How to Adopt a Puppy

Three Methods:Choosing the Right DogAdopting from a ShelterCaring for a New Puppy

Do you want a get a new dog? Consider saving a dog's life in the process. Adoption is a wonderful alternative to purchasing a dog from a pet store, and it is often much cheaper than getting a dog from a breeder.

Method 1
Choosing the Right Dog

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    Consider the size of dog that you want. If you have small kids in your house you are better off with a smaller dog so you don't need to separate it from the kids' area. If you want friends or neighbors to take care of your dog while you are on holidays or away for work, you are always better of with a small breed of dog. People usually don't mind looking after a little dog for a few days. If you like to take your dog with you while you bike or while cross-country skiing, go for a bigger dog with long and strong legs.
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    Consider which breed of puppy would suit your lifestyle. There are large dogs, small dogs, high-energy dogs and low-energy dogs. How much space do you have for the dog to run around? How much time do you have to play with it? Do you want a dog that will do well with children or a dog that will fit into your purse? Think about why you want to adopt a puppy, then choose your breed accordingly.
    • Dogs like shepherds, huskies and border terriers are high energy dogs that often develop bad habits if they don't get a daily session of running and playing. These bad habits are caused by their unsatisfied need for high energy games or just running.
    • If you have a busy day schedule, you are better off with a calm type like a retriever or a hound or a small terrier. There are even lower activity dogs like dachshunds.
    • If you want to be able to manage your dog in the house then you should stay away from the types that tend to take over like the toy breeds, heavy bulldog types, great Danes, and Saint Bernards.
    • If you want a dog that can do tricks and play for hours you wanna stay away from hounds and heavy breeds and go with smarter breeds like border collie Jack Russel terrier, pointers, poodles
    • If you want a dog that will be everyone's friend, look into spaniels, larger terriers, and retrievers. These dogs are known for being easy-going and good with people.
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    Find a dog that will fit your lifestyle. Questions to think about while looking for a dog:
    • Do I have enough room for a big dog? (they aren't going to be puppies forever so make sure they have enough room to run around and burn enough energy).
    • Am I active enough to keep my dog in shape? (Larger dogs and certain breeds need to have exercise. If they don't have a backyard to run around in, you need to go running with them or take them on hikes or go to a local dog park to get that energy out).
    • Are you looking for a lap dog? (If you are looking for a cuddle buddy, maybe think about a smaller or even older dog to adopt).
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    Consider whether you want a puppy or an older dog. Do you want a well-trained dog, or do you want to train the dog?

Method 2
Adopting from a Shelter

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    Visit a shelter or a dog pound. Take a few hours to visit an animal rescue center and see if any dogs capture your heart. To find a shelter, type in "shelters near me" and you should get a site that lists them all. The shelters usually post the animals that they have there on their site with the names, ages, and breeds of the dogs that they have. Usually, search engines will allow you to pick what type of animal and age you are looking for. When you find a shelter that looks good, call and ask about hours and days they allow visits and adoptions.
    • You can also look on the internet for a suitable puppy, see a breeder, or just visit your vet if you have a dog that could have a puppy. Look into the cost of how much it is over all (different breeders and sellers have different prices).
    • If possible, try to adopt an animal in need of a home. Just take a quiet Sunday and wander around a rescue center, and see if you don't fall in love with a random stray who gives you his/her best puppy eyes!
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    Interact with each dog. This means holding and playing with the puppy. Ask to play with the pup and observe it. Make sure to spend a little time looking at all of the dogs and asking about them. Breeds can differ from dog to dog regardless of their breed's standards.
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    Make sure that a dog is healthy. Before you adopt the dog, see if it is healthy or not. Some signs that it may be sick are being lethargic, and having discharge on its eyes or nose. When choosing the puppy, make sure that their nose is quite moist, their tail or under areas are not wet or damp, and make sure they are alert and aware of their surroundings.
    • Check its eyes for any discharge. Its fur should be loose and free of dirt, but forgive some slobbery saliva.
    • Check its paws and legs. The legs should be sturdy and strong. Its backside should be pink and free of sores.
    • Lastly, its nose should be clean and not runny.
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    Choose a puppy that you click with. See if you like the dog's personality. Choose a puppy that is not too excited or scared. Choose one that is curious and socialized. If you are a very active, hyper person, get a dog that can keep up with you!
    • Consider staying away from a dog that's hanging around the back of the other puppies. Shy dogs can lead to fear, and that can lead to biting and aggression. But you also don't want a puppy that's up front always pushing the others around, for that can lead to dominance problems.
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    Once you have found it give it another week in the shelter. Walk it; see how it does in your house. Introduce it to any other animals it will be living with before adopting. Think your decision over. Don't just get it because of the breed.

Method 3
Caring for a New Puppy

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    Buy supplies. Once you decide which puppy you're going to adopt, it's time to get supplies. If the dog is not potty trained, housebreaking pads are essential, as well as leashes, poop-bags, food bowls, beds, cages, and collars. It's important to save this step until after you've chosen your new dog, so that you get the right types and sizes of equipment. Make sure, however, that you have all the necessary supplies before you bring your dog home.
    • Make sure there is space for the puppy to play. If your dog is going to spend time outside, make sure that your yard is ready.
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    Make your new puppy feel at home. When the puppy first gets home he may be scared or homesick; whining is really common too. There are a few things you can do to help. Have a bowl of food and water ready for when your puppy gets home. When it's time to sleep, don't make the lights too dark. Put a ticking clock inside its bed so it feels like a heartbeat, and don't forget to have a blanket for your puppy. Always keep your room's door open and put some toys all around the house.
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    Find a good veterinarian for your new puppy. Read reviews of local pet hospitals, and ask friends for recommendations. Try to find a vet to whom you will be able to take your dog for years to come. Consider finding a groomer as well.
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    Take your puppy to the vet. When you adopt a newborn puppy, getting it vaccinated and de-flead is important. You don't want a fleabag running around your precious home! Be on the lookout for any red flags, like worms in their feces. If you have more than one dog(s) or have a neighborhood filled with them, it is important to neuter or spay your dog, since it is hard to find homes for puppies.
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    Potty-train your dog. You will need to potty-train your dog and have patience for it.
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    Keep your dog's records. When adopting your dog, it is important to keep their records and files. You'll need it later on!
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    Commit to taking care of your new puppy. Take time out of your day to feed it, let it out to pee and poo, walk it and bathe it.


  • Look at your budget. Make sure you have the money to provide for unexpected vet bills, treatments and food before adopting the pet.
  • Can you fit an hour-long walk into your schedule with the dog every night? It can be a new family activity that will help your dog to adjust and exercise. This also limits tension and chewing habits.
  • Training your dog can be a great way to bond as well as eliminate bad behaviors.
  • If you don't want a puppy to keep, but you want one to be around, consider fostering a dog.
  • Try to expose the dog to rooms little by little, starting with a small one like a laundry room or bathroom and exposing it to more rooms week by week until you feel confident they can roam around the house, or else they'll get overwhelmed and poop and pee everywhere to claim all their 'new territory'!
  • Always spay or neuter your dog. If you don't, you could end up with one to 14 puppies without a home, depending on the breed.


  • If you go to the pet shop, be aware that the dogs there have a chance of originating from illegal puppy mills. Never be fibbed off by the lies shopkeepers tell you about why a puppy is in that state, or feel sorry it was the last one left and adopt it.
  • Don't stare at a dog's face. The dog may bite you.
  • Rescue puppies may require a lot more work than a puppy purchased from a responsible breeder. A rescued dog may not be as socialized and might be aggressive or wary of people. Food aggression towards other dogs is likely, and proper intervention may be necessary!

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Categories: Choosing a Dog