The decision to adopt any animal requires much thought and commitment of time, space, resources and affection. If you are thinking about adopting a puppy or adult dog, here are some considerations to keep in mind.
Adopting a Puppy
Puppies normally require significantly more attention than do older dogs. They should not be left alone all day and typically will need to eliminate every two or three hours. The housebreaking process can be protracted and difficult unless the puppy is supervised in the house and taken outside at regular intervals to potty. Puppies require training in the basic commands (sit, stay, come, heel, down), which mature dogs often know. During the teething process, where razor sharp puppy teeth are replaced by adult teeth, puppies can be especially destructive. Anything within reach is at risk of becoming a new source of fun and festivity for exuberant puppies – like your favorite slippers or sunglasses. As with any dog, an ill-behaved or poorly socialized puppy is not a pleasure to be around.
On the other hand, a puppy can be a joy to live with – especially in homes with children or other companion animals or where the owner has a flexible schedule. Puppies can be easier to train than older dogs that are set in their ways. Puppies also are free of the mental, physical and/or emotional scars that older dogs can bring with them. If you are thinking about adopting a puppy, be sure that your lifestyle and living arrangements are compatible with an energetic bundle of love.
Adopting a Mature Dog
Mature dogs often fit seamlessly into a new home. This is especially true if you have information about the animal's past so that you can avoid potentially problematic situations. Adult dogs typically are potty trained and many know their basic commands. Dogs are intelligent creatures and quickly pick up on the ins and outs of a regular household routine. While adult dogs still require daily attention, they do not require the constant supervision and mental stimulation that puppies demand.
That being said, mature dogs can come with emotional and behavioral baggage, particularly if they come from an abusive home. The new owner of an adult dog whose history is unknown must be patient and committed to working with their new companion with a consistently gentle hand. Abused dogs often are fearful and shy in unfamiliar situations and with unfamiliar people. They require a calm, secure living environment and time to develop trust in their new guardian. Adult dogs may not live as long as a puppy, but that will depend on chance and a multitude of other factors. Many people relish the opportunity to provide a safe and loving home for older dogs that deserve a second chance.