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5 tips for choosing a shelter dog for you and your family
If you're thinking about bringing a new canine home for your family, consider adopting one from a shelter. You'll find shelters are filled with dogs that would make ideal companions if given the chance. Some are there because they became lost and were unable to find their way home. Others are there because their previous owners were unable to continue caring for them (e.g. they moved into an apartment with a "no pet" policy). A reputable shelter will take the time to make sure a pet in their care is a good match for you and your family.
This article will provide five important tips for adopting a shelter dog. The following suggestions will help ensure you bring home a healthy, happy, and affectionate canine.
1 - Identify Your Ideal Match
Some breeds are more active than others. Some are perfectly content to sit on the couch all day while others need plenty of exercise. Think about your lifestyle. If you enjoy hiking, jogging, or bicycling, an active breed, such as an American Foxhound, might be more appropriate than a Basset Hound. Also, think about your living space. If you live in a small apartment, a Chihuahua may be more suitable than a German Shepherd. Adopt a pet that accommodates your life.
2 - Get Up Close And Personal
The only way to know whether a given canine will make a good companion is to visit his kennel up close. Take the time to walk through the entire facility and visit as many dogs as possible. Signs of friendliness are easy to spot; you'll notice a wagging tail, an eager approach, and an excited playfulness. In contrast, if a shelter animal remains in the back of his kennel, and refuses to approach you, that may be a sign of things to come.
Keep in mind, however, that some dogs remain standoffish because they are unfriendly while others are merely shy. The latter can make wonderful companions once they get to know you.
3 - Ask Questions Of The Staff
There's a good chance the shelter's staff will have spent significant time with each animal in their care. They'll know which dogs have quirky personalities, special medical needs, and a spotty history. Speak with the employees (or volunteers) and ask questions regarding the canines that interest you.
Ask about the results of a temperament evaluation (if one was conducted when the dog was admitted). Ask about behavioral tendencies that emerged while in the shelter. Ask whether the canine is friendly, reserved, withdrawn, or playful. It is in the best interests of the shelter to make sure you adopt the right pet. Hence, they'll be happy to answer your questions.
4 - Get To Know The Frontrunners
It's one thing to look through the front of a kennel and be immediately drawn to a canine. It is another thing entirely to interact with him. The animal shelter should provide you with the chance to spend time with the dogs you're seriously considering adopting. Some facilities will let you take the canines for a walk. Others will encourage you to spend time playing with them to see whether you enjoy the interaction. Take advantage of the opportunity. It's the best way to determine whether a given canine's temperament is a good fit.
5 - Avoid Rushing Your Decision
Most shelters are willing to hold a dog for you for twenty-four hours. This is a good chance to leave the facility and consider whether a specific canine will fit your lifestyle. Moreover, you'll be able to do so more objectively without his longing eyes staring expectantly at you. Come back the following day and make your decision. There's no need to rush.
Adopting a shelter dog is a great way to find a lifelong companion. Use a methodical approach and ask plenty of questions to ensure you bring home a canine that adds to your life.