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If you are considering adoption as one of the options for getting your new pet then no matter which dog you go for, whether it's a young Labrador puppy or an old mutt, you'll certainly be doing a good deed and a great service to man's best friend. By choosing adoption over buying a puppy from a breeder you will be helping to reduce the strain on the many charities and organisations who seem to have an increasingly uphill struggle to care for and re-home many thousands of dogs each year.
Whilst getting an older pet may not initially seem to be the best idea for you or your family, perhaps you should consider both your situation and the realities of pet ownership. For example, maybe you are a healthy, young and active couple or family but will be out for part or most of the day during weekdays due to work and school commitments. This would mean your new pet would probably be left to their own devices for the most part of the day and depending on what type of dog you have it could potentially begin to cause problems. Where a puppy will want constant attention and plenty of walks, an older dog will be more than happy with a few brisk walks a day with longer ones at the weekend and will enjoy having peace and quiet while being able to rest in front of a nice warm fire or radiator during the times you're out. So, whereas you'd come back to a happy and peaceful older dog, if you leave a young, untrained puppy alone for too long you'll likely come back to a redesigned living room.
Another important thing to consider would be how much time and effort it will be, in both time, effort and money, to house train and discipline a new puppy. At eight weeks old, dogs have massive amounts of energy which requires the new owners to spend either many hours trying to train the dog or alternatively spending a lot of money for a professional to do the job for you. It can and often does take quite a few months of solid training to get a young puppy to behave the way you'd like. The expense of replacing all the items a young pet might destroy before you're able to fully train it including sofas, shoes or clothes will quickly add up in the first year. By adopting an older pet you will be bypassing all the expense and difficulty that arises from buying a younger one so you'll be able to spend all that extra time enjoying quality and stress-free time with your new pet.
If you're looking for a companion but maybe due to age or health you find that you may not be able to fulfil the needs of a lively young dog, then an older pet would be ideal as most older dogs would be more than happy going for short strolls and wandering around the garden. Many older dogs love nothing more than being curled up on the settee next to their owner but with a puppy or younger dog you may find yourself being pestered for a walk more often than you can manage or like. Generally speaking older dogs tend to be much quieter and much better behaved than younger ones so if it's a companion you're after then you can't really go far wrong with an older dog.
How many people can say with a large degree of certainty where they might be in twenty, ten or even five years time? There are many people out there who would make great owners to a puppy or young dog but might be looking to travel or begin working again in the future, and if this sounds familiar to your circumstances you should have a think about just how long a commitment you'll be making with a puppy. It is not uncommon for dogs to live to be 18 or even longer in some cases so before you get a new dog you should make absolutely sure that you'll be able to give your new friend a stable and secure home for life. Try to imagine the heartbreak for both the dog and yourself if you had to give him away after years of happy companionship together. This is one more reason why you should consider an older pet as although the commitment is just as immense, the minimum length of time you'll be committing is likely to be much shorter.
With pedigree puppies an upfront cost as much of around £500 in addition to all the trips to the vets to give your new puppy round after round inoculations will quickly begin to add up. An older dog will cost far less in the first year as healthy adult dogs should only require a trip to the vets every year. With an older and better trained dog you should be fine leaving them in the house alone while you're out at work during the day but a younger dog will probably need someone to come and let them out. If a neighbour or family member is unable to do this for you, you should factor the cost of hiring a pet sitter for at least the first six months into your calculations.
Past a certain age a pet's personality is pretty much set in stone and is unlikely to change, so when you go to see a dog in a rescue centre you'll know what to expect when you take them home. A small adult dog is always going to be small and likewise, a quiet and gentle character is likely going to stay the same way too. It's pretty difficult if not impossible to know how a puppy will turn out as they grow older and a quiet timid puppy might turn into a real live wire when they grow up. If you are looking to get a specific size or personality from a new dog then your best option is definitely an adult dog.
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