt bad about it. So we made a few small changes. When people come over, we meet them outside the house with Kobalt and go in, so he knows they belong. We grew more confident when walking him, and continued to reward him when he stayed quiet upon seeing another dog. And we found a kennel with experience in caring for shepherds who absolutely love him. Slowly we realized that we could keep him. Kobalt has rewarded our patience many times over. After those first rough months, he's become part of the family. He's got a sweet personality (the vet wrote "super sweet" on his personality evaluation) and hasn't misbehaved around house guests again (except to steal food from plates, a habit we can discourage but not completely eliminate). He still reacts to other dogs, but rarely barks now unless surprised by one. We can take him out to a shared park and throw a ball for him on a long lead, which he loves more than just about anything, and we love watching his enjoyment. He follows us around the house and wants to be in the same room with us (one of his endearing habits is that when he comes back from a walk, he races around the house looking to see where everyone is), but is also totally fine having the place to himself for a couple hours. And while he doesn't really love the kennel, he's stayed there multiple times and come back healthy and happy every time. When we adopted, one of the guidelines was to give the dog a few months to settle in and see his true personality. And the GSRNC was very helpful, advocating patience and getting us some information about Kobalt's previous behaviors. I just wanted to say how glad we are that we had that little extra reserve of patience to wait out Kobalt's adjustment period and get a terrific dog who just needed a little bit of stability in his life.


Important Note About Dog Descriptions

Please remember that the descriptions of dogs (of Dogs Available) have been written by GSRNC volunteers and are usually based only upon our observation of the dog since the time it was rescued. While we try to provide dog descriptions that are fair and accurate, the nature of our work involves contact with dogs whose background and history are unknown to us. GSRNC cannot warrant or guarantee any dog's future behavior. For example, if we say that a rescue dog gets along with children, cats, or other dogs, this statement is usually based upon the fact that one of our volunteers has observed the dog interacting with his or her own children or pets. While this information may be helpful, we cannot be certain of how a dog will do with the children or pets in your home. If you are considering adopting, we encourage you to come to one of our Adoption Days and meet our rescue dogs. Ultimately, only you can decide whether one of our dogs is right for you.