Selecting the Right Dog- Part 4A: Evaluating Individual Adult Animals

Whereas, in many ways a puppy is a malleable blank slate whose genetics are predetermined, but whose temperament and corresponding behavior is mostly impressionable to the environment, an adult dog possesses a more cemented temperament and more solidified behaviors. Consequently, the evaluation process is imperative when successfully purchasing or adopting the correct dog for your household. Since a firsthand observation at the breeder’s site, animal shelter, or rescue agency only allows you a temporary microscopic observation of the dog’s temperament and behavior, you should also request a more protracted macroscopic overview before formally committing to the animal.

A macroscopic overview includes a thorough chronological history of the dog that includes information regarding the animal’s temperament, socialization experiences, residences, lifestyle, health, training, household manners, and pertinent behaviors. You should obtain the history by interviewing the seller or agency representative. In addition, you will need to personally observe the dog in multiple environments and in multiple situations, including at your home integrating with your family and existing pets. The preceding takes time. Therefore, we strongly recommend demanding a minimum seven-day trial period in the purchase or adoption contract, whereby within the stated amount of time you can return the dog without penalty for any reason you deem appropriate.

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