Adopting a new pet into the family is one of the most exciting times in your life. It’s also a time of decision. Take some time to ask yourself if a puppy, an adolescent dog, or an adult dog would be happiest in your home. Do you have time for house training? Are you at home a lot or do you spend most evenings out? These questions can help you pick the right dog.
Every home is different, and each owner has a lifestyle already established that the pet will need to learn and adjust to. While pets adjust to most environments, there will be less stress for both of you if you find the right pet from the start.
Here are some things to consider as you decide between a puppy, an adolescent dog, and an adult dog.
Adopting a Puppy (up to 6 months old)
The big eyes and oversized paws of a puppy are universally lovable. Puppies are very energetic and need exercise regularly, but they often tire out early. If your puppy is still young, short bursts of activity are best. Taking several walks a day and playing a game at the park is often easier on a puppy thank taking him for a 6-mile walk.
- Your puppy will have high energy and need more time with you at this stage than any other time in his or her life. If you’re away from home a lot a puppy may get bored, lonely, or destructive.
- Puppies are needy and can get anxious when their owner leaves. They are also prone to mischief when no one is looking.
- A puppy’s personality is developing and habits are being learned. If you want your new dog’s personality to blend best with the humans or other pets in the home, getting a puppy is often best.
- You will need to house train your puppy.
- You will need to train your puppy, teach your puppy manners, and take your puppy to obedience school.
- A puppy will go through teething and may chew up household items. Puppies often destroy wood furniture, pillows, and toys.
- Puppies are cute and lovable and have a trusting personality that melts your heart.
- Adopting a puppy may not be the best choice if you have small children, since children may not be gentle enough with the puppy (or vice versa).
Adopting an Adolescent Dog (7 to 11 months old)
There are many adolescent-aged dogs in shelters or in foster care just waiting for the right person to love. These lovable dogs were sometimes adopted as puppies by owners who weren’t prepared for the responsibility of taking care of a dog in the puppy stage.
- Adolescent dogs are usually (but not always) house trained. Many have also gone through some type of obedience training.
- Dogs this age learn quickly and are usually eager to please.
- Some of these dogs may have been abandoned and need reassurance. Some may have been abused.
- An adolescent dog will be ready to go on a long walk with you or spend an hour playing Frisbee at the park, unless your dog is out of shape. Dogs at this age rebound quickly though so even if your dog wasn’t exercised much before, he’ll build up to it within a few weeks.
- Adolescent dogs do need more time with you than an adult dog, but they aren’t as needy or demanding as a puppy.
- They can get lonely and destructive if left alone for long periods of time.
- Most dogs in this age group need regular exercise. If your dog is misbehaving, one thing you can do is increase your pet’s exercise level.
Adopting an Adult Dog (one year and up for most breeds)
The mellow personality and calm demeanor of many adult dogs makes them a great choice for adoption. They’re often overlooked in favor of young puppies, although adult dogs don’t take as much work. Adopting a rescue dog gives pets a second chance for happiness. An adult dog is ready to be a true companion to you, unlike dogs in the earlier stages.
- If you’re looking for a true friend and companion, an adult dog is at a great age for adoption.
- Some adult dogs have abandonment issues or have been abused in the past. Many dogs can overcome these issues in a loving home, but you should consult a trainer if you aren’t used to helping abused dogs adjust.
- You may need to retrain your dog with some behavioral issues.
- Aggression towards people is hard to overcome in dogs, and if you’re thinking of adopting a dog with these issues you should consult with a trainer.
- Adult dogs do need regular exercise but they have calmed down from their hyper puppy stage.
Once you’ve brought your new dog home, you can give your pet his or her own room with a designer dog crate from DenHaus. Available in traditional hardwood, modern metal, and more, these pet beds are designed to complement your decor.