Adopting a dog is a huge life decision... It is no different than deciding where to live, or whether or not to get married or have children.
Before adopting a dog, you should always think twice and ask yourself: can you fulfill the needs of that dog for many years to come? If your answer is “YES” and you are ready for this beautiful and life-changing commitment, check out these tips on how to choose the dog that fits you and your lifestyle most:
1. Evaluate your energy levels.
Are you an early riser who loves early morning runs? Or do you take life at a more leisurely pace? Conflict between you and your dog’s energy levels may result in built-up energy, frustration, bad habits, and unwanted behavior. So, when making your choice, make sure you pay attention to the dog’s energy and behavior. Adopting a senior dog is always a good choice if you are looking for a dog with lower energy. To find the right match, it is always recommended to ask a professional at the shelter and properly assess the habits and energy levels of the dog of your choice.
2. Take the dog for a short walk.
At the shelter, you can always ask to take the dog for a walk before you decide to adopt. Since the walk is considered a pack-oriented activity, it will help you evaluate how you and the dog connect with each other, away from the pent-up atmosphere of the shelter.
3. Do not adopt because you feel sorry for the dog.
Feeling pity for a dog, before and/or after adoption, won’t benefit either of you. Instead, you will project weak energy from the start of the journey - whereas the dog needs a leader. The best energy to give off when adopting from a shelter is to keep your emotions at bay - you’ll have plenty of time to bond with your dog at home.
4. The dog’s age.
While adopting puppies is an appealing idea at first, in reality, raising a puppy can be as intense as raising a child - it’s a full-time job! Senior dogs (6 years-old or more) are always a better choice for low-energy households that can’t commit for ten to fifteen years, but still seek the company of a loving pet. Older dogs tend to be more used to people and housebroken, and know some tricks. Adult dogs are the perfect choice if you don’t have time to spend on training a puppy.
5. Don’t doubt.
Trust the immediate connection with the dog. Choosing not to adopt because you think something is wrong or sense the dog has had a rough past is not a reasonable decision. Remember, dogs live in the moment; they can feel your energy and they don’t care about their history. If you are calm and balanced, they are happy to follow.
6. Avoid puppy mills.
The sole purpose of puppy mills is to make profit. They don’t care if the puppy is well bred, well fed, or comfortable. Sub-standard breeding conditions can lead to serious long-term health and behavioral issues in puppies bred at such facilities. If you insist on getting a pure breed dog, make sure to visit the original facility where the dogs were bred and make sure its been kept clean. It’s always advisable to ask to see the dog’s parents too. If the breeder is hesitant or simply doesn’t want to show you the facility, then avoid it - most reputable breeders will willingly show you the space, even if you don’t ask.
These few tips can help you make an informed decision when choosing the companion of a lifetime! Remember, never adopt out of pity, but based on you and your dog’s energy levels and compatibility.
If you’re ready to adopt, you can check out BETA, Animals Lebanon, and many other shelters to meet the dogs up for adoption and find your perfect match.