Pet Orientation: Adopting an adult dog

By Valdette Muller| March 31, 2014 | Blog

There have been calls from various animal rescue organisations and animal centres to the public to rather adopt than to buy. There is nothing as inspiring as citizens coming together for the greater good of the community. But, although every dog deserves a home, most people want a puppy when they’re thinking of getting a new pet. Here’s why you should adopt an adult or even senior dog:

Consider this

Adopt an adult dogPick a breed

Before you adopt a dog you must first consider the type of dog that will fit in with your family’s lifestyle.  If you live in an apartment, a lively Jack Russel Terrier may not be a good choice. There is a lot of information available in books or on the Web regarding different types of breeds and their individual needs. Chances are high that you may have to consider a mixed breed – don’t hesitate to adopt them as a pet simply because they don’t look like a pure bred. Mutts often carry the best of both breeds and make wonderful pets.

Decide on a shelter

Barking Mad ShelterOnce you know the type of dog that you want, you must decide where you are going to adopt from. Shelters are non-profit organizations and they rely heavily on public support in order to provide for the animals in their care. There are numerous shelters to pick from and each one has unique adopting rules and fees. Call the shelter you are interested in to enquire whether they have dogs available in the breed you want before leaving home.

Adopting an adult dog

Stick to the plan

Be realistic about adopting a pet. Not all shelters have puppies available, and the ones they do have may not be the right breed for you. Don’t be swayed to adopt a puppy rather than an adult dog simply for cuteness sake. Adults can be cute too!

Avoid the rush

Dogs act differently when they are excited, and rush hour at the shelter is bound to get them in high spirits. Rather wait for a quieter time to visit the shelter so that you can truly see what your future pet is really like.

Know your pet

One of the great advantages of adopting an adult pet is that what you see is what you get. Unlike puppies, a lot more information is available about an older dog such as their size, personality and grooming requirements. Specific breeds have general traits, but within a breed different dogs have different personalities, so it is crucial for you to spend some time with the different dogs that you consider adopting to see what their energy levels are before taking one home. Rely on your instinct when choosing your new friend, not on how cute or needy they seem.

No mess, no fuss

Your new furry friend won’t necessarily have to be house trained as most older dogs already know where the bathroom is and which objects are off-limits when it comes to chewing. Adult dogs are also more attuned to life at home and they will be able to figure out pretty quickly what you want from them. It might take a week or two for them to adjust, but once they’ve got the hang of things the transition from shelter to new family pet will be fairly easy. Adult dogs don’t require as much attention as puppies do and you will be able to spend quality playtime with them from the get-go.

Introducing your new friend to the family

If you already have other dogs, it is advisable that you carefully observe how the dog that you’re considering bringing home is reacting to other dogs at the shelter. If they don’t relate well chances are they might not get along with your pets at home.

Getting a new pet is an exciting time. It is equally exciting for a shelter pet to become part of your family. Be their hero – adopt! 

Images via Therapy Dog Vest, Barking Mad

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