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If you’re planning on adding a dog to your family, it’s possible you’ll find your new family member at the local animal shelter or humane society. These dogs are homeless through no fault of their own, and by rescuing one of them, you may just save their life. If you’re going to adopt a shelter dog, it’s important that you do your homework beforehand, so you choose the right dog for your family.
Be realistic about your lifestyle. Do you have time to toilet train a puppy, and feed it several times a day? Youngsters are a lot of work in their first few months. If you’re busy with family and work commitments, an adult dog who is already house trained may be more suitable for you. Similarly, choose a breed that doesn’t need much brushing and grooming.
Are you an outdoors person, or do you prefer to curl up on the couch with a good book? If you don’t like to walk, don’t choose a herding breed. You’ll be frustrated by their need for exercise, and they may develop behavioral problems because their needs are not being met. Instead, choose a breed that loves to cuddle up with you, and you’ll both be happy.
How’s your budget? It’s no surprise that larger dogs eat more, and cost more when it comes to worming tablets and heartworm prevention. If cash is tight, choose a smaller dog that is less expensive to maintain.
When you have your list of characteristics, only then visit your local shelter, and take all members of your family with you. Talk to the staff, and ask them to show you the dogs that will meet your requirements. Don’t fall for the first pair of soft brown eyes you see. After all, you’re choosing a family member who will share your life for many years. It’s not the time for an impulse decision.
Speak to the staff about what they’ve learned about each dog – where they came from, how they get on with other dogs and children, and any other characteristics that they know about. Make sure you meet each dog on his own, and see how you relate to him, and whether or not he is happy to meet you. You should be able to create a shortlist of suitable dogs for your family.
When it comes time to choosing a dog, the whole family must be in agreement. If there is discord, go home for the rest of the day and discuss the choices between you. There really is no hurry, and it’s important that everyone is happy with the dog you adopt.
Bringing your new dog home is an exciting time for everyone. Don’t forget that your dog has gone from a noisy shelter to a home where everybody just wants to cuddle him, which can be a little stressful. Give him time to settle in and explore his new environment. Gradually introduce him to your friends and family, and take him for walks around the neighborhood. He’ll quickly settle in with you.
Every dog deserves to be loved. There are so many unwanted dogs in the world. By adopting a shelter dog, you’re giving him a wonderful home, and giving him the opportunity to become someone’s best friend.