Should I adopt a puppy or adult dog?

Like most everything in life, there are pros and cons to both options. The right fit for you is based on your priorities - what can you handle and what would you rather not deal with? Really, the pro and con lists for both could go on forever, but here are some of our top training and behavior points for each.


Pros of adopting a puppy:

• Being a part of each of the puppy's developmental stages is a beautiful thing. We have the opportunity to positively influence the puppy's likes and dislikes, socialize with the things that we want puppy to experience throughout his life, and watching him grow is just plain fun.

• We can avoid puppy practicing undesirable behaviors that would require more effort to reverse as puppy gets older, like jumping or chewing on inappropriate things.

• It's a cute little puppy! (okay, this isn't a behavior point 😉)


Cons of adopting a puppy:

• Puppies are, well, puppies, and they come with things like teething phases and potty training. Every puppy is different, and while these stages may be a breeze for some puppies, they may take several weeks or months for others.

• Even if we do "everything right" (and that's a large, nearly impossible task, even for the most experienced dog guardian - we all make the occasional mistake, and things outside of our control are bound to happen), a significant part of puppy's overall demeanor or personality is largely effected by genetics. There is still the potential for reactivity, fear, and anxiety, which often develop during adolescence or as a dog reaches full maturity.


Pros of adopting an adult:

• While behavior will likely change to some extent as the dog settles in and decompresses in his first few weeks at home, in general, we have a pretty good idea of what we're going to get. Especially in cases in which the dog has been in a foster home, we likely have some history on behavior around people, other dogs, and general personality.

• We usually get to skip a lot of the puppy stuff - of course, not every adult dog out there is potty trained or only chews on appropriate toys, and there's going to be some training involved no matter what age a dog is. In general, though, an adult dog is going to have a better ability to focus, which can make training a little easier.


Cons of adopting an adult:

• Behavior is never a guarantee, and even if it is not immediately evident at the time of adoption, we may still see things like reactivity, fear, or anxiety develop in the first few weeks or months as the dog settles in at home.

• The older a dog is, the more time he's had to practice undesirable behaviors. That doesn't mean that we can't teach him what we want him to do instead, but it may take a little longer than with a puppy who hasn't had the opportunity to practice those behaviors.


So what's the best option for your home? If you need help navigating which option is the best fit, we are happy to help! Contact us with any questions you have about adoption, and we'll talk you through your options.


Adopting a new dog soon? Check out our 'Welcoming Home Your New Dog' webinar.

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