Adopting an Adult Dog
When it comes time to get a dog, many people consider adoption over purchasing. If you’re one of them, why not look at adult dogs? Puppies are a lot of work, and adult dogs bond just as well as puppies. Besides, there are quite a few advantages to getting an adult dog.
1. An adult dog has an adult bladder. Puppies can only be expected to “hold it” for as many hours as they are old, plus one. Therefore, a four-month-old puppy can only be expected to hold it for five hours. You probably plan to be home for the first weekend — even a long weekend — when you bring your dog home. But what about after that? Have you made arrangements to walk the dog or let her out every three, four, five, six or seven hours over the next six months? Is there someone home during the day with your dog. If not, consider an adult dog. They can be housetrained even if they’ve never been house trained before. And best of all, the can hold it until you come home.
2. An adult dog is past the puppy chewing stage. This stage, from two months to two years of age, is when much of the home destruction happens. Chewed cabinets, sofas, shoes, window sills, and clothing can cost you plenty. But an adult dog, given chew toys and bones to keep him occupied, is no longer in a chewing frenzy.
3. An adult dog is as big as he’s ever going to get. With puppies — especially puppies whose heritage is unknown — you never know. My cousin got a “Beagle mix” who is now nearly 50 pounds. Many apartments have weight restrictions on the dogs they will allow, so if you rent, you may need to get a smaller dog. In addition, food, vet care and boarding are all more expensive for bigger dogs. If you’re sure you can’t end up with a bigger dog, get an adult.
4. Adult dogs are better able to focus, and this comes in handy during training. Although puppies can and should be trained, ask any trainer and she’ll tell you it’s often easier to train dog who’s mature. And don’t give in to fears that an adult won’t bond to you, or that you can’t teach an old(er) dog new tricks. Both are false. Every day is a whole new day for dogs, and the bonding that takes place during training (or retraining) is every bit as rewarding as that with a puppy. Plus, you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to take him out!
5. What you see is what you get. Some dogs are very active as puppies, then mellow out considerably as adults; others are very cuddly and passive as puppies, then develop the energy of a squirrel on crack cocaine as they grow. An adult dog’s baseline personality is pretty well set, and shelters are full of dogs who became the “wrong” match as they grew up.
6. If you’re a fan of a particular breed, getting an adult purebred might be easier than you think. Breed rescues take in dogs from shelters and breeders … dogs who may have lived in comfortable, loving homes prior to coming to yours. Don’t assume that all rescue dogs are street urchins with no training who will not withstand being on a leash or being brushed. Then there’s the added bonus of getting a dog who’s very “typey” and a good representative of the breed you like. Remember my cousin who wanted a beagle? Her dog (whom she adores, by the way) looks more like a smaller Irish Wolfhound. I loved collies all my life, and got a puppy from a breeder. His mom and dad were both gorgeous examples of the breed. He was a ball of fur with good coloring as a puppy, but as he grew, he began to show some conformation faults. His ears didn’t stand up. They drooped all his life. His back legs pointed outward, like ballerina feet. He grew and grew … to 90 pounds. He looked very gangly because of a very long back and high hips. His coat was so thick that our groomer, who had show collies, said he had three coats. Most people didn’t recognize him as a collie. Several people asked if he was a collie mix. Don’t get me wrong; I loved him dearly until the day he died. But as collies go, there are others who are better representatives of the breed. If you want a Papillon or a Pug that looks like a Papillon or Pug, consider an adult dog.
7. The first year is a lot less expensive with a grown-up dog. All those trips to the vet to give your new puppy round after round of inoculations can really add up. A healthy adult should only need to go to the vet once a year.
8. Most adult dogs are already socialized. Puppies must make mistakes and be corrected by dogs and humans to learn how to interact with others. Most adult dogs have already had run-ins with other dogs, so they know how far they can go. They want to keep the peace, and this is what socialization is about. The first time my young Lab got a correction from a Husky at the dog park, I could see her working it out in hear head. In hear world, everyone loved her, and everything was hers. But suddenly, she was put down hard by another dog. It was a necessary learning experience. An adult has been around the block and will be more aware in social interactions with kids, dogs, and you.
9. Instant companionship is yours when you get an adult dog. Puppies have to wait until they get their last round of shots before they should be around other dogs. They can’t run very far, and are easily knocked around by kids and other dogs. They’re uncoordinated, untrained, and must eliminate, eat and sleep often. An adult dog can go running with you today!
10. If you’re adopting a dog to save a life, consider this. Most people get swept away by the cute factor of puppies. They come to shelters looking for puppies, therefore most puppies in shelters have a much better chance of being adopted than most adult dogs. When you adopt a dog, you’re saving a life. Why not save a life that’s running out of time, with fewer chances at being adopted? Many people say, “the dog knows.” Owners of adult adopted dogs often say that these dogs are grateful and happy dogs. One thing’s for sure; you’ll never regret it.
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