Picking the Right Shelter Dog for You

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Choosing to adopt a dog instead of buying from a pet store or breeder is an extremely rewarding experience. But, while we know owner’s go in with the best of intentions and pet-loving hearts, we have too often seen owner’s adopt pet’s they aren’t ready for, or didn’t fully comprehend the commitment they were making. So, before falling in love with the first waggy-tailed dog you see at the shelter, take some time to honestly answer the questions below to help you pick the pup that’s your perfect match!

  • Should you choose a dog that’s small, medium, or large? Do you have a tiny apartment, small yard, or acres of open land? How close are you to a park, dog park, or beach? These are all important things to consider, as a bigger dog needs more exercise and activity. If you live an active, outdoor lifestyle, a big dog could be you’re partner to jog, hike, and go on adventures with. Smaller dogs on the other hand can live happy active lives in the confinement of apartments. They can get plenty of exercise by chasing a ball around the living room or down the hallway.
  • Do you work on Wall Street or a start up? If you’re gunning for Partner at your firm by clocking in face-time at the office, chances are you’re not making it home in time to regularly feed, walk, and train a young active dog. Even if you shell out money for day-care or a dog walker, it won’t take the place of having an available owner. This might not be an ideal time to get a puppy that needs full-time care and attention. An older dog requires attention and patience, but will most likely not need a lot of time spent on training them.

    On the other hand, if you’re lucky enough to have a job that allows pets at work, or the flexibility to work from home, an energetic dog might be just the thing to liven up your day. In the past, you might have had to take afternoons off or miss a big pitch to take your dog to the vet for vaccines. But, lucky for you…there is Off Leash!
  • Do you have other pets?Just because you want your dogs to be best buddies, doesn’t mean they’ll get along. You’re current pet is probably used to getting all of your love and attention, and might not want to share it with a new housemate. This can cause major sibling rivalries. Ask the shelter if you can have the two dogs meet beforehand to get a feel of whether or not they will get along.

Despite careful consideration, the “perfect dog” in your head might easily change if you fall in love unexpectedly when meeting potential adoptions. After all, you don’t choose the dog, the dog chooses you! But before taking him/her home, it’s important to revisit the considerations above, and understand the changes and re-prioritization you may have to make. But, no matter what pooch you pick, adopting is an amazing choice. Not only are you saving their life, but yours is about to get a whole lot better too.

Author: Eleanor Clowe, B.A., Masters in Animal Behavior, Expected 2016 and the Off Leash Team