Tips on Choosing the Right Dog to Adopt
We are all looking for heroes and champions in our lives. The latest movie trends indicate that people enjoy stories of people helping others – whether the story is true or imagined. What we may not realize is that we can be a hero by considering the adoption of a pet from a local shelter or humane society.
Right now, there are many wonderful dogs and puppies in kennels and shelters that need good homes. Anytime I hear of someone adopting one, it just makes me smile. They probably have no idea of what a difference they have made in that animal’s life and in the lives of those who have worked to save that dog or puppy.
Giving an unwanted dog a good home is a noble act, but I still have to advise people to be cautious when adopting. There are a number of factors that you have to take into account when adopt a dog, so that you don’t end up having to take the animal back if it doesn’t work out.
How Much Space Do You Have For A Dog?
The amount of space you live in will ultimately determine the type of dog you should adopt. If you live in an apartment in the city, a smaller breed of dog like a Terrier, Dachshund or a Chihuahua would work better than a Great Dane for that small of space.
Likewise, a larger breed of dog, like a Border Collie or Labrador Retriever, would be better suited at a home with a fenced in yard where they have room to run and play. Having a home that allows your dog to exercise and run freely is good for their health and temperament.
Do You Have Children That Need to Adjust to A Dog?
Not all dogs are good with children. Before adopting, you need to ask if the particular dog you are considering gets along with kids. The workers at the facility should be able to tell you from the behavior they have seen since the dog has been in their care, or from the owners that surrendered the dog. If they do not know, then err on the side of caution and take a look at another animal.
Even when you decide on the dog, test to see if the dog really does well with children. Have your kids spend some time together before you take her home. Always stay next to your child while with the dog; this will allow you to observe firsthand how the two get along, and be able to protect your child from harm, in case the dog does react negatively towards them.
This also gives you a chance to see how your child reacts to being around a dog. Some children are frightened of dogs, and may not be able to adjust. If the child refuses to go near the dog, do not adopt the dog at that time. You may think that your child may eventually get used to the dog once it is home, but there is also a chance that they will not, and you would again be faced with taking the animal back to the shelter or kennel.
Do You Have Other Dogs?
For those of us who have owned dogs, we realize that bringing another dog into the family is like having another child – there has to be time to adjust. You have to make sure that the dog(s) you already have and the adopted dog are going to get along. You can let them interact before bringing the new animal home or there are some agencies that let them spend time together at your own home. As with children, be around when the dogs are getting to know each other, and be aware of any aggressive behavior that either may exhibit.
Fortunately, most groups that adopt out dogs have already taken steps toward minimizing issues that can occur when brining another dog home. Most shelter dogs are spayed or neutered, treated for parasites and heartworm, and may also be trained and housebroken. You will also need to be prepared to continue with preventative care with annual medications, and quarterly treatments. If you are adopting a dog from a private owner, be sure to find out what has been done by their vet, and have something like Frontline flea treatment for dogs available so that the new dog doesn’t bring fleas home to your dog.
Can You Afford a Dog?
Dogs do require care and day-to-day attention. They need healthy food, clean water, toys to chew on and play with, collar or harness and leash, kennels, crates or beds, and so forth. If your dog has special needs or is older, you may need other items like pet ramps and steps. As you can see, there are expenses to plan for beyond the cost of adoption.
Yet dog owners know that the joy and unconditional love we receive from our family dog far outweighs the cost of ownership. It’s a responsibility and privilege that we can all enjoy.
Will you be a hero today?
About the Author
Jane Warren has been a foster parent to a wide variety of dogs. She enjoys writing about what she has learned and experienced as a way to help other pet owners on her blog www.pamperthepets.com.