Picking Out A Shelter Dog
First thing that you have to decide when adopting a shelter dog is where you are going to adopt them from, there are many shelters out there.
- Open Intake Shelter – Accepts all animals and is where animal control takes the animals they come in contact with. So they don’t really have the time to get to know each individual dog.
- Limited Shelters – These shelters don’t accept animals from the public, they get animals from pounds and get to know the animals they have. The price may be higher but they will be able to get to know the animals more.
What To Do, What To Do
Picking out a shelter dog can be very stressful, especially finding the right one that fits your lifestyle and family life. When going into a shelter what do you do from there, here are a few tips.
- Read the cards- See if it includes names and numbers to see if the dog has a name to identify them by. If you see they just have a number like A4 can mean they really don’t know a lot about their animals.
- Talk to the staff – The staff and the volunteers are the ones who are around the animals all the time, so they may know how the dog interacts and if they have any major behavior problems.
What to look for picking out a shelter dog
- Look and double check the cards – Always double check the cards, they can tell you a lot about the dogs. If the card says ” shy” it could mean number of things. The dog could become aggressive, so you might want to ask what shy really means. Do they hide and not like social situations, weary around strangers or children, always ask.
- Take them out – See how the dog reacts on a leash, a little pulling is always normal, probably not going to find a dog that doesn’t pull a little bit. Test them around other dogs in the kennels to see if they show any aggression, like growling or cowering, might mean they have a reactive personality from being abused or from puppy mills.
- Get them excited – After meeting the dog try taking them outdoors, if allowed run and play, maybe even play tug of war then stop see if they settle down. If they keep going like the energizer bunny and don’t settle down, could mean they are going to be a handful, just like my Lilly bug.
- Bring the Kids– If you have children, grandchildren, or any children that visit you, you may want to bring them, you need to see how a potential fit reacts or if they like children. If a dog interacts more with the kids than you this is a good sign, if they ignore them it may not be a good fit.
- Are they comfortable – If a dog is comfortable they are more apt to show their personality. For example, they will show you if they are energetic, crazy, aggressive, or laid back. Signs of stress in a dog is yawning, lip licking, scratching, turning away, or biting themselves, if so they could have separation issues in the long run.
- Don’t Touch – After showing the dog some love, petting or scratching their belly, see what happens if you stop and walk away. Do they follow you or do their own thing, if a dog starts barking, whining, or jumping they could have separation anxiety in the long run.
- Food Test – See how the dog reacts about treats, if the dog is persistent for the treat try dropping a treat on a floor and approaching them. Do not put your arm or hand near their face, might not have one if the dog is food aggressive, and if the dog freezes, covers up the treat or walks the opposite way, he/she may be food aggressive.
- Mingle with dogs – If you find the dog you think you want, look around and give the other dogs a chance, then decide. Try and greet more than one dog.
It’s always a stressful situation walking into a shelter, think about the dogs with all the other barking and excitement at all times. Make sure you take that into consideration when picking out a shelter dog. The stressful enviorment can be stressful to them too, so you want to make sure you can get the dog in a state where they can show their true personality, that way you can choose the perfect pooch. Remember, maybe before taking the final step you could ask about maybe fostering them first to see if it works out.