Thursday, July 16, 2009

Should You Adopt a Puppy or an Adult Dog?

By Ruthie Bently

You have decided to get a dog and a question comes up: which is better, a puppy or an adult dog? To find the answer, you should ask yourself some questions. What is your lifestyle like? What kind of sports and hobby activities do you like to participate in? Do you have the time to train a puppy? Remember that puppies require housebreaking, teething, vet visits, training and socializing. Would you rather have a companion that is grown up, theoretically better behaved, and possibly calmer?

Both puppies and adult dogs will need to be exercised every day; you need to make time in your schedule for at least 15 minutes of daily exercise along with at least two potty breaks for an adult dog and about six for a puppy.

Usually a puppy will have a higher activity level than an adult dog, but you will find certain breeds of dogs can have a high energy level even as adults (i.e., terriers, herding or working dogs). Adult dogs are usually easier to settle into a daily routine. As puppies grow their needs change, and they will be teething, which an adult dog is usually through with by the age of one. Though an adult dog is done teething, they are never done chewing, so you will have to purchase chewing toys to help keep them occupied when you aren’t able to play with them.

A puppy is a pliable being that you can train, so they learn the rules and regulations of your house as they grow. An adult dog may have habits you might need to change: for example counter surfing or tipping over the garbage container. You should realize that even a puppy can develop bad habits. If you have other pets in the household, either a puppy or adult dog can be integrated with a little patience and love. Nimber slept with one of the cats he lived with, and Skye had to learn to live with cats, chickens and geese, which she had never had any contact with. I have had two litters of kittens born on my bed, right under Skye’s nose, and their mothers consider Skye a 59-pound babysitter.

I have raised two puppies and had two adult dogs in my life. I adopted Katie as a puppy and she was not socialized enough, so she didn’t like any dog other than an American Staffordshire Terrier. Nimber was also raised as a puppy, and he was a phenomenal dog who bonded to me like glue. He loved everyone and later in life when he had to spend time at the vet’s during my work day, they would take him out and play with him because he was so friendly.

Smokey Bear was an adult when I adopted him and he was so laid back, I could sit him on my lap on his back and rub his tummy. He had no issues with people or other dogs and loved everybody; he even had a cat of his own, Munchkin, who would follow him around on the property and sleep on top of him when she needed a nap. Skye is my other adult dog adoptee, and she is constantly thinking up new games and things to get into because she is so smart, so I am constantly on my toes to try and outthink her.

Whichever you choose, puppy or adult dog, do your research and homework. This way you can seamlessly add a new canine companion to your household. Don’t forget to check your local shelter – there are many wonderful dogs waiting for homes there!

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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