Sometimes, even with thorough planning, it is still hard to resist puppies with oversized paws and cute, button-like eyes or attractive full-grown dogs, for that matter. This is a natural response commonly observed among would-be owners at rescue homes and animal shelters.

A little planning can still go a long way when deciding which dog to adopt. Even if your previous plans are all but forgotten, remembering the tips below can still help you resist that overpowering desire to bring them all home.

Try talking yourself out of it.
Debate with yourself about your options. Ask yourself questions about whether you are ready to commit yourself to a particular dog. If you have doubts, even the slightest one, you should delay you decision. It is never a good idea to rely a lifetime commitment on a spur-of-the-moment decision.

Remember your game plan and stick with it.
Prior to going to the animal shelter, you have thought about the dog’s breed, dog’s size, the dog’s temperament, in fact even the color of the dog’s fur. Don’t forget these things when looking for the pet you would like to bring home. If you think you would easily fall for a dog, ask your wife, your brother, or a friend to tag along at the animal shelter. Get a second opinion. That never hurt.

Sleep on the decision.
A little time away from the dogs can help a great deal on deciding which dog to get. It is okay to sleep on your decision as this allows you sufficient time to evaluate your options. Only after you have thoroughly thought about your options should you decide. Otherwise, allow yourself more time to weigh your options.

Test the dog.
For the sake of argument, let’s say you are relying on pure instinct to guide you to your dog, without prior plans. The dogs in the animal shelters, on the other hand, rely on their animal instincts to find their suitable owners. If this is the case for you, it is advisable to first test the dog.

Do this by allowing the potential dog to sniff you. Ignore it for a few minutes while observing its behavior. The ideal dog is not clingy to its owner. It is people oriented and sociable but it should not force you to pay all your attention to him. If the dog wanders away and goes back to you after a few minutes, it is a good sign that it is a well-behaved, independent dog. It recognizes its owner, but does not demand so much from his master.

It is also not a bad idea to play with the dog. Dogs in stressful conditions don’t normally feel comfortable with petting. Usually, they are aggressive, shy, afraid or stressed. Test your would-be dog’s personality by playing around with it. A good response is often a good indication that a dog is comfortable around you.

Don’t be surprised if it is not playful though. It is enough that he tolerates being petted without showing apprehension.

Apart from using the above criteria, how else would you know which dog to adopt? Well, it always come down to your best judgment.

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