For all the dog lovers out there it goes without saying that a new dog for the family should come from a shelter or breed rescue group. While the shelter works with all breeds that are dropped off, rescue groups work with one specific breed. Both strive to prepare their animals as best possible to be adoptable (training, care, health).
At the same time that a shelter or rescue group prepares a puppy or dog for adoption, they also try to find eligible adopters. Both types of organizations place advertisements on the Internet and in local newspapers that describe available animals. Potential adopters might respond by phone or e-mail, or visit in person.
However, not all potential adopters make the grade. Many facilities have very strict guidelines and restrictions on who gets one of their puppies. For example, the following criteria is standard for people looking to adopt a pup from a high-quality shelter or rescue group:
1) A stay-at-home parent (or one that works from home) should be present. This is because puppies can't stay alone in a crate for more than a couple of hours.
2) There should also be another dog in the family that the new puppy can learn from. This helps immensely in the pup's socialization.
3) A fence is mandatory if there are children in the house younger than the age of six.
4) And finally, a commitment from the adopter to continue socialization and a willingness to take the pup to professional training.
Just as rescue groups and animal shelters are fussy about who can adopt their puppies, potential adopters should be equally fussy as to whom they adopt a puppy from. For example, at a shelter, there should be co-housing: puppies housed with other puppies for critical socialization to dogs.
Also, the premises should be clean, and there should be appropriate toys and bedding with the puppies. There should be some sort of program or schedule for getting the puppies out of the kennel to interact with people and see different sights and sounds.
Visitors to a shelter should be greeted by a pleasant and knowledgeable staff member or volunteer. Both shelters and rescue groups should be able to provide information on why the puppy was brought to a shelter or into rescue, confirmation that the puppy has received all immunizations, and information on other resources such as owner counseling or dog training.
Once the shelter or rescue group passes your approval, a prospective adopter should look closely at the puppy he or she is interested in before making a final decision to adopt. A puppy that shows signs of illness or poor care � such as excessive amount of fleas as an example � should be avoided. The dog should have no diarrhea on his rear and hind legs, no discharge, and you want a puppy who shows an interest in you and is at least somewhat active.