Animal Resource Library » Behavior & Training » Adopting an Adult Dog

Benefits of Adopting an Adult Dog

Adopting an adult dog can be very rewarding. The benefits can outweigh the negatives. You will
not only have a friend for life, but a friend who can truly appreciate the second chance at life
you have offered.

When you adopt a dog over a year old you bypass much of the time consuming puppy
phase; as fun as it may seem to adopt a young puppy, they require a lot of additional time
and training that many older dogs do not. Also, there won’t be any surprises about size, coat
length or underlying temperament. If you choose carefully, what you see is what you get.

With a puppy you never know exactly what you’re getting. Though many people think puppies
are a blank slate, that is not the case. In addition, with most families’ schedules and busy lives
a puppy’s time and training requirements may be too much.

What you don’t see can be some of the dog’s past experiences that may influence their
behavior today. Fireworks or people in hats and sunglasses may cause stress in your new pet.
However, with patience and time most things can be overcome.

The first few days and weeks are critical in setting up the parameters for your new pet to
become a welcome member of the household.

The first day home, your dog may be a bit groggy from the spay or neuter surgery or shellshocked
by the sudden change in their life. Once your dog feels better and settles in, you’ll
see their true personality.

Determine what the house rules will be before your new pet comes home and stick with them
as much as possible. It is always easier to loosen the rules then to try and impose them after a
dog has gotten used to unfettered freedom. Feeling sorry for your dog and over-indulging them
in the beginning is only setting them up for trouble. Keep your rules simple and expectations
realistic and your life with your new pet will surely be a good one.

Dogs need time to adjust and often there is a “honeymoon” period in which the dog seems
“perfect” and new adopters let their guard down. This time is critical for setting up your new
pet for success.

You’ll need to set time aside to be with your new pet and help guide them through the challenges
of learning the rules of the new house and the rule of living in a human society. Navigating
through these things in addition to adjusting to a new home can be challenging for some dogs.
This is also a good time to begin a solid relationship built on mutual respect and understanding.

Remember that if you are taking time off initially to acclimate your dog to their new home, it is
important to help them get used to the idea of being alone, especially if you will be returning
to a full work day. As you are getting closer to the day you will be going back to work, have your
pet spend some time alone in a secure area. A crate or gated area can work well for this.

Until you fully understand your new dog and know how they will reacts to things and actions in
their environment, be cautious with them around children. No matter what, dogs and children
should never be left together unsupervised at any time.

Children should learn how to greet and pet dogs politely. Teach your children never to take
food or toys away from a dog, or disturb a dog resting or sleeping. These lessons are useful for
everyone, and are considerate of the dog’s needs and desires.

One of the most important gifts a dog owner can give their pet is a training class. Though we
often think we should be able to train our own dogs, it can be very helpful to the pet to learn
good manners in a class with other dogs and people present.

Be consistent with the rules you set and be sure everyone in the home understands the rules.
Sit down before bringing your pet home and develop guidelines and priorities that everyone
can agree upon. This will help the family work together as team to be consistent with the new
pet. Consistency and creating expectations will play big part in helping the new pet adjust.

Please note, articles in the Animal Resource Library are for reference only, and are not meant to diagnose or treat any medical or behavioral issues your pet may be experiencing.