The majority of dog lovers prefer to start with a new puppy or one that is just a few months old when they want to add a new pet to their home. One of the primary reasons is because they are just so darn cute and cuddly.
Another primary reason for this is the concern that an older dog will not adapt well to changing masters and it will be difficult to break the older dog from any bad habits it may have. This isn’t necessarily so. This information may help you realize that an older and more mature dog may be just the right thing for you.
The fact of the matter is that a new puppy, from 6 weeks to 3 or 4 months old and perhaps as old as 6 months, will require a good deal more of your time when you bring the animal into your home. During the first few days to two weeks, most puppies go through a phase of anxiety and possible depression from being separated from the other puppies in their litter and the comfort of their mother. This phase can be expressed by the young K-9, with a constant whining, yelping, extreme nervousness, depression and possible physical illness, such as diarrhea, throwing up and failure to eat properly. This in turn can lead to more problems for the puppy and you. However, this type of anxiety separation and the accompanying problems may normally be avoided by adopting an older dog into your home.
It is true that some older dogs can also demonstrate these same symptoms, when placed into a new home, in most cases with the proper treatment and respect they will come around rather quickly.
The natural instinct of the majority of dogs, regardless of age and breed, is to serve and give unselfish love and devotion to their Master. Consequently, when bringing an older dog into your home they will have a natural tendency to adapt to the new situation and people surrounding them. A simple way to help them to do this is to speak in a pleasant, but firm voice when they join you. Take the time to stroke and scratch them in the more sensitive areas of their bodies. These sensitive areas are located at the base of the skull directly behind the ears, under the muzzle, the lower end of their spine, on the tummy and other parts of their bodies. When doing so you will quickly earn their trust and respect. However, this does not mean you are to give them the upper hand in your relationship with the dog.
Dogs, like the wolf, are instinctively a pack animal and have a natural desire to establish who the Alpha Male (leader of the pack) is. For an older dog, this is more important at the outset than it would be for a puppy just coming out of the litter. You can quickly assume this role by projecting, with your body language and voice tone, the characteristics of the Alpha Male. When demonstrating this it will be necessary, from time to time, to speak in a louder and harsher tone than you would normally address the dog in. This will be especially important when you observe the dog in some sort of bad behavior. As an older dog has already been exposed to a human being, as the “Alpha Male,” it is more likely to accept you quicker, in this role, than a puppy.
As you can see adopting an older dog may well prove to be the best route for you when selecting your new dog. It likely has had more training, of some sort, and is more likely to adapt to a new environment, with fewer problems, before a new puppy will. But, the fact remains; you are the only one who can determine if an older dog is right for you.
Published in: Pets