You’ve made the valiant decision to welcome a senior citizen pooch into your loving home, fantastic! But where do you go from here? Bringing a dog into your family is a lifelong commitment, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly – so it’s important to ask some specific questions during the search for your dream dog.
In an ideal world, all animals would have a loving home, and animal rescue centers wouldn’t exist. But, alas, there are countless canine rescue, adoption centers, and dog pounds around the country.
With so much choice, how do you know where to adopt from? And does it even matter? Yes, it certainly does. There have been tragic stories in the news about so-called rescue centers that have turned out to be perpetrators of animal abuse and neglect themselves.
Your best bet is to research online, with many organizations including the Kennel Club providing lists of trusted dog adoption centers.
Once you get to the stage where you’re interested in adopting a particular canine, it’s a great sign if the staff ask you a ton of questions! It shows that they care about the dog’s well-being, and home situation not just the adoption fee. Typical questions include:
- The names, ages, and occupations of everyone that will share the household
- Proof of landlord permission for dogs in the home, or of home ownership
- How long the dog will be left alone for during the day
- How many years of canine ownership experience you have
- A detailed description of your day to day lifestyle
Licensing requirements can vary by state, city, and area. But no matter where you are, it is a legal requirement for a canine rescue facility to have a permit to operate. If they don’t, it’s best to go somewhere that does.
When visiting the center, keep your eyes peeled. You want to look at how the staff treats the animals; this should be obvious from the way that the animals react to them. Are they happy to see them, or fearful?
Of course, this is a rescue center, and newly admitted animals may, of course, show the signs of fear due to past experiences. So bear this in mind before making snap judgments.
When you opt to adopt, in some ways, you are getting a surprise. Often, the dog’s history is unknown, but there are specific questions that you should ask to ensure that the dog will be happy with you, and you with them.
- Does he have any special requirements?
- Has he been behavior tested?
- Do you know anything about his history?
- What vet treatment has he recently had?
- Does he require a specialist senior dog food?
Working with a canine behaviorist to find the right fit for your family, lifestyle, and home is your best strategy for happy dog ownership; especially if you’ve never owned a dog before!
Many dog trainers even offer this service at a reduced rate, in the hopes that should the dog require training in the future – you’ll come back to them.
A professional has lots of experience in evaluating dogs quickly, and before you get your heart set on a 200 lb Great Dane – your trainer can snap you back into reality and remind you that you would be much better off with a Labrador in your one-bed apartment!
They will also be able to put your shortlist of pooches through their paces, placing them in different environments and stress tests to see how they react, and whether any hidden traits come to the surface.
There’s something about those bright eyes, wet snouts, and wagging tails that make people fall in love! Try to hold off on making a decision until you’ve seen a variety of different canines, and especially don’t adopt the first and only dog you see!
Set a specific number in your mind of dogs you should view before deciding. By doing this, you’re going to be thinking with your brain and not just your heart!
If you get a little stuck and it comes down to deciding between two dogs. One great way to decide – is to ask the center whether either have another interested party. If one dog, has other suitors, why not choose to take the remaining pooch so that both end up in loving homes?!
You’ve done it, after wishing you could bring every single dog home from the pound, you’ve narrowed it down to just one! But, before you start jumping for joy – have you looked into the home inspection policy?
Not all centers require home visits, but if this one does – ask them for a list of their requirements, that way you’ll know if going home to make repairs is necessary. Almost always, a flat-out requirement is a tall fence.
We’ve gotten through the nitty gritty, and you now know the practical stuff that you have to look into before bringing home your senior pooch.
Now, I’ll let you get back to gazing adoringly into every dog’s eyes, and making small squeals of delight when one walks past! It’s such an exciting time, isn’t it?! Bringing a new “old” puppy into the home!
But remember, he is a little older, and as much as you want to go on long walks or play fetch in the garden – he’s no spring chicken. Moving home, and getting to know new people is tiring enough. Give him a little time, and before long, you can expect to see his normal energy level!
Happy Senior Dog Hunting!
Alexandra Seagal is a long-time dog owner and canine enthusiast. She created Animalso.com to educate dog owners and give them a reliable, trustworthy site to learn how to be the best owners they can be. By presenting valuable lessons and experiences, Alexandra hopes to help other dog owners train and treat their pups the right way.