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  • Cheryl Cole

Looking to adopt in Vancouver? Here's how to find the right dog for you in the city

The first in a series of articles offering adoption advice to help Vancouverites find, choose and welcome a furry new addition.



There's a lot to consider before welcoming a new furry friend to the family, especially during a pandemic, so we are creating a series of articles to help new and future dog parents throughout their journey from adoption to raising a new furry addition!


If you're looking to adopt right now, you're definitely not alone. Vancouver has seen a huge spike in dog adoptions in the past few months, with applications for each dog tripling for one local rescue organization during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With so many dogs looking for furever homes across Vancouver, it's important to be responsible when welcoming a new furry companion to your family - so we've found some of the best advice out there to help you find the perfect dog for you.


Don't rush into anything


This may seem obvious, but with so many dogs needing homes, its easy to make a snap decision - especially now when so many of us are working from home. It's important to think beyond right now and ask yourself, will a dog still suit your lifestyle when things return to normality, and if so, what breed or age is best suited to your day-to-day life.


"A hyperactive, reactive adolescent dog might not be a good fit when you don’t have the time or money to provide proper exercise and training," states an article by Rover, The Dog People. "A fearful, traumatized dog probably won’t do well in a busy household with young children."


PetaKids advises potential adopters to ask yourself these questions: Do you live in an apartment, or a house with a yard? Does your family travel a lot? Who will be there to let your dog out when you’re not home?


Age is a factor


Puppy, young adult, senior? When it comes to choosing a dog, it's especially important to consider your lifestyle.


Although they are extremely cute, puppies need a lot of love and attention. As well as needing to be housetrained, they also need to be taught basic obedience which takes time. A young adult dog, however, might already know some basics and have decent housetraining skills, and you have the benefit of having a better indication of how large your dog will be when fully grown. Something else to consider is that dogs don’t reach adulthood until 2.5 or 3 years of age. "Dogs don’t actually hit adulthood until around age 3. During dog adolescence the personality and intellect of a dog are still forming. The period between ten months and 1.5 years of age is particularly notorious for the development of anxiety-based behaviours," states the article by Rover. There are also benefits to adopting a senior dog. According to Hill's Pet, "senior dogs want to be with their people, and they are content to settle in their favourite spot in the house as they are to be outside in the sunshine. Because they don't demand as much attention and care from their human family as puppies do, senior dogs are an excellent choice for someone who is a little more laid back and looking for a cuddle buddy on the couch. Adopting an older dog gives pet parents exactly the energy level they are looking for in a furry friend."

ALSO READ: You can buy a reusable face mask that helps local dogs in need today

Ask questions about your rescue dog’s personality


According to Rover, due to the stress and irregularity of life behind bars, dogs adopted from a shelter may not come out of their shell completely until at least three weeks after adoption. As it takes time for a rescue dog's personality to emerge, it's a good idea to speak to their caretakers to find out more.


Although due to COVID restrictions, visiting them with their foster family may not be an option, getting in touch and asking questions is a great way to help you feel confident that this dog is a good fit and will be happy with you and your family.


Also, ask the shelter you're adopting from questions about the dogs you're interested in. Some questions Dog Time suggests asking are:


- Why is the dog here?

- Does the dog have any known medical issues?

- What’s the best thing about this dog?- What’s the worst thing about this dog?

- Has the dog been temperament tested?


Choose a breed to suit your living arrangement


You may have your favourite breeds, but it's important to consider how well that breed is suited to your living arrangements. If you live in an apartment Downtown, it's important to choose an apartment-friendly breed.


Check out Choosing the Best Apartment-Friendly Breed - a blog with a handy break-down on which breeds best suit apartment living.

All dogs are individuals and although breed knowledge won't tell you everything, it can tell you something about the amount of exercise and stimulation you should expect to provide to keep your new dog happy and healthy.


Do your research

Like any big decision, it's important to do your research. It’s hard to pick the right match for you when you don’t know what that match would look like. This free ebook How to Adopt the Perfect Shelter Dog, is designed to help you decide what kind of dog you should get - check it out for more details.


You can never do enough research - there is so much information available online, so use it!


Join local adoption groups on Facebook - there's a lot of Vancouver based groups that can help you learn more about the process, as well as the experiences they've had.


There are so many fantastic, reputable rescue organizations in Vancouver, so use Google, read reviews, follow their Instagram pages and look at tagged photos to read real-life stories of locals who have adopted from them. Reach out and ask questions.


The more information you have, the more confident you can be that you're choosing the right organization, and the right dog for you.

ALSO READ: In B.C., dog training is unregulated. Here’s what you need to know