When adding a new furry member to the family, there are probably lots of things that run through your head. This is a good thing! You want to be sure that you know plenty about your new pup before taking them home. Here are some questions you should ask when adopting a dog.
Where Did They Come From?
All shelter dogs come from somewhere else - unless they were born at the shelter. Ask the shelter what they know about the dog's background - were they an owner surrender? Found as a stray? Had an owner that passed away? Knowing where they came from might help you train them and be more aware of their fears or habits (for example, a stray dog might need more potty-training because it's something they're not used to).
How Do They Get Along with Dogs/Cats/Humans?
Has the dog ever lived with or interacted with other dogs, cats, and humans? This is important if you're adding them to a family that already has furry friends at home. Ask the shelter about the dog's prey drive, and how they've reacted to cats in the past. What about humans? Dogs can act differently around children than they do around adults, so be sure to ask if they have interacted with children before.
Have They Been Socialized?
Even if a dog doesn't growl at other dogs or shares a kennel with another dog, it doesn't mean that they have socialization skills. Ask about the dog's socialization - have they been in big play groups with dogs? Have they been socialized with dogs of all sizes?
What Is Their History?
Knowing a dog's history is especially important, because many shelter dogs unfortunately come from abusive homes. Knowing if they have suffered any kind of abuse in the past will help you work through their issues with them and ensure that they're happy, healthy, and comfortable in your home.
Do They Have Any Special Needs?
Be sure to ask the dog's medical status - do they have a sensitive tummy? A flea allergy? Even small medical issues can affect a dog, so be sure that you get full information from a shelter before taking them home. Often, shelters will come with medical disclaimers for any type of major medical issue they might have.
Most importantly, ask yourself, "Will I love this dog for the rest of its life?" When you say "yes," you'll know that the dog is the one for you.