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There are a few things you need to remember to pack into your car before you head for the shelter: Your puppy profile.
There's no sense in making a shopping list if you leave it at home when you go to the grocery store, so don't forget to bring along the notes you've made for yourself about what kind of Labradoodle you want!
It's easy to let all the smart decisions you've made slip out of your mind if you don't have them on paper in front of you.
1. A pen and paper. You're going to meet various dogs and writing down a little bit about the ones who interest you helps you keep them straight.
You want to be able to think about your choices when you're at home, away from the shelter; keeping records of the Labradoodles you've seen allows you to do that.
2. Comfortable clothes. Remember, it's a dog shelter, not a cocktail party, so dress appropriately!
You're going to be getting down and at least a little bit dirty with dogs who may not have had a bath recently and who may not know they shouldn't jump or climb on you; accordingly, don't wear anything you couldn't bear to see paw-printed or drooled on.
Jeans are a good bet; they'll also keep your legs protected in case you get scratched or nipped at by a young dog. Wear comfortable shoes, too, so you can walk around with ease.
3. Being Your Family. Bring along as many members of your household as possible.
Singles need not worry, but if you have family members or roommates who will be living with a new Labradoodle, they should also be involved in the selection.
That might seem ridiculously obvious, but we've known many, many people who have adopted Labradoodles and then returned them because "the kids didn't get along with her" or "she didn't like my in-laws."
You shouldn't necessarily let children, especially young ones, influence your decision, but you at least need to be sure they'll get along with and not be afraid of the dog you choose.
By the way, don't bring any other dogs or pets along with you unless you have permission from the shelter. Most don't allow outside dogs on their premises because of the risk of fights or disease transmission.
4. Time. Well, it's not exactly something you can pack into your car, but it's certainly important.
Leave yourself enough time - probably at least a couple hours - so you won't feel hurried as you talk to shelter employees and get to know a handful of dogs.
If finding a few free hours to go shelter-visiting feels like a strain on your schedule, then you may want to ask yourself whether you're really going to have enough time for a Labradoodle.
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