Should you adopt a puppy or an adult dog? This is a topic where I go back and forth. That’s right. Me! The person with an opinion on everything related to dogs doesn’t have a set opinion about one of the biggest questions that a prospective dog owner has to answer. Really, it depends on your situation because there are pros and cons to each option which I will cover here.
The appeal for an adorable puppy is undeniable. I mean who doesn’t want a cute fluff ball with puppy breath? Well, just you wait until your precious little bundle of joy decides to eat the baseboards in your kitchen or poop on the carpet in your bedroom.
1. A Puppy Has No Bad Habits and No Experience with Punishment Based Training
I love puppies, yes, because they are cute but mostly because they are (for the most part) a clean slate ready to soak up any training that I have to offer. He or she will have no difficult to break bad habits just because there hasn’t been enough time for the puppy to fully form them in the first place. Plus the puppy will have no unpleasant experiences with harsh trainers.
2. I Can Train the Puppy Correctly From the Start
Basically, I know that if I train a puppy right from the start, then I will eventually have a wonderful well-adjusted adult.
1. They Are Not House-Trained Yet and Chew on Everything
However, like I said before, there is a dark side to puppies. First of all, if you have never had a puppy then you would be shocked at the destruction that one puppy can do if left unsupervised in an area that is not puppy proofed; they love to chew on everything and have no qualms with pooping all over your house.
2. They Learn Bad Habits Quicker Then Adults
Second, remember how I said before that a puppy’s open-minded willingness to learn is a good thing? Well, I am here to tell you that this is a two-way street. They also learn bad habits quicker than their adult counterparts.
3. They Need Consistent Socialization
A puppy is just developing his view of the world and if you don’t react properly when he encounters something scary, then you can cement the fear in his mind. It is surprisingly easy to turn a confident puppy into a fearful puppy.
4. Puppies Have Tons of Energy
Finally, puppies have boundless energy when compared to their adult selves which, depending on the breed, can be hard to keep up with especially when they start to get big but haven’t calmed down yet.
Choosing a Breeder
If you decided that a puppy is right for you then please either adopt one from a rescue or do your research to find a good breeder. There are too many breeders who are just trying to make money with little to no regard for their dogs or the puppies that they produce which is why we have so many unwanted dogs in shelters.
Plus, if you go to a reputable breeder then you will decrease your chance of getting a puppy with behavior or health problems.
I actually wrote a blog post about How to Find a Good Breeder because it is so very important.
1. You Can Provide a Home for a Dog in Need
Unfortunately, there are countless unwanted adult and senior dogs who are in shelters. Many of these dogs are truly spectacular pets but they are frequently passed over for the puppies. Adult dogs are often already housetrained and they usually aren’t nearly as destructive as a puppy.
2. You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Contrary to the old adage, you can teach an old dog new tricks. In fact, it is sometimes easier to train an older dog than a puppy because young puppies have very short attention spans. Plus, if you are just learning how to train your dog, adult dogs are usually a bit more forgiving of human error.
3. An Adult Dog Will Bond With You
An adult dog will bond with you even if you didn’t raise him. Depending on the individual dog it might some time for him to adjust but with a bit of patience, you will have a dog as devoted to you as if you had raised him.
4. What You See is What You Get!
Adult dogs are a sort of “what you see is what you get.” You won’t have the issue of getting a puppy and realizing six months later that he has wayyy too much energy for you or realize that your perspective agility buddy would much prefer to be a couch potato. Good rescues know their dogs and will help to match you with a dog who meets your needs.
Yes, some dogs in shelters come with baggage from previous homes. These dogs can also be wonderful companions with the right rehabilitation but if you don’t feel qualified to handle a problem adult dog, then just be honest with your rescue.
5. Don’t Pass Up the Older Dogs
Older dogs are often the sweetest, calmest ones available but they are usually overlooked by prospective adopters just because of their age.
1. An Unknown Health Background
Whether adult or puppy, if you adopt from a rescue then you will probably know very little about the dog’s health background. Also, you won’t know if the dog’s relatives have been health tested.
2. The Dog Might Have Some Bad Habits
Maybe you don’t want your dog to be on the furniture but the dog has always been allowed, it will be a bit harder to teach him not to climb on the couch then if you had a puppy who never learned that sitting on the couch was fine.
3. No Cute Puppy Stage
Unfortunately, you will miss out on the cute puppy stage with your dog but that also means that you miss out on the exhausting often frustrating task of raising a puppy.
4. Some Adult Dogs Have Behavioral Problems
Finally, like I mentioned before, some rescue dogs were previously in a neglectful or abusive home and have therefore developed any number of behavioral problems. Dedicated wonderful people adopt some of these dogs and rehabilitate them so that they can live a normal happy life but if you do not feel qualified for the task or if you just want a good dog from the get-go then there are many well adjusted great pets for you to choose from.
Basically, if you can’t invest a significant amount of time and energy into your dog or if you will have to leave your dog at home for most of the day, then I would not get a puppy. However, an adult dog could be the perfect alternative for you. Also, if you do not feel confident in your training abilities, then an adult might be a better option for you.
On the other hand, if you have the time, patience, and ability to raise a puppy to be the best dog that he can be, then you might prefer a puppy.
Why did you decide to adopt your dog as a puppy or an adult? Are you still looking for your new dog? Let me know in the comments down below.