Thinking of adopting a dog? What a good idea! Not only are you giving him a new chance in life, but you are also freeing up a precious place for another dog in need and not encouraging the excessive genetic manipulation practiced by many more concerned breeders. To respond to current fashions and respect animals’ health and nature. Many questions come to mind when considering adopting a dog. Questions that can range from responsibility to food, from training to grooming.
One thing is certain when you decide to adopt a dog; you must be sure that you are able to offer him a loving home until the end of his days. Once you are sure and ready, make a short list of questions you may have, and feel free to visit several shelters before making the final decision. To help you with this process, we have met a shelter employee who offered to give you 5 tips to follow when adopting a dog.
1. Do not stop at appearances
It’s all too easy to walk into a shelter, peek through the kennel door, and pick out the first dog that lays its big, bright eyes staring at you. This is not the best way to choose the companion that will accompany you for the next 10 to 15 years.
Even if you are sensitive to the appearance of a dog (it’s normal, who wouldn’t be?), you must first know and understand his temperament. All dogs available for adoption in shelters have undergone extensive personality tests, and employees or volunteers are there to advise you and ask you the right questions: Will this dog suit your lifestyle? Are you active? Do you like to spend the weekend walking or hiking?
If so, you will need a dog that will be happy to walk for hours. Do you have a lot of friends who come to visit? If so, you’ll need a dog who will tolerate meeting new people often and who won’t be bothered by the many comings and goings in his home.
2. Make sure all the important questions have been asked
Before adopting a dog, the shelter staff must check your lifestyle, the size of your home and your garden, if you already have other pets, if you have children, etc. The choice of dogs that will be presented to you will be based on your answers. If you already have a cat, there is no need to fall for a dog that hates cats! Likewise, if you have one or more children, your search should be for dogs that are patient and affectionate with little ones.
3. Use your experience
If you have many years of experience with powerful or large dogs, then you may be the “savior” the shelter is looking for. Indeed, certain types of dogs can be more difficult to offer for adoption, while they need a loving home just like the others. This is the case for large dogs or so-called “category” dogs.
If you feel able and willing to take one of these dogs with you, let the shelter staff know. Giving love back to a dog with character and helping him overcome his fears is all the more gratifying and guarantees you all the more happiness as a result!
Conversely, if you do not wish to take charge of these kinds of dogs because you don’t have the skills or experience you want, make that clear during your assessment. It’s important to remember that dogs in shelters don’t necessarily have behavioral issues. In fact, most are only there by force of circumstance, following the death of their master, a break-up of a couple, or a change in the owner’s way of life.
4. Consider choosing an old dog
Dogs of all ages and breeds populate the reception facilities. Often, old dogs find themselves placed in shelters after the death of their elderly owner when family or friends cannot take over. Most of the time, they are balanced and quiet animals who just need a home to spend their last years in peace.
And then, if you adopt an old dog, you save yourself the “failures” in learning about his needs or even the phases of chewing and other shredding specific to puppies! When adopting an old dog, the emotional commitment is very strong. It is true that your companion may have health problems related to his age, but the time spent with you will be all the more precious for him.
5. Do not hesitate to visit several shelters before making your decision
When you are looking to adopt, take the time to visit several fosters. Talk to the staff of the establishment you are visiting and ask them what behavior and temperament tests they perform on animals at the ‘adoption. Staff (and/or volunteers) should know their residents well and have a good understanding of canine behavior. If you think you’ve found a dog that suits your lifestyle, staff should encourage you to play with him or take him for a walk to assess your compatibility.
Before you decide, it is advisable to make several visits to the dog of your choice in order to get to know him, and the staff of the shelter should encourage you to do so. Only this way can you create a lasting bond. Don’t imagine visiting a shelter one afternoon and leaving with a dog the same day! The staff of a well-run shelter should not let you do this. Patience is the key to responsible and successful adoption.
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