The following is an excerpt from Petfinder.com’s Adopted Dog Bible.
When adopting a dog, one choice you’ll need to make is whether to adopt a puppy, an adolescent, or an adult. It’s not always an easy decision, so let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of adopting dogs of different ages.
Puppies are enchanting little beings. They’re funny and cute and full of promise. But puppies, like all babies, need a lot of care and attention if they are to fulfill that promise.
Your puppy will need to be trained so that she knows what you want her to do and not do. She will need lots of safe exercise and play so that her body develops properly, and she will need you to socialize her with other people and animals so that she feels comfortable in the world. As she learns and grows, she’ll get into things, chew, make messes, and have accidents in the house. All in all, a puppy is a tremendous amount of work — much more than many unsuspecting adopters realize.
Puppies who are available for adoption through shelters and rescue organizations sometimes offer additional challenges because they come from less-than-ideal situations. Chances are good that their parents were not screened for inherited health or temperament problems, or that optimum pre-natal or post-natal care was provided for mama dog and her pups. Shelter and rescue puppies may have been taken from their mothers at too young an age for optimal emotional development. Veterinary attention may have been lacking prior to the pup’s coming into the shelter or rescue group. Responsible shelters and rescue groups provide medical care, treatment for parasites, and vaccinations against infectious disease when appropriate; however, sometimes adopted puppies don’t show signs of illness until they move to their new home.
Does this mean you shouldn’t adopt a puppy from a shelter or rescue group? Not at all — many wonderful dogs grow from puppies who didn’t have the best start in life. But you do need to be aware that even a young puppy has a history, and you may need to give her some extra care to make up for it.
Realize, too, that you can’t always predict how the puppy you adopt will mature, especially if she’s a mixed-breed. If you adopt a puppy, make sure you’re ready to accept her as an adult, even if she’s thirty pounds bigger and six inches shaggier than you expected.
Adult and senior dogs
Adult and senior dogs are already emotionally mature. Puppies turn into adolescents at lightning speed. That babyish furball you bring home will turn all legs, ears, nose and energy in another four months.
Adolescence in dogs begins at six months and lasts until anywhere from 18 to 36 months, depending on the breed. Small dogs tend to mature physically more quickly than big dogs do, but all dogs are quite immature mentally and emotionally until they are at least 2 or 3 years old. They continue to need training, lots of exercise and ongoing socialization throughout this developmental period.
If this is your first dog, or if you cannot devote the time necessary to train, socialize and exercise a young or adolescent puppy properly, an adult dog could be a better option for you. If you’re not sure, talk to people who are currently raising puppies or have done so recently to get a realistic picture of what it’s like. If dealing with puppy pee on the carpet and needle-sharp teeth in your toes for months on end sounds like too much chaos for your taste, adopt an adult.
When you choose an adult dog, you have a pretty good idea what you’re getting. You can see her physical traits and get some idea of her basic temperament, even though dogs in shelters and dogs newly in rescue foster homes may not always show their true personality right away.
If you are concerned that an older dog won’t bond to you, don’t be. Dogs are remarkably resilient and open-hearted. Some completely overcome their pasts in a matter of days; others may take a few weeks or months, and a few will carry a little baggage for even longer than that. Working with your adopted dog to help her overcome any hurdles necessary to enjoy her new life can be an incredibly rewarding experience — and result in a long-term, loving relationship.
Adoption special continues
Now it’s time to meet some of the many wonderful animals currently available for adoption from the Humane Society of Central Arizona. Through the month of August, all cats and kittens are just $25; all dogs and puppies are only $45. All pets have been spayed or neutered, are current on their vaccinations and will be microchipped. To learn more, visit the shelter on McLane Road just south of Main Street (enter at the dirt driveway between the dip and Kyle’s Auto), open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call us at (928) 474-5590 or visit us online at humanesocietycentralaz.org.
Charlie is an 11-month-old golden doodle. He is super friendly and outgoing. Charlie gets along with everyone and has lived with other dogs and children. He knows basic commands, he is potty trained and he has graduated from obedience school. He is neutered and current on his vaccines.
Charlie Tuna is a 2-1/2-year-old stud muffin. He is easygoing and affectionate. He loves to crawl into your lap, reach his paws up to your shoulders and then jump up to sit on your shoulder. He is friendly with other cats and children, and doesn’t seem to mind dogs too much. He is litter box trained, neutered and current on his vaccines.
Happy is a 12-year-old Shepherd mix who loves to be with people. He has lived with other dogs and likes older kids. Happy is looking to find a loving, forever home that he can call his own. One that is calm and will give him the time and attention he deserves. He is neutered, potty trained, walks well on a leash and is current on his vaccines.
Hypnos is a 4-month-old Pit pup. He is playful and outgoing. He gets along great with other dogs and loves people of all ages. He is still learning manners, how to walk on a leash and potty training. His new home will need to have the time and patience needed to work with him. The reward will be great though, because Hypnos is an absolute sweetheart! He is neutered and current on his vaccines.
KiKi is a gorgeous calico kitty. She is very people oriented and gets along well with the other cats. KiKi loves to sunbathe in the window, and is even still interested in playing with kitty toys. She is a happy girl with a huge heart and a great personality. She is litter box trained, spayed and current on her vaccines.
Sable is a 13-year-old smooth coated Collie. She is very smart and still full of life and love. Sable is a sweet girl who is looking for a loving home to call her own. She likes to go for short walks and will let you know when she needs to go potty. Sable is a sweetie; she gets along with everyone she meets. She is spayed and current on her vaccines.