Fan question: "How important is it to assess a dog's behavior before adopting?"
Cesar Millan: It is not only important to assess the behavior, but to evaluate [it] as well. And here's why and what to look for.
At the shelter
The first way to assess and evaluate a dog's behavior is when he or she is at the shelter. Millan states that a lot of rescues will mention the background of the dog; however, this has little to do with whether or not the dog will fit in with your home life. Instead of assessing and evaluating the dog's past, it's important to focus on how he's acting toward you and in his play at the shelter. Since dogs live in the moment, this will give you the best idea as to how he'll act in your home.
As Clicker Training states, finding a new pet for your family is much like finding a new roommate. So when you're assessing and evaluating the dog's behavior at the shelter, look for what will easily fit into your life and how he seems to currently feel. What his emotions are and what his actions are toward you and your family are factors to pay close attention to, not only that he's cute or you feel bad for his current situation.
Because you won't truly witness your new pet's behavior at home until he's there, Cesar Millan advises looking into fostering the pet first. Currently, out of every 10 dogs that are adopted, six are returned. He believes that this is a result of a poor assessment and evaluation period. To improve your odds with the dog, Millan suggests fostering a pet prior to adopting him.
However, fostering can be just as emotionally taxing as adopting a pet. So prior to inquiring about taking your pooch home, consider the following factors:
The option to foster a rescue dog is often shelter-based. However, a lot of shelters in financial need may reach out to the community to assist in fostering pets waiting for homes. This is a wonderful way to assist in giving back and helping the future owner of the pet, if it isn't you, to adapt a dog to a home life. If this is something you're able to do while you await the perfect pet for your home, it may be an option worth looking into. However, as mentioned above, it's important that you are able to let go of the pet once the foster period is over.
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Photo credit: Cesar's Way