Adding a New Dog to the Family


Have you been thinking about getting a dog but just haven’t pulled the trigger? While walking into a pet store and picking out a dog based on its breed and coloring may be an easy option, consider looking at a shelter or rescue group for your new family member.

Adopting from a Shelter

There are plenty of great reasons to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group versus buying a pet from a pet store or independent breeder. First, adoption costs are much lower than purchasing a dog. In fact, buying a pet can easily cost upwards of $500 or more, especially if you are looking for a specific dog breed. Although you are more likely to find mixed breeds at shelters and rescue groups, these dogs generally live longer and have lower vet costs over the course of their lives.

When you adopt from a shelter, you may not know the dog’s full history. However, when you purchase from a pet store, you may also not know where the dog came from. It could have been a puppy mill dog, meaning you may find your new pet to be inbred, leading to increased vet bills. Finally, shelters and rescue groups often have resources available to help you with your pet since they are more dedicated to finding the animal a forever home.

Choosing the Right Dog for Your Lifestyle

Different breeds and individual dogs can have very different personalities. In some cases, dogs may not show their full personality until after they have been brought home and have a chance to open up. While it is always fun to see shelter dogs come out of their shells as they become part of the family, it can make it more difficult to find the right dog for you.

When you are in the process of picking a shelter dog, it is fine to be picky. If you pick too fast without doing your research and seeing what else is available, you may end up with a miserable dog and family or a dog that will need to be taken back to the shelter in the future. This is not good for you and your family and certainly not good for the dog.

Picking the right dog starts with knowing what you want. Avoid choosing your new dog based on its breed. Focus more on the dog’s energy level and sociability. Check to make sure the dog has been tested to see if they are kid-safe if you have children. Second, when you actually get a chance to look at the dogs, you will want to watch their body language. Take some time to learn about dog language before you go so that you know what to look for and identify the language that you are seeing.

Finally, take care when picking the shelter. Open-intake shelters often take in so many animals that they are unable to get to fully know each one. Limited-intake shelters only take in a certain number, so rescuers generally get to learn a little more about the animals they rescue. If you have specific needs, such as a kid-friendly pet, limited-intake shelters may be a better bet.

Enjoying Your New Dog

Once you have made your decision and finish up with the adoption process, you are ready to begin enjoying your new family member. Whether your new family member is quiet and loves long walks in the park or energetic and is happy to go on long excursions, you will wonder how you ever got along without them.

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