The ASPCA recently conducted a study concluding what most shelter volunteers already know: potential pet parents love pretty puppies. Why? Too many adoptive pet parents see little beyond that immediate cuteness factor–leading to rushed adoption choices. There are a lot of reasons why prospective pet parents should skip the pretty puppies in favor of an older mutt or mixed breed dog.
Beauty is only skin deep in a dog. Remember when your mother said that beauty was only skin deep? She was right-and her advice applies to all animals–not just the human ones. I once chose the perfect dog from the animal shelter photos online. He was an adorable black lab puppy with gorgeous eyes and perfect form. In person-he ate my husband’s shoe and the entire bowl of dog food intended for the whole lot of six puppies. While that dog was beautiful on the outside, his personality needed a lot of training.
Puppies have a lot to learn. A new puppy or young dog requires a lot of training in order to live successfully in a new home. At a minimum, he must be potty trained; leash trained and taught basic commands. Many older dogs enter an animal shelter from a home–where they already learned most of those things. Many are housebroken and love a leash. Some even know tricks along with necessary obedience commands.
Even cute puppies chew–a lot. Puppies cut teeth just like human babies. While human babies rarely chew up the brand new sofa or carpet, a puppy is an equal opportunity chewer. Combine teething with puppy curiosity and non-stop energy and puppy adopters must supervise quite a handful. Older dogs are not as likely to chew up everything in sight. They also have years of experience satisfying their curiosity in the wonders of the home and the outside world.
Puppy genes play tricks on adopting parents. What will that puppy look and act like in 10 years? How large will a puppy grow? Will he love car rides? That depends on his genetics–and gene are sometimes a mystery. An older dog carries few secrets. His size, weight, and personality traits are in place for all to see. A puppy develops those for years before he settles into a normal routine with his new family.
Length of life is not always predictable. Puppies should live a full, long life–but, there is no guarantee. Puppies, especially purebred puppies, may suffer a range of medical conditions due to poor breeding or malnutrition or genetic fate. A healthy middle aged dog may outlive a puppy by several years depending on circumstances.
Adopting a dog requires a lot of thought, planning and preparation. Cute puppies are hard to resist–but, an older dog may better suit your family’s needs.
Benefits of Adopting an Older Dog
Adopting an Adult Dog