Choosing an Adult or Puppy – Yes! There is a difference!

Fact: Puppies are adorable. All puppies. And that can be both the good news and the bad news, because puppies are hard to resist. If you’ve done your homework and know you can afford to make the commitment to support a dog’s needs – physical, and emotional – for life, it’s time to decide whether a puppy or an adult dog is right for you.

First, do you know what it takes to raise a pup? If not, talk to friends who have experience, spend time with a responsible breeder or a shelter’s kennel manager, or check out some of the many books about puppy care. Try to forget about that warm puppy fragrance and soft, downy fur while you think about a pup’s need for a consistent schedule, constant supervision, and careful, patient training. Consider potential destruction of carpets or prized possessions, multiple vaccinations and eventual neutering, and dog adolescence, the puppy version of the terrible twos.

Take note of the fact that puppies grow up to be dogs. When a puppy comes home with you, his life is in your hands. If you miscalculate how big he’ll become or fail to teach him the things that make dogs welcome family members, he may end up in a shelter with countless other adorable puppies-turned-dogs whose only crime is that they grew too big or weren’t properly raised.

Still think a puppy is for you? Then, congratulations! You’ll experience the unique joy of learning and growing with an energetic, inquisitive youngster as your special friendship develops.

On the other hand, you may decide that a demanding year or two – most dogs take a full 18-24 months to fully get past that “puppy stage” – may be more than you want to bargain for. If so, you can start your search for the perfect adult dog. Besides allowing you to skip the midnight potty trips, adopting an adult dog can have other advantages:

  • What you see is what you get. While his past may be a mystery, you’re likely to have few surprises about your dog’s size, appearance, or temperament.
  • Healthy adult dogs tend to be calmer but still have plenty of what makes us love dogs. Despite the adage, older dogs CAN learn new tricks and in most cases, with patience and persistence, you can easily build on previous training or correct poor habits learned in a former life.
  • Adopting an adult dog from a shelter can literally save lives, both his and the dog that gets his shelter run after he goes home with you. These dogs have a reputation for making especially loyal companions.
Puppy or adult? Only by carefully considering what you want and what you have to offer – BEFORE you fall in love with that adorable puppy – can you be sure to make the right choice for you and your new canine companion.