Dogs

Tips for Choosing a Puppy from a Shelter

Getting a new puppy to take care of is really exciting because you will have a new addition to your family that will give happiness and entertainment. Instead of purchasing one, it’s better to adopt a puppy from a shelter. However, when you choose to adopt a shelter puppy, you will have to look into more things other than their age, breed, and how they are doing at the shelter.

If you’re looking into adopting a puppy from a shelter and you don’t have any idea how to choose the best one, then we’re happy to help you. Today, we are giving you some of the best tips for choosing a puppy from a shelter.

Tips for Choosing a Puppy from a Shelter

Things to Consider

To be able to choose the best shelter puppy for you, here are some of the important things to consider.

  • Size: It’s important for you to know how much the puppy will grow and having some idea about its background can help. For example, if there’s Labrador in there somewhere, it usually means it will be a larger dog. If the heritage of the puppy you are looking into adopting is a complete mystery, try to look at its feet. If it has large paws, it means it will become a large adult dog and if it has small paws, it’s a smaller one.
  • The Type of Adult Dog You Want to Have: You also have to ask yourself the type or kind of adult dog you want. If you’re adventurous, maybe you’d want a dog that can accompany you when you jog, walk, or hike. Or if you have kids, maybe you’d want a friendly one or a therapy dog perhaps. When you have a clear idea of what you want, it will be much easier for you to choose the right puppy.
  • Ask as Many Questions as You Can: Most of the time, shelters are understaffed and they focus more on animal control than on adoption. It means that they may know very litter about the dogs they have. Regardless, try to ask as many questions as you can to get more information about the puppy that you’re looking into adopting.

Things to Know About the Puppy

Once you’ve chosen a puppy that you’d like to adopt, there are some things that are worth knowing about your soon-to-be pet. Here are some of them.

  • Medical Issues: It’s important to know if the puppy has any known medical issues. Having parasites like worms are completely normal in puppies and they are treatable so you don’t have to worry about those. You can look for other problems such as hip or other joint problems because these could mean big vet bills.
  • Behavior: You should also know the behavior of the puppy while at the shelter. Is it comfortable, confident, aggressive, sad, depressed? But keep in mind that if it’s their first few days at a shelter, it’s normal for them to be nervous. You can also ask how the puppy interacted with shelter personnel. You can also know its best and worst quality so that you’ll know what to expect.
  • The Puppy’s Mother: You can also ask if the puppy’s mother is in the shelter because spending some time with it can give you insights into the type of dog your chosen puppy will become.  

Evaluating the Puppy

Another way to know if you’ve chosen the right shelter puppy is to evaluate it. Here are some of the things you can do to evaluate your chosen puppy.

  • Cradle the puppy in your arms with its belly up for about half a minute.

If your chosen puppy relaxes quickly, it means it’s either easygoing or is used to being handled which are both good things. But if it struggles the entire time, then that could be a sign that it is a strong-willed puppy that is best for an experienced owner. But it could also mean that it’s never been handled before and needs some training to get comfortable. If the puppy looks away, it means that it’s a bit timid.

  • Walk away and try to call the puppy to follow you.

If the puppy follows you with its tail up, it means it likes human company which is best for people who are always at home. If the puppy takes its time to get to you because it stops and explores, this can be a sign of confidence and independence. This kind of puppy needs an owner who is a good leader. If the puppy freezes or stays away from you, it means that it is a fearful puppy who needs lots of training and attention.

  • Stand a few feet away from the puppy and clap your hands.

If the puppy comes right up to you and starts jumping or licking you, it means that it’s a normal and well-adjusted puppy. If it stays away or walks away, it means that it has an independent spirit which is not good if you want a clingy pet. If the puppy hesitates to come before going to you, it means that it is shy.

  • Make a loud noise when the puppy is not looking.

When the puppy is not looking, you can drop something loud on the floor and if the puppy goes to investigate the item or come to you quickly, it is normal and a good sign. But if the puppy barks viciously and have trouble calming down, this could mean it can become aggressive when startled which is not a good sign. If it does not go to investigate or get scared it pees, it is a fearful puppy.

  • Let the puppy sit and stroke it all over while keeping your head low and close enough for the puppy to lick.

If the puppy is comfortable with your petting and maybe licks your face, it means that it is a well-balanced and social puppy. But if it tries to get away, freeze, growl, or look away, it means the puppy could be independent, assertive or fearful and might need a lot of training and a more experienced owner.

Keep in mind that puppies who have extreme behavior are those who are either very timid or assertive. These kinds of puppies are not bad dogs but they will need a lot of training and attention. They are also for more experienced owners. Therefore, if it’s your first time to take care of a puppy, you might what to choose one that does not have extreme behavior.

Choosing a puppy from a shelter might be challenging, but it is fun as well. And more than looking into the characteristics and personality of puppies, knowing your preferences is a big help too for you to be able to choose the right puppy for you. We hope the tips we shared will be able to help you in choosing a puppy the next time you visit a shelter.

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