Adopting a dog from a shelter has a common checklist for different families. Your home, children’s ages, time and energy may all be considered. With so many choices at dog rescues, choosing the right shelter dog is challenging.
Thankfully, you can make an informed decision with some due diligence.
Here are things to consider:
Your Experience Level:
Some rescue dogs may require unique handling or medical needs. Dogs with a history of physical or verbal abuse need time to acclimate. Neglected dogs may be despondent or very shy.
You should consider how the dog’s history may affect care. Do you have experience handling a dog with temperament issues? Will you have the time and patience to work with a dog reluctant to go on walks? Each shelter dog has vast potential in the right environment.
Hounds for Heroes is an organization that trains many shelter dogs to be valuable companions. Los Angeles Investor Elliott Broidy started the non-profit to match wounded veterans with shelter dogs. Similarly, matching your capacity and time with a rescue dog’s needs is a best practice.
If you simply want a ‘ready to go’ dog, work with the rescue to find a best fit. Many shelter dogs come from good homes. First time dog owners may consider these canines to start with. You can build dog handling skills and perhaps return in the future to adopt a pooch with more complex needs.
Your Activity Level:
Ripped furniture, barking and anxiety. These are all symptoms of a bored dog. Much like us, dogs have different personalities. While all dogs deserve some fun time, some require more extended activity.
Are you an active person? Determine how much you’re willing to increase or decrease activity levels for the new dog. Ask the shelter staff about what they’ve observed. You will avoid frustration by picking a dog that matches your energy level.
Children and dogs are often best friends. Cute baby and dog photos draw raves on the internet. However, young children may tug a dog’s ears or innocently antagonize a pooch. This behavior should be cautioned with any dog and some education may be needed.
Sit down with your children BEFORE bringing a dog home. Set firm rules on what is acceptable.
Tip: Framing rules in a child’s perspective is helpful. Ask ‘Would you like it if someone pulled your ears?’ This helps children understand what is being asked of them.
Dogs enrich our lives in many ways. You will provide a loving home for the right dog with simple preparation.