How to select which dog to embrace from a kill shelter

dog enthusiasts have so many choices offered when they’re prepared to embrace a dog. just one of those choices is to go to a shelter.

The reason I utilized “kill shelter” in the title is since I want to focus on exactly how to select a dog from a congested shelter where there is seriousness to save a life but commonly bit information about each dog.

This is commonly the situation at shelters that kill dogs for space, however not always. I’m generalizing.

If any type of of you have embraced a dog from a shelter, I hope you’ll share some advice in the comments on exactly how you made your decision and what you may do in a different way the next time.

Many dog enthusiasts are truly drawn to saving a dog’s life, however it would be practical to get some advice from those who’ve been there.

Choosing the right shelter dog

The complying with are a few of my own concepts in addition to some examples from others.

Get to the shelter early.

If you get to the shelter earlier in the day, you’ll have more time to look at the dogs in addition to time to step away as well as believe about your decision before the shelter closes.

“If you have a dog-obsessed friend, ask them to go along with you to the shelter as well as observe the dogs with you,” stated Jen deHaan, who preserves the blog DogThusiast. “They will be a terrific resource to bounce concepts off of.”

deHaan embraced her dog Mort from a kill shelter (he’s pictured above), as well as she likewise volunteered at a kill shelter in the past.

Consider older dogs.

Consider an older dog that is at least 5 years old. I’m generalizing again, however middle-aged dogs and senior dogs are more likely to be potty trained as well as less likely to have major behavioral problems.

I’m not speaking about pulling on the leash or not understanding the “sit” command. I’m speaking about serious aggression, severe separation anxiety, possessiveness, etc. The truth is, if there was a issue with the dog, somebody would’ve likely surrendered her years ago. Oh, as well as older dogs are generally less energy, too.

Focus on behavior, not breed.

deHaan stressed that adopters should treat each dog as an individual. instead of focusing on the dog’s appearance, age, gender, size or breed they should think about the dog’s personality, energy as well as temperament.

“While there definitely are breed as well as age tendencies, they are just that – tendencies,” she said. “For example, the 14-month-old English shepherd I embraced should have been high energy if I went by her breed as well as age standards, however she was a couch potato!”

[quote_center]”While there definitely are breed as well as age tendencies, they are just that – tendencies.”[/quote_center]

Does the dog focus on you?

“One of the very first things I look for in a dog is exactly how focused he or she is with me,” deHaan said. “Does the dog pay interest to people, or other dogs, or nothing in particular? Does the dog have an interest span? Does this puppy want to interact?”

She stated to spend as much time as you can with the dog in the least stressful area as possible. So, perhaps a quiet, isolated room. Or, see if you are enabled to go for a walk with the dog as well as a volunteer to see exactly how the dog acts in a more natural environment.

Another tip deHaan suggested is to bring some toys along to see exactly how toy inspired the dog is.

All of this integrated info will assist you determine exactly how simple the dog may be to bond with as well as train, she said.

Does the dog seem to have experience living with a family?

There are some things you can try at the shelter to determine if the dog may have dealt with a family, as well as therefore has some experience in a household, deHaan said.

For example, she suggested trying typical interactions with the dog such as sit or down as well as likewise to see exactly how well the dog walks on a leash. What does he do if the leash gets caught under his leg?

Another concept she had is to toss treats in the air to see if the dog can catch them.

The dog is stressed as well as may act in a different way when out of the shelter.

“The most important thing to keep in mind is that a shelter atmosphere is extremely stressful, as well as a stressed dog is not behaving exactly how they will when they are relaxed,” deHaan said. “So take all of the habits with a grain of salt, as well as look at the huge picture: attentiveness, drive, as well as the general level of stress.”

She stated some dogs may not come out of their “shell” up until after they have resided in a home.

“Two of my three dogs blossomed after theycame home,” she said. “But they were stressed while in the shelter, as well as their characters weren’t as well evident there.”

She likewise stated she wouldn’t count on a presumed “low energy” dog to stay that method when out of the shelter. The dog might extremely well be a “handful” later on.

However, she did state a extremely relaxed dog in a stressful atmosphere is “probably rather balanced in general.”

Some concerns to ask the staff/volunteers:

Since deHaan utilized to volunteer at a kill shelter, I asked her for concepts on the kinds of concerns adopters should ask the personnel members or volunteers.

Here were her ideas:


Has the dog been seen by an experienced behaviorist for an assessment? Can I checked out any type of details from it? (Also keep in mind these assessments are sometimes performed in a stressed specify as well as do not always provide a fair evaluation of the dog. It’s just one thing to consider.)

Do any type of volunteers have a great deal of experience with this dog? Can I speak with him or her at some point? (At many shelters, this won’t be possible for many or most dogs, so in these cases, pick the volunteer’s brain for thoughts about the dog’s temperament.)

How does the dog behave on the leash when walking by the other kennels?

How does the dog act when somebody comes to eliminate her from the kennel? Is she happy to see volunteers, or cautious?

Does this dog normally bark at people from her kennel?


Some extra concerns I believed of:


Have you ever seen this dog growl over her food? have you ever seen her growl or show aggression in any type of situation?

Does she keep her cage/kennel area clean? (If not, ask exactly how commonly the dogs are taken out.)

How long has she been here? has her habits altered during that time?

Was she a stray or did her owners decrease her off?

Has she ever been around cats? little dogs? Kids?


Understand that in some shelters, the personnel or volunteers will not be able to response all or even any type of of these questions. The info may not be known.

Try to have the dog satisfy your other dogs if you have them.

“Do try to have the dogs satisfy before making a final decision,” deHaan said.

If you don’t understand a great deal about dog behavior, she suggested having at least one extremely experienced dog person observe the interaction.

“Choose a second dog who your dog is relaxed around,” she said. “They don’t have to play or be friends, however should at least be relaxed.”

Take a step back.

Once you’re close to making your decision, take at least an hour to step away as well as believe on it. go to lunch or grab some coffee with your spouse or friend. Talk it over. If you’re still not sure, take a day or a week to believe on it some more.

I recognize there is seriousness to rescue a dog, particularly after you’ve satisfied the dog, however the truth is there are always more dogs to adopt. You owe it to yourself to do your finest to select the right one.

Embrace the challenge.

One of my blog readers, Jennifer Jenkins, stated she as well as her household went to the shelter one Saturday just to “visit.” (I believe you understand where this is going!)

[quote_right]”We may not get the dog we want however we get the dog we need.”[/quote_right]They of program decided they would embrace a dog, as well as after a couple of their very first options didn’t work out, they ended up adopting a “long timer” named Huck, who they re-named Storm.

Storm was not what they household expected.

“He is hyper, hyper as well as hyper!” Jenkins said.

However, she stated storm has turned her household into more accountable dog owners, as they take him for great deals of walks vs. just running in the backyard. They likewise work on training as well as she is believing of putting him into agility or potentially dock jumping.

“Cesar Millan has stated something to the impact of ‘we may not get the dog we want however we get the dog we need,’” she said. “He is so right.”

Some tips for preparing a house for a new dog

I understand a great deal of issues can be avoided (no matter where you get your dog) if you prepare as much as possible in advance. So, right here we go:

Get your most important supplies lined up.

Food, a bowl as well as a leash are important, obviously, however so is a crate/kennel. have one ready. The size of the crate you’ll requirement depends upon the size of the dog, however you most likely have some concept on what size dog you’ll want.

Stock up on some jerky or liver treats for training as well as bonding with your dog. buy a few Kong-type toys (aff link) as well as peanut butter to stuff them with. believe about buying a infant entrance so you can block off areas temporarily.

Have a potty training plan ready.

There’s a possibility the dog won’t be housebroken, even if the shelter states he is. just presume your embraced dog won’t be potty trained, as well as have a plan in place. Can you make it house during your lunch break? Can you entrance off a little area? Can your neighbor assist you out temporarily? Can you pay for a dog walker?

Plan exactly how you’ll safely introduce your pets.

This is something that should be organized in advance. Don’t just hope for the best.

Put your feline in one more space when you leave for the shelter.

If you plan to have your dog satisfy your new dog at the shelter, have a good friend prepared to help. It would likewise be smart to drive two vehicles or to put the dogs in crates in the cars and truck for security reasons.

Once you get home, have a plan for taking the dogs for a walk right away so they can get to understand each other in a safe, managed manner. A walk side-by-side in a neutral area is the very best method to introduce most dogs or to assist two dogs bond.

Have a training as well as exercise plan in place.

If this dog turns out to be super high energy, exactly how will you provide him with exercise? Can you get up an hour earlier each morning as well as begin a running routine? Is your other half willing to dedicate an hour to exercise the dog once again after work? Can you pay for dog daycare?

And what about training? Is there a fitness instructor in your area you trust if problems come up? have you looked into group obedience classes for mentor the basics?

Take at least three full days off from work.

I extremely suggest taking at least a Friday, Saturday as well as Sunday off from work so you have three days to assist the dog adapt to your home. I recognize this isn’t always possible. It’s just the suitable scenario. A full week off from work would be even much better if you can swing it.

OK, what do the rest of you think?

What would you add to this discussion?

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