Adopting older dogs

We take a look at why adopting an older dog could be the right decision when it comes to bringing a new pet into your home.

When considering getting a dog, many people will have an ideal scenario pictured in their heads.

Often it will involve a cute-as-a-button puppy running around their garden, being mischievous and providing boisterous fun for the family.

Yet, older dogs can bring a lot to the party too. They often take a lot less training which may suit your lifestyle more than a puppy.

Why adoption?

Regardless of a dog’s age, adopting them from a rescue centre or a dog shelter to give them a good home is a brilliant thing to do.

There’s a common misconception that animals are given up for adoption because of behavioural issues, but often a change in circumstance for owners can result in an elderly dog being given to a rehoming centre. We unfortunately hear all too often that adopting an older dog is a “financial risk”. We cannot stress the need for pet insurance enough and most insurers will cover an older rescue dog.

How does an adult dog deal with a new owner?

The key to welcoming a new dog is letting him take his time. Dogs have a naturally inquisitive nature, so it shouldn’t be long before you can start to see your dog taking an interest in you, his new best friend.

Dogs are conditioned to make humans the centre of their world. If that person changes, it’s naturally traumatic for the dog, but it will learn to love again.

How long a dog takes to readjust depends on how it was brought up. For example, a dog that was used to different sitters, family members or even households may find it easier to slot into a new home, compared with a dog that only ever had one owner.

The benefits of rehoming an elderly pet

Older dogs for rehoming are likely to be well trained and have a wealth of experience with day-to-day life in a human world. Oldies are likely to know how to behave around people, are good on walks and get along with other dogs. They’re also calmer than high-energy puppies.

Older dogs require less training

Older dogs will already be toilet-trained and will have mastered basic commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ – saving you the energy and time spent training a puppy, which can take months!

Older dogs are often calmer than puppies

Dogs generally slow down with old age, so although they may not be able to take part in very energetic play or long walks, they will still enjoy a gentle game of fetch and a short stroll in the park.

If you have young children, a less energetic and boisterous dog may be more suitable. Plus, an older dog will already have their adult teeth, which leads to less household destruction compared with their puppy counterparts.

You can still teach an old dog new tricks!

Although they may not be as energetic as a younger dog, they still have the potential to keep learning and adapting just like puppies.

Older dogs have the ability to focus for longer periods of time, so if you’re worried about training them to your lifestyle, they can often be even easier to teach than younger dogs.

Older dogs aren’t necessarily ‘problem dogs’ as some people think

Older dogs are handed into rehoming centres due to a variety of reasons, including allergies, death of their owner, a new baby, loss of job, a move or change in work schedule. These dogs need homes just as much as younger dogs and make a loyal, fun and wonderful pet!

Older dogs are fully grown

You know exactly what you’re getting in terms of size and temperament – rather than guessing with a puppy.

Adopting an older dog is a wonderful opportunity for you to welcome a new member of the family and can be an incredibly fulfilling experience, while offering a pet a second chance for a happy life.

Of course – we are not saying pick an older dog and not a puppy. We are simply saying, look at your circumstance and base your decision upon if a puppy or a rescue dog suits your current situation and consider future situations.

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