Checklist

Questions To Ask The Shelter Or Rescue Before Adopting A Dog

1. What Is This Dog’s History?

By asking about the dog’s history you can hopefully get a better picture of his background. When adopting however, there is always a chance that the shelter or rescue won’t know much about the dog’s past.

2. Do You Have Copies Of The Dog’s Veterinary Records And Has The Dog Received Veterinary Care Here?

If found as a stray it’s likely that the rescue or shelter checked the dog’s health and wellbeing upon entrance. Regardless, it’s important to know if the dog has had his vaccinations, has been spayed or neutered, and if he is facing any other health conditions, at which point you should assess the budget and time you’ll need to dedicate to the dog.

  • If the dog does have health conditions, be sure to ask what medications and special care the dog needs to treat the condition.

3. Has The Dog Undergone A Behavioral Assessment?

Upon entering a shelter or rescue, it is likely that the dog’s behavior will be assessed to determine how ready he is to be adopted and who he should be adopted by. Be sure to ask what types of behavior tests were conducted to understand the dog’s sociability, energy levels, maturity, etc.

4. Has This Dog Been Trained?

Knowing whether your potential pup is house trained and understands basic commands will be helpful as you are considering if he is the one for you. There’s also a good chance that if the dog is trained to some degree, he came from a previous owner rather than growing up as a stray.

  • If the dog has been trained by a previous owner, ask about leash training and if the dog is comfortable being walked on a leash. If the shelter or rescue isn’t sure, request that they assess this ability before bringing the dog home.
  • Ask the shelter about what training classes they may recommend for the dog you are considering. Some shelters even offer training classes on-site for puppies and dogs.

5. To Your Knowledge Has This Dog Been Around Children or Other Animals?

If you’re planning to bring this dog home to your family, this question is especially important to ask. If the dog is known to be aggressive towards children or other animals, he may not be best suited for your family. Even if you don’t have kids or other pets, you’ll still have to be extra cautious in public places or when visiting friends and families with your dog if he is aggressive.

  • If the dog does not do well around children, ask how he does around strangers in general. It’s imperative you understand how much socialization the dog will require before bringing him home.

6. What Is Your Return Policy?

A responsible shelter or rescue will be more than willing to take the dog back if he were to not fit with your family. Know the reclaiming policies and if there are any associated fees.