Adopting a dog from a shelter is noble action. When seeking to bring a new dog into your home, you want to make the right decision and assure compatibility with dogs already in your home. Thorough research of the adoptable dog's breeds and observation of the dog in the shelter are keys to determining if the dogs will be compatible. With the help and information from the shelter staff, research of dog breeds, including your own such as a Labrador/shepherd mix, and an initial meeting between the dogs at the shelter will help you determine the dog's compatibility.
Visit your local animal rescue shelter to meet their adoptable dogs. Discuss what you are looking for with the shelter staff and let them know you have a Lab/shepherd mix at home. Note the dogs that you are most interested in and learn about their history. Shelter staff may be able to tell you what dogs are best placed in home with other dogs or children.
Complete research on the breeds of the dogs you were most interested in by going online or to the library and reading about different dog breeds. Pay special attention to temperament and consider the temperament, behavior and size of your lab/shepherd mix when doing your research.
Visit the shelter again and watch how the dog you are most interested in interacts with the other shelter dogs. Ask the shelter staff about the dog's daily interaction with dogs and people, their socialization experience and behavior. Complete an adoption application for the dog. Shelters may require a lengthy application process to assure you are the best fit for the dog.
Bring your dog to the shelter to meet the dog you plan to adopt. Introduce the dogs in a neutral space. With the trained shelter staff, take notice of each dog's body postures. The shelter staff can help you interpret the dog's postures. For instance, if the dog crouches on his front legs with his rear end in the air, this is a positive sign indicating an invitation to play. A dog baring his teeth indicates signs of aggression.
Take your newly adopted dog home and further observe his interactions with your Lab/shepherd mix. Note which dog emerges as the dominant alpha dog. Alpha dogs need special treatment such as first feeding and choice of sitting or sleeping arrangements. If either dog shows signs of ongoing fear or aggression, keep the dogs separate and contact a professional trainer for assistance.
- dogs playing fetch image by Paul Retherford from Fotolia.com