You may have already done your homework, and may have gone to the animal shelter with a very good idea about the kind of grown-up dog you want to adopt. But when it comes to the moment of choosing, you may fall for the irresistible charm of the cute little puppies you see there, forgetting all your previous planning and decisions.
Adopting a dog being a long-term commitment, the following checklist will help you decide on it. Or at least it will keep you from getting into something you are not prepared for.
Argue with yourself
When you adopt a dog, you have to invest a lot of time and energy to it. Just because you have lost your heart to a dog in the rescue center, an on the spot decision to bring it home may be regretted later. Try dissuading yourself against adoption just to see what good reasons you have for deciding to adopt. Weigh the pros and cons before you decide, take your time over it, but in the end it should be a well-considered decision.
Keep focused on your requirement
Even before visiting the rescue home you would have decided on the type of dog you want, considering factors like size, age, breed and color. Don’t be tricked into forgetting these when you see the dogs there. They do matter. If you think you’ll have difficulty sticking to your requirement, take another family member or close friend with you when you go in to choose the dog.
Let it cool for a while
When you visit animal shelters and rescue homes, you may have this intense urge to bring home a dog or a puppy. Don’t give into it immediately. Come away, and take an objective look at the different options you have. Take time to ponder over them until you are sure of what you want.
Interact with the prospective candidates
Suppose you’d rather have your heart, and not your head, lead you to the dog to adopt, visit the shelter to have an interactive session with the dogs. Remember that the dogs too are quite instinctive of the kind of owners they want and behave accordingly.
Let the dog approach you and sniff you first, but do not respond to it. Watch it carefully to see how it behaves. While the dog should be sociable and comfortable around people, if it clings to you and demands your attention, it is not a good choice. On the other hand, if it moves away after the initial inspection and comes back to you when called, it shows good breeding and independence.
You may want to pet the dog, but most dogs put up for adoption are too stressed out to appreciate it. They may display fear, shyness or even aggressive behavior. Give it some time to get used to you before reaching out to pet it. Do not expect it to respond enthusiastically, but if it is not overly apprehensive or aggressive in its response, it is a good sign.
These are just a few pointers to help you decide on the dog you should adopt, but finally it should be your own decision.