Adult dog or puppy? With a healthy adult dog you’ll have a good idea of the dog’s temperament. A puppy may behave one way in its youth but can change significantly as it grows up. An adult dog’s personality will be more consistent and evident through its interaction with the shelter staff.
Another reason to pick an adult dog over a puppy is, frankly, it’s less work. Puppies need lots of attention to keep them stimulated and to keep them from trouble. An adult dog is not likely to seek as much care from the owner, who might not have the time or energy to keep up with a puppy.
Factors to consider when adopting an adult dog:
- Personality — make certain the dog is a good fit for you. The shelter staff will be able to give you a good idea of the dog’s temperament.
- Interacts with other pets or is better by itself — the shelter staff will inform you if the dog is clingy or laid-back. If you’re bringing a new dog home to a house that already has cats and dogs in it, look for a dog that has lived with other animals before.
- Spend some time alone with the dog or dogs you want to bring home — ask the shelter staff if there is somewhere quiet where you can interact with the dog.
- Being in a shelter with other dogs can be extremely stressful and frightening, so it may take a few minutes for the dog to calm down and display his true personality.
Health check and vaccines are vital. Most shelters already will have performed a thorough health check, and the dog is likely to be current with all of its vaccines and to be spayed already. Still, give the dog a good once-over from nose to tail to try to spot any health concerns. Also, be sure to ask about the kind of dog food currently being fed and talk to your veterinarian about whether it’s a good choice for keeping your dog healthy.
Adoption requirements can vary. Some shelters require that you sign a contract when you’re ready to adopt. Be sure to read this thoroughly. It may have requirements such as not giving the dog as a gift. If you’re planning on giving the dog as a gift, arrange for the prospective owner to visit the shelter and participate in the adoption.