Puppies are impossible to resist. For that reason, they rarely have trouble finding a willing family to take them in. Once they are past just a few months of age, they start to loose their desirability. Are they tainted? How come nobody wants them? What did their previous owners do to mess them up? Are they aggressive? Are they ill-behaved? Adult dogs find themselves in shelters for as many reasons as there are dogs in shelters. The bottom line? When you adopt an adult dog, you'll have a much better idea of what you're getting into.
8 great reasons to adopt an adult dog
1. You'll know if you have an introvert or extrovert on your hands. Knowing what you're getting into in terms of personality is a great thing, in my opinion. Though when you meet a dog at a shelter, he may not show his full personality to you right away, you can get a pretty good idea as to whether there are any major deal-breaking issues so that you can figure out if the animal would be a good fit for your lifestyle and family. Puppies are all pretty much cute lumps of fluff, ready to be molded. That molding is a time-consuming task that doesn't always work out as planned. When you adopt an adult dog, you'll know if he gets along with kids, needs a great deal of exercise, or is fearful of loud noises, for example. You can choose your new family member based on what works for you. No surprises!
2. Potty training–check! Adult dogs are usually potty trained. It's true that some have not been properly trained in this area, but you'll know that going in. Rescues and shelters will generally know which dogs are potty trained and which aren't. If you don't want to go through the grueling process of potty training, an adult dog may be for you. No puppy comes potty trained.
3. Size matters. Unless you get a pure-bred puppy, the size your puppy may eventually be is pretty much a mystery. I can't tell you how many times a pet sitting client says to me "yeah...we didn't realize he'd be this big when we got him." Size may not be as important as temperament and activity needs, but if you are expecting a chihuahua and end up with a pony, it might make a difference to you.
4. They might know some stuff. Chances are, your rescued adult dog will come home knowing at least a handful of commands. Even if they don't, they have a longer attention span than puppies, so they will catch on quicker when you want them to "sit" and "stay."
5. Adult dogs aren't the time-suck puppies are. During the first year (and sometimes beyond) of life, puppies require near-constant supervision to make sure they are safe and behaving themselves, which is usually not the case, if left to their own devices. All that potty training and training training can be exhausting and can take up a ton of time. Adult dogs become acclimated to the house rules much faster.
6. They won't eat your couch. Teething puppies tend to gnaw on anything they can sink their teeth into. If proper chewing toys are not provided, they will resort to things you probably find valuable, such as your Jimmy Choos or your couch. Puppy proofing is often a trial-and-error process, and there may be casualties along the way. Though adult dogs still like to chew (and should for dental health), they typically know what is appropriate and what is not.
7. Health isn't a mystery. It is expected that senior dogs may come with a health issue or two, but when you adopt an adult or senior dog, you have a better idea of what you're getting into. You may choose to adopt an ill or disabled dog (extra hero points for you), but if that's not your thing, most dogs in rescues and shelters have been checked over by a veterinarian, so any health issues present are known. With a puppy, it's more difficult to determine because of the limited health history.
8. You get to rock a dog's world. Adult dogs aren't considered as cute as puppies, as far as the general population is concerned. Puppies go like hot cakes, because, who can resist the pudge and innocent eyes? But if you take time to think about what you might mean to a dog that is already grown up, well, you'd be a rockstar. They want homes. They want families. They want a rock star like you to make that happen for them.
Adult dogs in rescues and shelters come from varied backgrounds. They come in all ages, all shapes, and all sizes, and they have different needs. The common thread is that they all need homes. When you adopt an adult dog, you at least have a fairly good idea of what you are getting into, so there's a greater chance you'll find that perfect match–that BFF for life.
Have you ever adopted an adult dog? Will you please share your story?
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