Border Terrier puppies in basketHow to Find a Puppy to Adopt

Have you been wondering how to find a puppy to adopt? You visit a dog rescue shelter to see the puppies, and you are thinking…..what am I looking for in a puppy?

Before you begin a search to find a puppy to adopt, you need to decide what you want from a puppy. Do you want a dog to snuggle with, a running partner, brisk walks or leisurely walks?

Things to Consider

Energy Level

One of the most important factors to consider is the energy level that the puppy will have when they are fully grown. You need to match your energy level or an energy level lower than yours to ensure the proper amount of exercise will be given.


When you are searching to find a puppy to adopt, you need to consider the amount of space you have for the dog. Do you have a large home or a small home? Do you have a large fenced in yard? Or a small yard without a fence?

Generally small dogs are under 25 pounds, medium dogs are 25 to 60 pounds and large dogs are over 60 pounds. If you have a large fenced in yard, you may want a large dog. Small dogs are good for apartments and small homes.


What will the grooming needs of the puppy be? For long hair dogs, regular clipping will be necessary to keep the coat under control along with brushing to prevent tangles. For short hair dogs, regular brushing will be necessary to keep shedding under control.


A curious puppy will explore it’s surroundings in a calm manner. When you call their name, they will look at you or slowly approach you. They are responsive without being energetic.

A nervous or shy puppy may show a fearful reaction with their tail tucked down between their legs. They may cower in the corner and keep their distance.

An excited puppy will jump and run around or it will have a defensive response. You may need to have a lot of energy to provide the proper amount of exercise for this puppy, depending on the breed.

yellow lab puppy standingPuppy Body Language

Let’s Play

Your puppy is saying “Let’s play” when they pounce and their front legs are on the ground and the rear end is in the air. They will do this and look at you to play with them. You will also see your puppy pounce on their toys during playtime.


Just because your puppy is growling, does not mean the puppy is aggressive. Many times puppies and dogs will growl while playing. This playful growl is a low growl like you will hear when playing tug with a toy.

With an aggressive growl, the puppy will raise it’s lips and show it’s canine teeth. They will stare at you and their bodies will become stiff.

Running Away

Puppies like to chase and be chased. If your puppy runs away from you, they might want you to chase them. If your puppy is playing, they will run back to you and they may run in a circle around you.

On the other hand, if your puppy runs away from you and tries to hide, they are scared. Their ears will go back, their body will be low to the ground and their tail will be down or tucked between their legs. If this happens, stop doing what you are doing and change your body posture.

Rolling on Back

When your puppy is rolling on it’s back with their legs relaxed, tail wagging and mouth open, they are probably relaxed and will enjoy a belly rub. My dog, Freckles, does this every night before she goes to sleep.

A scared and submissive dog will partly lay on one side with the legs on top raised. Usually the head will be held off the ground with the mouth closed and the tail tucked or wagging quickly.

Suddenly Stops Playing

You are playing with your puppy and all of a sudden, the puppy stops playing. This may be a sign that your puppy needs to relieve themselves. If you are playing inside, take your puppy outside.

Your puppy may be tired and their growing body might need a nap. Puppies take many naps throughout the day while their bodies are maturing. Take your puppy outside before and after taking a nap to relieve themselves.

Puppy Supplies

Before bringing a puppy home, you will need to prepare first. What puppy supplies will my puppy need?

  • Water and Food Bowls
  • Bed
  • Puppy Food
  • Collar or Harness
  • Lease
  • Toys
  • Training Treats
  • Gates (optional)
  • Crate (optional)

The day you bring your puppy home will be exciting and stressful. You should take your puppy to a calm home where everything is ready for your puppy. Your puppy will be exploring because everything is new to them.

puppy sittingFind a Veterinarian

Before picking up your puppy, find a veterinarian. If you already have a veterinarian, great! If not, find one before bringing your puppy home. When an emergency arises is not the time to look for a veterinarian.

Another thing to consider is the financial responsibility. Puppies need many vaccines in their first year of life along with regular checkups.

Obedience Training

Obedience training with you and your dog in a group setting with other puppies can be a good way to train and socialize your puppy at the same time. Your puppy will be able to interact with other puppies and people.

If you need help finding a rescue shelter near you, read my article on How to Find Dog Rescue Shelters Near Me. When you are ready to visit a dog rescue shelter, talk to the staff and ask many questions. The staff will know the dogs and puppies the best and they will be able to help you decide which puppy is the right one for you.

Have you adopted a puppy? Leave a comment or share a story about your puppy or dog. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.