How to Decide Between a Puppy or Older Dog
Now that you have done the research and decided that adopting a dog is right for you, it is time to consider whether you want a baby puppy, a somewhat older puppy, a middle aged dog or a senior citizen.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each, so let’s discuss them in detail to help you decide.
We will talk about how to find a quality puppy or rescue organization and how to avoid bad sources.
Many people feel that the best way to have a great dog is to start with a puppy that you can train from the beginning. Assuming you are starting with a healthy, mentally stable puppy, how the puppy turns out; a well-mannered little angel, an obnoxious hellion or fearful scaredy dog, rests upon your shoulders a a direct reflection of your ability to raise, train and socialize the puppy.
Regardless, it is important to keep in mind that puppy-hood, while highly rewarding and fun, comes with a huge responsibility and commitment that may be more intense than having adopted an older pup.
In our experience as certified, professional animal trainers we frequently hear experienced dog owners exclaiming how much more work “this puppy” is in comparison to their “previous puppy.”
Actually, this is rarely based on fact, but rather on memories. After living with and loving a loyal, faithful companion for eight to fifteen years, it is difficult to remember the house training “accidents”, chewed up shoes and other mischief your now senior dog put you through when she was a puppy.
Most folks merely choose to remember the love, laughter and good times you’ve shared instead of the puppy biting, midnight trips outside in the rain to go potty, lack of sleep and constant supervision that a young puppy requires.
Puppies Need Time and Attention
In addition to those midnight trips outdoors, puppies just need more time and attention than older dogs do. They require near-constant supervision and direction, short but frequent play sessions, tons of socialization to the world, noises, people and other dogs, lots of short, fun training sessions, lots of cuddle time, love and play.
It is not acceptable to adopt a young puppy and then leave her locked up in a crate for 8-10 hours, come home and play with her, feed her, potty her and then put her in her crate for another 8 hours while you sleep.
Puppies need a lot of attention and depend on you for everything, especially guidance and time spent together. If you are honest with yourself and you are certain that you are equipped to deal with the special needs of a young puppy, there is no denying that there is a special joy in being the second parent to your new family member.
This is a series of articles about choosing a dog in the right age range for you. Watch for our next article which will discuss choosing older dogs.