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Choosing your new dog

The decision to get a dog is as important as where you choose to live, whether to have children, or to get married. Don’t get a dog because it is cute or fashionable, or you feel sorry for it. If a dog is returned to the shelter it gets a black mark against it and eventually becomes unadoptable
Some things to consider when making your choice

1. Your own energy and the dog’s energy.
Are you the kind of person who gets up with the sun to go to the gym before hiking over the hills or do you require a slower start and a few more cups of coffee to get you going? Have an honest appraisal of your energy levels, lifestyle and your reasons for having a dog, and is this the same for the whole family? When looking at dogs consider the breed and age of the dog and whether this will be compatible with your lifestyle. If you like long walks over the hills then you will want a dog that can keep up so a younger more agile breed would be better suited. For quieter nights in and shorter strolls maybe an older dog would be a better choice for you.

2. Dogs in cages.
When you visit a shelter to view dogs bear in mind that their behaviour will not be representative of their true personality. When viewing the dogs remain calm and avoid eye contact.

3. Ask questions.
Ask questions of the staff at the shelter will know about the animals in their care so ask them how the dog behaves with them on walks, in the kennel, around food, around other dogs and strangers. The shelter want their animals to be placed in the right homes so they will answer your questions honestly.

4. Take the dog for a walk.
Although they will be excited to be out it is an opportunity to see the dog out of the kennel environment and how it reacts to you, the environment and other dogs and people.