Number 5 – Are you Ready for a Lifelong Relationship?
For your future dog, the relationship with you ideally is going to last until the end of their life. Ask yourself if you are really ready for such a huge responsibility. Because if you have to return your canine companion to the shelter for any reason at all, you are going to cause them yet another serious trauma: Losing the one person they have loved and trusted with all their might is devastating for dogs. On top of that, returning your dog to the shelter might be condemning them to death by euthanasia – especially if they are reactive or too old to be rehomed.
However, it you are prepared to give your new dog a home for the rest of their lives, then hats off to you for choosing to adopt!
Number 4 – Is your Family Ready for a Dog?
When it comes to adopting a dog into your family, it is extremely important that every member of that family is one hundred percent behind the decision. And whilst some disagreements can be worked through, others cannot. For example, let’s say your spouse is afraid of dogs, but they trust you and are open to working towards overcoming their fear. In such a case, you can help them establish confidence around canines - for example by walking shelter dogs together, before adopting your own dog. However, if a loved one has a strong dislike of dogs and they would only grudgingly agree to owning one, you have a more serious situation on your hands. And as you want to avoid setting yourself, or the new dog up to fail, you would not adopt at this point in your life.
When it comes to children, things are usually easier, as most kids will want a dog. If this is your situation, then just make sure to pick a breed well-suited as family pet.
Number 3 – Which Breed to choose?
And this brings us straight to question number 3: Out of all the available 360 dog breeds on the planet, which one should you chose? Because breed selection does not become less important when adopting versus buying a dog. You still want to know what you will get. Now, this does not rule out mixed breeds, on the contrary: Quite often, these dogs are much healthier and live longer than purebreds. However, you ideally want to go with a dog who is the product of two purebred parents. Why? Simply because you can quite easily gage your dog’s temperament and character traits - simply by researching the breeds that have created it. With more than two breeds involved, or even worse, with dogs of nearly undeterminable origin, things get more complicated. Of course, you can get lucky, but you also can be faced with unpleasant surprises.
Number 2 – Which Temperament to Choose?
This question is related to the previous one, as breed- and temperament selection are vital when it comes to choosing any dog - be it a purebred puppy or a shelter animal. Temperament selection is particularly important if you live in a family setting, or in an apartment: A good family dog who will be patient with children needs to be on the calm, laid-back end of the scale. And the same applies if you live in an apartment: You will need a quiet dog not prone to excessive barking, or to damaging the home with its sharp teeth.
Of course, if you are an active person yourself and you want an energetic, fun-loving companion to join you, then the opposite applies: In this case, you would choose an outgoing and enthusiastic dog. For anyone needing a good guardian, a confident, but not overly people-loving canine is a good choice. But whatever temperament you choose in a shelter dog, beware of dogs who are either timid or reactive. For obvious reasons: A reactive dog can cause accidents, whilst a timid one might be too traumatized to become the joyful, reliable canine companion you want it to be.
Number 1 – Take your Time!
And here we are, at point number 1 of our list of the TOP 5 things to consider before adopting a new a dog. As we said at the beginning of our video, getting a dog is a very long-term commitment - and you want to make sure you choose the perfect one for yourself.
So, let’s assume that you have done your research. You and your family are ready for the commitment. Also, you have picked the breed you want, and the temperament you need. Now comes the time to actually go to your local shelter and begin the process of choosing your next canine best friend.
This is a very important part of the journey of adopting a dog, and you absolutely should take your time before saying “Yes!” to a dog. So, once you have looked at all the dogs in the shelter, ask questions: Try to gather as much information as possible about the ones who have caught your interest. Then, take them outside for a walk. In this way, you get an idea of how they react to other dogs, people, noises, traffic and so forth. After you have narrowed your choice down to two or three individuals, best not to rush the decision: Go back home, think about the pro’s and cons of each of those candidates. Then, go back to the shelter to spend some more time with each of them. There is no shame in saying “No”, if you cannot find a dog right away who ticks all the boxes for you.
And this concludes our discussion of the topics to consider before adopting your new canine companion. If you have followed the five pointers we talked about, then you will be well-prepared for making your choice. Take your time, trust in the process and also, trust your intuition, and you will find that one dog who is perfect for you