This guide is designed to facilitate discussions with potential adopters. If possible, bring a Pit Bull with you during the home visit and request that all family members be present. Try to ask open-ended questions. Not all questions will apply to each family and some of these questions may have already been answered on the adoption application and during phone interviews.
Pet Experience and History
- What breeds have they had in the past?
- What happened to them?
- Were there any negative feelings towards previous dogs?
- What training methods were used with past or existing dogs?
- How did they handle behavior problems?
- Are they willing to attend professional obedience training classes with their new dog?
- Have they ever crate-trained?
- If not, do they understand the purpose?
- Do they need education on crate training?
- Will they ever leave the dog outside when they are gone? If yes, educate of the very real threat of dogs being stolen from yards.
- Are fence gates locked and secured or could a dog easily be stolen from this yard, if unattended?
- Do they know not to let a new dog off-leash until it always obeys completely, and that this could take many months of regular obedience training?
- Is the fencing secure?
- Are they on or very close to a busy street?
- If there is no yard, how will they give the dog enough exercise?\
- If there is a yard but no fence, how will they provide a safe alternative?
- Do a brief visual check of rooms for electrical, phone or computer wires which might need to be secured or hidden.
- Do all exterior doors close and latch securely so a dog can't easily push through?
If the home has a pool or is near water, educate about safety.
- Are the children afraid of dogs?
- Are they interested in getting a new dog?
- How do they treat existing dogs or other pets?
- If children act inappropriately toward the existing dog(s) during the visit, how do the parents handle the situation?
- Do the children and parents understand they must keep doors and gates securely latched, and always use caution whenever doors or gates are opened so the dog cannot push past?
- Is there anything about the children's behavior that could be a concern in placing a dog there?
- Do parents know that no matter how wonderful a dog is, it is never advisable to leave it unsupervised with small children (ages 6 and under)?
- Do they look healthy and well-treated?
- Are existing dogs on heartworm preventative? If not, why?
- How have existing pets reacted to new dogs in the past?
- Explain it may take many weeks or months for an existing cat and new dog to adapt to life together and the two should not be left alone unattended until the owner is absolutely sure their relationship is safe.
- Is there anyone in the home who does not seem to want a Pit Bull?
- Sepcifically ask each spouse individually to tell you exactly how they feel about getting a Pit Bull. If either is hesitant, why?
- Are there any family members with allergies to cats or dogs?
- Do any family members or existing pets have physical limitations or conditions which should be considered in finding the right Pit Bull?
- What are the family's expectations of a "rescue" dog?
- How did they react to the dog you brought?
- If they have requested a dog of a certain age, ask why.
- If they want a specific gender, ask why.
- Explain your adoption agreement and discuss the adoption fee, if applicable.
- Explain that it will take time for the rescue dog to adjust to the new home environment, perhaps 2-3 weeks.
- Would this applicant be a good volunteer or foster home in the future?
First-Time Pit Bull Owners
- Assess the areas that might require education (feeding, obedience training, etc).
- Suggest contacting local vet for obedience classes and enrolling as soon as possible.
- Describe basic behavior to expect from Pit Bulls, particularly the trait for dog-aggression.
Adapted, with permission, from Central Indiana Lab Rescue & Adoption, Inc.