If you’re searching for a new dog, making the decision to adopt one from a shelter is a great choice. But before you can sign off and take your new best friend home, how can you tell if this particular shelter dog is the right fit for you?
If adopting a dog is in your near future, here are 10 ways to tell you’ve chosen the right companion.
If their body language is relaxed and welcoming, that’s a good sign.
One of the easiest signs to tell whether or not a dog feels safe around you is to check their body language. A dog that feels comfortable around you will have a more relaxed body language, allowing you to pet them and play with them.
According to the American Kennel Club, however, a dog that is cowering, lacking movement, or moving erratically could mean they are stressed, scared, or don’t want to be touched.
If they’re playful and energetic around you, your dog is probably a good fit.
Not all dogs will be full of energy. Since a lot of shelter dogs may be more advanced in age, it’s likely that they won’t have that over-the-top energy that a puppy has.
Still, though, if your dog is the right fit for you, he’ll most likely enjoy playing, at least occasionally, with you. You’ll be able to tell they’re wanting to play with you if they do what Animal Kingdom calls the “play bow.”
You’ll know you’re witnessing a “play bow” if your dog suddenly put his butt in the air with his front legs forward and his tail wagging.
If they make eye contact, they’re most likely bonding with you.
It turns out, if a dog makes eye contact with you, they’re most likely bonding with you.
CBS News reported that a new study in Science led by Takefumi Kikusui, an animal behaviorist at Azabu University in Japan, found that your pups eye contact is actually incredibly meaningful.
“Our data suggest that owner-dog bonding is comparable to human parent-infant bonding, that is, oxytocin-mediated eye-gaze bonding,” Kikusui said. “And this is surprising to us because there is not a reproductive relationship between human and dogs, but both of them have acquired similar skills. “
If they roll over, they want to be pet by you.
If a dog rolls over for a scratch it means they trust you and feel comfortable around you.
A dog that loves you will lick you.
It can sometimes be annoying, but a dog licking you constantly is often a good thing.According to Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planet, a dog’s lick is a major sign of affection. While it can sometimes just be caused by the salty skin of humans, more often than not, a dog’s lick is a sign of love for its owner.
If they snuggle up with you, that’s a sign they want to bond.
Cuddling together is one of the best parts of having a dog. At first, however, a shelter dog may stray from doing so as they aren’t quite comfortable yet.
But over time, you might notice the dog will want to cuddle with you. According to Wag, if your dog wants to cuddle they are trying to bond with you.
Further, dog cuddling releases a hormone, oxytocin, that has a calming and comforting effect, and it has been shown that only three minutes of cuddling between a dog and its owner increases oxytocin in both humans and dogs.
If their tail is always wagging, you’ve got a happy dog.
The clearest sign a dog loves you: their tail is wagging everytime you walk through the door. Whether you’ve been gone for the day or just a few minutes, a dog that wags their tail when they see you has most likely bonded with you.
According to LiveScience, “Tail wagging reflects a dog’s excitement, with more vigorous wagging relating to greater excitement.”
If you love your dog, they probably love you back.
A team of scientists at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, trained over a dozen dogs to be comfortable around and in an MRI scanner, and they discovered that a part of the brain is associated with positive emotions, just as it is for humans.
Gregory Berns, one of the researchers at Emory University and also the author of the book “How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain,” told The Wall Street Journal that simply loving your dog can be an assurance that your dog loves you.
He said, “A loving relationship is a two-way commitment. If you don’t love your dog, then how can he love you? He may be bonded to you for food, shelter, or fear. We wouldn’t call a human relationship based on any of those things love, and so it is the same with dogs.”
If your dog is distressed when you’re distressed, they’re probably experiencing empathy.
A paper published in the journal Learning & Behaviour suggests that dogs possibly have empathy and will get upset when you’re upset.
When researchers placed a distressed person saying “help” in a room separate from their dog, it was found that the dogs responded with signs of distress – including pacing, panting and whining.
If your dog loves you, they might jump on you.
According to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, a dog will jump on you as “as a submissive greeting ritual or appeasement gesture.”
Although this isn’t exactly the best behaviour for a dog, it is a sign that your dog hopes to appease you.
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