8 Steps to Adoption Success

  • animal
  • January 9, 2014 10:49 pm

  1. Start by browsing all of the dogs quickly, and select the 5 dogs you like the best.
  2. Narrow down the list to include only the social dogs. Try to get a read on the five you have chosen, by seeing if they are well socialized.  You can try to put your hand up to their cage and observe their response.  If they come up to you, it is an indicator that they feel welcome to you.  This is a good thing.  Being housed in the kennel with minimal human contact would result in a social dog acting this way.   On the other hand, if the dog barks loudly or jumps at you quickly, it would be in the best interest of the owner to avoid them.
  3. Take the social dogs, (one at a time), to an area of the kennel where you can spend 5 minutes together.  Try to get a sense of whether the dog initially likes you.  You have already determined that they are social.  If you ignore the dog, see if he responds by making contact with you.  It is okay if he jumps up playfully, just as long as he isn’t trying to knock down a tree trunk.
  4. If you determine that one of the dogs is feeling welcomed by you, begin to pet him gently. If he cringes, barks, or runs away from this, this is most likely the dog you would want to bring home. He should instead stay still and enjoy your petting.  That would be an indicator that he is not only a in fact a very social dog but that he would not be aggressive around other family members, guests, etc.
  5. At this point, ask the shelter if you could feed the dog a few treats or a handful of dry dog food (which you should bring with you). You want to test to see if he will be a biter. Place a small amount of food on the floor and he will begin eating.  While he is still eating, gently pet him on the back, perhaps talking to him as well.  Observe his reaction. Does he try to guard the food with his body, move the food away, or growl at you?  He may not be the dog for you.  On the other hand if he contently continues eating, wags his tail, or even stops eating to instead become closer to you, you’re pretty close to a keeper!
  6. Now try petting the dog again, but for a longer amount of time. If he responds positively to this, indicated by the wagging of his tail or rolling over.  If he does roll over, continue petting him all over his stomach. Should he at any point run away, or try to bite you, even gently, could be a sign of aggression, and a sign to move on to another dog better suited to your needs.
  7. Ask to borrow a leash and walk the dog.  Now in this instance, it is not pertinent to monitor his behavior exactly when it comes to how quickly or vigorously he walks – this will be a challenge for a dog used to being in the kennel.  It will take him a bit of time for readjustment.  On the other hand, pay attention to how he interacts with a person on the street or other dogs.  If he is aggressive whatsoever, put him back.
  8. So you’ve followed all of the steps but you’re still considering more than one dog?  Walk away.  Come back with your husband, wife, kids, roommate(s), family members, or whoever you live with or interact with on a regular basis.  Your new furry friend will be exposed to them, so it would only be fair to include them in the final decision.  See how the finalists interact with your family and friends.  The best interactions will result in your keeper!

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