Above the Crowd: Standing Out In An Overcrowded Animal Shelter

Dogs like me didn’t have as much competition in shelters before the recession. Pet parents had become better at spaying and neutering their four-legged friends, resulting in fewer unwanted pooches. But now shelters are bulging with my fellow canines left homeless after lenders foreclosed on humans’ homes.
It’s a stressful time for fur babies stuck in noisy kennels, surrounded by unfamiliar people and other dogs that are equally stressed and anxious. Here’s what man’s best friend can do to improve their odds of being selected when a prospective pet parents visits:
Don’t worry if you’re not the prettiest in the group. Your temperament is what matters most.
Don’t play coy by hanging around in the back of the cage. Your shyness could be mistaken for being fearful and distrustful of humans.
Wag your tail just enough that it signals you’re happy. Be relaxed, open your mouth a little so your tongue lolls; even take the playful pose with your rump in the air.
Make eye contact; don’t lunge or growl, signs of a dominant aggressive personality
Don’t seem too eager. It’s a red flag that you might suffer from separation anxiety when your owner leaves you at home.
If the human requests to spend time with you outside of the cage and purposely ignores you for a few minutes, don’t appear uninterested. Instead, show affection by gently nudging the person, licking or leaning in warmly. By no means do you jump on or paw the person.
When you’re petted, stand still and show that you enjoy the human touch by moving in for more contact.
If the person wants to play fetch or tug-of-war, do so. When the game ends make sure you go from excited to calm in a brief time. Sit or lie down to show that your energy level is suitable for a home.
It’s a very rewarding experience for a human after they adopt us. They know they’ve saved a life. That life might as well be yours.