So you’ve decided to adopt a dog – congratulations! Bringing home a new furry family member is tremendously exciting, and by rescuing a new pet from a Hudson Valley, NY animal shelter, you’re not only avoiding the pitfalls of puppy mill pets, but you’re saving a life in need too. Doesn’t it feel great? Hang on just a moment, however; the arrival of any new dog should be carefully planned out, and the decision to adopt shouldn’t be taken lightly. Since shelter dogs are particularly in need of the right forever home, it’s important to do some research before choosing which shelter dog to open your heart and your home to.
Figure out what’s best for your lifestyle.
Before you simply choose the cutest puppy on the adoption list, have a family meeting to discuss the type of dog that would be right for you. Do you want a dog that’s a jogging partner, agility prospect, or simply just a warm friend to cuddle on the couch with? Take your work schedule and living arrangements into account as well, and plan out the time you have available to feed, exercise and train your potential canine companion. Certain breeds or ages of dogs may be better for certain situations over others. For example:
- Young puppies and working breeds need several hours of training, exercise and interaction each day, so they would be more suitable choices for owners who have an active lifestyle and are physically mobile.
- Senior dogs or delicate toy breeds such as Pomeranians and Maltese Terriers can be injured easily by rough handling, so families with toddlers or other large, exuberant dogs may not be the best choice.
- Breeds like the Pug, French Bulldog and Bichon Frise are highly social, often becoming anxious when they’re separated from their owners for long periods of time. These types of gregarious dogs need people around most of the time to stay happy.
- Owners with allergies or a large aversion to dog hair may want to stay away from high-shedding breeds like Golden Retrievers, Huskies or Corgi-type dogs.
Look into your financial future.
The costs for caring for your new addition shouldn’t be ignored either, and finances are an important consideration before adoption. All dogs need food, vet care, training, grooming, and other supplies over their lifetime, and it’s best to make sure that your budget can accommodate your new pup’s needs. An adult shelter dog that’s already neutered and vaccinated can be easier on your pocketbook than a puppy that will still require significant additional care in their first year of life. Also keep in mind that some of our tail-waggin’ friends tend to cost more in vet bills than others; giant breeds (like Great Danes and Bernese Mountain Dogs), Bulldogs and Shar Peis tend to have a far higher risk of hereditary health problems, so take your potential pup’s lineage into account too.
Take a pup personality poll.
Finally, the personality of your new four-legged friend should be compatible with you too, of course! While a nervous, fearful dog may be able to be rehabilitated over time, adding a pooch with this type of temperament to a situation where they might experience a lot of change and stress could be catastrophic for both of you. If you’re looking for an outgoing dog with a high tolerance for small fingers, on the other hand, a patient adult Retriever mix might be the ideal family addition. Most shelter staff are willing and able to fill you in on your potential pup’s temperament and health background, and can help steer you in the right direction as you’re looking for the right fit.
Lastly, don’t rush your decision; the excitement of adoption can sometimes cloud our true judgement about how well a dog may actually adapt to your home and lifestyle. For the sake of you and your new family member, take the extra time to make the best choice for everyone – whether they have two legs or four!
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