Tips for visiting shelters

CaliTerp07

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#1
My co-teacher and I are on the hunt to find her a dog. We are heading out to some rural shelters tomorrow because she is interested in hounds and they are flooded with them.

Any suggestions? Things to look for or be on the look out for in a shelter environment? Basic tests I can do? Is it a good idea or a terrible idea to bring Lucy with me to see how potential new dog interacts with other dogs?

Any help would be appreciated! (Lucy came from a very savvy local shelter that had already cat tested her, resource guard tested her, kid tested her, etc. Don't think we're going to have the same experience in rural areas)
 

Flyinsbt

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#2
If it's safe to leave Lucy in the car, and try a controlled meeting with a dog your friend might be interested in, that's not a bad idea. I wouldn't bring her if you have to bring her in to walk through the shelter.
 

CaliTerp07

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If it's safe to leave Lucy in the car, and try a controlled meeting with a dog your friend might be interested in, that's not a bad idea. I wouldn't bring her if you have to bring her in to walk through the shelter.
Oooh, I hadn't thought about having to drag her through a shelter environment. I envisioned play yards outside like when we got her. Those probably don't exist everywhere.

She could stay in her crate in my car--I will have to see how many shelters are on our agenda and how long the trip is going to be.
 

GoingNowhere

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Honestly - and this is going to vary based on the type and personality of dog that she's looking for - I tend to look at how the dog acts in his or her kennel as a first glimpse into his or her behavior. It's a stressful environment, so there's no doubt that the dogs will act differently when home and comfortable, but I'd like to think you can tell a bit about their personality at a glance. I tend to be attracted to the dogs that are up at the front of their kennel, clearly craving attention, but not putting on a show to get it. I like quieter, "softer" dogs (in personality), and I figure if a dog can sit there with 20 barking dogs all around him or her and beg with its eyes for you to pet it without making a peep, that says something. It's kind of a gut thing honestly mixed with a bit of experience reading dog behavior.

But usually shelters will let you take the potential dog out of the kennel. Keep in mind, most (especially if she's looking at hounds) will be so thrilled to be out of their cage that they may pay little to no attention to you at first. Personally, I prefer the dogs that are responsive and attune to their walker despite the exciting outdoors, but I can't say I've walked a hound dog yet that has cared more about the random person at the end of the leash than the smells. Only other advice would be to see if they have a yard or room that the dog can go off leash in.

Plus, the shelter staff could very well be a wealth of information. You may just have to ask.
 

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