Don’t choose a dog on looks alone, but consider what breed types and mixes might fit in with your lifestyle and be compatible with your personality and family. Behaviour traits, energy levels, exercise requirements, size, age and what the dog’s motivations and interests are (touch? play? companionship? sleep?) are all important to consider.
Assess compatibility with existing pets – arrange for a meet and greet on neutral territory with any dogs already in the home and ask if the dog has been assessed around cats and small furries if that’s a consideration. But assume that any new dog will need careful management around existing pets for at least several months.
Find out about any existing medical conditions, medication or treatment required and ongoing costs.
Ask about behavioural issues. This might not necessarily be volunteered but then some behaviour issues don’t come to light in rescue kennels. Even if the dog is stated to be good around other dogs, cats, children – make no assumptions and always err on the side of caution when first mixing them.
Be realistic about the amount of time and effort you will have to put in to settle them in.
Don’t adopt a dog because you feel sorry for him or to ‘save a live’. And never believe you are ‘rescuing’ a dog by buying them from a puppy farmer or unscrupulous breeder. You are simply propagating this evil trade.
Dogs behave differently in kennels than at home. Be prepared for your dog to either be much more exciteable when you bring them home, or quiet and subdued for a few days while he finds his feet. Be prepared for this and for the dog to make some mistakes initially as he learns about your routine.