How Does Dog Adoption Work – Is it Right for You?

There are millions of homeless dogs roaming the streets across America. Most end up in a shelter looking for their forever home.

So, what happens when a dog is adopted? How does dog adoption work?

Adopting a dog usually involves filling out an application, paying an adoption fee, and signing an adoption contract.

In this post, we will look at the process of adopting a dog and what you can expect when you bring your new furry friend home.

How Does Dog Adoption Work?

2 million dogs are adopted each year
DID YOU KNOW? According to the ASPCA, around 2 million dogs are adopted from animal shelters every year in the US.

When it comes to how to adopt a dog from a shelter, it depends on the organization or shelter you adopt.

The first step is to find a reputable adoption agency or shelter. This is where you will be able to view all available dogs and learn more about each one.

Once you have found an agency or shelter that you are comfortable with, it’s time to start looking for your new furry friend.

Generally, the next step is to fill out an application, which will help the shelter to get to know you and your living situation better.

Then, usually, a meeting or home visit comes next.

This step is where a representative from the shelter will come to meet you and your family and see how well you all would interact with a new dog.

Of course, every shelter is different, so it’s always best to contact them directly to find out how their specific process works.

Read More: Can Animal Shelters Refuse Animals? Shelters might refuse an animal for various reasons. Learn how you can help.

What Happens Once an Adoption is Approved?

Once the home visit, or meeting, is complete, and both parties are satisfied, the adoption can go through, and you’ll be able to take your new furry friend home!

Be prepared for some adjustments as your new dog gets acclimated to its new surroundings.

With love and patience, you’ll soon have a lifelong companion you can cherish forever.

Read More: How Do Non Profit Animal Shelters Make Money? Learn what goes into caring for shelter animals in this guide.

The Benefits of Dog Adoption

Adopting a dog gives a homeless dog a comfortable and loving home
Adoption can be a fulfilling experience for the dog and the adopter.

Adopting a dog can be a rewarding experience, both for the adopter and the dog itself.

You’ll Give a Dog a Home

Dogs are social creatures who have been alongside people for thousands of years.

By adopting a dog, you’ll be giving it a home where it will be cared for, played with, and given opportunities it would otherwise miss out on in the shelter.

It’s our belief that no dog deserves to spend their life in a shelter pen.

You can make a world of difference in a dog’s life by adopting.

Read More: How Do I Get My Dog Back From the Shelter? If your dog ends up at the shelter, here’s the process to get them home.

Improved Emotional Health

Adopting a dog can help to improve mental health.

Studies have shown that spending time with dogs can lower stress and anxiety and increase happiness and self-esteem.

We even wrote an article on the Best Dogs for Anxiety and Panic Attacks to help adopters find the right breed for their needs.

Companionship and Social Engagement

Additionally, adopting a dog can provide companionship and boost social interactions.

Whether taking the dog on walks around the neighborhood or playing fetch at the park, adopting a dog allows people to meet new people and make new friends.

Read More: What is a Rescue Pet? Learn more about rescue animals in this guide!

You’ll Be More Active!

Finally, adopting a dog can also provide physical health benefits.

Walking or running with a dog can help to improve cardiovascular health, and simply petting a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate.

As you can see, there are countless benefits to adopting a dog, from mental to physical well-being.

Read More: Fake Rescue Channels. We expose fake dog rescue videos and how to spot the fakes.

Things to Consider Before Adopting a Dog

Make sure adoption is right for you
Before you adopt, make sure it’s right for you. Research breeds and meet adoptable dogs so you can find one suitable for your lifestyle.

If you’re considering adopting a dog, there are a lot of things to think about before taking the plunge!

When searching for a dog, it’s essential to consider what kind of personality and energy level best fits your lifestyle.

We can’t stress this enough.

Many dogs end up back in the shelter after the adopter realizes they’re not a good fit.

You will also want to ensure you have enough space for your new furry friend to run around.

Other essential factors to take into account include:

  • Do you have kids or other pets at home?
  • Do you live in a small apartment or house with limited space?
  • Are you prepared to handle some additional daily responsibilities? Dogs need to be fed and exercised, and they may also need regular grooming.
  • Are you prepared for some additional expenses? In addition to food and toys, you’ll need to budget for things like veterinary care, boarding, and training classes.
  • Do you have the time to commit to a dog? Puppies, in particular, require a lot of time and patience.
  • Dogs also need regular exercise, so you’ll need to factor in walking or playing time daily.

Now that you have considered all the above, are you ready to adopt a dog?

If so, congratulations! Shelter dogs make excellent companions, and there’s nothing quite like the bond between humans and canines.

Watch this video to learn how to make the transition from shelter to home easier:

Read our related article, Do Dog Shelters Have Puppies? See what it takes to adopt a puppy.

Tips for Training Your Adopted Dog

Adopting a dog can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with some challenges.

One of the biggest challenges you may face is training your new dog.

Start With The Basics

Dogs must learn basic commands like sit, stay, come, and down.

These commands will provide a foundation for more advanced training.

Be Consistent

Dogs learn best when they are given consistent instruction.

That means you must use the exact words, gestures, and tone of voice each time you give a command.

Be Patient

Taking the time to train a rescue dog takes patience.

Don’t expect your dog to learn everything overnight.

Give him plenty of praise and rewards when he does something right, and be patient when he makes mistakes.

Get Professional Help

If you’re struggling to train your dog, it may be best to seek professional help from a qualified trainer or behaviorist.

They can assess the situation and develop a customized training plan for your dog.

Check out brain training techniques, a science-backed way to improve your dog’s behavior with positive reinforcement!


Dog adoption can be a great way to find your new furry friend.

But, it’s essential to do your research before you adopt and ensure you’re ready for the responsibility of owning a dog.

Many dogs need homes, so consider adopting today!

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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