Choosing a Humane Society Dog for a family addition can be a very rewarding experience if done properly. So many times I have seen someone adopt from the Humane Society only for the dog to be returned. Sometimes an animal is returned several times before they can find a permanent home. Many times the return of an animal could have been prevented by the Humane Society or the new owner. If you are considering adopting from the Humane Society there are a few things you should consider and do before making the adoption commitment. Here are some tips to help you in your decision.
1.) Prior to going to the Humane Society, do your research on specific breeds and match it to you and your family’s life style. If you are an active family, you may want an active breed, if you are laid back and do not like walking that much the breed of dog you choose should reflect that. If you are inexperienced with dogs and dog training you should choose a breed that has an easy and high trainability trait. Choosing the wrong breed that does not match your family’s style of living is the number one reason for them having to be returned.
2.) Consider the pets you already have at home. The animal you choose from the Humane Society must be able to get along with what you already have at home. If you have cats or other dogs, then you would not want to adopt a dog that does not get along with cats or dogs!
3.) Be patient, if you know the breeds you are looking for and the Humane Society does not have that breed, be prepared to make several visits, keep checking and ask perhaps to be put on a waiting list for that particular breed.
4.) Do not expect to get the perfect dog from the Humane Society. While this does sometimes happen, it is not usually the case. Let’s face it, most of them wind up in the Humane Society because the owners could not handle them, did not take the time to train them properly or from severely being neglected. With a little work though and perseverance, you will have a very loyal dog, most dogs coming from the Humane Society are very appreciating and loyal to their new owners and very willing to please. Be prepared to take the time for training and working on some bad habits, most can be worked out if you are willing to make the effort.
5.) Have a plan of action for separation anxiety issues that may arise and how to handle it. Many dogs coming from the Humane Society will have separation anxiety issues and you must have a way of dealing with this as so they do not destroy your home while away. It is understandable considering the conditions most of these unwanted animals come from. A new loving owner leaving them is very stressful and frightening to them, understand this and have a way to deal with this as it will take time for them to understand you will return.
6.) Do not always take the word of the Humane Society workers when you question them. While they mean well, they are not always trying to place dogs with the right owner, they are just trying to get the dogs out of there as fast as they can to free up room. While not all Humane Societies work in this fashion, I have seen some that do, not taking in the needs of the family or the dog, just thinking in terms of finding a dog a home, today.
7.) Do not expect the Humane Society workers to know a whole lot about any particular dog, sometimes they do if the animal was owner relinquished, but most times the animal comes in as a stray and very little is known about it, other than what has been observed while in the Humane Society.
8.) Do not make a rash decision when you find a dog that you are really interested in, really look it over, ask if you can take it out and see how it walks on a leash. Visit it a few times and ask if they may put it on hold while you consider it. Ask if you may take it home for one night on a trial to see how it does in your home. If they have a special area you can interact with it, spend some time with it in that room and see how it takes to playing, being brushed, handled in a variety of ways, touched. If you think it will make a good match for your family, ask about the adoption process and see if you may fill out the adoption forms.
I hope these tips may help you in your rewarding experience of saving an animal from a rescue or Humane Society. I have 2 dogs myself that we have adopted from the Humane Society and they have been wonderful family members ever since. Our Australian Cattle dog, actually took 4 years of serious work to work out many of her problem areas as she had been totally ruined in being socialized at only 6 months old at the time we had adopted her. I had many years of experience of dog training and knew all about her breed before adopting her as was willing to put the work into her. I am so glad I did too for now at 7 years old she is a remarkable and loyal family member. Our other adoptee only needed a little leash work and he had been returned 3 times in 3 years to the Humane Society for the only reason of him shedding a lot. Oh does he shed! Everything in our house seems to be constantly covered in his hair, but we have dealt with it for 10 years now and he has been a loving gem for all this time. May your adoption from the Humane Society be as wonderful an experience as ours was!