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Be patient, research the breed(s) of dogs you like & once you find a dog you're interested in, visit the dog multiple times before bringing it home. If you can, take it for a walk on each visit or into the yard (most shelters will have a fenced area that you can let the dog run around in). That will give the dog time to get to know you better and you'll see a little more personality each time. You might also get the benefit of hearing different staff members opinions of the dog. It also gives you a chance to think about it and ask any new questions that might come to mind over night.

The only risk with trying visit the dog a few times before adopting is that the dog you really want gets adopted before you can bring it home. So, it's a bit of a gamble that way but it's better to know what you're getting into vs. just running home with a dog you know very little about. If you miss out on a dog, just wait.. plenty of new and great dogs go through the shelters each month.
 
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