Adopting a Dog? You Should Ask These Questions First
If you’ve decided that you’d like to add a dog to your household and your family, choosing to adopt an older or abandoned dog can be exciting, stressful, and truly rewarding. With an estimated 3.3 million dogs entering shelters each year, there are countless dogs out there looking for a new home and a new chance at life.
However, while adopting a dog from a pound or shelter is incredibly rewarding for both you and the dog, there are certain risks that come with adopting that you may not find when you take in a new puppy from a breeder. Shelter dogs make wonderful companions and can easily be trained to adapt to your home, but there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier for both of you. To better prepare you for welcoming a new furry friend into your home, you’ll need a few important questions to help you find the dog that’s right for you.
What’s Their History?
You should know all medical records of the dog your interested in. You’ll need to know if the animal is up-to-date on vaccines, spayed or neutered, and has any medical conditions you should be aware of. If the shelter does not have any medical records, the animal isn’t vaccinated and hasn’t received any medical exams by a veterinarian, it may be indicative of how the animal was cared for at the adoption center or shelter. Also ask what they are currently feeding the dog to make the transition into your home easier.
Was the dog was abused? Are they a stray with no history, or were they owner surrendered? Ask employees if the dog has bit or attacked anyone, or they have witnessed aggression from the dog. Has the dog been given a temperament or socialization test? You should be able to get the results. Depending on the dog’s history, there could be a greater chance of them acting out, and knowing what their behavior and triggers are will make it easier for you to prevent future incidents. In addition, your pet liability insurer will also likely want to know this information.
How’s Their Personality?
Is the animal socialized? Does the animal get along with other dogs or cats? Do they have nervous tendencies? How are they with children? What’s the dog’s energy level and exercise requirements?
It is important find out the personality of the potential pet so that both you and the dog are a good fit for each other. If the dog has ever bitten anyone, learn the circumstances. It is important to remember that any dog in a shelter situation may not be able to behave as they naturally would, as they are in high anxiety situations.
What Kind of Lifestyle Should They Have?
Be sure to think carefully about what you want in a dog, and how they will fit into your life. If you work a full-time job and prefer leisurely strolls over 5-mile jogs, don’t get a Husky or other high-energy working dog. If you can’t stand noise or have sensitive neighbors, avoid specific breeds, such as terriers. If you have children (particularly young children), certain dog breeds will be better at interacting with them. Making sure to select the best dog for your individual situation and needs is essential to finding the dog for you.
Every dog has different responses to pressure, reactions to the energy of a household, levels of introversion and extroversion, and different physical, mental and social needs. What you are able to accommodate? It all comes back to how your temperament and the dogs will complement each other.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.