Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin

Dog FAQ

What the Humane Society Gets Asked Most Often About Dogs

I saw a dog on your website – is it good with kids?

While we try to give you a pretty good first description of a dog’s behavior based on our assessments at the shelter, we always recommend a family introduction for every adoption. Shelter life is very different for dogs than a home, and every dog’s personality is different – even among its own breed.

Does it get along with other animals?

This is definitely a pet by pet basis. Some animals prefer to be in a one-pet home whereas some pets are very social and love to be around other pets. Before we send dogs home, we do a cat evaluation with them to see how they react to cats to have an indication of what it might be like once they are in the home. If there are other dogs in the home, we do a dog introduction between the perspective adoptee and the families’ current dogs in the home. This way we can ensure it is a good fit so we can send them home in confidence.

Did it come in as a stray?

Many of our dogs come in as strays. Some have been surrendered by their owners. All are loved and cared for with compassion from the minute they arrive. Strays are held for 7 days to allow owners time to locate their pet, after that time period they are put up for adoption or occasionally transferred to other shelters.

Is it already house trained?

Since the majority of our pets come to us as strays, we don’t always know their behavior history. There is a good chance that they are, but just in case they aren’t, we offer excellent tips and advice if the adopted pet hasn’t quite gotten the potty training thing down yet.

What age-range are your shelter dogs?

Our dogs can range anywhere from babies to seniors. Our initial assessments of teeth and health can get us close to an age, but they are estimates.

Are older dogs trainable?

Yes, dogs learn over a lifetime – you really CAN teach an old dog a new trick. Dog training is just about making new experiences. Older dogs with strong learned habits may need a bit of time and may need to get to know you over a longer period to develop trust and obedience.

Do all your dogs have all of their shots?

All dogs receive Distemper, Parvo, and Bordetella vaccinations along with a basic de-wormer, heartworm preventative, and Frontline.

We don’t, however, administer the rabies vaccine – a legal requirement of a dog owner is that you must have this done post-adoption. A licensed veterinarian needs to administer the rabies vaccine. Due to limited vet time at the shelter we are unable to at this time, however, it is our goal to add a vet to our staff this year.

What do your dogs eat at the shelter?

Thanks to the generous donations of dog food from Blain’s Farm & Fleet, all of our pets are fed, at no cost to us, the Blain’s Farm & Fleet Purina Pro Plan dog food.

Are all shelter dogs spayed/neutered?

Yes, all of our adoptable pets have already been spayed or neutered. This helps to keep the pet population down and prevent further breeding since so many shelter pets are waiting for their forever home.

What happens if my adoption doesn’t work out?

Adopting a pet is a big commitment that requires a lot of time and patience and, of course, an acclimation period. Transitioning from the shelter to a home is a big change. In rare cases, a relationship doesn’t fit a match. We ask that you bring the pet back to us. There is a 30-day period that the animal can come back to the shelter. Because we are a non-profit, the adoption fee isn’t refundable. Depending on circumstances, we may grant an adoption voucher toward another adoption.

Upcoming Events


Photos with Santa

December 2, 2017 (10:00 am - 2:00 pm) -

Bring out the family (your four-legged family members are more than welcome too!) and have professional portraits taken in the lovely K&W Greenery greenhouse from 1...

Mutts and Martinis

December 14, 2017 (6 - 9pm) -

Join the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin for Mutts & Martinis, a night of specialty martinis, appetizers, raffle items, and live music, December 14th from 6-9pm.<...

News & Announcements


Humane society plans to build new facility, move south of Janesville

The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin plans a new home for its animal shelter and hopes to involve the community in planning as well as paying for it.<...

Animal control money services in limbo

JANESVILLE—The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin isn't guaranteed $125,000 from the city for 2018 animal control services after all, though it likely will end up with the...

Lost Pet Portal