Adding a dog to your family, puppy or adult, should be a well-thought-out decision.When adding a dog to your family, you can choose which one to bring home. It's important to make the best choice so that the dog can succeed in your home. No matter whether the dog is from a shelter, rescue group, or even from a family friend, ask questions about him. Lots of questions. The shelter or rescue may not have all the answers, but with questioning you can learn as much as you can. Before you look for a dog, however, ask yourself some questions. Talk to family members, too.
Questions to Ask at HomeWhy do you want a dog? What kind of dog do you want? Do you want a puppy, young adult, or older dog? What do you want to do with the dog? Does everyone at home want a dog? Is everyone willing to make changes at home to adjust to the disruption a dog will cause? Who is going to care for the dog? Who is going to walk the dog? Is everyone at home ready to train the dog and be consistent with the dog's new rules? Do you realize a dog will get your car dirty? Where will the dog sleep? Where will he relieve himself? Is your budget ready for a dog? These are only the basic questions that you should ask yourself and your family or roommates. A dog, no matter whether he's your first dog or a second dog in the household, will cause some disruption. He will change the family's routine, schedule, and even increase the number of times the floor will need to be vacuumed.
What Are His Physical Characteristics?What breed is the dog? Is the dog male, female, neutered, or spayed? Is he short haired, long haired, coarse coat, wiry coat, or fluffy? How big is he? How old is he? Knowing the breed or mixtures of breeds can often predict certain characteristics. Working dogs, in general, tend to be more protective. Herding breeds are often busier than other breeds. Terriers are tenacious. There are always exceptions, of course, since many breeds do have individual characteristics. Knowing the dog's breed beforehand can help you choose a dog that will fit into your household or family. Whether the dog is male or female isn't a deal breaker to most people, but some do prefer one sex over the other. If the dog is spayed or neutered prior to adoption it could save you the veterinary bill afterwards. Short-haired dogs shed, often just as much as long-haired dogs, but they shed pokey short hairs. Fluffy coated dogs might get tangles in their coat and require more grooming. These are all personal preferences to help you decide on the right dog for you. Knowing the dog's age is important. If you want to avoid puppyhood and the teenage months then you can choose an older dog. Some people hate to see old dogs lose their home and so prefer to adopt senior dogs that can be loved through their old age. The age of the dog you wish to adopt is one of those questions you asked yourself at the beginning of this process.
Is He Well Socialized?Is he friendly and open with men, women, and children? Is he good with people of various cultures? Has he ever growled at anyone? Has he ever bitten anyone? If so, who and in what situation? Does he get along with other dogs? Is he friendly to cats? Is he afraid of anything when out for a walk? Does he have any known social problems? These questions are all important but to varying degrees depending on your household. If you don't have a cat, for example, and never plan on adding one to your family, then a dog who isn't socialized to cats won't be a problem. A dog who is afraid, growls, bites, or shows aggression in other ways can also be potentially dangerous. If the dog you are thinking of adopting has some of these issues, ask a dog trainer to help you talk to the shelter or rescue, go over the dog's issues, and help you evaluate the dog. A third party opinion is never a bad idea. Then you can make an educated decision.