Choosing the Right Shelter Dog
The moment has arrived, your family has decided that it is time to add a furry member to the family. Here are some tips to help make the right choice when it comes to picking a pup that will thrive in your home.
First, congratulations on making such a great decision and thank you for choosing a responsible and life-saving option. Shelters all over the world are overfull and there are just so many pets that need a hero to walk in and choose them.
- Look into the shelters that are available in your area. Once you have narrowed down the shelters that you are interested in visiting, call and ask about the criteria that they use when assessing the pet’s temperament. You will want to be assured that you will know the animal’s history. This will give you needed information such as aggression and whether they have interacted with other pets or children and how they reacted to those encounters.
- Sit down with your family and talk about the accommodations you will expect your new dog to adapt to. Will you be bringing your new friend home to a small apartment or a large house with a yard? How old are the children in your home? What pets do you already have and how are they likely to react to a newcomer? Also assess how much exercise will be consistently provided. Remember, when you bring a pet into your home you need to consider the changes that your family may encounter for the next decade or two. Such as, new babies, kids growing up and moving out, travel, etc.
- Decide what age dog will fit your lifestyle the best. Puppies will require much more patience and training. The young adult dog will likely be potty trained and have grown out of the slipper chewing stage while still being full of energy. The senior dog will likely be better behaved and have less energy. This option is often the best choice for many different families, and adopting a senior is just such a wonderful thing to do for an older animal in need of a loving home.
- Once you have determined the space and energy your family has to give a pet, it’s time to do some research into breeds that fit into your lifestyle. When choosing shelter dogs, often the “mutt” is going to be the perfect fit. However, you can usually talk to the employees at the shelter and get a good idea of the contributing breeds of the animal.
- When visiting the shelter for the first time, it is recommended to leave the children at home. Kids have a way of falling in love at first sight. It is just so easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment and take home a pet before you know if it is the right fit. Instead, consider a trip to the shelter without the kids and narrowing it down to the best candidates. You can then get the kids and bring them in for the final decision.
- Spend plenty of time with your potential new family member. Ask the shelter for the opportunity to walk the pup on a leash and play in the grass a bit with the kids if you have them. Getting out of the chaotic noise of the shelter will likely help the pups natural personality shine through.
- Finally, do not feel rushed. If you do not feel it’s a perfect fit for you then come back and visit your potential pet the next day. Give you and your family plenty of time to make the right choice. You certainly want to give your new pet the right home and security that he is with you for the long haul.
Thank you for being such a responsible pet parent and giving a home to a dog in need! Please always spread to word to always rescue, not buy, and to have all pets neutered and spayed.