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How to Choose a Rescue Dog

How to adopt a friendly shelter dog who’s right for you.

By
Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA,
October 21, 2014
Episode #118

Page 1 of 3

Many shelters and rescue groups work hard to make good matches between people and dogs. They systematically evaluate a dog’s behavior. And, as much as possible, they assess the dog’s activity level and personality. Last week, I offered some advice for a situation where a young, super-high-maintenance dog had been placed with an inexperienced family that included two young children. The rescue group should have sent that family home with a low-key, child-loving, adult dog and saved the firecracker for someone who didn’t have little kids and was excited about working intensively with him.

But many rescues and shelters are underfunded and understaffed, and some are just plain careless. This week, 3 Quick and Dirty tips to help you choose the right shelter dog:

Tip #1 – Prep Before You Go

Think about what you’re looking for in a dog. A couch-potato pal? A running partner? A sedate companion for long walks? The answers suggest how young and energetic your dog should be.

Consider how much time you have to spare. Housetraining doesn’t take forever, but it’s a lot of work. Almost all puppies and young dogs need plenty of exercise. Manners training calls for much up-front time, attention, and consistency. As for grooming, you’ll be doing that, or paying for it, throughout your dog’s life. The choice between high and low maintenance is a lot less trivial than it might seem.

Feel like you don’t have a lot of time and energy to invest? That’s fine: older, quiet, short-coated dogs need homes too.

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