Quizzing canine character

By Connie Orcutt • Published: April 1st, 2016
Category: Animal Airwaves

Before you give a shelter dog a forever home, consider the age and size of the dog and the activity requirements that best fit your lifestyle. When you’ve narrowed the field, evaluate any canine candidate for two important traits — namely, confidence and curiosity. Curious dogs are oftentimes more mellow and reactive dogs tend to require more training.

At the shelter, let the dog explore a new area, then call her or extend a treat and see if she comes. Next, shake your keys out of sight, then drop them within a few feet of the dog and note how she reacts. If you won’t feel too silly, hop across the floor then pretend to fall and yell, “Ouch!” How does the dog respond? If you kneel down and hug her, does she cuddle, freeze or struggle to get away? Finally, see if she’ll settle into following you on a leash.

A confident, curious dog is apt to become a happy, social pet. So zero in on clues to canine character.