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October 6, 2016

What to Look for When Adopting a Dog in Georgia

By: Critter-Sitters

Buying or adopting a pet is a great way to make a friend, and maybe even save a dog’s life in the process.  However, getting a dog is a major decision, and it’s important to think about the potential consequences before you commit.  Avoid the temptation to take home the first cute puppy you see.  All dogs deserve love and care, but some dogs won’t necessarily make a good fit for your lifestyle.  Hopefully, this article by our Atlanta dog sitters will help you find a furry friend who makes a great match for you and your family.   

How to Choose the Right Rescue or Shelter Dog for Your Family 

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Dog is called “man’s best friend” for a reason.  The unique relationship between dogs and humans stretches back as far as 33,000 years, when some experts believe dogs first began to split away from wolves.  Dogs have been our favorite companions ever since, and new breeds and hybrids are emerging all the time.   

There’s no question that dogs can enrich your life – but how do you know which one is right for you?  Think about some of these questions when you’re checking out dogs at a shelter, rescue, or pet store.   

  • How old is the dog?  

Senior dogs have a hard time getting adopted, especially by families with young children.  In addition to a shorter life expectancy, elderly dogs sometimes have medical problems, which can make them more expensive to own.   

On the other hand, an elderly dog might make the perfect companion for a person who has the time and resources.  If you’re willing and able to adopt an older dog, you’ll give your new pet the priceless gift of a comfortable, loving home to enjoy during their golden years – without the tremendous energy required for a puppy!   

A puppy may be a great option for a child, because the child and dog can grow up together.  However, puppies also need a great deal of exercise, training, and socialization, which may not be ideal for people who lack experience raising dogs “from scratch.”  And, if you’re a busy working professional or you like to travel frequently, you may not have the free time that raising a puppy requires.  Before you get a dog, think about how busy you usually are and how much time and energy you’re willing to expend.  

  • What breed is the dog?  

Every dog has a unique personality.  In fact, many dogs completely defy the personality traits that are associated with (or unfairly stereotyped to) their breed.  Dobermans, Rottweilers, and Pit Bulls are all prized for their strength and aggression as guard dogs – but you’ll find plenty of sweet ones who think every stranger is their best friend!  Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, and other toy breeds are sometimes dismissed as “yappy,” yet many are quiet and relaxed.    

At the same time, every breed tends to have a characteristic set of behaviors, health problems, and grooming requirements that may narrow down your list of realistic options.  

Take, for example, the Shiba Inu.  These stout little dogs resemble foxes, which makes them appealing to many people.  However, Shibas tend to be independent and headstrong, which, though very charming, can make them difficult to train for inexperienced dog owners.  A more obedient and easily-trained breed, like the Labrador Retriever, might be more suitable for a beginner.   

You should also think about the health problems that are associated with a given breed.  For example, anywhere from about 22% to 30% of Dalmatians are deaf in at least one ear, while up to 20% of German Shepherds will develop hip dysplasia.   

Before you adopt a purebred or mixed-breed dog, you should research the health problems associated with that breed or blend of breeds.  A dog is a long-term commitment, and you must be prepared for the expense and special care that may one day be required of you.   

You should also make sure you have ample room for the dog.  A high-energy breed like a Husky is inappropriate for apartment life, but a breed that’s more of a couch potato, like a Pug, could be ideal for urban living.  

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  • How does the dog get along with children, cats, and other dogs?  

Dogs can wind up at a shelter for any number of reasons.  Sometimes, the reason is an issue with aggression, often due to being abused in the past.   

That might not be a deal-breaker for an experienced adult who knows how to handle dogs with behavioral issues.  Many dogs who were once aggressive or fearful can become very affectionate, loving, and well-behaved with the right sort of owner.     

However, if you have small children or other pets in your household, it can be risky to take home a dog that needs extensive retraining and behavioral adjustments.  If you have a child, cat, or dog at home, you should only consider a dog who is already comfortable around children and/or animals.  For example, you can tell the shelter staff, “I have two cats at home.  Do you have any dogs who came from a household with cats?”   

It’s simply safer, not only for your family members, but for the dog as well.  You want to create a situation where everyone, including the dog, feels as calm and comfortable as possible.   

Need to Hire a Professional Puppy Sitter or Dog Walker in Atlanta, GA?  

Adopting a dog is a wonderful and exciting time.  We hope that you find a great match at your local shelter or rescue!  Once you do, turn to Critter Sitters for all your dog walking and dog sitting needs.  We have cared for thousands of dogs, have earned numerous testimonials from veterinarians, and are one of the oldest and largest pet sitting businesses in the Atlanta area.  

To book an Atlanta dog walker or (or Atlanta cat sitter), simply give us a call at (404) 973-2541.  We’ll set you up with a free consultation to discuss your pet care needs.