View the previous posts in this series:
- How To Choose a Puppy (Part 1)
- How To Choose a Puppy (Part 2): The Right Breed For Your Lifestyle
- How To Choose a Puppy (Part 3): Well, Maybe Not Quite A Puppy
Shelters vary widely; some are very upscale, well maintained adoption facilities, and others are depressing “dog pounds….” Dogs coming from more dire conditions will often need more “rescuing” than those from the more well-funded shelters, but they’re no less deserving! You should think about what level of resources you can afford to devote to your new pet —-the adoption fees at the pound will be lower, but you may end up spending more at the vet, fighting off fleas, mites, skin infections, intestinal parasites, kennel cough, and other health problems. But if you can, few things are more rewarding than seeing a sick, scruffy, forlorn dog transform within months into your sleek, healthy, happy, and so very appreciative best friend for life!
Some shelters do extensive behavior testing, and will tell you whether the dog gets along well with cats, other dogs, and children. Rescue organizations will often let you “test drive” a dog for a few hours, or even overnight or longer. Walk them around a bit. You can get an idea of how they behave on a leash, how they do in the car, how they react to squirrels and birds at the park. If you have other pets at home and want to get an idea of how the new dog will respond to them, I would recommend that you first take the dog to see your veterinarian for a quick health check. Even then, be aware that you are taking a chance of exposing your pets to fleas, mites, or kennel cough. If you do take the dog to your vet, don’t forget to ask for their opinion on the dog’s temperament too!
Next, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of those wonderful puppies, and some of the things you should look for, as well as look out for!