New Dog Checklist: Choosing Your Next Dog

What are some of the things that you should look for before bringing home your next dog?

What are some of the things that you should look for before bringing home your next dog?

Here are a few pointers that I give my clients who are looking, as well as a few of the things that I look for when vetting a new dog for a client.

Initial Considerations

  • Personality: How much do they seek your affection/attention, how social do they seem to be?
  • Activity Needs / Exercise Requirements – are they more like a couch potato or are they super active?
  • Any outward signs of fear, anxiety, or aggression to potentially have to navigate
  • Any special considerations like medical conditions that will require lifelong care?

Foster to adopt, Staycations, adoption trials – these are all great alternatives to just picking a dog and spontaneously adopting. Do the dog, (and your family) a favor and get to know the dog a little, or involve a behavior professional to help you determine a good fit for your family.

Once they are in your home, first impressions are very important! Take it slow and allow your new dog to get comfortable with their environment over a two week period. Let them come to you. Remember to let them use their strongest senses, (smell and sound) to get more familiarized with their environment.

Know signs of discomfort – whale eyes, (widened eyes to where you can see the whites more than normal), practicing avoidance, (moving away from a petting hand or walking away from another person or dog). Give them space, stay out of their face. If you are seeing signs of discomfort, it doesn’t mean it won’t work – but these are communication signals to help you know when to back off to help your new dog become comfortable with their new environment, safely on their own terms.

Don’t just throw everyone together. Dogs/cats need a “getting to know you” period as well (reference above to smell and sound intros). Forcing introductions because you, the human, wants everyone to meet and play together right away might seem like it’s going okay at first, but might lead to frustrating behavioral issues down the road. Imagine if you took someone out on a first date and maybe you wanted to go home with that person that night, but that person didn’t want to go home with you. If you force it, all of a sudden you have some serious problems on your hand that might not show themselves until a week or so later when you get a call from your attorney. Take it slow for them.

Need help finding a good match? Schedule a virtual consultation with me and I’ll help you through it!

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