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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Dog

Adding a dog to your family should be a well-thought-out decision. It’s important to make the best choice so that the dog can succeed in your home. No matter if the dog is from a shelter, rescue group, or even from a family friend, ask questions — lots of questions. The shelter or rescue may not have all the answers, but with questioning, you can learn as much as possible. Before you consider adopting a dog, however, ask yourself some questions.

Questions to ask at home


Why do you want a dog? What kind of dog do you want? Do you want a puppy, young adult, or older dog? What do you want to do with the dog? Does everyone at home want a dog? Is everyone willing to make changes at home to adjust to the disruption a dog will cause? Who is going to care for the dog? Who is going to walk the dog? Is everyone at home ready to train the dog and be consistent with the dog’s new rules? Do you realize a dog will get your car dirty? Where will the dog sleep? Where will he relieve himself? Is your budget ready for a dog?


These are only the basic questions that you should ask yourself and your family or roommates. A dog, no matter whether he’s your first dog or a second dog in the household, will cause some disruption. He will change the family’s routine, schedule, and even increase the number of times the floor will need to be vacuumed.

What are his physical characteristics?


What breed is the dog? Is the dog male, female, neutered, or spayed? Is he short haired, long haired, coarse coat, wiry coat, or fluffy? How big is he? How old is he?


Knowing the breed or mixtures of breeds can often predict certain characteristics. Working dogs, in general, tend to be more protective. Herding breeds are often busier than other breeds. Terriers are tenacious. There are always exceptions, of course, since many breeds do have individual characteristics. Knowing the dog’s breed beforehand can help you choose a dog that will fit into your household or family.


Short-haired dogs shed, often just as much as long-haired dogs, but they shed pokey, short hairs. Fluffy coated dogs might get tangles in their coat and require more grooming. These are all personal considerations to help you decide on the right dog for you.


Knowing the dog’s age is important. If you want to avoid puppyhood and the teenage months, then you can choose an older dog. Some people hate to see old dogs lose their home, and so prefer to adopt senior dogs that can be loved through their old age. The age of the dog you wish to adopt is one of those questions you asked yourself at the beginning of this process.

Is he well-socialized?


Is he friendly and open with men, women, and children? Has he ever growled at anyone? Has he ever bitten anyone? If so, who, and in what situation? Does he get along with other dogs? Is he friendly to cats? Is he afraid of anything when out for a walk? Does he have any known social problems?


These questions are all important but to varying degrees depending on your household. If you don’t have a cat, for example, and never plan on adding one to your family, then a dog who isn’t socialized to cats won’t be a problem.


A dog who is afraid, growls, bites, or shows aggression in other ways can also be potentially dangerous. If the dog you are thinking of adopting has some of these issues, ask a dog trainer to help you talk to the shelter or rescue, go over the dog’s issues, and help you evaluate the dog. A third party opinion is never a bad idea.
Evaluate the dog’s training and


Has the dog had any formal obedience training? Is he house-trained? Does he jump on people? Does he chew destructively in the house or yard? Does he dash out open doors or gates? Does he grab hands with his mouth? Does he dig holes in the lawn? Does he have any other behaviors that could cause a problem? By knowing more about the dog’s behavior before adopting him, you can decide whether you want or are able to spend the time, effort, and money on a dog with some behavioral issues.

What else?


Ask the shelter or rescue what else they can tell you about this dog. Is he standoffish? Does he remain in the room with people, watching, but not interacting? Or, would he prefer to be on your lap? Does he like to play, and if so, what games does he like? Does he have any food issues? Does he have any health issues, and if so, what are they? Has he been seen by a local veterinarian and would they provide his health records?

Make a good decision


If a dog is coming from a private party, that person will be able to answer all or most of your questions. Hopefully, that person will be honest with you. If a rescue group places the dog in a foster home for a while, the foster volunteer will be able to answer many of these questions. Obviously, the longer the foster parent has the dog, the more questions can be answered.


A dog in a shelter, though, is not in a home situation and often only the basic information is given to the shelter. Plus, if the dog was a stray or abandoned, little will be known. However, ask questions anyway. Those who work or volunteer at shelters get to know what to look for in dogs. They can tell you if the dog guards his food, is worried about other dogs, dislikes men, or hates hats.


After querying yourself, your family, and those caring for the dog, make a decision as to whether this will be a good dog for you. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be some emotion behind the decision, though. Choose a dog who tugs at your heart strings; but support that decision with the answers to your questions.

Nilla’s Tub DIY Dog Wash and Health Food Store, located at 211 Landmark Dr. in Normal, carries a large selection of dietary supplements, treats, and quality food including raw, dehydrated raw, canned, and kibble. They also have everything you need to bathe and groom your furry friend in a fun, relaxing environment. No appointment necessary, call 309-451-9274 or visit them online at NillasTub.com.

Liz Palika is a certified dog trainer, certified animal behavior consultant, and the co-owner of Kindred Spirits Dog Training in Vista, CA. Liz is also an award-winning author and writer specializing in pets. For more information go to www.kindredspiritsk9.com. Article reprinted with permission from The Honest  Kitchen Blog. Honest Kitchen makes pet food that’s all natural, made in the USA, 100-percent human grade, super healthy, and minimally processed. It’s people food, made especially for pets. More information about their products can be found online at www.HonestKitchen.com.




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