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Adopt an Older Dog

Updated on August 27, 2009

Adopt an Adult Dog

Adopting a puppy is easy. Everyone does it, but puppies just aren't for everyone. Puppies need to be watched 24/7. They require more vet bills, more training, and more overall care. You can't just bring a puppy home and expect him to know everything.

Puppies just aren't for everyone, but there is an alternative... Older mature dogs.

Adult dogs make a great adoption option. They are calmer, more appreciative to their new home, require less frequent vet trips (unless they have something medically wrong with them, which will generally be noted before adoption as long as the shelter is aware of the issue), and they take to training easier.

You'll find that by adopting an older dog, you can better choose a dog that will suit your family. Older dogs are already clear in their personality. It will definitely be less trial and error with puppies not fitting in with your family home.

Reasons to Adopt Older Dogs

Older does not have to mean 10 years or older. Older can mean 2 years and older. It just means that adult dogs may be better suited for your family than a puppy. Adopting an adult dog will give you more gratification over adopting a puppy. Puppies are adopted pretty quick, whereas older dogs sit in shelters for much longer.

  • Easier to house train. Most of the time, you'll even find that adult dogs in shelters are already house trained, or at least crate trained, which will save your carpets and floors. It will also save you the extra time of house training. You'll probably need refresher courses, but not a full-blown training period.
  • Most adult dogs are already past their chewing and digging phase. Just remember some breeds are prone to permanent digging or chewing phases. But, in general, this will better save your furniture and yard.
  • Calmer than puppies. They are less likely to chase the cat, squirrels, and will generally require less play times during the day. Regular exercise is still a must, but you won't have to throw the ball for an hour before the pup is tired; you may get away with 15-20 minutes.
  • Adult dogs that have been socialized with children, will be better for young children. Adult dogs are generally more relaxed around the two year old who wants to sit and pull the dog's tail and ears. Puppies are just plain rambunctious and can be rough with younger children.
  • More settled and are generally less likely to venture out, run out the door, or sneak under the fence. Again, remember some dog breeds are more likely to try to roam.
  • Less demanding on you. They generally will not pester you, jump all over you, or whine and cry when you're on the computer.

  • Less curious, meaning you don't have to spend every waking minute following them around. Adult dogs are less likely to drink from the toilet, unless they are out of drinking water, and typically less likely to investigate potentially dangerous situations.
  • Personalities are already visible and developed, so when you go to the shelter, it's what you see is what you get. Younger puppies have yet to develop their personality to its fullest. By seeing and knowing what the dog's temperament is from the beginning will make things easier when choosing a dog that best suits your family.
  • Better car riders means that they are less likely to run around the car or jump in your lap while you're driving. Even still, you need to consider dog seat belts and car kennels, as they're much safer than letting your dog roam in the car, while you're driving.
  • Although, it's not always the case, older dogs can be better leash walkers. They've had more time to practice than a younger puppy.
  • More eager to learn than a youngster. Less distracts them and they are more susceptible to training. Older dogs know their role and want to please their people.

Most importantly, older dogs are more appreciative to your for saving them from the dingy kennel they lived in. Generally, you'll find that adult dogs will be kinder, gentler, sweeter, more loving, and they'll get into less trouble than a younger dog or puppy. They remember the kennel and they don't want to go back. Adult dogs that have been rescued seem to try harder to please you.


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    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      myawn, even older dogs that are 10-15 years old, still need loving homes too. They don't deserve to die in a shelter.

      sabreblade, that is such as good thing that you did, adopting the dog for the family. I'm sure you have provided a great home for him.

      I once met a man who adopted at 15 year old cat. He said, even if the cat dies tomorrow, I will have provided the best last day for him as I could. He wouldn't have died in a kennel, unloved and uncared for. People like that will be rewarded in life.

    • sabrebIade profile image

      sabrebIade 8 years ago from Pennsylvania

      We have a 14 year old Corgi that we adopted when an elderly gentleman up the street had a heart attack and died.

      The dog wouldn't go to any family members, got out of his fence and ran down here to our house.

      The relatives all said "Well he likes you, can you keep him? " and we did.

      He is not only well trained and loyal, but he has taught other rescues that we have gotten in how to behave, and even calls down the rowdy ones.

      Like I said, he's 14 and I'm really gonna miss him when he goes.

      But he has been a friend, teacher and guardian to us and the younger pups.

      So yes, an older dog can be a really good alternative.

    • myawn profile image

      myawn 8 years ago from Florida

      Puppies are cute but do require more work. My grandchildrens puppy was very hard to train she is a mixed pit and lab she chews things up still. She is almost a year it took a lot of patience to get her to listen and understand commands. Now things are going better.Older dogs are nice to adopt but not too old.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I agree Whitney!! Great article!

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      I don't necessarily mean puppy mills or puppies from breeders, but even adopting adult dogs over adopting puppies, as well.

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile image

      Staci-Barbo7 8 years ago from North Carolina

      Whitney, this is a great Hub - I hope your readers adopt your sense of compassion for older animals. True, puppies are cute, but the more mature relationship one can have instantly with an older dog beats, hands down, all the aggravation that tends to come along with adopting the average pup.

    • profile image

      gwennies pen 8 years ago

      I would love to own a dog, especially one rescued from a shelter. Someday...I hope things will work out so I can.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I agree with you. As I got older, I got wiser, like wanting an older car over a newer car and a rescued dog over a mall-bought, puppy-mill puppy. There really are so many out there that need affection and people who will devote themselves to caring for them for the rest of their lives. Thanks Whitney.