Tips On Adopting From A Shelter

Observe the dogs general behavior in the kennel

When it comes to getting a dog from a shelter, first impressions are very important. If you see a dog you’re interested in, pay close attention to their behavior. Are they barking a lot? Do you notice any growling or aggression towards people? Does the dog seem to have high or low energy?

Engage in one-on-one interaction with the dog

While some behavior may be due to stress from being in a strange place with so many other dogs, especially aggresive behavior can be a bad sign. Time alone with a prospective pooch will help give you a better sense of the dog’s behavior. Understand, however, that the dog may be timid at first. This is normal! Be patient and give the dog time to warm up to you.

If possible, talk any shelter worker who has had interaction with the dog you’re considering. Ask about the dog’s health and behavior. According to the Humane Society, when animals are relinquished by owners, the shelter staff makes every attempt to collect a thorough history of that pet. Then, while caring for animals, staff and volunteers try to learn as much as they can about these animals as well as those who come to the shelter as strays.

Some other things to keep in mind:

  • Find out if shelter has any programs that might help you if you have future problems with or concerns about your new dog.
  • Know shelter’s policies about returning a dog if things don’t work out.
  • Never settle! If you don’t find a dog that’s right for you on your first visit to the shelter, don’t feel like you have to take a dog! Visit other shelters in your area before making a final decision. Also, animal shelters get new dogs in on a daily basis, so it’s a good idea to check back as often as possible. Many shelters even have Web sites and keep online bulletins of when new dogs come in.
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