- Delay testing until the dog has been at the shelter a few days
- Rely on your first impression. Select with your brain and not your heart.
- Check out all dogs. Some shelters put there most adoptable dogs further back to give the less adoptable dogs a better chance
- Determine if the dog is friendly. See if the dog will sniff or lick you. Social dogs will respond quickly by coming to you
- Meet with the dog in a quiet environment. Spend a few minutes ignoring him or her. A social dog will try to solicit your attention
- Test the dogs touch tolerance. Pet the dog several times. Watch to see if the dog wants you to continue or pulls away. This will help you determine how much physical contact the dog will tolerate
- Jump around; make noises for 10-15 seconds. Observe how excited the dog gets and how long it takes to quiet down. Some dogs are slow to calm down
- Leave the room for a few minutes. When you re-enter the room observe the dogs’ reaction. Does it seem stressed or out of breath. These signs may indicate the dog suffers from separation anxiety
- It is always a good sign if the dog prefers children to adults. If the dog has a low tolerance for children, and you have children, this is not the dog for you regardless of how cute he or she may be
Note: There is always some level of risk when handling dogs you are unfamiliar with. If you have any doubt of your ability to safely handle the dog of your choosing – seek professional assistance at once.