6 Reasons to Adopt an Older Dog
By Amanda Epley
Choosing to adopt a dog is an incredibly important and noble decision. If you’ve already given a lot of thought to inviting a new dog into your family, you may already have your heart set on a particular type of dog.
If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, try to keep an open mind about the age of your new companion. Many wonderful older dogs in shelters and foster care tend to get overlooked simply because they aren’t in the puppy stage.
As cute as puppies can be, they require tremendous levels of patience, attention, and time in order to adapt to their environments and develop good habits. By adopting an older dog, you can essentially gain an instant companion who already knows the ropes and is ready to bond with you.
Older dogs make great pets for a number of reasons:
1. They are trained.
Many prospective pet owners underestimate how difficult training a puppy can be. Realistically, it will take at least two years for most puppies to be considered fully trained. While an older dog will certainly need a few weeks to adjust to a new routine, chances are, he or she will already be housetrained and understand basic commands.
2. They are calm.
Younger dogs tend to have endless amounts of energy no matter what, and certain breeds are known for being especially hyper as puppies. Older dogs tend to be calmer and more easygoing than younger pups. An older dog probably won’t need much convincing to snuggle up with you on the couch to watch Netflix.
3. They are low maintenance.
Since older dogs tend to be less energetic, they also usually require less stimulation. Puppies have short attention spans and need nearly constant supervision and new sources of entertainment. An older dog will most likely be perfectly content just spending time with you. While you can still spoil your senior pet with toys and treats, he or she will probably find more joy simply sitting by your side.
4. They have fewer surprises.
With an older dog, what you see is what you get. When choosing a puppy to adopt, it can be difficult to determine the dog’s temperament after only a short visit. Plus, it can be nearly impossible to predict how big a puppy will get, especially when the rescue organization has limited information about the puppy’s parents. By adopting an older dog, you can be more certain that you are choosing the right companion for your particular interests and living situation.
5. They can still learn new tricks.
That old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is absurd. You absolutely can teach an old dog new tricks! In fact, since older dogs have longer attention spans, they will be more patient and willing to learn from you.
6. They need you.
Older dogs need loving companions just as much as puppies do, but they are less likely to get adopted. Because they are so often overlooked, senior dogs are more likely to be euthanized at shelters. Many older dogs were once owned by someone and were surrendered due to no fault of their own.
If you can find it in your heart and home to adopt a pet, consider adopting an older dog. They need you just as much as you need them!