Aww you’re going to be adopting a new puppy? That’s the sweetest. But how do you pick between all the smushy faces? How do you narrow it down and find the right one for you? Relax, fam, I’m gonna tell you! Adopting a dog is a big decision, so don’t take it lightly. They’re not toys for your amusement; they are living breathing creatures with feelings and thoughts. It’s not something fashionable for your purse or situation. So take it seriously.
- Evaluate your energy level.
Are you a busy person? Do you have kids? Do you wake up early in the morning and go for a run? Or is life more chill for you? If you’re a leisurely person, chances are you shouldn’t go for a high-energy dog. This will create tension and issues with your new pup.
- Where will you keep the dog?
Once you’ve evaluated your own energy, research different breeds in your area. Certain breeds have different dispositions. This way you are prepared when it comes time to figure out where you will house the dog: inside, outside or in a crate. If you’re considering a shelter or rescue dog, keep in mind the cage at the shelter will not be a good judge of his true energy. It may be helpful to have a professional who is familiar with the dog there with you to recommend options for you.
- Ask questions
Nobody’s going to crucify you if you ask about the dog. For instance, ask about his meals, what is he like with other dogs, children, people, males versus females, has he been abused, any behaviors that stand out? All these will give you a better idea of what he’s like when he’s at home with you and your family. It’s better to know before than to have to take a dog back to the shelter because you weren’t prepared.
- Take the dog for a walk
One of the best litmus tests for a new dog is the walk. Ask the shelter if you can take him for a test drive! When I first adopted Lily, then Tilly, that was the first thing I did. She pulled me like none other, but she was also very responsive and alert. I knew she’d be trainable. Try not to let the shelter environment and the weight of the decision influence your decision to adopt or not. Dog rescues are heartbreaking places. It’s crucial you choose the right dog, not just one you might zero in on. Feeling pity for a homeless dog won’t benefit him in the long run.
Bottom line, keep an open mind, do your research, and have patience! In the end, you’ll both be better off for it.