Now that you’ve finally decided to adopt a dog, your next dilemma is which one. Choosing to adopt a dog is like choosing a partner. You have to be picky and look for a good match. After all, you’ll be living with him long-term. And don’t rush into it. Allow yourself to think twice before making that final choice.
Still undecided? Here are three tips that could help you pick the one dog that’s meant for you to adopt:
Pick a dog with you in mind
You are adopting a dog for yourself, right? And he’s not for anyone else but you. That’s the premise here. Don’t feel guilty when deciding on what’s right for you. After all, you are the one who’s taking care of your dog. He will be your responsibility. Of course, when you’re living with family members, you must ask if they are fine with living with a pet dog. If they say no, that’s a different story. For now, let’s assume they are happy with your decision to adopt a dog and that they support you all the way.
So, where do you start? Rather than trimming down your choices to one particular breed, why not choose a dog based on his personality, regardless of whether he’s a Poodle, a Husky, or a Labrador. By doing so, you will be able to check out different dog breeds and then see which dog displays the kind of personality and energy level that jives with your own. Before going to a shelter, create a personal list of what a perfect dog would be like.
Pay attention to body language
You need to pay attention to a dog’s behavior. In most shelters, there are adoption counselors who are just as happy to assist you during a meet and greet with prospective adopters. At the first meeting, try to observe which dog seems friendly and amiable. Shelter staff know and will tell you if a dog is at ease around you. Don’t be too shy to ask a lot of questions. They would be happy to discuss with you what they know about a particular dog, including his behavior and history.
It would help if you’ve learned about the basics of a dog’s body language. If you had, you’ll recognize what different dog sounds mean. You’ll have an idea of why a dog is barking that way. And you’ll understand why he seems to be ignoring you. You can read if he’s anxious, curious, overjoyed, tired, or simply wanted some space. If you’re well-informed about how dogs communicate, you won’t misinterpret a good behavior that may look bad on the surface. You won’t be categorizing a dog as unfit right away because you know the underlying cause of such demeanor.
Go to a reputable shelter
How would you know if the shelter you are going to is a reputable one? One of the best indicators is if it’s referred to you by a friend or someone you trust. But do your research too. Some shelters hold open days which gives would-be adopters like you a chance to see what takes place inside a typical animal shelter. Talk to the shelter staff. They must be willing to provide info about how they care for the animals on a day-to-day basis. Take a look at the surroundings. Are the rooms clean and spacious enough for the animals? Check and visit areas like the infirmary, exercise areas, and quarantine sections, if possible.
Another way of finding out if you are dealing with a good shelter is when they are careful about adopting out. One of their goals is to find the best possible match for adopters like you. If they truly care about their animals, they would be interested in finding out relevant details about you and your family as well. They’d be interested to know if you will take good care of the animal from day one and so screening is vital to them. A good shelter will also impose follow up visits to check how well the animal is adapting to you and his new home.
When choosing a dog to adopt, consider these practical tips. But do keep in mind that what’s practical may not always bring you happiness. So use your head by all means but listen to your heart as well.