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Adopting a new dog is not like choosing your next toy, or picking out your next dress. He is not a fashion accessory or a status symbol. A dog is a living creature.

Adopting a dog is a serious decision. One that needs to be made wisely, with an open mind, and only after careful consideration.  Acting on impulse, picking a certain animal because he is cute, or fashionable is almost always going to result in frustration for you and disaster for the dog.

When adopting, you must be clear about what you want from a dog. But just as important is what you can offer a dog. Only then will you be able to match your temperament and expectations to the right pet for you.

Are You Really Ready To Commit?

Getting your first dog is a huge commitment. Make sure you are ready to make that commitment before you adopt it. You need to be prepared to commit the time and effort every day to walking training, grooming and disciplining your dog.

There is also the cost to consider. Not just any payment the shelter or breeder might want. Also the year-on-year costs of food, checkups with the vet, and unexpected emergencies.

If buying a dog for children,  remember that although a new dog brings love and companionship, it also brings chores. Make sure your children understand the responsibility they have for your new dog. But also, don’t expect them to do all the work. Ultimately, the dog is the parent's responsibility and it is up to you to look after it.

Know Your Dog Breeds

Know Your Dog BreedsOnce you have decided that you want a dog, you need to do some research into the different breeds. Whilst breed doesn’t necessarily dictate a dog’s personality it can give you some strong indicators. For instance, some breeds need more exercise, others are more aggressive, or highly strung. You must be aware of this when making your choice.

When adopting with children in mind, you also need to keep in mind how large that small, cute, puppy might grow. A large dog maybe too strong for your kids to walk.

In brief, know your dog breeds then pick a breed that matches your, and your families temperament. A mismatch will only create tensions and issues later.

Know Yourself

It often surprises perspective owners when I tell them that they should be aware of their own temperament as well as that of the dog they intend to adopt. But, if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

For instance, if you wake early, enjoy nothing better than a 30 minute jog around the park every morning, and spend most of your weekends hiking in the country, then a dog that likes to spend most of its time in front of the fire is probably not going to be right for you.

It’s important that your temperament and the temperament of your dog match.

Ask Questions

Regardless of if you are adopting a dog from a rescue center or a breeder, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Adoption centers and good, responsible breeders, only want to match their dogs with people from the right homes and circumstances for the dogs that are in their care.

Take the time to find out what the dog you are interested in adopting is really like. Ask how he gets on with staff and other dogs. Find out how he behaves at meal times and when taken for a walk. Ask what is he like when people come to view other dogs.

The answer to every question you ask will help you build a bigger and better picture of that dog and what he is like.

Take A Test Drive

When you think you’ve found the right dog for you, ask to take him for a walk around the block. This is an excellent way to see if the two of you are going to get along. A test walk will give you a much better understanding of his temperament, and give him a better chance to show you what he is like away from the distractions, and excitement of the animal shelter.

Dog Adoption Takeaways

  • Are you really ready to commit?
  • Know your dog breeds
  • Know yourself.
  • Ask questions.
  • Take a test drive