Yorkshire Terrier Dog sitting on a bed

The Adoption Process of Small Dogs

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Small dogs are known for their adorable appearance, but they also possess unique characteristics that make them great pets.

Characteristics of Small Dogs

Here are some traits commonly found in small dog breeds:

Personality: Small dogs often have tons of excitable energy which gives them fun and lively personalities. They can be playful, spunky, curious, and cute making them great companions for active individuals of all ages and family outings of all kinds.

Loyal: Small dogs are known for their obedient loyalty to their owners. And, they often have strong bonds with everyone in their human family and are protective of everyone in their “den”.  

Affectionate: Small dogs love to lap cuddle and nuzzle up closely with their owners. They often seek out verbal attention with loads of affectionate pets and tummy rubs.  They love being objects of affection and are truly awesome lap dogs.

Temperament: Small dogs can have a range of temperaments, from outgoing and friendly to shy and reserved, to nervous and snippy.  It’s important to research the breed you’re interested in to see if it’s a good match before adopting.

Size: Obviously, small dogs don’t weigh much (15 pounds is about the upper limit). Small dogs are great for those who live in apartments or, generally speaking, have limited space. Small dogs are easier to take along with you and they’re easier to handle than big dogs.

Coat: Small dogs can have several coat types, including long coats, short coats, double coats, smooth coats, and soft coats, depending on their breeding. You need to think about the care and maintenance needed for each breed’s coat type before adopting. For example, do you prefer a minimal shedder?

Overall, small dogs can make great pets for those who are looking for a loyal, affectionate, and energetic companion. When considering adopting a small dog, it’s important to research the specific breed and its characteristics to ensure a good fit for your lifestyle.

Finding the Right Dog

Adopting a small dog can be a rewarding experience for both you and your new little pooch. However, it can be a daunting task too. There are many ways to find adoptable dogs, including animal shelters, rescue groups, and petfinder.com. Spend some time researching these options to find the best fit for you

Here are some tips to find the perfect small dog for you

Is Your Home Ok?

Firstly, be sure your home and neighbourhood is suitable for a new dog. These questions and your answers can help you determine what type of small dog will fit best in your home and location:  

  • Do you have a private yard/garden or do you live in an apartment building?
  • Do you have other pets or children in the home? 
  • Have you dog-proofed your furniture and other valuables?
  • Are there neighbour’s pets and children nearby?
  • Is the small dog you want a barker?  Is it aggressive or docile?
  • Do you have a regular veterinarian or access to an emergency care animal clinic?

Get to Know the Dog

Once you have found a dog that is just right for you, then spend some time with the dog before actually adopting it. Most rescue groups and shelters will allow you a meet and greet with an adoption dog or they may have a foster home where you can spend time with the dog to see if it’s a good fit for you and the dog.

dachshund going for a walk by a lake

Adoption Requirements

Every rescue group or shelter has firm adoption requirements. Things like adoption payments, home visits, reference checks, or background checks are fairly common now.  Be sure to ask about these requirements upfront before you start the whole adoption process.

Finalizing the Adoption

When you’ve found the “perfect” small dog that you want to adopt, it’s time to finalize the adoption process. This may include paying an adoption fee and signing an adoption contract. Be sure to be prepared to pay any fees then read and understand the contract before signing. 

Remember, once you sign the contract it’s a done deal — you are committed. But, by honestly evaluating your home, meeting the dogs, and understanding the complete adoption requirements, you can find the perfect small dog for your home. Adopting a small dog is a special experience and your new dog will be a wonderful new companion and loving friend. 

Adopting a small dog should be a mutually rewarding experience, but it’s important to understand the adoption process and your obligations before making a commitment. 

Adoption Process and Obligations

Here are some things to keep in mind:

The Adoption Process

  1. Research Breeds: Start by researching different breeds that interest you and sort out the one that best suits your lifestyle and needs.
  2. Find a good shelter or rescue: Look for a reputable shelter or rescue organization that specializes in small-breed dogs. You can also search online for above-board adoption services that can help you find the right dog for you. Stay clear of disreputable dealers and puppy mills.
  3. Meet the dog: Visit the shelter or rescue and spend time with the dog you are especially fond of. This is a great opportunity to get to know the dog and find out if it’s a good fit for you and your family.
  4. Complete the adoption application: After you’ve found the right dog, you’ll need to fill out an adoption application. The application will usually include information about your home, family, and lifestyle. Don’t take it personally, it’s a necessary process to protect the animal.  Everyone has to do it and besides the shelter staff probably don’t know you.  In fact, some shelters or rescues may also require a home visit to be sure the habitat is safe for the dog.  
  5. Pay adoption fees: Adoption fees can vary, but they typically range from $50 to $300. These fees help cover operational costs, vaccinations, heartworm testing, spaying or neutering, and microchipping. Most shelters will gladly accept additional donations you want to offer too!

Your Obligations

  1. Care: Along with food and water, small dogs need love and attention, quiet rest, play and regular exercise, proper bathing and grooming, and routine veterinary care. Make sure you’re prepared to provide the necessary care before adopting a small dog.  There can be no good excuse for any mistreatment, abuse, or a general lack of care.
  2. Adoption fees: While adoption fees can vary, they are usually much less than what you might pay when purchasing a dog from a breeder or pet store.
  3. Vaccinations: Make sure the dog you’re adopting is up-to-date on all vaccinations, including rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and kennel cough. Be sure the dog has the proper tags and comes with certified health and vaccination records. 
  4. Heartworm: Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially lethal condition that affects dogs of all ages and breeds. Make sure the dog you’re adopting has been tested for heartworm and has been given preventative medication when it’s deemed necessary.
  5. Spayed or neutered: Most shelters and rescues will spay or neuter dogs before adoption. Why? Because this helps reduce unwanted litters and can also have health benefits for the dog.
  6. Microchipped: A microchip is a small records chip that is implanted under the dog’s skin and can be used to identify the dog if it becomes lost or stolen. Done professionally, it is a quick and painless procedure so make sure the dog you’re adopting has been microchipped.
What to Expect When Adopting a Dog

If you are thinking of adopting a dog, this guide walks you step by step through the process, helping you to a create a happy gotcha day for your pup.

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By really understanding the whole adoption process and its “ins and outs”, you can make an informed decision about adopting a small dog and if it is the right thing for you. 

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