You may be contemplating on opening your heart and your home to a shelter dog! Here’s how to select the right shelter dog for you!
Dog lovers have a special soft spot in their heart for dogs – especially the pups who have been through a lot.
Vafa Animal Shelter/Facebook
All dogs deserve a warm and loving home but unfortunately not every family is a good fit for every dog. Some dogs need more experienced owners, some need a big backyard to romp and play, and some need a companion dog in the house to show them the ropes.
Here’s how to choose the right shelter dog!
Visit your local animal shelter — often!
The more often you visit the shelter the better your chances of getting to know each dog and their personality. During your visit, make sure to chat with the shelter staff. The staff know the dogs the best, and the better they know you and your family, the better they’ll be able to help match you up with the right dog for you.
Peninsula Humane Society’s Scott Delucchi advises that you only start visiting the shelter if you’re really ready to adopt a dog, If you’re not completely ready, you may find a dog you absolutely love and then not be able to take the pup home.
“Some people visit well before ‘just to take a look’ and inevitably find the ideal pet, but it becomes the one that got away because they weren’t ready,” Delucchi says.
First impressions are important but not everything
“Quite often, a dog’s true colors won’t show until he’s away from other animals and the adoption center environment,” Massachusetts SPCA’s Rob Halpin told The Dodo. “Even if you walk past a kennel with a dog who isn’t vying for your attention, don’t count him out. He may just be a little scared or lonely.”
On another note, people line up to adopt shelter dogs who have high profile cases – like Caitlyn, the dog who was found with her muzzled taped shut; or Kai the Shar Pei mix abandoned at a train station.
While these dogs’ stories are truly heartbreaking, they may not be the perfect dog for you.
Get to know the best dog to fit your lifestyle
Maybe you’ve always dreamed of having a Labrador Retriever, but if you live in a small house, a Lab probably won’t be the best fit for you.
“A dog’s size, exercise requirements, friendliness, assertiveness and compatibility with children should all figure into your decision,” Halpin explains.
Puppies are very cute and adorable, but they need lots of work and time. If you’re away from home all day, a puppy might not be right for you. On the other hand, most older dogs have experience living in a home and usually need less training and attention.
Knowing what you’re looking for while being open to change will find you the perfect dog!
What makes a perfect dog for you? Think about why you want certain things!When choosing a dog’ size or age, you have to consider your lifestyle. Things like gender or color are superficial and have nothing to do with giving the right dog a good home.
“I knew someone who thought they wanted a female only, because that’s what they always had before, but adopted a sweet male,” Delucchi says.
Don’t think that all rescue dogs are “damaged goods” – they’re not. This is a common misconception about shelter dogs. “Truth is, very few shelter pets have been abused, though they may have been neglected,” says Delucchi.
The shelter staff will always inform you if a dog needs special attention. A neglected pup may never have been fully toilet-trained and his new family will have to put in the effort to teach the pup what he should have learned.
Basically, shelter dogs need is exactly what other dogs need — a loving and stable family willing to give them lots of love and attention.
Always remember that you’re choosing a friend for life
This might be the most important tip! Dogs are a lifetime responsibility. Getting a dog isn’t a decision anyone should make on a whim. Adoption is forever.
Think about this, the dog who comes home with you will be a part of your family for the rest of his or her life.
“Take the time to make a thoughtful choice,” Halpin advises.
“After all, you’re choosing a pal who will be with you 10, 15 or even more years. Select the right dog, and you and your new companion will enjoy those years to the fullest.”
Source: The Dodo