Adopting An Older Dog – What You Need To Know

It used to be that dog experts warned everyone against adopting an adult dog. The idea was that a full-grown dog would simply not be able to settle into your family and bond with you the way a puppy would be able to do. While there is certainly a possibility that your adult dog will not fit into your family, you should not rule him out so quickly.

Older Dogs vs. Puppies

First of all, raising a puppy may have some advantages (such as the ability to bond over many years), but some people are not able to devote the time and energy necessary to raise a healthy puppy. Let’s face it, those puppies are awfully cute but demand a great deal of attention just like a human child would.

Rest assured that it is certainly possible to bond with an older dog, and sometimes it even seems that the adult dog appreciates you and bonds with you more because he knows what it’s like to be without family. Maybe this is just our speculation since it’s hard to know what is truly going on in your canine buddy’s mind.

Understanding The Term “Adult Dog”

When we refer to adopting an adult dog, we don’t necessarily mean a senior dog who is already several years old. However, this can be an option for your family as well. It is a very kind thing to do to give a senior dog a loving home even if it’s only for the last few years of his life. These few years can provide you with many wonderful memories, so don’t focus solely on the number of years the dog might live with you.

Also, a senior dog may be the perfect companion for a senior citizen! An older human might desire the companionship of a dog, but there is always the possibility that the dogs could outlive a senior citizen and be left alone. This would be less likely with the senior dog, and the dog would almost certainly be more docile and easier to handle than a puppy with boundless energy.

Questions You Need To Ask

Before you race out to the local shelter to do a good deed and adopt an adult dog, you want to take a moment to learn as much as you can about a particular dog.

It’s not always easy to tell whether this new addition to your home would be a good fit for your family, but try to learn as much as possible about the dog’s history so you can make a better decision. Where did the dog come from? Did he have a previous owner who was kind and responsible, or was the dog mistreated in the past?

Ask why the dog is being put up for adoption, and pay special attention to behavior problems such as aggression toward children or even other dogs.

Before you adopt an older dog

Regardless of which dog breed you are thinking about purchasing, you should always learn as much as you can about the dog before making a decision. This becomes especially important in an adult dog who has already formed many habits and has demonstrated his personality and responsiveness to previous owners.

Instead of making a decision on the spur of the moment and adopting the adult dog, make sure to ask the current owner or shelter as many questions as you can. Find out about the dog’s history and why he is being put up for adoption. Sometimes the dog is a wonderful pet with no illnesses or aggression, but the previous owner was no longer able to take care of the dog.

Understanding Various Reasons Dogs Are In Shelters

The dog may simply have been lost and brought to the shelter, or the owners may have passed away unexpectedly. A dog may also be given away in case of a divorce or other serious life change that occurs in the family, and a dog with this kind of background did not do anything to deserve losing his home.

On the other hand, the dog may have given the family plenty of problems by biting the children or ruining the furniture despite numerous attempts at training. These kinds of behavioral problems can often be fixed, but you need to know what you’re getting into. If a dog has displayed aggression, you need to be particularly careful, especially if you lack the experience and training necessary to correct this kind of behavior.

Less serious behavioral problems like pulling on the leash during a walk or trying to escape from the yard can probably be corrected by proper obedience training, putting up a good fence, and possibly spaying or neutering your dog in order to take away the distraction of the opposite sex.

Dog Behavior

You will want to know how the dog has behaved around children in the past. This is obviously crucial if you have children, but even if you don’t have any kids your dog will probably run into children eventually. Also, if you are one of those unfortunate and confused souls who also have a cat in your house, you will want to pay particular attention to your dog’s attitude toward other animals.

Lastly, you need to know what your options are in case this dog does not work out for your family. If you took the dog from a family who has just moved away, then your options are limited. On the other hand, you may have the option of returning your dog to the family or shelter within a given timeframe. You’ll also want to know whether any payments or adoption fees are refundable.

Taking the time to ask these simple questions regarding your prospective dog can save you lots of headaches (and certainly heartache) down the line for you and your family.