What Age Dog Should You Adopt?
You’ve made the decision to become a dog owner. Congratulations! But, you might be wondering whether it’s better to adopt a puppy, a young adult dog, or a sweet old senior.
In this article, we’ll share some of the pros and cons of each so that you can feel confident in your decision and get to the important part: meeting your new best friend!
Pros and cons of adopting a puppy
There is truly so much to love about bringing home a puppy. But, they’ll also put you through the ringer. Let’s talk about some of the joys and challenges of puppyhood.
- You can start training from day one. As we’ve covered in one of our past articles, it’s never too late in life to train a doggo. But, training an enthusiastic, playful puppy is typically easier than training a dog that already has their own way of doing things.
- You’ll be there for the socialization phase. All dogs go through a socialization period, somewhere between 3 weeks and 4 months of age, in which they learn how to interact with other dogs and the world around them. If they have negative experiences or don’t interact with others during this time, they can develop reactivity or aggression. And while it’s never too late to socialize a dog, missing out on this window can make the process more difficult.
- Watching them grow up is a joy. There is something so fulfilling about watching your puppy go through each of their life stages. Right in front of your eyes, you’ll watch them learn, grow, gain independence, and develop their unique personality.
- There is no such thing as a low-maintenance puppy. Some puppies are easier to potty-train and less destructive in the house than others. But the truth is, all puppies require a lot of time and attention.
- There are some significant financial costs. Puppies need to get regular vaccines, check-ups, and eventually spaying or neutering surgery. They also require a special, slightly more expensive high protein diet. You may also want to factor in puppy classes and any repairs you need to make around the house when your pup starts teething.
- There’s no way to predict or fully control adult personality. Adopting a puppy can mean that you play a big role in their development, training, and socialization. But it’s not possible to fully influence what your adult dog’s personality will be. According to recent studies, their unique character will come from a mix of genetics and environment.
Pros and cons of adopting a young adult dog
You might be thinking that you’d like to skip the potty-training, teething phase, and general puppy energy. So, could a young adult dog, between the ages of 18 months and 5 years old, be right for you?
- They’re physically fully developed. A practical benefit of having a fully developed dog is that you know what size supplies, such as harnesses, dog beds, and a crate, they’ll need. You can also exercise with them without worrying about issues with joint development.
- They are cognitively fully developed (or at least, almost). This is a great milestone, because it means that as long as your dog has had a stable, safe environment, they will likely be less impulsive or unpredictable. A dog’s personality can certainly change as they experience new things, but at this stage, you’ll get to know more or less how your dog will react and behave.
- You might still be in the adolescent phase. Adolescence can be one of the most challenging phases of a dog’s life, as your pup is suddenly overwhelmed by hormones and an emerging sense of independence. So, while you may be drawn towards dogs who are past the puppy chewing phase, be aware that they may still be destructive and difficult to train until around 2 or even 3 years old.
- You could start seeing signs of social aggression. Even the most friendly of pups can start to develop social aggression between 1 and 3 years of age. And unfortunately, this can happen even with dogs that have been properly socialized. So, it’s important to monitor their interactions with other dogs while they’re in the young adult phase.
Pros and cons of adopting a senior dog
We love a gray-faced senior doggo, for so many reasons! And you might find that this is the ideal age for your adopted furry friend.
- You know what you’re getting into. A senior dog will have a personality that is quite stable and set.
- They will likely have lower energy levels. We say likely because there are some doggos who continue to be active until the very end. And, all dogs need some level of daily exercise. But, in general, senior dogs will be content with a less active lifestyle.
- The geriatric phase has its own challenges. A senior dog may need more medical care, dietary and home accommodations, and mobility aids. It’s important to review a dog’s medical history and current needs to decide if you’re financially and practically able to care for them in their final life stage.
- Less time with your new best friend. The time that you spend with your dog will be something you cherish, no matter if it’s a few months or their entire life. So, while this is a potential con of adopting a senior dog, don’t shy away from older pups just because you won’t get as much time with them. It will be worth it to enjoy their companionship and give them a comfortable, happy home for however much time they have left.
Are you ready to adopt a furry friend?
Adopting a dog is a life-changing, wonderful experience. And, here at BreezeGuard, we’re happy to see so many people being thoughtful about adopting a dog that they are best-prepared to care for!
Don’t forget to fit your car with BreezeGuard Screens so that you can safely drive them to their brand new life with you!