So you’re considering adopting a dog from a shelter? Good idea. Ignore the misconception that “new” pet store dogs are somehow better than “previously owned” models. And it’s a compassionate thing to do, rescuing a dog from a lonely life in a steel cage.
But sometimes these adoptions don’t work out. Often because people make hasty choices and pick the wrong dog for their situation. When they realize the dog they adopted isn’t the dog they thought they were getting, they pack it into the car and take it back.
But adopting a dog isn’t like buying new jeans. You’re bringing home a new member of your family. The key to making the right choice is doing some homework before you go to a shelter. To start the process, conduct a self-interview to see what sort of pet adopter you’d be.
How much time can you spend with a dog?
They need to be fed, groomed and exercised, so if you can’t give them the attention they need, you’re doing them a disservice by bringing them home. Rescuing a dog from a lonely life at a shelter for a lonely life at your home isn’t much of a rescue.
What kind of home would the dog live in?
Do you have a small yard? Live in an apartment? Then you don’t want a big dog or one that needs to run. Take note of what kinds of dogs would thrive where you live. Some dogs hate the sounds of the city, while others flourish only in cool or warm climates.
Does your dog share your energy level?
Do you like to jog, be outside? Then you don’t want a dog whose favorite sport is snoring. Your dog will be part of the family, so it makes sense to choose one that fits the energy level of the household.
Will the dog live with children?
Some big dogs can intimidate kids. Very young kids could abuse a puppy, so you might want an older dog for them. And some dog breeds are simply better around kids than others.
Does a dog have behavior problems?
At the shelter, ask if the dog you are interested in has been returned before? If so, why? Is it a biter or fighter? Often you won’t know these things until you bring the dog home, so asking or reading its papers is important. Do you dislike barkers or yappers? Some bad traits can be trained away, but some are just part of a dog’s personality. And if you don’t want any sort of noise coming out of your dog, then there’s only one breed for you: cat.
Okay, so you’ve asked lots of questions before you go shelter-shopping. This will allow you to concentrate on what’s most important when adopting a dog: finding one that you love. Good luck.
Note: Shelter dogs are often undernourished, have a weak immune system or may have experienced past abuse. Please visit our main website, www.HolisticPetInfo.com to learn how a holistic approach to healing my benefit your new family member.