How to choose the right dog for you?

Do you want to adopt a dog or a cat but you have a problem choosing the right one for you?

Before you decide to visit the shelter, look at the pictures on our website. Read the info, get in touch with any of our volunteers, who will help you decide on the best pet to meet your needs. Please remember that dogs and cats in our Shelter are living breathing creatures with whom we must build a relationship. We prefer to find homes for our dogs and cats based on character, not only only on how the pet looks.

To be considered……



Think about this.
Do you want to adopt a puppy, a middle aged dog or a senior? Each decision has its pros and cons

Puppies – Adopting a pup you need to take into account that he or she may not be fully house trained, may need to go to puppy training, They may not understand what you want from them. So they may relieve themselves in the house, may chew the furniture and other items in the house….So if you have recently moved into a new house or flat, or have just renovated, think whether a pup is a good idea. (talk to a trainer)

Of course the biggest plus of adopting a puppy is that in all probability you will have a companion for many years. Just think how your life will look like in a few years. Will you still have time for your pup?

Adult Dogs If you adopt an adult dog (and remember that dogs tend to age more quickly physically than mentally, so depending on the size of the dog for example a dog can reach emotional maturity even after 3 years.) so you are adopting a dog that in all probability have  already had a home (most of our dogs have had owners in the past) So these are dogs that have been taught the basics for living at home.

Sometimes we feel that a dog in our care has undergone some trauma (has been maltreated), but in the vast majority of cases this is not so. And anyway before the adoption of a specific dog you will have to meet their carer or a member of the volunteer team, who will give you detailed info about the dog in question.

Seniors You will of course understand that the time you get to spend with one of our senior dogs will not be as long as if you chose a younger dog. You also need to be aware of the extra costs (even if at adoption the dog is healthy, in time they will have needs.)

On the flipside, some of our older residents have been in the shelter for most of their lives. Adopting a Senior gives them the chance to spend the rest of their lives in a loving family. Who knows some may still have a good few years. And a home is better than the Shelter.

Thoughts for the future

Think about this! Whatever age of dog you want to adopt, some day they will need care. Therefore if you don’t think you have the means to care for your adopted pet, then please think twice.

 Next up – A healthy dog (depending on size) can live up to 20 years – Think about where you will be in the future, where your career will take you, your family status, physical condition?  Will you or your family be able to care for the dog, ensure the right amount of exercise.

Size of Dog

The size of dog is an important factor for a number of reasons

For a start larger dogs need more food, so more cost

Secondly – They are stronger. Of course it is not always the case that a large dog pulls when walking and that small dogs are calmer (there are many determinants that a good trainer will help with) However larger dogs are stronger than smaller ones, so think whether you are able to cope today and in a few years, when you will both be older.

If you live in a block of flats without a lift, think whether a large dog is a good choice. Think of yourself and the dog in a few years time, when maybe the dog will fall ill and you will have to pick the dog up to take them for a walk – will you be able to do this without help?

Of course we don’t always recommend only to adopt smaller dog. We just ask you to consider the responsibilities and consequences of adopting a larger dog.


Another important factor to consider is the temperament of the dog you are adopting, are they timid or emotionally well balanced, more active or calmer. Do they get on with other dogs or prefer to be left alone. How do they get on with children etc. etc.

So for example, the level of activity has many factors – for example age, size and breed. It is very important to pick a dog with the same amount of energy and activity as you, so that it doesn’t turn out that neither party is unhappy (you’re tired after a walk, the dog hasn’t had enough or the opposite!)

If you are looking to adopt a given breed or close to the breed, firstly we would ask you to research the needs and characteristics of the breed, so you can understand what you will be facing after adoption. This is extremely important as many people tend to concentrate on how the dog looks and not on their temperament. For example a Husky will require long possibly intensive walks. Even if you have a large garden, this is not enough for this type of dog. It is also worth remembering that an active dog, without the right amount of exercise, physical or otherwise, may get bored and find exercises of their own (destroying furniture and other things in the house or garden) So if you work long hours and there is no-one home to take care of the dog, please do not choose a dog which requires a lot of activity.

On the other hand. A timid dog requires a more peaceful home, where there are maybe fewer guests and probably without small children. These dogs look for regularity, what happens and when, no surprises. It is very important to ensure this when out for pre-adoption walks and then continue when they get to their new home. (In a new environment many timid dogs will try to escape) So it is important to ensure that they feel safe and can’t escape – you are their safety.

Other Pets

 If you already have other pets at home, it will be worth checking how they react with a new dog.

If you have a cat, you could invite around a friend who has a friendly dog to check (under control of course!) how your cat reacts to the dog (Is the cat scared, does it try to escape under the furniture or try to attack the dog?) Of course we also try to make sure how the dog you wish to adopt will react to other pets, dogs or cats, but it is quite difficult in the Shelter. Therefore,  you will have to be ready for a little bit of work to introduce your pets to one another!

However if you already have a dog at home, we will want to let them get to know each other on neutral ground. So we will ask you to bring your dog to the Shelter and we will take the dogs for a walk together

Who else lives with you?

You need to think how the dog you choose will react to other people who live with you, around you or visit you. Most importantly, children, who according to statistics are most likely to be bitten. This is because, through no fault of their own, they don’t understand what a dog doesn’t like and what frightens them. For example a kid will try to cuddle a dog and the dog if it doesn’t know or trust the person could take this as an attack (dogs tend to attack the legs of another to stop them moving) Also younger children tend to grab a dog by the tail of take food from their bowl – The child doesn’t mean ill but the dog doesn’t understand this and it can lead to an unhappy child.

So if you have a small child or children, before adopting it is worth sitting them down and talking about the language and gestures of dogs, how they react to other dogs and with us, what makes them happy and what they are not comfortable with, the do’s and don’ts

This is not just applicable to our children, but to everyone. Pre-adoption it may be worth familiarising yourself  with some information. there is much information on the internet, a good source is a book by Turid Rugass – Calming Signals, or consult your volunteer. they will know a lot about the dog you are about to adopt.

Thinking about the size of dog in this context. Children may not be aware of their strength and may clutch a small dog TOO hard and do some harm (in the case of a larger dog the result may be reversed (for example falling on the child)

 If you frequently have guests, it will be worth checking how your potential dog reacts to different people (women, men, the elderly, children etc) As we wrote above very timid dogs are not really suited to homes where there is a constant influx of people.

You also need to check that your dog does not react aggressively to everyone who comes through the door.

Obviously we can’t put into a couple of pages everything you need to consider when you decide to adopt a dog from the Shelter. It is worth, however taking this as a foreword for further investigation, insight, questions. Understanding the pros and cons limits the amount of dogs that return to our shelter – We count on your understanding so that you, the potential owner and our four legged friend with find happiness in their forever home.