Use your brain, not just your heart.
It’s better not to adopt a dog if you later change your mind because you ‘haven’t thought it through’. Rejection hurts. Dogs feel pain, just like people, both the physical and the emotional kind.
Think about the size of the dog you can cope with, the coat, the breed (or rather breed type), the age, the level of energy to suit your lifestyle. Find out as much as you can about the dog’s history, character and health issues. Watch the dog before you decide to adopt, interact if possible. If it’s your first dog or if you have doubts: please seek professional advice, ask a reliable trainer/behaviourist to help you choose, they can interpret dogs’ body language better.
Ask yourself if you’re ready to put some work into it, if you can handle a challenge, if you are determined to succeed and willing to seek help if necessary. Your decision to take him back to the shelter may ruin the dog’s chances to find a home, so take responsibility for it.
All my dogs have been ‘hard work’. Each for a different reason. But I always make a conscious decision to adopt a dog that wouldn’t find a home otherwise. They are time consuming, expensive, emotionally exhausting, they make you learn all the time just to unlearn everything you know and start again. I organise my life around my dogs, not the other way round. They are my life and I have never for a second regretted having any of my dogs. But it’s not for everyone, so please think before you damage beyond repair what’s already broken.