Just like humans, every dog has his or her individual personality. And those personalities have to mesh. Anyone who is at all shy or introverted understands that sometimes it takes more than a first impression for us to come out of our shell.
That’s why the folks at The Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA in Phoenix put this to the test in 2013 when they started letting potential owners take dogs home for a few days.
1. Managing Expectations
Many adopters assume that all the dogs will come running at them like
“HELLO HELLO HELLO HI HI HI LET’S BE BEST FRIENDS”
When in reality, many of them are more like:
As a result, sometimes potential parents are disappointed if a dog seemingly shows no interest in them or acts timid or afraid.
2. Some dogs need more time than others to get comfortable.
The AAWL & SPCA started sending dogs home with potential pawrents for three days, providing them with food and other necessities. After filling out some paperwork, there is a check in to see how things are going and to answer any questions that may arise. They found that more often than not, it’s just a matter of giving the dog some time to get adjusted to a new environment.
73% of the time, the dog was adopted.
One of their success stories was Saffire, a black and white lab mix, who was adopted as a puppy, and then given to the AAWL after only a few months. She had no socialization whatsoever, and every time she was around new people she would shake and hide. Obviously, this was going to make it very difficult for her to find a home.
Finally a young man at the shelter came by and played with her in the yard. Although she was shy at first, the adoption counselor told him she was very playful and had a great personality, but simply needed some time to come out of her shell. He took her home for a “slumber” party and the rest is history.
3. Snuggling Makes You Fall In Ruv
When you snuggle with a dog, there is a release of oxytocin, which scientists refer to as the cuddle hormone. It’s the same hormone that creates that love-struck feeling between ruvers and between mothers and their newborns. Even cuddling and gazing into the eyes of a dog for as little as three minutes is enough to increase oxytocin levels in humans.
4. Some dogs are better one-on-one.
I’m the same way. If I’m at a party and there are 6 different people trying to talk at once, I’m tappin out. But if I’m one-on-one, I’m bringing my A-game. It works the same way with dogs. Some dogs retreat in social situations, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have wonderful pawsonalities waiting to shine through.
5. Meeting the family:
When you bring a dog into your home, it’s important that the dog gets along with everyone, including other pets, or children. And more often than not, after they meet the fam, it’s pretty much a done deal.
As Judith Gardner beautifully writes, “It’s better for an animal to have a trial run with interested and qualified adopters than to miss an opportunity to find a home.” If they aren’t adopted, at least each trial run provides insight into the pet’s personality, which helps us find a better match for the next time.
6. One word, pajamas.