Adopting a good dog depends on the home where the dog will stay as much as the dog itself. When considering the right dog to adopt, it’s important to consider personal lifestyle, a family’s energy level and living situation as much as a dog’s age, temperament and size. Choosing the best canine isn’t a one-size-fits-all choice, but a very personal and individualized one.
Consider the Home Environment
Think about what type of home environment a dog will have before thinking about selecting the dog. Whether the home is an apartment in the city, house in the suburbs or home in the country will have a large impact on whether or not a dog will do well, regardless of how good of a dog he might be otherwise. Some larger dogs may need the open space for exercise, so if the home is an apartment, consider whether access to daily exercise elsewhere is an option. If children are part of the family, consider that some dogs tend to do better with children than others.
Energy Level is Important
Take a look at a dog’s energy level when deciding whether or not a particular dog is good for adoption. Whatever that energy level is, it should match that of its owner. A high energy dog that needs lots of exercise might do better with an active owner who goes for daily jogs. Someone who leads a leisurely lifestyle may want to consider a mellow canine who prefers walks around the neighborhood and lounging at his owner’s feet.
Think Long Term
Consider that a dog can live 10, 15 or even 20 years. Keeping that in mind, there are several factors to consider. A puppy can be endearing, but can also mean more time spent housetraining, teaching basic obedience and a longer term commitment. The dog’s temperament is something to consider. A stubborn, independent dog might do better with a more experienced dog owner. An affectionate dog who likes a lot of human companionship would need an owner or family with a lot of time to provide the attention it needs. A dog with social anxiety might come around to be a great companion with the proper socialization, but requires an owner with the patience, time and commitment to attend to him.
Selecting a Shelter
Check the shelter that the prospective dog comes from. How a shelter cares for their dogs can create a big impact on how good a dog is for adoption. Look at the shelter’s environment, how clean the cages are kept and whether ongoing training, socialization and grooming are provided for the shelter dogs in their care. Engage the staff and field any questions that might arise about a particular dog. The general atmosphere should be welcoming enough to make prospective dog owners feel comfortable about selecting the right dog for their home.
Spending Time with a Potential Pet
Spend the necessary time to interact with a dog that might be a good fit before making any final decisions. Find out how the shelter handles interactions between potential owners and their shelter dogs. Then make the most of it. Look for sociability, keep an eye out for signs of aggression and observe whether the dog is friendly or acts more reserved. Think about whether that particular type of dog would do well in the household he’ll go to and whether there are resources to provide for whatever the dog will need.
C.E. Chan has been a writer since 2003, contributing to magazines, online publications and education organizations. Her work has appeared in "Popular Dogs," "Dog World" and "The Architect's Newspaper," among other outlets. With a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California, Chan worked in the architectural field for several years before becoming a writer.