What Should You Look for When Adopting a Dog?

At Green Dog we see a lot of first time dog owners and we know how exciting it can be to bring a new dog into your home.  Adopting a dog will bring new joys to your life, whether you’re a first-time dog parent or are adding another pup to your pack.

Meet Pets Online and In Person

When browsing the internet or your local shelter for the rescue pup of your dreams, the process of choosing your new friend can be a little daunting, even for experienced dog owners. You want a dog that will fit into your lifestyle, match up well with your family, and that fits your experience level. While you’re liable to fall in love with every furry face you see, selecting a new canine family member is a lifelong commitment and deserves plenty of thought, reflection, and research.

So, what should you look for when adopting a dog? We have some tried and true tips to help you choose the best pup for your family.

Be Realistic

One of the most common mistakes people make when choosing a dog is being unrealistic about their lifestyle. It’s important to choose a dog that fits the life you have, because most families can’t radically change their lifestyle to suit a dog.

For example, if you live in a major city with no access to a fenced in yard and no time for long walks every day, you may want to consider a dog with low to moderate exercise requirements, as opposed to a young, boisterous sporting dog.

Whereas if you love hiking and outdoor activities and want your dog to come along, you may be more suited to a retriever than a pug. Being realistic about how much space you have and how much time you’re able to commit to exercising your new friend is important.

Older or Younger Pet?

Everyone loves puppies, but young dogs require a great deal of training, including house breaking. If you don’t have the time or inclination to handle that sort of thing, there are plenty of older dogs who are waiting for forever homes.

Do You Want or Need a Specific Breed?

Do you care about having a specific breed? There are plenty of purebred dogs waiting for new homes, and there are also lots of loveable mutts. Being open to different possibilities will give you a large range of dogs to choose from.

The Shelter Staff Are There To Help

The shelter staff are your friends. It’s easy to feel intimidated by the vetting process of shelters. They want to make sure that the dogs in their care go to the very best homes, so they’re likely to ask you a bunch of questions to determine which pup would best suit your life.

However, the staff is also an invaluable resource for you. They know the dogs well and can help point you in the right direction of you’re honest and open about what you’re looking for.

Looks aren’t everything.

The last thing you should be considering when choosing a dog is their physical appearance. Exercise requirements, prior training, history, grooming needs, and your family dynamic are far more important factors to consider.

It’s hard, but try to look past the puppy dog eyes and be as objective as possible. All dogs are cute in their own way, and it’s more important to choose one that will fit in with your family.

Consider Medical Needs

Do you have the finances and time to care for a dog with special medical needs? Not everyone does, and there are plenty of dogs without complex medical requirements that need homes. Know what you’re able to handle and stick to it.

Be Willing To Wait For Your Perfect Match!

Don’t be afraid to wait. Some people fall in love with the first dog they meet, and it works out wonderfully. But don’t feel pressure to take a pup home on the first trip to the shelter. New dogs are constantly coming in, and it’s worth waiting and meeting more pups if it means finding your perfect forever friend.

There is a dog out there waiting just for you! Knowing what you’re looking for and being realistic about your lifestyle are the first steps to finding the dog of your dreams. After that, it’s all about meeting the pups that fit the bill. When you meet your new dog, you’ll know it was meant to be.

And once you have selected your pet, don't forget the initial vet visit and a dental starter kit!  For more information on pet dental health visit the Green Dog Gazette.