So you are thinking of adopting a dog. Have you concluded the puppy vs adult dog debate? Adorable as they are, puppies are a lot of work and before you bring this fur bundle of joy into your home it’s important to consider some pertinent questions. Allow me to take you down the reality of puppyhood lane.

Ask yourself:

  • How many hours of the day is someone at home?
  • Is the person at home the most the same person excited about caring for a puppy?
  • What’s the plan for when no one will be home for two hours or more?
  • Picture a typical day in your home. Think about where the puppy would be and what the puppy would be doing hour by hour. Don’t visualize a movie puppy that is sound asleep every time that’s convenient for the story, add some jumping, tinkling, barking, chewing, and pooping to that vision.
  • Now picture a more challenging time in your home, a business trip, a soccer tournament, a remodeling project, hosting thanksgiving and think about how that would play out with a little puppy to manage.
  • Do you have a village? Friends and neighbours who might be able to cover you at times, if not can you afford to hire pet sitters?
  • How do you feel about taking your puppy outside to potty almost every half hour, from 7am to 11pm for the first few weeks?
  • If that sounds pretty terrible, then how does a puppy who is not really potty trained yet at 6 months sound to you?
  • How good can your household be about keeping a pup in a contained area and putting things out of puppy’s reach?
  • If not so good then how relaxed can you be about household damage; ruined carpets, gnawed furniture, chewed shoes?
  • Is someone in your household excited about training? Is someone looking forward to helping the puppy learn (through patient everyday teaching how to live peaceably in the human world?

On the other hand, consider the Adult Dog:

There are wonderful adults dogs who won’t tinkle on your carpet. In fact they may be happy to lie around all day while you are working, never chew a thing and welcome you home with a nice wag. Sounds nice? That will not happen with a puppy. There’s a whole universe of beyond puppy-hood dogs out there from adolescents just past the peeing stage to sweet old timers just looking for a couch for their twilight years.

Now that you think about it, maybe an older dog sounds good after all right? Except that you are worried you and the dog won’t be as bonded if you miss the puppyhood stage together. Then there’s the concern that the adult dog will come with problems, sure could be, none of us is perfect right? But, unless you are lucky and a perfect trainer, your supposedly blank slate puppy (no such thing really what with genes and all) will likely have and/or develop some behaviours that you have to work through too.

If the intensity of true puppyhood feels like a poor match for your life right now how great that you can consider skipping that chapter entirely and jumping ahead in the story with an older dog.  May be there will be a point later on where your circumstances are better suited to meeting the challenges of puppyhood and your by then wonderfully settled dog will then help you welcome an 8 week old to the family.

 Excerpted from The Whole Dog Journals article Published April 18th 2022 written by Kathy Callahan CPDT-KA, a family dog mediator (FDM) who specializes in puppyhood coaching in Alexandria VA. Also the author of 101 rescue puppies: One Families Story of Fostering Dogs, Love and Trust

You can read the whole article here; https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/training/which-is-best-for-you-adopting-an-adult-dog-vs-puppy/

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