How to Pick Your New Best Friend (Part One)

Adopting a Dog and Avoiding Disaster: Part One of Two

Making the decision to add a dog to your life is and should be a major decision. There are many things to consider.

Most people who make the decision to rescue a dog from a shelter are well-intentioned. However many people adopt the wrong dog for the wrong reason and find themselves in a situation they cannot handle. This is one of the leading causes of high return rates at shelters. Lets talk about some of the mistakes that are often made when choosing a dog.

Going in with a plan:

When you have made a decision to adopt a dog you should sit down a make a plan. Write down what your requirements are for your lifestyle.

*Are you looking for a puppy or an adult?

You may be interested in finding an older dog that will already be house trained or you may be interested in raising a dog from puppy-hood.

*Is the size of a dog an issue?

A small dog or a dog that doesn’t require a lot of exercise may do better if you live in an apartment or don’t have a large yard. You may be looking for a bigger dog for home protection or may prefer larger breeds.

*Have you considered the costs involved in a large dog vs. a small dog?

Smaller dogs are more economical. However this may not be an issue.

*Are you looking for a low energy dog or high energy dog?

You may be an active person that is looking for a dog that can keep up with your active lifestyle.

Making a decision from your head, not your heart:

Many people begin searching for a dog with a firm plan but soon find themselves choosing a dog from their heart knowing the dog may not be right for them. Do not make this mistake. Make every attempt to stick to your plan.

Rescuing the timid, shy dog in the corner:

Don’t rescue the dog you pity. Understand when you rescue a dog with emotional or behavioral issues this dog will require more time, energy and training. Yes this can be a kind action at the time however in the long run it can cause you frustration and aggravation. If you have thought it out and are willing to make this dog your new project good for you. Unless you are fully prepared for the challenges a dog like this will present, think twice before making this decision.

Ask Questions:

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find out who has information on the dogs. If you find a dog you are interested in, ask if they have tested the dog for food aggression, separation anxiety and social traits. Find out how long the dog has been at the shelter. Keep in mind a dog that is new to the shelter (2 to 3 days) may still be confused and possibly waiting for his owner.

In the next post you will be shown a simple temperament test you can perform on any dog.

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