Getting a Dog – Adult or Puppy?

In your consideration of what kind of dog to get this is a big choice. There are great benefits and advantages on either side of this choice.

There is nothing cuter than a puppy and cuteness does a lot, it also costs a lot in training and energy. Are you prepared to train a puppy to be a well rounded dog? Do you even know what training is involved beyond housebreaking? Do you have the time for a puppy? Some rescues won’t allow people with full time jobs to adopt a puppy because housebreaking and training can be really difficult for people who have busy lives outside of their homes. Many people with full time jobs have raised puppies but it really can be a handful. If you really want a dog but have a busy life a mellow adult dog without major behavior problems might be waiting for you at your local shelter.

Adult dogs can come with built in problems, existing bad habits that need to be broken, but they don’t always. Don’t take the idea of “bad habits” as one issue. Bad habits include everything from major aggression to a dog who jumps up on you to welcome you home. Jumping up is a bad habit (and one of the most common ones) that you can break. Aggression is a whole different story. Adult dogs are available for a wide variety of reasons besides bad behavior. The saddest to me are from owners who have died or gotten too old to care for the dogs. There are also families who must relocate and cannot take the dog with them. Consider an older dog or a pair of dogs who have always lived together. These have a harder time finding homes and there are good reasons to take them. I think the perfect age for a dog is 5. At that age they have grown into the best dog they will be. This doesn’t mean they can’t learn more. Then can. (Dogs learn all during their lives.) It means their personality has matured and mellowed. For a small dog, 5 is still a young age. While dogs’ life spans are never long enough a 5 year old dog still has most of his dog left in him.

Don’t think that adopting an adult dog will end up costing you more in medical bills than adopting a young one. In fact, the opposite may be true. By waiting until a dog is an adult you will be able to bypass all puppy issues and many of the congenital issues such as hip dysplasia and luxating patellas, which are most likely apparent by the time the dog has reached adulthood.

Many people think they need to get a puppy in order to bond with the dog the way they want to. This is just not the case. Those who have rescued dogs often believe that shelter dogs know how lucky they are when they have been well adopted and show gratitude accordingly. I’m not sure if this is true but I do know that the dog who made me into a “dog person” was an adult when I met and fell in love with him.

If you take your time (and it usually isn’t much time) you will be able to find the perfect adult dog for you. There are millions of homeless pets, a very sad state of affairs. You will fall in love with one of them and life will change for both of you.

My next article will help you find the right dog for your household.

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