With hundreds of dogs to choose at the shelters, it is important to consider a dog that will fit your lifestyle. A great advantage of rescuing a dog is that you will be able to tell what your dog’s personality is going to be. If you buy a puppy from a breeder or a store, you aren’t really sure. You can always ask the shelter or rescue staff and volunteers about their dog’s personalities and match them with yours.
Dogs are returned when people fall in love with the pooch they pick but do not consider their personalities and how well they will fit into their lives. This can also be very sad and depressing for a dog as they might have felt that they finally found a home to be later returned to the shelter. This is why it is so important to choose wisely.
So, what breeds should you choose? what should you have in consideration?
Do you enjoy exercising? If you like going jogging, biking or being active in general, check out the hounds breeds. Shepherds, Collies, Husky mixes or American Bulldogs will keep up with you and will be happy by your side while you exercise. It’s hard for shelters to find homes for high energy dogs as they need the daily exercise and some people might not commit. All dogs need exercise but some need more than others and when people don’t provide enough activities, a dog might become anxious and destructive.
When a person has kids, especially small ones, it’s very important to ask the shelter what dogs are good with kids. Sometimes shelters won’t even have an answer as they don’t have the kids to test the dogs with. Some small dogs might be a good option but some breeds like Chihuahuas might get scared and fearful of them. Some energetic dogs like Boxers might be too rambunctious for small kids but they are great for older children. Seniors will be gentle with your infants but might not have the energy to keep up with them. Labradors, Terriers and Spaniels are usually very good with children but always make sure to check their background story. When looking for a rescue dog that will be gentle with your kids it’s more something to look into the dog’s personality than look for specific breeds. Ask the shelter to set up a play time.
You should always ask your children to give the dog space at first, especially in the first 2 weeks, as they need to get used to the new house and environment. For the dog’s first meeting you and your kids should let the dog sniff your hand first before petting. Read more about things to do after adopting a dog here.
Live in a small Apartment?
Consider checking with rescue dogs that are currently in foster care. They know the traits and personalities the best and will let you know how well the dog can adapt to an apartment. People might be inclined to get a small dog for an apartment but some big dogs can adjust just as well. As long as you can provide daily exercise there is no excuse not to have a big dog. Check with your apartment complex for their rules about pets, as some will only allow small breeds or not dogs at all.
Seniors dogs are great for so many situations. They don’t have the energy that a young dog will have and are generally calm, gentle and great couch potatoes! Puppies are cute and sweet but you need to commit a lot of time to training and discipline with them. Dogs like Bulldogs, mixes or small adult dogs work well for someone who can provide moderate exercise.
Have time, patience and are willing to commit?
There are certain dogs that had a difficult past, were abused, neglected or didn’t have much human interaction. These dogs need rehabilitation, a lot of patience and a gentle approach. Not many people will take the time to rehabilitate these dogs and they really need help. Most shelters don’t have the resources or time to work on dogs with social anxiety and if they are in a kill shelter they will most likely end up being euthanized or if they are in a non-kill shelter they will probably spend the rest of their lives in their kennels without never knowing what is to feel being loved. It’s important to consider them but only if you are willing to commit.
A dog breed might give you a good idea about specific behavioral traits but there are always exceptions to the rules. So, always ask the people who work with these dogs directly. Here is a great website that you can use to find the best possible shelter dog that matched your personality by taking a quiz.
Some shelters will give you the option to foster a dog for a week before you make your final decision. It’s also a good idea to ask them for a playtime or even a volunteer day so that you can get real quality time with different dogs and get the best of them. Try not to rule out a dog due to their breed, there are certain behaviors traits that might give you an idea what to look for but you might be surprised.