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To find out whether a dog that you want to adopt has potential behavior problems, direct questions to the staff about the dog that you are interested in. Ask about the reason(s) for surrender and talk to the people who care for the dog on a daily basis to find out how the dog behaves for them. The good news is that most reputable shelters will screen dogs for adoptability and will disclose any knowledge of previous problems or quirks about a dog.
Also, spend some time interacting with the dog to see how he responds to you and if you two are a good fit. The dog should be reasonably friendly and not skittish. He should respond well to basic commands and not demonstrate aggression or challenge to authority.