The Top 7 Reasons I recommend Adopting an Adult Dog

I love a good Adult Dog!

This is a culmination of several articles and information and advice that has been given out by me and many others on several subjects.  Adopting a Shelter Dog   The Working Man’s (or Woman’s) Conundrum in Today’s Dog Ownership   and Why Rescues Make one of the Best Resources When Looking for a New Furry Companion.

All these comments got me to thinking “What is the Best Dog”?  Of course there are too many individualities to know what is best for everyone, but personally when talking to most people, my clients, and even my family; adult dogs usually make the best fit.

I am a puppy lover too Lab puppies, German Shepherd puppies, Boxer puppies and Golden puppies just to name a few, and some day I might write an article about why puppies rock!  But there are so many valid reasons for adding an adult dog to most homes.

Why Are Adult Dogs Better?


7. Adult Dogs are Most Likely Potty Trained! 

Who has the time for potty training these days?  Unless you are a stay at home-“er” or can take your puppy to work with you, it is almost impossible to swiftly and correctly potty train a puppy!

Even if your adult dog is not yet potty trained, he is old enough to physically be able to hold it and to learn about potty training quickly.

6. You Skip Puppy Teething

When you get an adult dog, you get to skip the biting and the mouthing and the chewing of everything in the house!  Puppies chew and explore everything with their teeth and some puppies damage thousands of dollars of their owner’s stuff!

Even if your new dog chews (and he probably will) he is old enough and there is no teething pain that is causing him to chew.  Adult dogs can easily be taught where to put their mouths as long as you are consistent and don’t allow him premature access to your house.

5. You Can Leave an Adult Dog Longer

As we discussed in one of my earlier articles, we live in a world of needing to work to earn your dog’s kibble!

Puppies should be left no longer than however old they are in months plus one hour.  So  2 month old puppy should not be left longer than 3 hours, max!  And, certainly not on a regular basis if at all possible!

Adult dogs can simply be left comfortably for longer periods of time to allow you to work and feel less guilty!

4. You Know What Size Dog You Are Getting

I mentioned this in my other article Adopting a Shelter Dog  but it can be difficult to take a mixed breed puppy, if you don’t know what breeds went into the mixing, and figure out how big the dog will be.

A very good vet friend of mine adopted a dog that she thought would be around 25-30 pounds when full grown, but her “little” girl ended up being closer to 80 pounds.

One of the main excuses people use when giving up a rambunctious puppy is “He got too big”; if you get an adult dog you know just how much your dog food bill is likely to be!

3. You Know What Kind of Fur and Grooming You are In For

Along the lines of size, puppies have these cute little fuzzy puppy coats when they are born that often don’t grow until they are older.  My 18 month old was a little too fluffy when she was a puppy (she was suppose to be a short hair) but I was assured I was crazy 😉 and that she would be short haired…she isn’t and I was right (she is my third fuzzy puppy)!  But I love her anyway!

There are people who don’t have what it takes to own a dog that needs consistent or constant grooming (I may be one of them!  I prefer my wash and go dogs!).  With an adult dog, you know just what you are getting into!

Who Wouldn’t Want to Live with This Guy?

2. Adult Dogs Have Established their Temperament and Their Aptitudes

Puppies are a “crap shoot”  even those of us in the business that “temperament test” puppies must agree that to a very strong degree it is difficult if not impossible to tell what a puppy will be like when it is full grown.

When a puppy is very young we see traits that we like, or dislike, we try and develop the things we desire while inhibiting the things we don’t desire, but the truth of the matter is…it is almost impossible to know exactly what a puppy will be like in several months.

I trained recently with a world renown dog trainer from Holland and even he admitted the puppy from his litter that he thought was going to be the best was not, and the puppy he discounted early on was amazing and proficient at the task he was raising them for.

As much as we want to get a puppy or even a kitten for that matter, and raise and shape exactly what we want…it doesn’t always happen.  Not even with my own puppies!

This was the reason that I never took puppies when I was training Service Dogs, I never knew who they would be after they went through “puppy puberty” and the Flight Instinct Period.

An adult dog I knew that, for the most part, what I saw was what I was getting.  And, although I enjoy the challenge of raising a puppy occasionally, if I was looking for a dog to perform a certain task later in life, I would be looking for a dog that was 9 months or older!

This is why so many working dog organizations scour shelters looking for Assistance Dogs, Detector Dogs, and other types of working dogs; they can test the dogs and know almost right away if the dog has what it takes to do the work they are looking for!

1. Adult Dogs Can Come with More Knowledge

Whether you get an older dog or puppy from a breeder or you get one from a rescue, chances are you can find out more information about the individual and how he has been raised or “housed”.  Does he live with cats or children, does he dislike other animals or children?  It allows you to find a better fit for your environment.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, never leave your dog alone with your other pets or children either way!  New dogs must be trained, worked with and acclimated into your home even if he was good with other dogs, cats or children in his previous home doesn’t mean he will have the exact same reaction in your home; your odds are just better!

I cannot presume to make a decision as to what is best for you and your family, I can only tell you that my experience with adult dogs and their attributes far outweighs any negative qualities.

Just like puppies, adult dogs need love, training, attention and consistency and they are bigger so their mistakes aren’t viewed as “cute” like the same mistakes a puppy makes (like jumping).    Be kind and be patient and you will be able to curb the possible behavior problems that they come with!

But all dogs are trainable and many of these adult dogs deserve a shot at a loving, reliable, life and you may just be the person to give it to them!

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  1. Denise McCarthy says:

    I support Second hand snoots, which is based in Chicago.


  2. Charline Snyder says:

    I will be adopting a young lady, 7 years old from a shelter today. She will be seperated until I know that she will be OK with my other babies that she will be with in the house. I do agree, people will tell you all kinds of things about how good the dog is, so why are they getting rid of her? I use to be in Rescue but had to get out of it because it was costing me everything to take care of them. I found everyone loved cute puppies, but once they grew up, they got rid of them because they weren’t cute and fuzzy any more. I find the older ones are a lot easier to acclimate and fit into a home than puppies.
    I just took a little boy that I had adopted out 4 years ago, he is now 8 and doesn’t bother anyone, he is content to just have someone that loves him.


  3. I lost my 16 year old dog last year and my shepherd was very upset at being the only dog so I adopted a shelter dog. She is a mixed breed and has a lot of health problems but a great little girl. I think her owner passed away and she got put in a shelter. We had an adjustment period between the 2 girls but things seem to be working out now.All my friend say she looks like a pigmy goat but who doesn’t love goats. What do you think of treadmills for dogs as my shepherd has hip problems and a pulled hamstring. She takes shots and has a massage therapist. I’m supposed to walk her an hour a day but with winter coming on and I’m not that young, I thought a treadmill might work. Enjoy your emails. Barbarb


    Minette Reply:

    Treadmills are great but can frighten dogs, start slow with lots of treats and find out if there are any therapeutic pools around for some swimming. Swimming is the best exercise she can get!


  4. Susan says:

    Donating to a rescue is what we are asking for this year too. We have everything we need so we have asked friends to make a donation to Florida Poodle Rescue for Gainesville Jojo ( ).

    Jojo needs some medical help. He is an old gentleman we are fostering. He was abandoned on the streets. Because of his age and an ugly looking lump on his bottom no one adopted him. His time was out when Florida Poodle Rescue took him in. Now they are working on funds to have the lump removed, his teeth cleaned, and his health restored. Then he will be able to live out his life in warmth and comfort.


  5. Ina Ellsworth says:

    I absolutely agree with all your reasons for adopting an older dog…. but Chet, you know how impossible it is to resist a small puppy. One look and you’re hooked. And of course there is nothing like the smell of a newborn pup. One sniff and all your good intentions are out the door!


  6. Ina Ellsworth says:

    P.S. I forgot to mention just now that I support our local SPCA. They do fantastic work and deserve all the help they can get. And even if money is tight, you can always drop off some old blankets, sheets or rags of any kind.


  7. cj says:

    I rescue shiba inu, and have several of my own. A mature dog is a great companion, for all the reasons stated. Most people don’t have the time or patience to train a puppy now in these busy lives we live, so a mature dog makes so much sense!


  8. danielle says:

    i so aggree with all of these people puppy are very cute but you should get older dog because at lest you know what you are geting with a older dog and you do not have to do the puppy stage or the teathing i love puppys i love the smell of the puppy breth and they are just cute but older dogs are not able to get a home as eazey as a puppy will


  9. Wannetta says:

    I volunteer web site design and maintenance as well as photography and such when needed for Save A Dog Rescue in Montgomery County, TX. It’s a wonderful no kill rescue. Although they mainly work with small dogs, many of them older dogs, I actually adopted my two, a Rottweiler and a Boxer through them (or connections to them making it possible) during the last 3 years. Do you know that some shelters won’t adopt out Rottweilers or Pitt Bulls? Our Hope, a Rottweiler was on the chopping block for a Monday at MCAS, we went in to foster her on Sunday. Thus, we had HOPE that she was a good dog – and she sure is. A little consistant training goes a long way. A year or so later we adopted Brother, our Boxer, through Save A Dog Rescue. Both dogs were probably somewhere around a year or more old when we took them home. Certainly not little puppies.
    SADR continualy has many of older dogs available and I have seen it take a very long time to place some – but boy what a reward for both the dog and new family when the match is right.


  10. Sally Negri says:

    I have a 16 year old Australian Shepard, Sassy. With the years she has developed problems with her sight and hips. Two years ago she ate less and less (1 cup per two days) The vet did not seem particularly concerned but I was so I adopted last January a 2 year old Weimy from a St. Louis Rescue. What a difference it made. Now Sassy eats 2 cups per day and wants to play with the stuffed toys. I was and still am amazed. Jasmine was the cure.

    I wouldn’t go any other way. Adopting a rescue has added much love in our lives… Sally


  11. Kate says:

    I absolutely agree we adopted my very first dog 9 months ago on my birthday from a shelter. She has been a joy! There is an adjustment period and re-training, but I would not do it any other way! The other advantage with a shelter dog is they are so grateful to be outta there! For her first 2 months at our house she lived on my husbands lap, which was such a blessing as he was a little hesitant about getting a dog… Guess who is her favorite person… Lucy has been the best thing we have done for our family. She is a doll. We look at her every day and cannot imagine why someone would get rid of such a great dog, but we are so glad they did, she is the best!


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