Man's best friend comes in all shapes, sizes, and, of course, personalities. The good news is that almost any rescue dog can make a wonderful, lifelong companion for you and your family. The bad news is that some of those bundles of energy will make less appropriate pets for you than others.
The key is simply knowing what to look for! Here are a few things to think about:
Choosing the right dog generally means identifying the type of animal who matches your wants and lifestyle. If you live alone in a small, third-floor apartment, for instance, adopting a large, active retriever mix might not be the best choice. Conversely, if you've got a family of four and are looking for a companion to match your active family lifestyle, such an animal may be the perfect choice. A dog's size, exercise requirements, friendliness, assertiveness, and compatibility with children should all figure into your decision.
While you're at the adoption center, keep in mind that it is a stressful place for any animal. Quite often, a dog's true colors won't show until he's away from other animals and the adoption center environment. So even if you walk past a kennel with a dog who isn't vying for your attention, don't count him out. He may just be a little scared or lonely.
An adoption counselor can help you select canine candidates who'll match what you're looking for. When you spend time with each animal, you'll want to ask yourself:
How old is the dog?
You may want to select a puppy as your new companion. Keep in mind that young dogs usually require much more training and supervision than more mature dogs. If you lack the time or patience to housebreak your pup or to correct problems like chewing and jumping, an adult dog may be a better choice. Dead set on a puppy? Click here to learn how you can make responsible choice about where you acquire a puppy if you haven't found the right match at adoption centers.
How shy or assertive is the dog?
Although an active, bouncy dog may catch your eye, a more quiet or reserved dog might be easier to live with and care for.
How good is the dog with children?
Learning about a dog's past through a history sheet or from an adoption counselor can be helpful, but past information isn't always available. In general, a dog who is active, likes to be touched, and is not sensitive to handling and noise is a dog who will probably thrive in a house full of kids.
So how do you know what kinds of dogs will have the qualities you're looking for? The best way to find out is to learn about the various breeds, visit with animals at the adoption center, and speak with an adoption counselor for guidance.
Dogs fall into one of two categories: purebreds or mixed breeds. Most animal shelters have plenty of both. The only significant difference between the two is that purebreds, because their parents and other ancestors are all members of the same breed, generally conform to a specific "breed standard." This means that if you adopt a puppy who is purebred, you have a good chance of knowing how big he'll get when he gets older and what general physical and behavioral characteristics he's likely to have.
The size, appearance, and temperament of most mixed breed dogs can be predicted as well. After all, mixed breeds are simply combinations of different purebreds. So if you can recognize the ancestry of a particular mixed breed puppy, you'll have a good chance of knowing how he'll turn out, too. When you adopt a mixed breed, you have the benefit of getting the combined traits of two or more different breeds in one animal and you adopt a totally unique companion.
Whether you're looking for a purebred or a mixed breed dog, both can be found in our adoption centers and both can make wonderful companions!
While the number of homeless dogs in Massachusetts continues to decline, the number of stray and surrendered Pit Bulls has remained high. The MSPCA’s Adoption Centers take in more Pit Bulls than any other type of dog. There are many misconceptions that currently surround Pit Bulls. Click here to learn more about Pit Bulls, our philosophy regarding Pit Bull adoption, why we choose to place adoptable Pit Bulls, and what we feel an adopter's commitment should be.
Every dog in the adoption center can provide you with boundless love and companionship, and every dog certainly deserves a lifelong home. But some dogs are better for you and your lifestyle that others. That's why you should take the time to make a thoughtful choice. After all, you're choosing a pal who will be with you 10, 15, or even more years. Select the right dog, and you and your new companion will enjoy those years to the fullest.