Before we discuss breeds, let’s start with the most important question: why would you choose (and train) an adult dog over a puppy?
First of all, you give them a chance they may not have had otherwise. Dogs are social creatures and belong in a pack. Your family could be just the pack they need!
Secondly, it’s a good idea to get an older dog if you’re new to the world of dogs, or aren’t sure how your family and lifestyle will adapt. Older dogs tend to be less work (that’s not to say it’s all plain sailing though!) than a puppy and you can see straight away their size and temperament, so you won’t get any surprises.
You can even consider a senior dog. The most neglected segment in the rescue dog world, senior dogs can be the most rewarding companions.
As opposed to them living out their days in a shelter or being put down, you can make the last few years of their lives extra special. They may not be as responsive as a puppy, but the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is simply not true!
You can, with patience and persistence.
They are a wonderful choice, if you are looking for a dog that has lower energy levels and is calm. The one thing you must be prepared for though is their shorter life span and possible expensive medical bills.
I personally have found adult dogs to be wonderful companions. If this book can inspire even just one person to adopt an older dog, then I will have done my job.
Be Honest About What You Seek in and Can Give to a Dog
Once you’ve decided that you want a dog, next you’ll ask yourself the question: what type of dog would be the best fit for me?
If you are clear about what you seek in a dog, and what you can offer it, it will be much easier to pick the right breed. And the lucky dog that gets to come home with you will be happy too!
Choosing the right dog is so much more than simply picking the one you find the cutest, as tempting as it may be.
One of the episodes of the National Geographic’s reality TV series ‘Dog Whisperer’ focused entirely on so-called ‘wolfdogs’. A wolfdog is a hybrid between a domesticated dog and a wolf. Wolfs have fascinated mankind for thousands of years, and some people are intrigued when they see an ad for a wolf-puppy. They’d like to own a piece of nature. And as a puppy, wolfdogs look super cute. But as they grow older, the owner quickly learns that this isn’t a regular dog: wolfs are predators, and it will protect what it considers as his property at all cost. What often happens, is that – instead of recognizing that the wolfdog is simply following its nature – the owner feels his pet is misbehaving.
And before you know it, the wolfdog is put in a cage, or even brought to a shelter, where it’s put to sleep.
The example of wolfdogs may be a bit extreme, but I hope you see my point: if you are clear about what kind of dog would be a good match with you, you are laying the foundation for a happy union. And you’ll prevent a lot of potential problems and frustrations!
So, if you are low on energy, don’t get a Jack Russell: they need a lot of walking.
Do you like to go out on runs or long hikes? Then don’t get a pug. Pugs have less stamina than you. Also, their body temperature rises quickly and they cannot cool themselves down.
You need to carefully assess your current situation, and figure out which dog would be a good fit, based on your lifestyle. This includes being honest with yourself about what you can really give a dog.