What To Ask In Adopting an Adult Dog

No matter how old the dog you’re interested in adopting, you must do whatever you can to find out about him. You want to avoid an adult dog that has too many behavior problems, especially aggression. These are few questions that you must consider asking:

What is the dog’s background?

Many kinds of dogs are available for adoption. You may go to a shelter, the original owner of the dog, the original breeder of the dog, or just a nice person who found the dog on the street. If you find out that the dog is well-bred and the parents have a certificate to back it up, then go for it! Or, if you think the dog is healthy and friendly, fits your size, coat, and activity criteria, you might want to think a little bit further, though he might be the one you bring home tonight.

Look for any aggression signs. However, if you can’t find out anything about the dog because he was found on the street, I suggest you a lot more homework than you would in previous conditions. You have to find out about the dog’s health, activity level, aggression level, etc.

Why is the dog available for adoption?

black and white short coated dog
Photo: Victor Grabarczyk | Openverse

Dogs become available for many reasons. The most common ones are “divorce” and “death.” Usually the owner doesn’t want to blame the dog for being let go. Another reason like “bit our neighbor” is when the owner clearly blames the dog, though I doubt someone would say that to you when you are thinking about adopting.

Think about what is NOT said by the owner as well. If the owner says “we can’t give him enough exercise,” that could very well mean “nobody is able to keep up with him and he will chew furniture when he doesn’t get enough exercise.”

What behavior problems does this dog have? You might be surprised when I tell you many behavior problems are actually fixable. If the problems are like pulling on the leash, urinating the sofa, barking at night, jumping on people, won’t stay in the yard, digging the lawn; these are all fixable behavior problems. Assuming, of course, you will take the time to work with the dog.

If, however, the behavior problem deals with aggression, then it really takes hard work to fix it. Most average dog owners are not able to fix this and you shouldn’t take a chance on trying.

How is the dog with children, other dogs, cats?

grey tabby cat beside short-coat brown and white dog

Even if you don’t have kids, other dogs, or cats, you are going to run into them from time to time. You MUST find out the dog’s behavior towards kids, other dogs, and other animals. What’s better, he has to fit well with your family members.

Shelters ask previous owner to fill in a card and tell about problems with children and other animals. If you are adopting from other people, ask if they have children or other pets in their house. If you don’t have access to this information but the dog looks friendly, then he might be okay. However, if you have doubts, it’s better for you to wait for the dog that really fits your family’s life.

What if your relation doesn’t work out?

woman playing with dog

You need to know beforehand what options you have if you and your new adopted dog are not meant to be together. What are the time frame that you could bring him back? Is the adoption fees (if any) refundable? Can you choose another dog?

If possible, arrange a meeting with your family and the dog you are about to adopt. See if it works out well. Some dogs might do well with men, but not so well with women, and vice versa. If you don’t have a family, ask a friend’s favor. All of these information will help you find the perfect adoption dog for you and your family


  • Sydney King

    The guest author is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast with years of experience in canine care and training. With a deep understanding of dog behavior and a commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership, the author shares insightful tips and engaging stories to enrich the lives of both dogs and their owners. The views and opinions expressed in articles written by guest authors on our website are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of our platform.

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