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Why You Would Want to Adopt an Adult Dog: Your Questions Answered

Puppy biting someones leg Adopting an adult dog is a great way to find that perfect pet for your family as well as save yourself all the growing pains of rambunctious puppy-hood. While, granted, puppies in pet stores and breeder litters will be the first choice for many families choosing a dog, but this fact is also what makes adult dog adoption so important. By choosing an adult dog for your family instead of a puppy, you will find your decision proving itself the right choice for many wonderful reasons.

Aren’t Adult Dogs Problematic?

Firstly, and foremost, not all adult dogs in shelters are the result of behavioral problems. A large number of abandoned or unadopted dogs are without families for no other reason than simply because of the luck of the draw. Unfortunately, many dogs are stigmatized for the faults their former owners or the unfortunate luck of being born a pet that would be an orphan for most of its life. A dog that was simply the leftovers of a puppy farm litter, having grown too old to be sold, will end up in a shelter for no other reason than being “unsellable.” Puppy farm surplus dogs are wonderful animals, with the predispositions and personalities of angels, that have merely had the luck to not be chosen as puppies.

These faultless adult dogs are, unfortunately, also seen as “damaged goods” with a heavy load of “emotional baggage” simply because their former owners abandoned them or they had to be rescued from abuse. While, granted, an abused dog can have serious emotional issues, most problematic dogs are identified early in shelters and are streamlined away from an adoption that wouldn’t work for them. When visiting a shelter with adoption in mind, there will be, quite literally, a catalogue of quality dogs with a full list of their redeeming attributes right at your fingertips. There is rarely a case of adoption where the family returns the dog because of any problems that weren’t plainly laid out beforehand. Importantly, one of the most common idiosyncrasies of the abandoned dogs found in shelters is not any form of canine psychosis, but rather a touching focus of undivided affection once they have identified you as their new family.

Aren’t Older Dogs Harder to Train? (“Old Dogs” and Their “New Tricks”, Shall We Say)

While younger puppies tend to have a naturally curious predisposition and an aptitude to catch on quickly, adult dogs have two major advantages over “young pups”: firstly, adult dogs will probably already have basic obedience and house training as second nature by this point, if either from their former families or from the breeder that raised them; and secondly, while older dogs may not always be the sharpest noses in the kennel, they more than make up for it through sheer love for their new masters and a deep desire to please and win approval. There are few puppies that come house trained, a process that is as arduous as it can be messy, and for a first time dog owner, an adult dog that has all the training of a proper dog can be an absolute God-send for their upholstery. Also, in defense of older dogs, there is nothing that can’t be trained to an adult dog that can be to a puppy, and what has been proposed as “untrainable” is yet to be proven in support of the age old proverb “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.

Don’t Older Dogs Need to go to the Vet More Often?

Excluding serious medical conditions, incidences of which are just as common if not more so in puppies who have not yet been screened for latent diseases, older dogs can be actually argued as needing fewer trips to the veterinarian simply from the fact that their experience keeps them from “getting into trouble” with traffic, other dogs, indigestible food alternatives, and any other subjects on the long list of injury-causing situations. In fact, many dogs that have been pre-owned or put into shelters have already been neutered and given the necessary inoculations that can make up most of the veterinary bills of a responsible owner. The simple act of adopting an adult dog, with his medical necessities already covered, can save a great deal of your pet budget for more enjoyable things.

Wouldn’t a Puppy Make a Better Addition to a Young Family?

While there are few dog owners who would argue the point against how the “cuteness” of puppies makes them an easy sell for children, the easily argued fact that adult dogs have fully developed predispositions, personalities, and set patterns of behavior makes them significantly safer around children. While, yes, children will play with a soft, fluffy puppy, what kind of dog that puppy will actually grow into is still a relative mystery: growing into a neurotic, problematic, or even dangerous animal with few signs of their innate disposition visible while they are still young. Adult dogs, whether puppy farm surplus or the victims of abuse, will have their dispositions well within plain site for the shelter workers to document before they are adopted. An adult dog will have individually earned their well deserved title of “good with children” through experience and a life of first hand character references, whereas a puppy will only have the predisposition of their particular breed to vouch for their patience around loud, obnoxious children who may innocently provoke a dog. If child safety is a matter of importance for a family, the “tried, tested, and true” nature of an experienced adult dog actually makes for a smarter sell than any puppy.

Would I be Saving This Dog’s Life?

Perhaps one of the most noble aspects of adopting an adult dog is the fact that by adopting and older dog from a shelter, you will be effectively saving that dog’s life. Whether the surplus of a puppy farm or an abandoned animal, dogs can only be kept in a shelter for a short while and must be euthanized after a period of the dog going unadoped. Granted, euthanasia of unwanted dogs is an unfortunate reality, but it is also a necessity for keeping the stray population in check. This is why it is so important to spay or neuter your dog when you have no intention of breeding, and to make sure, as a responsible dog owner, that you do not, through negligence, contribute to the broader issue of irresponsible dog breeding. Even by adopting an older dog you will be doing your part to cut down on the demand for puppies from unscrupulous dog breeders and making sure that the dogs that we already have on the market will find their way to a warm, caring home. By adopting an adult dog, you will be doing your part to save not only one life, but to assure the happy, loving lives of many more generations of puppies and adult dogs alike in the future.

By adopting an adult dog, you will be making the right choice for many different reasons. Were a puppy is initially cute, issues with that puppy’s personality when it grows up can become serious problems around children, but adult dogs, having matured into responsible animals, have already proven themselves ideal for a family. And, despite the age-old proverb of “teaching old dogs new tricks”, an adult dog will often have the tenacity and work ethic that makes dog training much more effective, while still keeping your veterinary bills to a minimum. Perhaps the greatest part of adopting an adult dog is saving the life of an animal that will grow into becoming a loving member of your family.

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