Questions to ask when adopting a dog
The decision to adopt a dog should be considered with care. A dog is a living creature and not an accessory or a toy. The decision to adopt a dog should therefore be taken with the same careful attention as if you were planning to have a child.
Too often, people adopt dogs because they are either “cute” or a particular breed is in “trend”, rather than knowing in advance what typical characteristics this dog has and whether it’s energy level matches that of their own lifestyle. In such cases, the dog may be returned to the breeder, kennel, rescue station or shelter and each return will be a negative mark in that dog’s record. It suggests that the dog is not adoptable and the more often a dog is returned, the more likely it is to be euthanized.
When choosing a new dog, it is extremely important to consider how the dog’s energy matches your own. The most important step is to take some time for self-evaluation and to determine what your own energy levels are. Do you wake up early in the morning, prepare your protein shake and a power bar, to jog around the park? Or do you live life more leisurely? When energy levels conflict with each other, human and dog frustration can lead to tensions and problems with dramatic consequences. So consider how your energy affects your decision.
Different dog breeds
Once you have identified your own energy level, start researching the different dog breeds and their energy levels. Keep in mind that dog breeds do not necessarily determine their personality, but some dog breeds are known to have a certain energy or inclination. Once you have completed your research on different breeds, you will have a clearer idea on what kind of dog you are actually looking for. It never hurts to be well-prepared.
Dogs in cages
Caged dogs for extended periods of time can be frustrated and nervous. If you decide to look at shelters and dog rescues, remember that it is difficult to estimate the dog’s energy levels in a cage in an animal shelter. It may be helpful to have a professional or someone with some expertise to determine the energy level of your potential dog.
Right questions to ask
Don’t be afraid to ask the rescue staff about the dog. They are not about getting dogs out the door at all costs – most are anxious to find a good home for the dogs in their care. Find out how the dog really is and how he gets along with the staff and the other dogs.
- Why is the dog here?
- Is he already a while in the shelter?
- How is he when people come to see the other dogs?
- How does he behave at mealtimes?
The answers to such questions will give you a better idea of what the dog and your family will look like at home.
Go for a walk with the dog
To take the dog for a walk is the best way to determine the energy levels for a new dog. At the shelter, you can ask if it’s possible to take a walk with the dog you’re interested in. Take him on a tour around the block and see how he gets along with you. This way you not only will get a clear idea of how to work in a pack-oriented activity, but you’ll also gain a better understanding of its underlying temperament when you’ve exhausted the frustration and pent-up energy.
Most importantly, you do your best to leave your emotions at home so you will be able to make a complete rational decision. You have plenty of time to connect with your new dog once you have brought him home and included in your family. Do not be influenced by the environment of the shelter and the weight of the decision to adopt a dog. Dog rescues can be heartbreaking places as your thoughts focus on the fate of each dog in there. It is important that you choose the right dog, not just one you regret. Feeling pity on a stray dog does not benefit both of you in the long term.