A dog makes an excellent companion. Simply ask anyone that owns a dog. Not only are they great company but they have also been shown to help reduce blood pressure rates. The act of simply petting a dog can be very soothing. As for which dog would be best for your home, rescue dogs are a great way to go but which pooch would be a perfect choice?

The following are some ways to see if you and a rescue dog would make a good match:

Observe from a Distance

If you visit a kennel, then all the dogs are going to be “hyper.” You have to consider that they are aware of what’s happening and what is at stake. Try to take a step back and observe them from a distance. Look at the dogs that stand out to you and zero in on a few. Are they cowering? Are they stressed out? Do they seem calm? How do they react when someone approaches them?

Approach Sideways 

When you are approaching the kennel, do not come straight on. Avoid making eye contact and stand sideways. How does the dog react? You would want a friendly tail wag rather than aggressive barking.

Initial Contact

Gradually turn and face the dog and make eye contact but avoid being threatening. Is the puppy growling or still happy to see you? Now, kneel down and begin talking. Is the puppy engaging with you or “pulling back?”

Observe the Dog on a Leash

Have someone else take the dog out on a leash and observe how well they behave. Are they pulling behind or pulling ahead? Do they have to be coaxed or are they confident? How do they react when passing other dogs? You are looking for signs of friendly and obedient behavior.

How Does the Dog React to Petting?

You want to spend some time petting the dog to see how they react. It should not only be about rubbing their neck but also gently pulling on the tail and ears to see if they are welcoming or skittish. Do they enjoy being handled?

Try a Few Simple Commands

If the dog is not a puppy, then it may already be aware of simple commands like “stay” or “sit.” Check if they are aware. If they are it’s a good sign as it means they can be trained to follow other commands.

Spend Some Time Playing

After completing the steps above, it is now time for playing. Check to see if they are friendly and outgoing. Do they want to play tug? Do they chase a ball? Are they aggressive when the toys are taken away? Do they get overly excited? Watch out for overly exciting behaviors such as jumping up excessively.

The most important thing to consider is that not every dog you see is going to be a good match for you. That’s fine. But the ones that do tick off all the boxes are worth considering.