8 Perfectly Good Reasons To Adopt An Older Dog Instead Of A Puppy

We all know that puppies are insanely adorable. This is a universal truth. But why give all our love to the youngsters, when there are so many awesome, sweet, lovable adult dogs out there? When adopting dogs, a lot of people go straight for little ones. Dazzled by their ridiculous, smooshable little faces and tiny, round bodies, many people forget that, underneath all of that cuteness, puppies are actually tiny destruction machines that take a ton of work and energy. For some new dog owners, the work of puppy training is exactly what they want. But many others would be happier if they skipped that step and adopted a grown-up dog instead.

Animal shelters and rescue groups have a notoriously hard time finding homes for older dogs, which is a complete shame because so many of these dogs would make wonderful pets. Some potential dog owners worry that adult dogs in shelters must have something wrong with them: Either they were given up because they have behavior problems, or they were traumatized and so must have a lot of difficult anxiety issues. But in fact there are a lot of reasons that perfectly well-adjusted dogs end up in shelters: people lose their jobs, they move, they get sick, they have kids, they die…the list goes on. Don’t pass these dogs by without giving them a shot!

If you’re worried about what you’re getting into, take some time to get to know the dog you’re interested in adopting. A lot of shelters will let you take dogs out on walks, which will allow you to get a sense of what the dog is like away from the shelter and interacting in the real world. Furthermore, most shelter workers will be honest with you about the dog’s training and behavioral status. They do not want their dogs to end up back in a shelter, so they’ll be up front about any potential problems. You should also keep in mind that you can adopt great dogs outside of shelters: There are a lot of breed-specific rescue groups out there, and breeders themselves will often have adult dogs they’re trying to give away or sell at a discounted price (these dogs may be show dogs that didn’t work out or retired breeding dogs). Here are eight reasons you should consider getting a grown-up puppy:

1. You know what you’re getting

With puppies, especially mixed-breeds, it can be hard to predict exactly how big they’re going to get, or what their coats will be like when they’re older. (Coat type can be a major factor for people with allergies.) One of the greatest advantages with adopting an adult dog is that you know what kind of dog you’re taking home. You’ll also have a solid idea of the dog’s energy level, personality, and any quirks he or she might have.

2. You get to skip house training!

House training a puppy is possibly the least fun thing, ever. There are a lot of messes, a lot mistakes, and a lot of nights when you’ll be tearing your hair out, wondering, “Will this creature ever get it? Will I be cleaning pee out of my shoes for the REST OF MY LIFE?!” Many adult dogs that need homes are already fully house trained, so you can simply skip that step! Even adult dogs that aren’t fully house trained will be easier to house train than puppies because they have mature bladders (so they are already capable of “holding it”) and because they’re simply calmer and more trainable. A good shelter or rescue group will be able to tell you about the house training status of their available dogs, so that you can make a fully informed decision about how much house training you’ll need to do.

3. Fewer early vet expenses

Vet bills for a puppy can be expensive: You’ve got multiple rounds of vaccinations and spaying/neutering. When you adopt an older dog, chances are that he or she will already be vaccinated and sterilized. You may have to follow up with a booster shot once in a while, but that’s much less expensive.

4. You get to skip teething

All puppies go through a teething stage, when they’re baby teeth fall out and their adult teeth grow in. Teething puppies feel seized by an intense compulsion to chew—on ANYTHING. Nothing you own is safe during this stage; they’ll chew on furniture, shoes, power cords, books, you…anything they can get their teeth on is fair game. When you adopt an older dog, you get to skip this stage. Plenty of older dogs still like to chew, but they lack the obsessiveness of puppies. Give your adult dog a couple of sturdy chew toys, and he or she will be happy.

5. They’re calmer

Almost all dogs are hyper when they’re young. They’re bubbling with energy and need long walks and lots of playtime to make them manageable at home. Adult dogs love to exercise and play, too, but, on the whole, they are calmer and easier to deal with. (Of course, there are plenty of highly energetic adult dogs out there, but when you adopt an older dog, you get to select a dog with an energy level that suits you.)

6. They’re easier to train

Older dogs are calmer and more mature, so they’ll be more able to focus on the training you give them. Furthermore, when you adopt an adult dog, chances are that he or she has had some training before, even if it’s basic things like “sit” and leash-walking. That previous experience will lay the groundwork for your training.

7. They are less work generally

Puppies are great, but they require a lot of work, around the clock. When they’re young, they need to be supervised almost constantly (lest they eat/chew/pee on/get into something they’re not supposed to), and their tiny bladders may require that you take them out multiple times in the middle of the night. If you’re simply not able to put a lot of your life on hold to care for a puppy, getting an older dog is a great solution. Adult dogs require lots of love an attention, too, of course, but you’ll be a bit freer to take care of your kids/job/life/etc.

8. They’re sweet and snuggable.

Puppies tend to get all the credit for cuteness, but let’s not forget that adult dogs can be totally adorable, too. Adopting an older dog can allow you to skip some of the not-so-fun aspects of puppy ownership, while still having all the cuteness and snuggles you want in your life. I mean, come on. Just look at that face!

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