What to know before adopting a dog?

This article will help you understand certain things that you should know before adopting a dog.

Ready to adopt a dog?

What to know before adopting a dog?

Well, if you are not sure the answer to the above question is yes, then here are my 2 cents to help you make such a big decision in your life. You can refer to my blogs on Things to consider before getting a dog-Male Vs. Female and What to know before getting a dog?

Don’t hurry up, take your time, and carefully evaluate all the pros and cons before moving ahead.

Once you have made up your mind for getting a new dog in your family, the next big question that comes up is whether to get a dog from a breeder or to adopt one from a shelter.

Well if a faithful companion is the only thing that you are looking for then adopting a dog would make more sense rather than getting one from a breeder for various reasons like:

  • You will save the lives of two dogs by getting one into your family, and by making space for another one in the shelter, you will be a hero!
  • You will have a good idea about the personality of your furry friend even before adopting it.
  • Generally, foster homes take care of Things like neutering or spaying, micro-chipping.
  • Foster homes continuously monitor all the dogs, and hence dogs coming from foster homes are usually in good shape.

I hope that is enough to convince you to adopt a dog. If not, then you can find a more exhaustive list of various reasons to adopt a dog by doing quick research on the internet.

So, once you are sure about your decision to get a new furry friend in your life, there are certain things that you should know before adopting a dog which are:

Do proper research before adopting a dog:

Do a proper research before adopting a dog.

It’s essential to do adequate research on the shelter from where you are planning to adopt a dog. There are few things that you should know before adopting a dog like how old the shelter is and from where they get all the adoptable dogs. Talking to people who have already adopted their dog from the shelter would also give you some good insight into the shelter. Try to find out where they house all the dogs and how they take care of their health and vaccines.

Most of the shelters take care of things like micro-chipping, spaying & neutering which can reduce a lot of initial ownership costs, find out if the shelter you are planning to adopt your dog from is taking care of all these things.

Be open to adopt any dog:

A shelter is a beautiful place because it has so many innocent, loyal souls who have gone through a lot of sufferings in their life just because their owners weren’t as loyal as them.

It’s essential to know before adopting a dog that every other dog has its personality, aura, and energy. Going to a shelter with an end in mind can let you down, especially if it’s a puppy. A pup might look like a pure breed, but once it grows up, that’s when you can find if it’s a pure breed or not. So, don’t assume things before adopting rather accept the dog for what it is, and you will appreciate your new family member.

I would like to share an example of one of my friends who adopted a puppy from the shelter who looked just like a pure black Labrador puppy, but after six months, the dog had developed some white patches over his back and turned out to be some mixed breed. My friend still loves and appreciated his furry friend because he just wanted a faithful companion rather than a show dog. Imagine this happening to someone who had got the puppy thinking that it’s a black Labrador. The dog would have ended in a shelter!

Do you know what you are looking for in a dog?

We all have different personalities and energy levels, and so does the dogs.

Some of us are energetic and athletic, while some are lethargic or have some health issues. So, try to understand your requirement first before going to a foster home.

List the kind of qualities and energy level that you would prefer and discuss it with the staff, and they would be able to find the best match for your family, and that way, you can ensure more compatibility.

Separation anxiety:

Separation anxiety.

Another thing that you should know before adopting a dog is that It’s quite common to see separation anxiety in shelter dogs. Still, not all shelter dogs need to suffer from separation anxiety.

If you like a dog who seems to have separation anxiety, then don’t give up on him/her, It’s just a behavioral challenge that you can easily overcome. Even though separation anxiety sounds like a big mental disease, but it’s something that you can easily defeat with love, affection, and the most crucial ingredient of all, i.e., trust.

Separation anxiety is just a state of the mind that the dog develops because of some bad past experiences because of which the dog develops a fear of being abandoned every time it’s left alone and starts to panic.

So, once you develop a sense of trust and make your furry friend understand that he/she will not be left alone again, then separation anxiety would just be a thing from the past.

Adjustment period:

Adjustment period.

Do you miss your home or feel uncomfortable when you move to a new place?

I am sure most of us would answer, “Yes.”

Dogs coming from shelters have already gone through a lot in their life. They tend to develop a mindset that nothing is constant in their lives, and they will be moved to a different place again. It might reflect in their behavior in the form of fear and anxiety.

So, give your new furry friend some time to adjust and absorb this new change. Once the dog feels comfortable and develops a bond with your family, that is when you will start to see your true companion being more loyal and comfier around you and your family.

Take your entire family along with you:


Since you are planning to add a new family member, it’s imperative to take your whole family with you to the adoption center, especially if you have kids in your family because there may be instances where a dog can be super cute and friendly around adults. Still, it may show signs of aggression around kids because of some bad past experiences with kids.

If you already have a dog or any other pet, then try to take it along with you to the adoption center, that way you can ensure that the new family member gets along with all your family members.

Shelters generally don’t allow any other animal to their refuge for visits, but there are always exceptions, and it shouldn’t harm asking them.

Find a pet that suits your lifestyle:

Find a pet that suits your lifestyle.

Finding a pet that suits your lifestyle would ensure that your journey of being a pet parent would be as smooth as possible. It’s essential to find a pet that closely matches your energy level and activities. For example, if you are someone who likes to go for a jog, then you can adopt a high energy dog who can be your companion for those long miles. In contrast, if you are someone who has some health issues because of which you will not be able to exercise your dog regularly, then a low energy dog would be a better fit for you.

So, make sure to find a dog that suits your lifestyle. This way, you will never regret your decision.

Ask questions!

Ask questions.

Don’t be shy, ask a lot of questions from the staff and volunteers around, and try to know more about the dog before adopting it. Being a new pet parent, you might overlook on few critical aspects which can result in some unexpected events in the future.

It’s important to understand that adopting a dog is a big decision, so don’t leave any stones unturned and have all your queries answered. It would not be wrong to say that most of the dogs end up in a shelter because of their negligent owners who took an impulsive decision just to realize that the dog is not a perfect fit, thereby abandoning them. Dogs do have lives and emotions, and these kinds of situations have a long-term effect on their health and can lead to depression.

So, make sure to ask as many questions as possible to avoid any such situations.

Don’t freak out your furry friend:

Don't freak out your furry friend.

Respect the personal space of a dog, just like we humans, dogs too get shy of strangers and may get confused as to how to react when suddenly approached by a stranger. Don’t freak out your furry friend by going full-frontal, instead take it easy and let your dog absorb your energy and feel comfortable around you. It’s like that first date when both of you are new to each other and feel shy to open up.

Always follow the ritual of “no touch, no talk, and no eye contact,” as mentioned by Cesar. That way, you won’t freak out the dog and will get to spend some quality time and understand his/her personality more accurately.

Don’t be too quick to conclude:

Don't be too quick to conclude.

No matter what kind of dog you are planning to adopt, always be open to all the options. Don’t have any sort of pre-planned restriction in your mind. For instance, avoiding certain breeds like Pitbull, Rottweiler just because they are perceived to be aggressive would result in a biased decision, thereby reducing your chances of getting a perfect match for your family.

Being around dogs for so many years and spending time with various breeds, all I can say is that the behavior of the dog reflects its owner and upbringing. I have seen the calmest and the friendliest Pitbull who wouldn’t mind being cuddled all day long.

Understand the dog history:

Understand dog history.

Try to find out why the pooch ended up at the foster home. The staffs at the foster homes are usually friendly and are ready to answer all your questions, interact with them, and find the one with whom you are comfortable with and clarify all your doubts.

Understanding the history behind the dog is very important as that will help you create an excellent bonding as well as give you some insights about your four-legged furball, which can come handy in various situations. For instance, a dog might have suffered from an abusive owner may lose its trust in humans, and thus the new pet parent would require an extra effort to build that trust.

So, make sure to collect all the past related information of the dog you are planning to adopt. Usually, foster homes document everything correctly and present it to the new pet parent upon adoption, you can also ask for the document before adopting, and they would be happy to help because they wouldn’t want the dog to be abandoned again for any reason.

Take your dog for a walk outside of the foster home:

Take your dog for a walk outside foster home.

Understanding the actual behavior of your furry friend is something that you should know before adopting a dog. Even though there are good chances that the foster homes may not allow you to take the dog out of the foster home before adopting but do give it a try and take your furry friend on a walk somewhere outside of the foster environment.

There are a variety of dogs in foster homes. Some are happily barking, and some are crying because they are missing their owner. This kind of environment can have some psychological impact on your furry friend, which can mask his/her actual behavior.

A dog can feel scared inside the foster home because it is not used to this kind of environment and may show aggression, while outside the foster home, once it feels safe, it would be friendly.

So, I would recommend you take the dog outside and understand how he/she is behaving, and I am sure you would be surprised to see the change in its behavior.

Try to foster first:

Try to foster first.

Fostering first helps you to know more about the dog before adopting it. If the shelter gives you an option to foster first, then do give it a try.

Fostering first gives you a good idea about your new furry friend and allows you to understand if it would be the right fit for your family and avoid any unpleasant future situation.

If you can’t foster first, then try to spend a good amount of time with the dog along with all your family members to understand the behavior of your furry friend and see if it would get along with your family.

Adopted a wrong dog?

Adopted a wrong dog?

Don’t hesitate to come back to the shelter and return the dog to them. Even after carefully making decisions, you might end up in a situation where you are not able to adjust with your new four-legged friend. Instead of abandoning or neglecting the dog because of your wrong decision, learn from your mistake.

We all make mistakes, but we must set things right. You can return the dog to the shelter. Most shelters also give you an option to adopt another dog if you have a valid reason.

Re-register the microchip:

Re-register the microchip.

Most of the shelter dogs come with a microchip installed. While adopting a dog from the shelter, make sure you erase the details of the previous owner and feed in your details so that if your furry friend gets lost, then the rescue center can find your details and reunite you and your furry friend.

Hope that now you know-what to know before adopting a dog?

I would be happy to hear about your adopting experience. Also, let me know if I have missed anything important.

Do let me know in the comment section below for any doubts.

I hope you have a great time with your new family member!


Harsh Gupta


I am a pet blogger at MPD. When I am not writing, I am sipping on coffee and spending my time with my family. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *