Dog Rescue: Important Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Pup


Adopting a dog is a big deal!

Kudos to you for choosing to rescue a pup that deserves a loving home. 

While it’s such an exciting time, it can also be a little nerve wracking…especially if you’ve never adopted from a dog rescue before! 

After all, you don’t know anything about this dog that you’re about to welcome into your family. What is their behavior like? How did they end up in the shelter? 

There are so many questions swirling around in your head. How can you make sure you’re covering all your bases before bringing home your furry new family member?

Lucky for you, I’ve put together a list of some of the most important questions you should ask a dog rescue before adopting a pup!

I’ve even divided them up into sections for you (general, behavioral, and health), so you can easily navigate this list as you prepare to adopt a dog!

Keep in mind that the amount of information a shelter is able to offer you could vary. If the dog has only been living in the shelter, you won’t necessarily be able to assess their demeanor around children or other pets. 

 How long the dog has been in the shelter will also determine how much information the shelter can provide about specific personality traits, general health information, etc. 

So while these questions are a great starting point, it’s always important to take your time. If you feel pressured into making a decision, remember that this dog will be a part of your family for many, many years. 

 Be sure to consider all of your options and ask all the questions before you decide to move forward and adopt the dog.

This is a big decision! So…without further ado…here’s a list of questions to ask before adopting a pup from your local dog rescue.

General Questions to Ask Before Adopting from a Dog Rescue


These questions will give you details about the dog’s background, so you can feel comfortable in knowing that you are adopting the best dog for your family. 

    1. Why is the dog in a shelter? (Were they given up? Was it a stray dog?)
    2. How long has the dog been in a shelter?
    3. What was their condition when they arrived at the shelter?
    4. What conditions has the dog been living in (shelter, crate, foster home, indoor/outdoor)?
    5. Does the dog have a microchip?
    6. Does this dog have good overall manners (how do they act when you take away their food bowl, etc.)?
    7. How old is the dog (or estimated age)?
    8. Do you know the breed of the dog?
    9. Does this dog prefer a certain type of food?
    10. Does the dog seem to be trained in any way (basic commands, potty trained, crate trained, etc.)?

Health Questions to Ask Before Adopting From a Dog Rescue


These questions will help you understand the condition of the dog and any special care they might need. 

    1. Has the dog received any veterinary care?
    2. Is the dog spayed or neutered?
    3. Does the dog require any special medical care?
    4. Is the dog up to date on their vaccinations?
    5. Has the dog been tested for heartworm or anything else?

Behavioral Questions to Ask Before Adopting from a Dog Rescue

These questions will help you understand more about the dog’s personality and if they would be a good fit for you and your family’s lifestyle. 

    1. What is the dog’s energy level?
    2. Does the dog have any favorite activities? 
    3. How does the dog act around strangers or when placed in new environments? 
    4. Does the dog get along with other pets or children?
    5. Does the dog allow basic grooming practices (bathing, brushing, nailtrimming, etc.)?
    6. Is the dog leashtrained or appear to have any recall training?
    7. What makes the dog bark?
    8. Have you noticed any concerning behavior (resource guarding, separation anxiety, etc.)?

This list of questions will give you a great idea of the dog’s personality while uncovering any potential issues that might come up… so you can make the best decision for your family!

If you’ve decided that the dog is the right fit…congratulations!!!

Bringing home a dog is an exciting time, but it can also be a bit stressful for the pup. Adjusting to a new place can be a big change. 

If you have the right training program in place, it can make the transition so much easier (for you and your pup)!

I’d love for you to check out my Dog Calming Code™ Program, because it helps you communicate with your dog in a language they can understand. And it will help set the stage for a lifetime of successful training, starting with basic commands all the way to leash and recall training. 

Share your adoption journey with me in the comments below. I always love to hear about dogs finding their happy furever home!

Happy adopting,

Doggy Dan Signature 

~ Doggy Dan 🙂

P.S. Have you recently brought home a dog and find yourself struggling to connect or teach him or her basic command training? Then check out my Dog Calming Code™ Program today.

Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan is the founder of The Online Dog Trainer, a wildly successful online training program for dog owners. His goal is to continue to share his unique approach to dog training with like-minded people who wish to make a difference in the world of dogs. His training methods focus on creating and building the connection between dogs and dog owners, and are shared and used around the world.

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