There’s a hole in your life that only a dog can fill. You want
a special dog, perhaps just a full-grown adult. Maybe your code of ethics calls for saving a dog’s life – not
buying an expensive purebred.
Sometimes, even with thorough planning, it is still hard to
resist puppies with oversized paws and cute, button-like eyes or attractive full-grown dogs, for that matter. This
is a natural response commonly observed among would-be owners at rescue homes and animal shelters. . A little
planning can still go a long way when deciding which dog to adopt. Even if your previous plans are all but
forgotten, remembering the tips below can still help you resist that overpowering desire to bring them all
Try talking yourself out of it.
Ask yourself questions about available options. Ask yourself
questions about whether you are ready to commit yourself to a particular dog. If you have doubts, even the
slightest one, you should delay you decision. It is never a good idea to rely a lifetime commitment on a
Remember your game plan and stick with
Prior to going to the animal
shelter, you have thought about the dog's breed, dog's size, the dog's temperament, in fact even the colour of
the dog's fur. Don’t forget these things when looking for the pet you would like to bring home. If you think you
would easily fall for a dog, ask your wife, your brother, or a friend to tag along at the animal shelter. Get a
second opinion. That never hurt.
Sleep on the decision.
A little time away from the dogs can help a great deal on
deciding which dog to get. It is okay to sleep on your decision as this allows you sufficient time to evaluate your
options. Only after you have thoroughly thought about your options should you decide. Otherwise, allow yourself
more time to weigh your options.
Test the dog.
For the sake of argument, let’s say you are relying on pure
instinct to guide you to your dog, without prior plans. The dogs in the animal shelters, on the other hand, rely on
their animal instincts to find their suitable owners. If this is the case for you, it is advisable to first test
Do this by allowing the potential dog to sniff you. Ignore it
for a few minutes while observing its behaviour. The ideal dog is not clingy to its owner. It is people oriented
and sociable but it should not force you to pay all your attention to him. If the dog wanders away and goes back to
you after a few minutes, it is a good sign that it is a well-behaved, independent dog. It recognizes its owner, but
does not demand so much from his master.
It is also not a bad idea to play with the dog. Dogs in
stressful conditions don’t normally feel comfortable with petting. Usually, they are aggressive, shy, afraid or
stressed. Test your would-be dog's personality by playing around with it. A good response is often a good
indication that a dog is comfortable around you.
Don’t be surprised if it is not playful though. It is enough
that he tolerates being petted without showing apprehension.
Apart from using the above criteria, how else would you know
which dog to adopt? Here is a good write up on how
to choose a good dog. Well, it always comes down to your best judgment.
Clarify your requirements ahead of time
Once you’re standing in front of a cage, it’s easy to say,
“Well, he’s a lot bigger than I expected, and I really wanted a female, but oh he’s SO cute!” No amount of love or
training will help if your dog needs more exercise than you can provide.
Know the difference between shelter and rescue
Most cities have humane societies where you can view dogs and
make a choice. Rescue groups typically hold animals in foster care – which is good, because you can ask the foster
mom all sorts of questions. For example, they can say, “This dog lived with two cats so you know you can trust
Be prepared to pay.
Shelter animals are not free, but you do get value for money.
Expect to pay a fee that may include spay/neuter costs, licensing, and/or veterinarian visits.
Consider an older dog.
By the time a dog has turned three or four, she’s as big as
she’s going to get. No surprises! You’ll also have clues regarding his temperament.
Plan to confine the dog during a period of
Your new dog doesn’t get it. She was in a loving home (or left
alone in a yard all day or even abused). Then she spent a few weeks in a cage, feeling lonely and isolated. Maybe
she’s been passed around to multiple homes.
Bottom line, she’s stressed. She may chew, dig, bark, or even
lose her house training at first.
Crating the dog prevents destructive behaviour.
Invest in training.
Most dogs are turned over to the shelter because of behaviour
problems. If you’re new to the world of dog behaviour, take a class or hire a professional. Most behaviour can be
corrected, even among older dogs. But if you’re not sure, ask a professional. Some behaviour can’t be
Incorporate large doses of exercise and walks into your
Walking together builds your bond and a tired dog is a good
dog. Begin the exercise program immediately so you can gain a sense of how much exercise the dog needs – an
important factor in the dog’s adjustment – and start training for the basics on the way home from the