- You know what you’re getting—type of coat, personality, temperament, size, disabilities, energy level, if they’re good with children, cats, or other dogs. The rescue organization can usually tell you a lot more about an adult dog than a puppy.
- Adult dogs have bigger bladders and more control over bowels—they have mature bodies so they can hold it longer and they’re more likely to already be house trained. Puppies need to have consistent schedules for feeding, watering, and being let out to go potty. A two month old puppy will probably need to go out every 2-3 hours around the clock! This is a big time commitment.
- Puppies are chewers—they need to chew and will chew anything–your hands/feet/arms, shoes, furniture, baseboards, plastic watering cans, clothes, electric cords, carpet. Mature dogs already have their adult teeth and are easily taught to chew appropriate treats.
- Puppies are only little for a short time, but their puppy problems last months longer.
- Adult dogs are still playful and funny—puppies have a ton of energy and need lots of play time, which may not always be convenient.
- Puppies need constant supervision—they will try to eat everything, they can easily fall off furniture or beds, they will try to dig holes inside and out, they lack wisdom in dealing with cats and other pets.
- Adult dogs are usually already spayed or neutered and have had all their vaccines.
- Adult dogs are more likely to already have some training either from the rescue organization or from their previous owners. Many rescue groups work on training adult dogs since they’re usually in the shelter longer, it makes them more attractive to potential adopters, and because adult dogs can be easier to train due to longer attention spans.
- Puppies and children are not always a good match—puppies can be more easily injured by children and rambunctious puppies are more likely to hurt or scare children. Adult dogs should still be treated with care and children should always be supervised with any animals.
- Puppies are needy—dogs are very social animals and puppies are used to being with their litter mates. Those days and especially nights alone can be very hard for puppies. Puppies should not be left alone for long periods of time. Adult dogs need companionship too, but they can tolerate time alone better and they sleep through the night.
- Adult dogs are ready to be your companion now—you don’t have to wait for them to grow up to go to the dog park, to go on hikes, to go jogging, to travel.
- Do you already have a dog or cat that needs a companion? An adult dog that is good with other animals is a better choice than an energetic, overly exuberant puppy.
- A puppy’s health may be more fragile—their immune system may not be as well developed and that means more trips to the veterinarian.
- Adult dogs have years of life ahead of them—the oldest dog on record, Bluey the Australian Cattle Dog, was almost 29 1/2 yrs. old. and all but the largest breeds average over 10 years. And in the US and UK, mixed breed dogs average 13.2 yrs.
- Dogs can be very adaptable if you take the time to introduce them to new things and train them. Saffron didn’t know how to walk up stairs or anything about life as an indoor dog, but she learned very quickly. And I firmly believe any healthy dog can be house trained. My parent’s Yorkshire Terrier, CoCo, was 6 yrs. old and not house trained when they got her. It took consistent work, but she’s house trained now.
- Studies have shown most owner-surrendered dogs are in shelters due to issues in the owner’s life, not due to behavior problems. Most dogs surrendered due to behavior problems are only guilty of behaving like a dog without any training. In fact, shelters are full of dogs under a year old who no longer look like a puppy, but still have annoying puppy behaviors so their owners have lost patience.
- Adult dogs are much less likely to be adopted than wiggly, cute puppies. Adopting an adult dog really means saving a life.
Showing an adult dog the joys of a happy dog’s life—things they may never have experienced before—is so rewarding. Imagine the joy of giving your new adult dog her first toy, showing him his first comfy bed, or taking her to her first off-leash park. There’s nothing like it!
Please keep those wonderful adult dogs in mind next time you adopt!