You’ve done your homework. You’ve chosen the best dog breed for your lifestyle (if not, read this article first). Now you’re ready to proceed with choosing a dog in a face to fur meeting. But how exactly? How do you choose a dog from the many rescue dogs hoping to be adopted that day? Is there something you should bring? Something you should do? Definitely! The following 10 steps will teach you everything you need to know about choosing a dog that’s a perfect match for you.
Steps to Choosing a Dog: #1. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Just like two humans who see each other across a crowded room, you should begin choosing a dog by walking around the shelter cages and observing the dogs. Is there a special dog that catches your eye? Someone who’s shy maybe? Or has given up hope? Or maybe you want to choose a dog that’s full of spunk and daring. In these first moments, you’ll be able to learn about the dog’s temperament and his state of mind. Most likely, you will choose a dog or two already, tentatively that is.
Steps to Choosing a Dog: #2. THE BREED
Though each dog seems to us perfectly unique, the dog breed plays a vital role in determining the character of a dog. One way to be sure you are choosing a dog that’s right for you is to have a few breeds in mind before you arrive at the shelter. If you are especially concerned about getting the right breed, you can even arrange for a DNA test at some shelters (read about dog breed testing). Regardless, if the dog you choose resembles the breed you like in behavior and appearance, you will be choosing a dog that’s compatible with your lifestyle and nature.
Steps to Choosing a Dog: #3. TAKE A CLOSER LOOK
Take your time observing your favorite dogs for a bit. Soon, one or two of them will outshine the others. Ask yourself why. Are you feeling overwhelming compassion? Or are you choosing the dog that best fits your breed and behavior preferences? In other words, let the right emotions guide you in choosing a dog that’s right for you.
Steps to Choosing a Dog: #4. FACE TO FUR TIME
Once you’ve narrowed your choice to one or two dogs, ask to spend time alone with each. Maybe you can be allowed inside the cage, or maybe the dog can be led out into a meeting area. The first thing you should do is realize that while you’re feeling happy to be choosing a dog, the dog is feeling nervous at meeting a stranger. Whether he’s overwhelmed or overly excited, this is not a normal state of affairs. So help the dog relax. Sit on a chair or bench to lower your height. If none are available, crouch down. The less tall you appear, the less intimidated the dog will feel. In this way you can judge your choice of dog based on the dog’s real nature, not his nervous reaction to a stressful situation.
Steps to Choosing a Dog: #5. EYE CONTACT
Avoid eye contact at first. Eyes are threatening. Observe the dog from the corner of your eye to see how he’s reacting to you. If you find him irresistible, slowly create eye contact, and at first blink your eyes shut slowly a few times, to establish an atmosphere of calmness. You’ll find that the dog starts to close his eyes slowly also in response, or looks away as if getting bored. In both cases, the dog is becoming more relaxed and ready to meet you face to fur.
Steps to Choosing a Dog: #6. BRIBE TIME
Now that the dog is calm, it’s time to show him that you’re one of the good guys. Pull out a small dog snack that you’ve brought with you. Don’t choose a boring dry biscuit. Choose a dog snack at the supermarket by reading the ingredients list. If chicken, beef or liver come first, you’ve struck gold. Cut the snack into small pieces beforehand, and give the dog one piece at a time. Observe if he is gentle and waits for you to give him more. If he is aggressive, does he respond to you when you are firm. In other words, observe if the dog you chose is able to respect your authority and interact with you in a friendly manner, even when faced with epicurean delights. This will prove that you are choosing a dog that fits in with your own manner and confidence level.
Steps to Choosing a Dog: #7. PET THE PET
If you’re still happy with the dog you chose, pet him and show him affection. Speak in a soft voice and establish bonding eye contact. Is the dog enjoying your company? Is he asking for more? Do you feel your heart warming to the little fellow? If so, you can be sure that a loving connection already exist between you. This bond of love is the most important aspect of choosing the a dog that’s right for you.
Steps to Choosing a Dog: #8. DOG EAT DOG
Now that you’ve gauge how the dog behaves with humans, it’s time to see him interact with other dogs. Ask the shelter staff to place your dog with another, maybe with the second dog you like. Then take a step back to watch the dogs interacting. Make sure not to crowd the dog’s attention anymore. If at first he’s reluctant to leave you, that’s a great sign. But encourage him to interact with the other dog so you can observe him. It’s all right if the dog is shy and even timid. This will improve as the dog’s life becomes better and his confidence grows. But check for signs of aggression before choosing this dog as your furry playmate.
Steps to Choosing a Dog: #9. LIFE’S STORY
Before you finally make up your mind about choosing this dog, ask to see any records for the dog to find out if there are any health issues you should be aware of or any special comments the staff have recorded. Now that you feel a bond with the dog, you will be best able to decide if any added responsibility is worth the trouble. I have adopted sick dogs with the knowledge that the first 6 weeks will require a high level of care. However, with a long term view, the first 6 weeks were a great investment for 14 years of happiness.
Steps to Choosing a Dog: #10. WALK ON THE TAME SIDE
Ask the staff for a leash so you can walk the dog for a bit. This will require the dog to follow you and obey the tug of the leash. See if the dog has bonded with you and wishes to go with you. In the best scenarios, even a dog who isn’t leash trained will want to stay close to you. However, timid dogs or dogs that have been through a lot may be a little shy. Take your time observing the dog and determining if you are choosing a dog that could learn to love and trust you.
Finally, learn about how to introduce a new dog into your home, and how to introduce a new dog to your old dog. As well as how to give a dog as a gift.
More Helpful Dog Articles:
How to Find an Affordable, Good Vet? Discover how to find affordable veterinary care that you can trust, and save up to 90% on your vet bills.
How to Potty-Train a Dog Quickly, Tenderly: Discover the three of dog potty training and how you can potty train your dog quickly and tenderly.
How to Leash-Train a Dog: Discover the three ways to leash-train a dog, and decide which one is right for you and your furry friend.
Dog Bathing at Home – Everything You Need to Know: Here’s everything you need to know to give your dog a bath at home, from how to avoid a backache to choosing the right shampoo. Dog bathing at home is easy and fun.
How to Train a Dog NOT to Run Out the Front Door: Training a dog not to run out the front door is one of the most important dog training steps an owner can take to secure the safety of his pet. Here’s what the owner of 4 rescue dogs did to train her own dogs.