Monday, January 28, 2013

Judging the Best Senior Shelter Dog for You

Senior Chi-Terrier Mix
January is coming to a close. You've walked by so many adoption events in front of pet stores that your resolve is beginning to falter. It's time to give in and get that older dog you've read about here and reap some of the benefits they bring with them.

Whether you are interested in a dog from a rescue or shelter, make sure that you are asking all the right questions:


  1. Does this dog get along with people? Does it like kids? - You'll want to know if your dog has any hang ups around any particular type of people. Maybe they got along especially well with men or women. Maybe they're skittish around children. Even if you don't have any, you'll want to know before you get out there and start to walk them in public.
  2. How are they around other animals? - Many shelters and rescue will test for animal aggressive behavior. If you have another animal, you're going to want to introduce them before making a long term commitment. Ask your rescue volunteer or shelter staff for the best way to do this. Ask them if they've noticed any food guarding behaviors with your pooch to be. This usually isn't a deal breaker, but if you've never had more than one animal at the same time, learning how to feed them together is something important to research.
  3. What are they like when they're not locked up? - Quite often a dog will retreat into itself if locked up for any length of time to cope with the isolation. They're pack animals and the thought of not being social is a scary proposition, however when they're allowed to go out, they are born again.
  4. Do they have any illnesses or physical ailments that you need to be aware? - It's always best to understand this at the beginning of your relationship with your senior dog. Some illnesses are very treatable in an inexpensive way. Others require more time, attention, and yes: funds to address effectively. My advice: Don't over commit.
Next, get out there and meet you prospective new room mate. Call up your rescue or shelter to make an appointment to come by and meet the dog, or even a few dogs that might be a fit. Let them know who will be responsible for the dog should you decide to adopt and if you have other animals that you have. Before adopting, you're going to want to make sure that you're introducing them in a controlled manner first

Listen to the rescue team when meeting your new older pup. They'll likely have some insight to help you make the best first impression possible. Most important: be yourself. Be the person you want your new dog to love and obey.


Photo Credit: rikkis_refuge
Licensed under Creative Commons