Puppies are adorable. It is hard to resist puppy breath and puppy kisses, but they’re also a lot of work. If you’ve decided to start the new year with getting a pet and you want a puppy, think it through and make sure you really have the time and energy needed for raising a little dog through the puppy and teenage stages.
If you answer no to the 24-7 job of having a little one, consider visiting a local shelter or rescue and give an older dog a new chance on life. (There are often puppies there too, of course.)
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. 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. 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!