Dedicated to finding the perfect home for every
homeless Airedale in AZ, NV, NM & UT
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FAQ's (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)

  1. I don't live in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico or Utah. Can I adopt an Airedale from a SWAT volunteer?

    We prefer to place our Airedales locally for a variety of reasons:

    • Shipping a dog off to a stranger is stressful for the dog;
    • We require a home visit prior to or at the time of adoption, and this may not be possible with a long distance placement;
    • We prefer to be able to personally assist with the introduction of our foster Airedales to everyone in the new family.
    • We provide follow-up support to both the rescued Airedale and the new owner. Occasionally a placement does not work out. We have a strong commitment to our rescued Airedales and we want to be in a position to help them again if necessary.

    If you do not live in AZ, NV, NM or UT, please visit the national Airedale Rescue website to find the rescue group near you.

    We do work with the Airedale Rescue volunteers in the states surrounding AZ, NV, NM and UT, and even beyond, but you must complete the adoption process required by your local volunteer.

    There are times when even someone who does live in one of the states we cover cannot adopt one of our Airedales because no experienced Airedale Rescue volunteer lives close enough to do a home visit or provide back-up.

  1. Where do rescued Airedales come from?

    Our Airedales come from owners who can no longer care for their Airedale, usually because of health or financial reasons or because of a lack of time for a dog, or from shelters where the Airedale has either been turned in by its owner or was a stray. All Airedales entering our program are evaluated medically and for temperament to the best of our ability.

  1. I've never owned a dog as an adult. Is an Airedale right for me?

    Most of the rescued Airedales we get in are not the best "starter" dogs. On the other hand, we occasionally get in a mellow adult Airedale that would make the perfect introduction to the energy and comical nature of the breed.

  1. Is it true that Airedales don't shed?

    Yes and no. Rather than losing and regrowing hair throughout the year, Airedale hair will grow to a certain length and then "blow," with it all coming out at one time. As long as you keep your Airedale well brushed and clipped, very little hair will end up in your house. HOWEVER, if your goal is to own a dog AND have a pristine yard and house, that will be very difficult with an Airedale.

    Airedale beards can carry quarts of water. Airedales love to dig and stick their heads into holes. Airedale coats seem to attract burrs, stickers and dirt. Airedales love to clean their faces on your furniture and rugs. Airedales love to scratch their sides along your walls, leaving a brown stain as evidence.

  1. How long do Airedales live?

    The average lifespan of an Airedale is about 12 years. We know of many vigorous 14 and 15-year-olds still pulling their owners down the street on their daily walk.

  1. Do you rescue Airedale Mixes?

    No. As dog lovers, we would like to be able to save all dogs, but with our limited foster homes and funds, we concentrate our rescue activities on purebred Airedales. As a courtesy, we will list mixed-breed Airedales on our websites for all-breed rescue groups and, if there are no suitable purebred Airedales available, forward information to applicants who have expressed that they might possibly adopt a mixed Airedale. We receive no fees for this service.

  1. I have small children and have heard that Airedales are excellent family dogs. Is that true?

    Airedales can be excellent family dogs, but many rescued Airedales come from families who purchased them as pups to "grow up" with their children, not realizing that an Airedale puppy takes just as much time to raise properly as an infant human. When the harried mother finds she does not have the time and energy to train and exercise a puppy, as well as take care of her toddler, the puppy is banished to the back yard, where he digs and howls from boredom and loneliness. When he does get the chance to be with his humans, he is so excited that he jumps and bites.

    Young Airedales are extremely active, high energy dogs that require consistent exercise and training. They can weigh anywhere from 45 to 100 pounds or more, and can easily "collide" mistakenly with a toddler or young child during their exuberant displays of happiness. They are very "mouthy" puppies and need to be taught to be gentle. Frequently children are allowed to tease and play roughly with the puppy, who is then punished for jumping and biting. Behavior problems such as barking, chewing, or digging can frequently be the result of not exercising your Airedale enough. Families with young children need to be willing to commit to the exercise and training needs of a young Airedale in addition to the children's demands on their time. Parents must also be willing to teach their children the proper way to play with dogs and supervise their interaction with the dogs.

    Another source of rescued Airedales are those who were the "baby" of the family for years and then object when a human baby is added to the family. It is important to socialize your Airedale to all kinds of people, including children. If there will be infants and small children added to your family in the future, it is vital that you plan ahead and socialize your Airedale to small children on a continuous basis.

    Parents must be willing to supervise children in the care and handling of the Airedale. It is unreasonable to expect a child to have full responsibility for the Airedale. Children and the Airedale must be supervised when together.

  1. My dog has never lived with a dog. Should I adopt an Airedale?

    • Your current dog(s) should be at least tolerant of other dogs. If your dog has never lived with another dog, try dogsitting for a friend to make sure your dog will accept another dog. Most dogs do enjoy the companionship of another dog. Some, however, are very devoted to their human companions and resent having to compete with another dog for attention. You need to find out what your dog prefers before you think of adopting another dog.
    • We will ordinarily only place a male with a female and vice versa. Especially in the case of females, they can get along successfully for several years and then suddenly decide to murder each other.
    • It is important that your current dog be well-trained and not have any behavioral problems before you introduce another dog into your home. For example, if your dog is an excessive barker, the new dog may mimic this habit.
    • Your best choice for a new dog is one that is about the some temperament as your current dog.
    • If you have an elderly dog, think carefully before adding another dog, especially a puppy. Sometimes adding another dog will rejuvenate an older dog, especially if he previously had a companion, but young dogs can also be a torment to an elderly dog. You don't want to make your faithful companion's last days with you miserable. If you determine your old dog would like a younger companion, you still need to monitor the situation carefully and provide your old friend with lots of individual attention and a place to escape and rest. Consider adding an adult dog at this time and then a puppy when your old friend is gone.

  1. How are Airedales with cats?

    • Even some Airedale owners are surprised to hear that Airedales will kill cats. This is because they have raised their Airedale from puppyhood with cats. If your cat has never lived with a dog, we will not place an Airedale with you. If you own a cat that has lived successfully with large active dogs, SWAT will only offer you an Airedale which is known to have lived peacefully with cats or has been tested with cats to gauge their reaction. Some Airedales will never live with cats, some can be trained, a few will live with anything. Even Airedales who learn to get along with their "home cats" will still chase strange cats.
    • If you have only owned cats, but never a dog, you need to think long and hard before adding a dog to your life. Cat people are used to an animal that can tolerate, or even enjoy, affection but is basically an independent creature. The cat may be happy to see his owner when they return home, but after the appropriate greeting, he often goes about his own business. Cats can be left alone for long periods of time. They can use a litter box and don't need to be walked to relieve themselves.
    • Dogs are pack animals and social contact is just as necessary as food and water. You are your dog's pack and need to be able to spend a lot of time with your dog. Dogs must be taken outside to relieve themselves. Dogs cannot be left alone for long periods of time.
    • If you are frequently away from home for long hours - more than 8 hours per day (more than 4 hours a day for a puppy), you will need to obtain the services of a dog walker. You will have to be committed to spending a good deal of your off-work hours exercising, training and playing with your Airedale. If you are not willing to do that, please don't get a dog.
    • Can you make a commitment to a high maintenance pet? Dogs require much of your time. They need to be walked to relieve themselves, exercised, fed, played with, groomed, taken to the vet on a regular basis, and given lots of attention.
    • You will need to put the cat's food, water and litterbox somewhere inaccessible to the Airedale.
    • You will need to provide your cat with ways to escape the dog and never leave them alone together.

  1. Do I really need to take my Airedale to obedience classes? I'm not interested in competing.

    Just as patient and polite children are welcomed everywhere, patient and polite dogs get to join in many more activities than those that are out of control. It is up to parents to teach their children that being demanding little bullies doesn't get them anywhere. It is up to the dog owner to teach their dog that being patient and polite will get him what he wants: a walk, a treat, a ride in the car, the right to hang out with the family at dinner time or when guests arrive. A wonderful little inexpensive booklet by Patricia McConnell called How to be the Leader of the Pack ... and Have Your Dog Love You for it! has suggestions that are an effective and humane way to set boundaries without intimidation and to love your dog without spoiling him.

    We strongly believe that all Airedales and their owners benefit from obedience training. Training classes are not just to teach your Airedale to be obedient, but are a wonderful opportunity to build a bond of mutual respect and affection with your Airedale. The mental exercise of obedience training also helps burn off excess energy. You will have an experienced dog person to consult about any problems you might be having with your Airedale. The wonderful thing about training Airedales is that it is best not to over-practice. Two or three minute sessions spaced throughout the day, and even skipping a day now and again, produce the best results.

    If you can't find a trainer experienced with terriers, at least find one who is willing to let you take breaks during classes. Airedales are every bit as smart and, in fact, will learn a new task faster than many breeds. They do not love training for training's sake the way many breeds do and drilling them for long periods is self-defeating. When you over-train or become impatient with an Airedale, he will shut down.

    Keep your training sessions short and fun. A three-minute session before you put down the dinner bowl will produce more results than a half hour of drills.

  1. I don't have a fenced in yard. Should I get an Airedale?

    We rarely place an Airedale in a home without a fenced yard. If you believe your circumstances are extraordinary, contact your nearest Airedale rescue volunteer with the details.

    Having a fenced yard does not mean that you should stick your dog in the yard and expect him to take care of himself! Airedales need to be members of the family and need you to actively exercise them. Airedales left too long alone in a fenced yard become bored and get into trouble. Many Airedales have ended up in rescue because they dug or climbed out of a fenced yard, or because their bored and lonely barking caused complaints from the neighbors.

    Anyone who wants to own a young Airedale (under the age of 6 or 7), whether or not they have a fenced yard, needs to be an active person: you jog, you hike, you can walk briskly for a mile or more a couple of times a day, you are committed to running your dog exhausted when he needs it, and take the time to properly socialize your dog. If you are a person of limited activity, and want a more laid-back furry buddy, then you'll want to look into another breed, or adopt an older dog.

    Because most Airedales are high energy and have high prey drive, we recommend "real" fencing (not electric fencing) for the safety of the dog. "Real" fencing with locked gates helps to protect your Airedale from running away (pulling out of their collar or "blowing through" electric fence) and becoming injured or killed by a car. "Real" fencing with locked gates also protects your Airedale from other dogs, skunks, coyotes, foxes, and thieves entering your property and posing a threat to your Airedale.

    We do know of Airedale owners who have had success with electric fencing. They advise:

    1. Install a quality fence that includes professional training.
    2. Frequently check the collar batteries and electrical connections to make sure they are working properly. Install a battery backup in case of power outage.
    3. Never leave your Airedale outside alone.

  1. Why can't I see pictures of all the Airedales you have available before I fill out an application?

    When you apply to Airedale Rescue for an Airedale, you do not apply for a specific Airedale, but for the Airedale that is best suited to your family. Once you are an approved adopter, your Rescue Coordinator will get in touch with you if a match is available. If none of our Airedales currently in rescue is suitable, it usually won't be too long before one arrives who is. You are under no obligation until you and the Rescue Coordinator mutually agree that the placement should be made.

  1. Should I get a male or a female Airedale?

    There are no real differences between male and female dogs, especially since all dogs are spayed or neutered before placement. Many people choose the sex of their dog based on their own personal experiences, because that is what they are most comfortable with. If you already have a dog, it is usually best to adopt the opposite gender. The most important factor is to find the dog that is the best match for every person and pet in the adoptive family.

  1. Will I be able to bond with a "used dog"?

    Rescued Airedales are usually **more** anxious to establish a bond with their new owner than a secure pup who has been raised to expect only the best treatment from its owners. Just read through the Happy Tails on this website to get a feel for how much love is given and received by these "second-hand" dogs.

  1. Why would anyone possibly give up such a sweet dog?

    Airedales find themselves in need of a new home for a variety of reasons.

    • Most Airedales need to be re-homed because their owners can't give them the time, attention and exercise the Airedale needs.
    • Many Airedales end up in rescue because their owner dies or goes into a nursing home and no one else in the family wants the Airedale, or can't provide the exercise or attention he needs.
    • Often there is a lifestyle change: a move, a new baby, a divorce, a marriage.
    • Airedales get lost and end up in a shelter with no identification.
    There are as many reasons to end up in rescue as there are Airedales.

  1. How can you take these dogs into your home and then let them go again?

    It isn't easy, but we learned long ago that we can't possibly keep all of the dogs that need homes. By focusing on what is best for the dog, rather than on our own feelings, we are able to let the dog go to a wonderful home where he will be the center of attention rather than one of a pack. There is no greater reward than to receive happy notes and photos of our foster kids surrounded by their loving families.

  1. Do you ever have puppies available?

    It is rare that we have puppies under the age of one year in our program, although it is happening more and more frequently. Airedales are considered puppies until they are about 3 years old. Our typical rescued Airedale is between the ages of 3 and 7. If you only want a young puppy and we have none available, we urge you to do your homework and find a responsible breeder. If you buy from a pet store or backyard breeder, you are part of the problem. By "saving" one puppy from such a situation, you create a market and it means you are sentencing hundreds more to the same conditions.

    PLEASE -- DO NOT SUPPORT IRRESPONSIBLE BREEDERS!

    Suggestions for purchasing a puppy:

    • Are you sure this is a good time for you to have a puppy? Do you have the time and energy to provide the ATTENTION, TRAINING AND EXERCISE a puppy requires?
    • Is this a good time to have any dog? Read the article, Are You Ready for a Dog? If you anticipate changes in the next five years that will make it difficult to give a dog the time and attention it requires, put off your purchase until it is a better time. When you purchase or adopt a dog, you should be prepared to keep it for it's entire life and make the adjustments to your lifestyle to care for it properly -- no matter whether you move, or change jobs, or divorce. Volunteer to foster for a local animal organization until such time as you are ready to add a permanent member to your household.
    • Don't purchase a puppy unless you are committed to treating it as a family member for its entire life.
    • Don't buy on impulse.

      Persist until you find a breeder who is not breeding to make money, or by accident, but because of a demonstrated interest in the welfare of the breed. What are some of the earmarks of a good breeder?

      • The breeder is actively involved with breed activities .. either in the conformation ring or in obedience or agility or other performance venues.
      • The breeder is happy to provide references to previous purchasers and those previous purchasers rave about the support the breeder gave them as they struggled their way through the puppy soiling, biting, chewing stages.
      • The breeder belongs to a regional or national breed club.
      • The parents of the puppies are registered with the American Kennel Club.
      • The breeder grills you to make sure that you are an appropriate home for an Airedale.
      • The breeder will only sell a puppy with "limited registration" and a contract that you must spay or neuter the puppy. (** We assume that if you are interested in a rescued Airedale, you are not interested in showing your Airedale in conformation classes. If this does interest you, find a good breeder who will mentor you all the way through the process.**) Sterilized dogs can compete in all other AKC events, such as agility and obedience, and these are activites enjoyed by many adopters with their rescued Airedales.
      • If the only thing the breeder wants to know is whether you have the money to purchase a puppy -- run!!!
      • For more tips on finding a good breeder, read this article:
        Finding a Responsible Breeder.
    • Neuter or spay your pet Airedale -- don't become an accidental breeder -- leave it to the experts.
  1. What will it cost?

    Realize that the adoption donation is the very least of the costs of owning an Airedale. The cost of a dog is an investment, both of your money and your love. Before you adopt a puppy or dog make sure you're willing to spend what it takes to keep a pet healthy and happy for his lifetime.

    You must budget for an annual veterinary exam as well as those inevitable medical emergencies, required rabies vaccination and licensing fees, obedience training, quality food, vitamins, supplements, toys, treats, beds, collars, leashes, crates, and on and on. The yearly cost to own a dog averages about $350-$400.

    The suggested adoption donation is $100 to $500, which helps defray a portion of the costs such as shelter fees, basic veterinary care and boarding and training when necessary. The cost to ready the typical Airedale (no medical problems and no boarding required), including microchip, blood tests and spay or neuter is approximately $450.

    Adoption donations are used not only to rescue and place the dog you are personally adopting, but to aid in the future rescue and rehabilitation of other deserving dogs. Adoption donations are necessary. If we did not charge adoption fees, our rescue efforts would quickly come to an end. Our greatest expenses include the cost of: vet visits & surgery, blood work and lab fees, medications, vaccinations, dog food, kennel fees, and shelter fees to rescue a dog. Rescue is an expensive undertaking, both financially and emotionally, but we do it for the love of the DOGS. We are volunteers. We volunteer our time (countless hours every day), and we are by no means wealthy. We do not make a profit and seldom break even. Adoption fees come in and go right back out to the next rescued dog.

  1. What is included?

    • A comprehensive medical exam and all required or necessary vaccinations, heartworm test and heartworm prevention if necessary in the location where the Airedale is being fostered, spay/neuter, microchip, and treatment for any medical conditions.
    • We will make you aware of any health issues of which we are aware. These rescued Airedales do not come with a health guarantee, but we do the best we can to evaluate them fully and make you aware of any possible conditions.
    • We evaluate the temperament of each Airedale and do not place Airedales that we feel are dangerous. However, some rescued Airedales may have issues from their previous life which need to be managed. We advise of any known issues prior to adoption and give our recommendations for special needs, such as no cats, no children, no other dogs, etc.
    • Advice on best introducing your rescued Airedale to your household.
    • Post-adoption advice ... we are always here to help you with any questions or problems that arise.
    • Most important: A companion in need of a loving family.

  1. How can I make sure my Airedale never gets lost?

    • Always keep a collar on your Airedale with a tag that has your CURRENT PHONE NUMBER on it. Always have a CURRENT rabies tag and pet license tag attached to your pet's collar. You can be found by the number on the tags. A collar and phone tag are the most important form of ID you can have for your pet.
    • Microchip your Airedale. All SWAT Airedales are microchipped. A chip provides positive and reliable identification for your pet and all modern shelters scan animals for this ID device.
    • We don't like tattoos as well as we do microchips because if the Airedale is not groomed, you cannot see the tattoo. Shelters do not have the time to coax a frightened Airedale into allowing them to shave their inner thigh to look for a tattoo. We do not recommend tattooing the ear as thieves have been known to cut off a tattooed ear!
    • Spay or neuter your Airedale. Both males and females will be much less likely to wander if they are "fixed."
    • Airedale-proof your yard fence so your Airedale will be safely confined. Be sure to check your fence regularly for new escape routes.
    • Keep fence gates securely locked. This is for the safety of both your Airedale and any visitors (wanted or unwanted).
    • Never leave your Airedale outside when you are not at home.
    • Provide your Airedale with enough exercise and attention so that he will not feel the need to escape.
    • Never allow your Airedale to roam free in the neighborhood.
    • Keep your Airedale inside during storms and fireworks displays.
    • Keep your Airedale inside when you have workmen in and out of your yard.
    • Be very, very careful about who you choose to dog-sit. Many dogs have been lost because well-meaning friends left doors and gates open. Sometimes a professional kennel is better.
    • Train your Airedale to wait at all doorways (house and car) and gates and not exit until you give the OK.
    • Just in case ... take photographs of your Airedale in all stages of grooming. These photos will be invaluable to you later if your Airedale is ever lost.
    • Train your Airedale to associate a loud whistle with pleasant things. Blow the whistle (start softly) and then give your Airedale a treat. Work up to using the whistle to call your Airedale to dinner. Your Airedale will then be more likely to come running to you when you use the whistle to find them when they are lost. We do not recommend training them to respond to a car horn as this could cause a lost and frightened dog to run into traffic.

  1. My Airedale is impossible to walk on leash! He goes nuts whenever he sees another dog.

    Dogs are highly social, to the point of compulsion. When dogs spot another dog on the street, they want to approach and investigate. When they try to “go say hi” they hit the end of the leash and get frustrated. That frustration translates into increased excitement and agitation – sometimes lunging at the end of the leash, barking, growling or snapping at the other dog.

    This behavior scares the owner, who in turn may yank of the dog's leash, start tensing up before encounters, deliberately avoid other people and dogs on walks or even punish the dog.

    Understandably, the owner begins to anticipate any situation that might trigger this behavior. Spotting an approaching dog or person before the dog does, the owner tightens up on the leash so he can control the dog better, stiffens his own body posture and holds his breath. The dog notices the change in the leash tension, the owner's body posture and breathing, and begins looking to see what has the owner so worried, and once he spots it, begins his aggressive behavior.

    This teaches your dog that when he sees other people or dogs on walks, he will feel frustrated, feel his owner's tension and associate that with the upcoming punishment.


    Canine College of California

    Read more tips on dealing with leash-aggressive dogs from The Partnership for Animal Welfare .

    The booklet, Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash-Aggressive Dog for some great tips and exercises to teach your dog "street manners."

    We have found the SENSE-ible? Dog Harness to be very effective for managing Airedales who insist on pulling.

  1. My Airedale shows aggression toward other dogs (or people). What can I do?

    • The first step is to make sure your dog doesn't have a medical problem. Aggression can be caused by pain, such as cracked molars, a urinary tract infection, or arthritis. A common cause of aggression is also hypothyroidism (low thyroid function). Make sure that your vet runs the complete thyroid panel, blood chemistry/CBC and urinalysis. Make sure your vet sends the blood to a reputable laboratory (in-house tests at the vet's office are not adequate).
    • Find a qualified behaviorist. Contact us with your area and we will try to help you find a professional to assist you. DO NOT allow anyone to use punishment to correct aggressive behavior. It may suppress the behavior for a while, but it does not change the behavior, only masks it and makes it even more dangerous. Most aggressive behavior can be changed, but it takes patient counter-conditioning and desensitization.
    • A good book on the subject is How to Right a Dog Gone Wrong: A Roadmap for Rehabilitating Aggressive Dogs

  1. How can I prevent my Airedale from becoming aggressive?

    • Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help you control your dog in any situation.
    • Socialize and exercise your dog on a daily basis. Dogs that haven't been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters.
    • Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite. Dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are up to three times more likely to be involved in a biting incident than neutered or spayed dogs.
    • How to Right a Dog Gone Wrong: A Roadmap for Rehabilitating Aggressive Dogs has a great sections on how to raise a well socialized dog.