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10 Tips for a Smooth Dog Adoption Process
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10 Tips for a Smooth Dog Adoption Process

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jan 17, 2023

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Adopting a new pup is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world — one full of joy, excitement, and lots of love. But before you bring your canine companion home, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself.

From breed traits and health concerns to financial commitments and lifestyle considerations, many questions exist when adopting a dog. Understanding those questions can help ensure this journey gets off on the right paw.

1

What's the dog's breed?

two women walk their dogs. Dogs are friends Olga Rolenko / Getty Images

When looking for a new canine companion, asking about the dog's breed is vital. Sure, you want to know what they'll look like when they get bigger (if they're not fully grown), but this also helps you pick the perfect pup for your family.

After all, a dog's breed can make all the difference in compatibility, and it's about more than splitting them into categories based on looks. Breed and type can tell you essential information such as expected intelligence, behavior predispositions, exercise needs, and temperament.

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2

How big is the dog going to get?

Extra Large Saint Bernard dog and small little yorki posing for a picture crissy2tay/Getty Images

The dog you pick to join your family should fit your lifestyle, living space, and heart. Before taking the plunge into dog ownership, asking about the dog's size is essential to ensure they complement your home and daily activities.

Don't think it's that big of a deal? Think again! A dog's size determines how much energy they'll have, the areas you can safely explore together (both dog parks and stores alike), and what type of bed or bedding they'll need for maximum comfort.

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3

Is this dog a stray?

Homeless puppy dog sitting alone in the middle of the street. DimaBerkut/ Getty Images

<>Adopting a stray dog into your family can be a rewarding experience. But it's important to ask if the pup is a stray before welcoming them into your home since they may take some time to get comfortable in a new environment.

Asking whether the pup has been on its own for an extended period will allow you to understand the best behaviors to train them with and which approaches work best.

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4

Are they neutered, microchipped, and up to date with vaccines?

Adorable border collie puppy looks at a stethoscope hanging from the neck of a veterinarian sitting beside the puppy. FatCamera/Getty Images

The neutering piece of the puzzle is important for keeping local animal populations under control, while microchipping will provide extra security if the pup ever gets lost. Lastly, getting up to date on vaccinations means peace of mind knowing your dog is in good health and won't spread any unwanted bugs to other pups or family members.

Once you've got all these cares squared away, you can welcome your new companion into the family.

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5

Has the dog been socialized?

Group of friends meet in the park with their dogs. Friendship, dogs and pets concept. Daniel Megias/Getty Images

Socialization helps to shape a dog's behavior and teaches them how to behave around animals and everyday objects. A socialized dog means you (likely) won't be dealing with any funny business when it comes to a fear of bubbles or noisy cars!

Plus, if they've been socialized, you'll know that your new pup will likely do better with training since they've had a jumpstart in learning how to take directions and behave.

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6

Does the dog get on with other animals?

Australian Shepherd and fluffy cat lie on the grass in the park. Maryna Rayimova/Getty Images

You may have fond visions of a house full of furry friends chasing each other around with tail-wagging delight, and while this can certainly be a reality, it's only possible if you ask the right questions before adoption.

Talk to the pet adoption agency or foster parent to see if there are any reports of past difficulties integrating with other animals. If there are, try to see if they know why or what caused them.

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7

Has the dog had experience being around children?

Little boy playing with a dog Orbon Alija/Getty Images

Unfortunately, many dogs that end up at shelters have had negative experiences with children before coming to their new home, such as being startled or feeling overwhelmed in noisy environments. By asking about their experience with children before bringing them into your home, you can do your part to help ensure that your pet has a positive experience in its newest family. It's also a great way to ensure the safety of your children or any kids who might enter your home.

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8

Does the dog have anxiety?

Goberian hiding under the sofa with guilty look. mehmetugurozer/ Getty Images

It's essential to ask about a pup's anxiety before adoption for several reasons: it could mean the difference between a smooth transition or possible behavioral issues arising over time, and it ensures that the anxiety won't catch you by surprise.> If the dog does have anxiety, it doesn't mean the adoption is a no-go. It simply means you'll need to prepare yourself with some tactics to help them overcome their anxiety over time!

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9

What are the dog's energy levels?

Many dogs run and play with a ball in a meadow - a pack of Jack Russell Terriers K_Thalhofer/ Getty Images

From lovable couch potatoes to tireless energy-filled bundles, every dog is different. Perhaps you're interested in an active companion to keep up with your energy. Or, you might be looking for a buddy who loves long naps and lounging around the house. Regardless of your needs, becoming familiar with a dog's energy level before the adoption is essential. Understanding these energy levels can determine if they are a suitable fit for you or not. At the very least, understanding their energy levels helps you prepare for how to best care for them and provide them with the exercise they need.

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10

Is the dog potty-trained?

American Pit Bull Terrier puppy on an absorbent diaper. Toilet training Akintevs/ Getty Images

Whether looking for a puppy or an adult pooch, house training is one of the most important aspects of having a dog that fits into your family.

While an untrained dog might not be a dealbreaker for you, understanding their potty training needs helps ensure you're prepared with products and the patience needed to house-train them once you get them home.

Most adoption centers or foster parents will be able to tell you if they've noticed any issues with house training so you can walk away prepared for what's to come.

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