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How To Choose A Dog From A Shelter

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Pet adoptions can be a difficult task, especially if you are choosing a pet from a shelter. If, for example, you're choosing a dog, you need to take some things into consideration. You don't know what the dog's history has been, only that it is up to the standards of the shelter. In order to increase the chances that you'll find the dog that is perfect for you and your family, follow these steps.

1. Make a Note of a Few Dogs When You First Come In

The first step is to make a note of a few dogs that you might be interested in when you come in. Look for qualities that you enjoy, either physical or with regards to personality. Try to not make a mental note of more than four or five dogs. When you make this first pass, try not to cuddle any of the dogs or even pet them. You just want to get a sense of the area and the dogs that are available.

2. Look For Social Dogs

If you are looking for a dog that you will be able to play with and that will take interest in you, you're going to want a social dog. To identify a social dog, crouch down next to his or her crate and put your hand near the crate. A social dog is more likely to look at you and want to see what you're all about. This will lead to the dog sniffing you. If the dog in the crate doesn't particularly want to meet you, then that dog is not social. Make sure that you visit all of the dogs that you took note of with your first pass. Once you think you have a few social dogs, take them into an isolated area, such as an empty room, and sit with them for a few minutes. Try to totally ignore them. If they are truly social, they will be attempting to get your attention.

3. Pet the Dog

Finally, you're going to want to pet a dog all over to make sure that he or she is very friendly and likes being touched by people. Start with the dog's head and move to his or her back. Continue moving downwards until you reach the dog's belly. See if the dog will allow you to scratch his or her belly while he or she is standing. The dog is especially social if he or she rolls onto his or her back to get a belly rub. 

Once you know that the dog is extremely social, interested in you, and is willing to be touched by you, you have likely found a dog that will work for your family.