If you’ve been considering adopting a pet but don’t want to deal with things like house training a puppy, teaching it not to destroy your couch, or keeping up with an 8-week old ball of energy, adopting a senior dog can be a very rewarding thing to do. Adopting an older pet not only takes a dog from a shelter who has likely been there longer than most of the other dogs, but gives them a renewed sense of hope and love, since most of the time, senior dogs end up in shelters when either their owner passes away or their owner decides they can’t emotionally or financially handle the needs of an elderly dog. Choosing to adopt an older pup may have a few “cons,” but it has more than enough “pros” to outweigh them.
He’s Already Calmed Down
Puppies are cute, but dealing with an 8- to 12-week old dog can not only be exhausting, but overwhelming. Many people, shortly after adopting a brand new puppy, may ask themselves if they knew what they were getting into. Puppies need constant attention—they’re small, they chew on everything, they pee everywhere, and unless you’re ready to take on a nearly 24-hour job of paying attention to the new dog, they can cause a lot of trouble. Older dogs still need attention, but they’ve mellowed out. They probably won’t thrash around your apartment, gnawing at the couch and peeing in every corner like a puppy would—instead, they’ll curl up with you on the sofa for a quiet night in.
You Probably Won’t Have to Housetrain
Older dogs have mostly already learned that they are not allowed to go to the bathroom inside, which is often the most frustrating part about getting a new pet—cleaning up all the accidents. Older dogs have learned the basics about how to go about their day-to-day lives—this goes back to them having calmed down. They know that they need to go outside to use the bathroom, and they know not to eat things out of the trash—all things that puppies don’t know. If your senior dog has some incontinence issues, you can always hire a dog walker to stop by during the day to alleviate that issue.
He Needs Less Attention
While puppies need your eyes on them nearly constantly, older dogs are a lot more relaxed. They might still follow you from room to room the way puppies do, but chances are they won’t be bothersome. Instead of making you chase him around the house, trying to get that sock from the laundry basket back, he’ll likely curl up in his bed and take a snooze break.
They May Be More Loyal
Older dogs that wind up in shelters may have trust issues, particularly if their original owners had them for a long time. They may take a bit of time to warm up to you, their new family, but once they do, they’ll be hooked. Puppies like being around you, but they have other things to do in life, like smell all the freshly fallen leaves during autumn, prance through the snow, and more. Older dogs know that what’s outside will be there when they need it to, and will have no problem at all sticking by your side. Once you’ve gained their trust, they’ll be yours forever.
Adopting senior dogs can be very rewarding. Many people who adopt older dogs often joke, “Who rescued who?” when talking about their pups—meaning, they may have rescued the dog, but it was truly the dog who rescued them. If you’ve been considering getting a dog, consider adopting one that’s a bit older—around 6-9 years old, depending on the breed.