To adopt the right dog for your family, start by making a realistic assessment of your activity level and how much time you have to train the dog. Next, find a good shelter and work with the employees there to find a dog that meets those needs and that you like being around.
Other things to consider include the dog's age, breed and size. Puppies are often in high demand, but they take a lot of time and can be difficult to train. Older dogs have more established personalities and are often better companions for young children. Breed can influence the dog's personality and energy level.
Shelter staff usually know each dog's personality and can help point you to the best candidates. It is a good idea to consider their input, even if the dog they suggest is not your ideal breed or age. If the workers describe all of the dogs the same way or don't seem to know their personalities very well, you may want to consider finding another shelter.
It is also a good idea to ask them about temperament testing to make sure that any dog you take home is as safe as possible. Since some dogs can act differently in a kennel than in a home, you may want to consider looking for rescues that use foster homes to take care of their dogs.