1. What other animals live with you? It’s quite ok to tell them all about your other four-legged buddies! They’ll probably want to know the species, age, gender, size, breed and temperament of any other dog or cat living in your household. This will help the shelter determine what kind of dog will best get along with your furry family members.
2. Are your other animals spayed or neutered? Many shelters won’t adopt a dog to someone with an unaltered dog at home – mostly for practical reasons, and partly on principle. If you have a grown dog who is not yet spayed or neutered, tell the staff that you intend to correct that situation before you introduce another canine into the household. Then make sure you keep your word and do it.
3. Have you had dogs in the past, and where are they now? It may seem like an odd question, but shelter employees can tell a lot from an answer like “I had two dogs who died of natural causes at thirteen and fifteen years old,” as opposed to, say, “I had a dog that ran away and two cats that I gave to a family on a farm when I moved.” A good “track record” with dogs can indicate that you’re an experienced and committed dog lover who’s likely to give a new dog a terrific home.
However, keep in mind that the shelter staff understands that accidents happen and people make mistakes. Even well loved and well-supervised dogs get lost, stolen or hit by cars. If you’ve lost pets under unfortunate circumstances in the past, be honest about it; if you’ve made mistakes but learned from them, tell the shelter employees so. They’re not interested in judging you; they just want to make sure you’ll take good care of the dog you adopt.
What if you’ve never had a dog of your own before? Well, everyone has to start somewhere, and your inexperience doesn’t have to be a disadvantage. If you’ve ever helped care for someone else’s dog or worked with animals (at a vet’s office or an animal shelter, for instance), those are strong points in your favor. And at the very least, you can tell the staff that you’ve been reading up on the subject of dog adoption and dog care!