Adopting a Dog: Should You Choose a Puppy or an Adult Dog?

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by Jim Navary

So, you’ve finally made the decision that you want to adopt a canine pal. That’s great news! But first you must decide if your new best friend will be an adult dog or a puppy.

I'm cute - but high maintenance

I'm cute - but high maintenance

Without a doubt it can be a real joy having a rambunctious puppy in the house, watching him or her grow. However, adopting a pup really requires a major time commitment. Initially, it can take a couple of weeks for both you and your puppy to adjust to your new living arrangements. Be aware that it could result in a few sleepless nights for both of you. Also, new puppies must be very closely supervised and properly taught what is and is not acceptable behavior. Then there’s housetraining. In many cases this can be a taxing time with numerous “accidents” to clean up. Patience, while housetraining a pup, is indeed a virtue. Also, it may take six to eight months for your puppy to outgrow his chewing phase and another 12 months to attain full maturity.

When determining whether or not a puppy will fit your lifestyle you really must make a completely honest assessment of your ability, and willingness, to deal with the challenges that the youngster will present. If you conclude that it’s not realistic for you to care for a puppy, then an adult dog can be an excellent choice.

Many adult dogs have already been housetrained. You’ll likely still have a few accidents but it won’t take long for the adult dog to learn your rules. Adult dogs are easier to train as they have longer attention spans than excitable puppies. In fact, you may find that they have already learned some basic commands from their previous owners. Choosing an adult dog, you will already be aware of its full size, true personality, and health. As puppies develop, one or more of these traits may end up being a big surprise. An adult dog may be a better choice if you have young children. Older dogs may have already had experience with children and they are much more predictable than puppies. Playing with a new puppy you’ll soon discover that they have needle-sharp teeth that can accidentally injure a young child.

You might also want to consider adopting a canine “senior citizen”. Even nine or ten year old dogs can still have many more good years to offer to a loving family. All too many older dogs in shelters are unable to find a new “forever” home, resulting in a tragic, untimely demise.

Consider adopting an older dog

Consider adopting an older dog

When choosing between an adult dog or a new puppy, try to consider every aspect of your pet’s, and your own, needs. Adopting a dog should be great fun, but it also requires a major commitment on your part to ensure a healthy, long lasting partnership between you and your new best friend.

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