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So you’ve made up your mind: you’re ready to adopt a dog. Hooray! But as you browse through countless photos of adorable furry faces, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of dogs looking for forever homes.
Not sure if you should adopt a puppy or adult dog? Here, we’ll look at pros and cons of adopting a puppy. (Considerations for adult dogs are outlined in a separate post.)
Good points are made about getting ANY puppy vs an adult dog.
The one thing I am going to say that is never well discussed in the "adoption" process is about what you are really getting.
A dog, EVERY dog, is the sum of its genes. Genetics determine behavior to a VERY large part. I see pet owners frequently with shy, nervous dogs that will cower or submissive pee as adults and they excuse it by saying the dog must have been abused at some point. I would say that MOST of the time that is not the case. The dog was adopted older so the owner "assumes" abuse is the reason when the real reason is simply poor genetics.
When you get a puppy and the result is a nervous, fearful unconfident dog at adulthood and there has been no abuse.. then you know. Genes tell.
Every puppy can be a crap shoot. If you are into purchasing (and if you are paying a fee, it is a purchase) a rescue/shelter puppy and never see either parent (the bitch can be more important than the male if the puppies stay with her long enough) you won't have even a small idea of what you have until the dog grows up. You just won't.
Buying a well bred puppy reduces your risks (but it is important to know that every puppy is a crap shoot) by simply improving your odds of a solid temperament (if the breeder makes that as much a priority as physical features.. and many show ring breeders surprisingly do not!)
What I like best about getting a puppy vs. an adult dog is the adventure of early training and the fun a puppy can bring just in play and "puppy stuff." House breaking and the rest is more challenging (especially if you work) but it can also be very challenging with an older dog that has never been taught. Biting and chewing is a puppy thing.. but I have had some marathon chewers that are 8 years old too!
The biggest thing to remember is a puppy takes a large commitment of time and energy. Before you get a puppy think.. REALLY think.. about your lifestyle and the time you can give to a dog.
If you get the right one, you will end up with a great dog which should be the ultimate goal. Good luck!!
Yep... pretty much done with rescue puppies at this point. I love my (now 14 months old) puppy to pieces... but she's NOT at all what I was looking for. I wanted a dog I could walk/hike with... she barks at everyone, is leash reactive, and lunges at birds and squirrels... to the point where even my neighborhood walks are stressful. And that's with plenty of socialization on my part... But it seems that nobody I know 'gets' that and make me feel guilty about her temperament.
And unfortunately, the cost of a behaviorist is just not possible right now... so I just avoid as much stress as possible for her. And obviously there's the cost of the first year of vaccines etc...
My first rescue dog turned out dog reactive as well. Go figure. Did puppy classes with both. I just have no idea what happened to them until I adopted them.
If we get another dog down the road, it will probably be an adult from a rescue that actually evaluates the dogs temperament, as I don't have $2000 to spend on a well bred puppy either.
Broadly speaking, the younger the puppy, the more time you have to properly socialize him to everything he will encounter throughout his life: different kinds of people, other animals, strange noises like sirens, riding in cars or trains, and so on.
Puppyhood is a great time to prevent mildly naughty behaviors from becoming more serious bad habit.
You don’t know exactly what you’re getting
Puppies bite constantly and pee everywhere
The medical needs of puppies exceeds most adult dogs: frequent vet visits to get your dog vaccinated and parasite-free, neutering costs, and so on.