Sure, puppies are cute and cuddly, but adopting an older dog can be a great alternative to buying a puppy. Consider the following advantages in giving a senior dog a second chance:
Raising a puppy involves a lot of work, including house training and obedience training. You can easily find an older dog that has been house trained and knows the basic obedience commands. A good senior dog can be more independent and require less supervision, which lets you focus more on the joys of living with your dog rather than the trials of training him.
What you see is what you get
If you don’t take the time to learn about the different dog breeds before you adopt, the cute puppy you bring home could grow into a shedding, slobbering, food-eating machine. With senior dog rescue, what you see is what you get. The appearance, temperament, and energy level of the dog are set so there are usually no surprises.
No puppy stuff
Puppies may be cute, but caring for one can be just as trying as raising a child. They don’t sleep at night, they chew on everything, and you’re bound to find a puddle or two during house training. Adopting an older dog can get you out of the problems of adolescence and into a relationship with your new companion.
If you take the time to find a quality dog with a good history, he should have his basic shots and you won’t have to worry about the veterinary expenses associated with puppies. That saves you both time and money.
See that old dogs CAN learn new tricks
Every dog is trainable. A senior dog can have the patience and attention span to learn from you right from the start. And there’s no need to wait for an adult dog to grow up before you take him for a run or hike.
Adopting an older dog still requires that you do your homework to find the right dog. The Senior Dogs Project website has listings by state of senior dog rescue organizations. Once you’ve found a dog that seems promising, get as much information as you can about him. What is his medical history? What was his previous home like? Any bad habits an older dog may have picked up can be changed, but you have to be willing to work through them.
If you’re choosing a family dog, make sure the dog is a good match for everyone. While a shy dog may seem cute and cuddly, he could be afraid of everything making him difficult to interact with. Alternatively, a more dominant dog may not be the best choice if you have small children. Play with the dog a bit and see for yourself what his personality is like. Does he have a good attention span, bright eyes, and a gentle demeanor? Introduce the dog to all of your family members before you commit to adopting him. Does he relate well with everyone? Does everybody connect to him?
If the initial introductions go well, have the dog examined by a veterinarian. Again, do this before you commit to adopting him. While senior dog rescue is a noble endeavor and all dogs deserve a loving home, some may require more care and attention than you can give.
With a little effort, adopting an older dog can be a rewarding experience and is a wonderful alternative to raising a puppy.