How can I assess a petʼs behavior at the shelter?



How to Assess a Pet's Behavior at the Shelter


When considering adopting a pet, it is essential to assess their behavior at the shelter to ensure a good match between the animal and your lifestyle. Understanding a pet's behavior can provide valuable insights into their temperament, sociability, and potential challenges you might face as an owner. This article will guide you through the process of evaluating a pet's behavior at the shelter, helping you make an informed decision before bringing a new furry friend home.

1. Observe the Pet's Body Language

One of the first steps in assessing a pet's behavior is to carefully observe their body language. Dogs and cats communicate through subtle cues, and by paying attention to their postures, facial expressions, and tail movements, you can gain valuable insights into their emotional state. Look for signs of stress, fear, aggression, or relaxation, as these can indicate how well the pet might adapt to a new home.

If the pet appears relaxed, wagging their tail, or purring contentedly, it suggests they are comfortable and potentially well-socialized. On the other hand, if they display signs of stress like cowering, growling, or excessive panting, it could indicate underlying behavioral issues that might require additional attention and training.

2. Interact with the Pet

Interacting with the pet is crucial to assess their behavior and determine their compatibility with you and your family. Ask the shelter staff for permission to spend some time with the pet in a designated area, away from the other animals. Here are a few things to consider during your interaction:

a. Friendliness and Socialization

Observe how the pet responds to your presence. Do they approach you willingly? Are they interested in engaging with you? Friendliness and socialization are crucial traits to consider, especially if you have children or other pets at home. A well-socialized pet is more likely to adapt to new environments and bond with their new family.

b. Energy Level

Assessing the pet's energy level is crucial to ensure compatibility with your lifestyle. Some pets might be highly energetic and require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, while others might be more laid-back and suited for a calmer household. Consider your own activity level and find a pet that matches it to avoid potential frustration or lifestyle conflicts.

c. Handling and Sensitivity

Gently handle the pet, if allowed, to assess their sensitivity to touch and handling. It is essential to know how they react to being touched, particularly in sensitive areas like paws, ears, or tail. Some pets might be more tolerant, while others might display signs of discomfort or aggression when handled in a particular way. Understanding their sensitivity can help you determine if they are a good fit for your family dynamics.

3. Ask Shelter Staff for Information

Shelter staff members work closely with the animals and often have valuable insights into their behavior and history. Do not hesitate to ask them questions regarding the pet's previous living conditions, any known behavioral issues, or their interactions with other animals and humans. This information can help you understand the pet's background and identify potential challenges or training needs.

4. Consider an Assessment with a Professional

If you are uncertain about a pet's behavior or have concerns about specific issues, consider seeking assistance from a professional animal behaviorist or trainer. These experts can provide a more in-depth assessment, helping you understand the pet's behavior, any potential underlying issues, and offer guidance on training or behavior modification techniques.


Assessing a pet's behavior at the shelter is crucial to ensure a successful adoption and a harmonious relationship with your new companion. By observing their body language, interacting with them, seeking information from shelter staff, and considering professional assessments when needed, you can make an informed decision that benefits both you and your future pet. Remember, adopting a pet is a long-term commitment, and understanding their behavior is a vital step towards providing them with a loving and supportive forever home.

If you are looking to adopt a pet, visit our website for more information and a wide selection of wonderful pets awaiting their forever homes.

Julieth Bill

Hi, I'm Julieth Bill. Before I was a writer for the blog I was known for inventive and unusual treatments of dogs, cats, bird, fish, snakes, horses, rabbit, reptiles, and guinea pigs. Julieth worked for major zoos around the world. He Also Receives Pets a Scholarship.

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