Adopting a dog is one of the most rewarding things you can do. While we can give you tips about what to do after you bring a dog home (a Fresh Patch will definitely help the potty training process!), tips about the adoption process itself are just as important! Here are some things you should consider when you get to adoption day.
Ask for the Dog's History
When you're adopting, ask your adoption counselor about the dog's history. While many dogs are simply found as strays, others can be owner surrenders or come from more unfortunate situations. Knowing a pup's history before adopting them can help you prepare for how to best help them adjust.
Spend Time with the Dog
Don't just a pick a pup based off of how they look (even though so many dogs are soooo cute!). Be sure to spend time with them at the shelter in order to get an idea of their personality and energy level. Depending on the shelter, you might be able to play with them in a separate room or outside. Some shelters also allow you to take the pup for a walk in the area so that you can see where they are with leash training.
Don't Set Your Expectations Too High
Even if a shelter is as warm and inviting as staff can make it, it's still not the same as being in a home. Because of this, dogs can seem totally different in a shelter environment. Don't expect the pup to act totally themselves when you first them, and don't expect that "what you see is what you get." While you can get a good idea of their personality and activity level, a pup might change a lot when they get home, and oftentimes for the better! So if a dog seems a little anxious at the shelter, don't write them off!
Ask for Breed Information
Some shelters know the exact breed of a dog depending on where the pup comes from. However, many others are mixed breeds. Knowing which breed the dog is will help you prepare for what they might need, as well as any medical issues that might come up in the future.
Ask if the Dog Has Been Kid/Cat/Dog Tested
Many shelters that have both dogs and cats onsite do cat tests with pups to see if they are cat-aggressive. If you have a cat at home or are hoping to add a kitty to the family in the future, it's important to know this information if they have been tested. You can also observe their interactions with other dogs to see if they can make friends with other pups easily. If you have kids, asking about any history the dog has with children or any observations the staff has made should give you an idea of how they might behave at home with your kids. Remember, though, some of these traits might be different in a home than a shelter.
The biggest tips we have? Follow your heart and give a pup a wonderful home!