If you've decided to start the new year with getting a dog, consider whether you really want a puppy or if an older dog would fit you better. Puppies are adorable and it is hard to resist puppy breath and puppy kisses, but many who get a puppy are unprepared for the work.
Most people do okay with their puppies as long as they're small and cute, but things change when the dog grows into a teenager with puppy temperament and mischief in a grown body. Depending on breed this stage can last up to the age of three.
If you have the time and energy to raise a puppy, it's a rewarding job. If you answer no to the around the clock job of caring for a little one, consider visiting a local shelter or rescue and give an older dog a chance. (Shelters and rescues have puppies too, by the way.)
There are many adult dogs to choose from, and depending on your life style you might want to rescue a senior.
Many dogs who end up in shelters and rescues are there through no fault of their own. In many cases the owner’s family, living situation, or financial situation changed, and the pet finds itself homeless. When it comes to seniors, they're often dumped when the family gets a puppy. Older dogs are often the last to be adopted – and the first to be euthanized.
When you see a pet in a shelter, remember that the dog is stressed, confused, and afraid. Many shut down and become shy and unresponsive, others are hyper alert, ready for any chance to get away. The personality can change a little when you get home and your new pet settles in, and this process can take a couple of weeks until he or she figures out that they’re home and safe. Once the dog has settled in, you’ll have a devoted friend.
When you adopt a grown dog you know important things like their final size and grooming requirements. Older dogs are far less likely to be destructive chewers than younger dogs – and if they chew on something it’s a training problem and not a teething problem. Older dogs are also more likely to be house trained than puppies. If the older dog isn’t house trained or has accidents in the new home, they have the physical and mental ability to “get it” quickly while a young puppy just can’t hold it.
Older dogs require exercise just like younger dogs, but they might not have the super-explosve energy that wants you to play ball for five hours and then run a marathon. Seniors often like to chill out.
Many believe older dogs can’t learn new tricks. This isn’t true. Training is great mental exercise for your furry friend, and it helps build the bond between you.
To find your new best friend, visit local shelters or rescues, or check petfinder.com!
Have you adopted an older dog? Would you consider getting an older dog?