A dog is a great companion. Just ask any dog owner. Not only will they provide company but they’ve also been shown to lower blood pressure rates. The simple act of petting a dog can be very soothing. As for which dog to open your home to, rescue dogs are a good way to go but which pooch would be the perfect pick? Here are some ways to see if you and a rescue dog would be a good match:

Look From Afar

If you go into a kennel, then all the dogs are going to be “fired up.” You have to think they know what’s happening and what is at stake. Try to stand back and observe from a distance. Look at the dogs that are appealing to your regarding size and zero in on a few. Do they seem calm? Are they stressed out? Are they cowering? Are they friendly when someone approaches?

Sideways Approach

When you approach the kennel, don’t come straight on. Stand sideways and avoid making eye contact. What is the dog’s reaction? You hope for a friendly tail wag and not aggressive barking.

First Contact

Slowly turn and face the dog and make eye contact but not threatening. Is the pup still happy to see you or are they growling? Next, kneel down and start talking. Are they engaging with you or “pushing back?”

Watch Them Walk

Let someone else take the dog out on a leash and watch how they behave. Do they have confidence or have to be coaxed? Are the pulling ahead or pulling behind? How do they react to passing other dogs? You’re looking for signs of obedient and friendly behavior.

Have a Sit Down

Next, take the dog to a quiet room and let them go off leash. They’ll want to explore and sniff around. That’s good. Are they being confident or tentative? Do they want to leave and scratch at the door? After a few minutes of letting them take in the space, try to call them over and gage their response. Does he come or does he ignore you?

Time for Petting

You want to pet the dog to see how they react. It shouldn’t just be about rubbing their neck but gently pull on ears and the tail to see if they are skittish or welcoming. Do they like being handled?

Try Commands

If they’re not puppies, then the dog might already know some simple commands like “Sit” or “paw.” See if they do. It’s a good sign they can be trained for other commands.

Play a Little

After going through all the above, it is playtime. Again, you want to assess if they’re outgoing and friendly. Will they chase a ball? Play tug? Do they get aggressive when toys are taken away? You also have to watch out for them being too excited. Watch for excessive jumping up or other overly excited behaviors.

The important thing to remember is that not every dog is going to be a match for you. That’s okay. But the ones that check off the boxes are certainly worth considering.