So how do you do it? Here are their Top 10 tips for adopting a dog succesfully:
1. Consider your lifestyle.
This is the single most important factor in determining what kind of dog will match you or your family the best, says Saunders. How much time do you have to spend with a dog – are you a busy, single person with an active social life, or are you a homebody with tons of time to give to your dog? a”All kinds of lifestyles can accommodate a dog, but there’s a huge difference between adopting a puppy who’s not housetrained and needs lots of exercise versus a more senior pet who’s more willing to hang out and sleep while you’re out,” she says. Consider energy levels, size and, of course, expense. Food, grooming and routine veterinary care, as well as emergencies, all add up. Also important to note: Some dogs are easier to train than others. “Terriers are known for being tenacious and stubborn,” says Saunders. “For a brand-new pet parent with no dog experience, that can be a challenge. They might want to stick to a dog that doesn’t have as challenging a temperament.”
2. Consider your children.
For families with kids under 7 Sternberg strongly recommends having a professional trainer accompany you to help pick out a dog “with the right temperament” at a shelter or rescue group . She notes that children between the ages of 2 and 7 are the largest population to suffer dog bites.
3. Choose a shelter wisely.
Ideally, you’ll want time and space to interact with a dog you’re considering taking home, says Sternberg. Visit your local shelters or animal rescue group, and try not to judge a facility from its exterior or discriminate between a “no-kill” shelter that doesn’t euthanize any dogs and a city shelter with a euthanasia policy. “One shelter’s euthanasia number is everyone’s euthanasia number,” says Sternberg. Be sure to walk around and look in every kennel. “Even if you think you’ve fallen in love with a dog in cage number four, walk all the way to the back to cage number 40,” says Sternberg.