This is a common misconception about shelter dogs - and one that shelter staff deal with every day. "Truth is, very few shelter pets have been abused, though they may have been neglected," explained Delucchi.
Shelter staff can give you get a sense of which dogs might need special attention. A neglected pup may never have been fully toilet-trained, for example, and will need a new family willing to put in the work to teach him what he should have learned as a puppy.
For the most part, though, shelter dogs need exactly what other dogs need - a loving and stable family willing to give them lots of love and attention.
6. Remember that you're choosing a pal for life