Adopting a dog is a two-way process matching owners and dogs who are right for each other. Wise would-be owners are careful to choose dogs with energy levels and personalities suitable for their households, and reputable shelters and rescues screen potential owners to ensure dogs go to good homes.
Adoption begins with a visit to a shelter or rescue. This should involve the whole family if there is more than one person in the household. The visit allows the adopter to look at several dogs that might be suitable and observe their personalities and behavior. Shelter staff may allow him to take dogs to a visiting room or dog walk to get better acquainted. Some shelters place dogs on hold on request so that an adopter can visit a second time before making a final decision.
In good shelters and rescues, staff get involved, asking questions about the adopter's household, personality and expectations. This helps them steer potential owners away from dogs that won't make suitable matches. Staff should be forthcoming about any behavioral problems an animal has and should have records showing that an animal has received appropriate veterinary care in the shelter. They should also have a return policy for dogs whose adoptions don't work out.
Once an adopter has settled on a dog, reputable shelters and rescues have him fill out an adoption form and contract. The adopter pays an adoption fee and takes his new pet home.