Adopting a dog from a shelter is a wonderful and humane thing to do and shelter dogs are often just as friendly as those sold by a breeder. However, there are a few things you should consider before getting a shelter dog in order to make sure that you’ll forge a healthy bond with the pooch and make them a part of the family.
Let The Dog Get Used To You
One of the first thing to keep in mind is that you should never touch a dog or look them directly into the eyes during the introduction process. In fact, it would be best to completely ignore the pooch and just stand close to them, allowing the dog to get accustomed to your scent and presence. Dogs are curious creatures but can also feel threatened easily, especially if there’s a history of abuse. Just let the dog get used to you and you’ll easily do the same later.
Also, before you take your pooch home, be sure to take them for a walk and see how they behave when they are alone with you. Once you’ve narrowed down your choice to a few dogs, put them on a leash and take them out for ten to fifteen minutes. You can learn a lot about a dog during a walk like this: how they behave around other people, around other dogs, in traffic etc.
You might get an incorrect impression about a dog if you visit the shelter when it’s crowded with people. This makes the animals very agitated and excited and can cause them to behave differently than usual. Hit the shelter somewhere in the middle of the week in order to have plenty of time to socialize with your new pet.
Consider a dog’s energy levels. If you’re a bachelor with no kids and a lot of free time on your hands, you might do well with an energetic dog. However, if you have your hands full with changing diapers or a full-time job, a calmer, self-sufficient pooch that’ll be perfectly happy to just take a nap on the couch with you after a hard day would be a better choice for you.
Does Your Whole Family Want A Dog?
If you want to get a dog, you’ve got to make sure that they will be loved by everyone in the household. Take your whole family with you to the shelter and pick a dog that you’re all happy with. If you already have dogs, observe how your potential new friend behaves around the other dogs at the shelter. If they bark or growl at other dogs, there’s a good chance that they won’t get along with your dogs either.
Consider Getting An Older Dog
A lot of dogs end up in shelters as a result of divorce or death. These dogs are often very depressed for the rest of their lives and one of the most humane things you can do is offer them a new home. Yes, we all know that puppies are super cute, but most of these older dogs are perfectly well-mannered, loveable and housebroken and there’s no doubt that you’ll learn to love them just as much as you would a puppy.
Barking Is Not A Big Deal
Barking happens at shelters all the time. If you pass by a dog and they bark at you, you have to realize that they are not necessarily barking at you; when there are so many dogs sounding off in one place, they’re probably reacting to each other rather than to your presence. Only when a dog is isolated from all that noise can their true colors shine.
This is an obvious point but one that has to be brought up. Make sure that you’re informed about all the vaccines your new pet has or has not received. Vaccinating a dog is easy and quick, but failing to do so can lead to a variety of complications. This can easily be avoided if you properly inform yourself about the dog’s vaccination history.
Follow these tips and we’re sure that you’ll be perfectly happy with your new best friend. Remember, shelters have limited capacity and some dogs have to be put down if no one wants to adopt them. That’s why we refer to adopting a dog as “rescuing them” – you are quite literally saving their life.