Are you considering a canine companion, a hound to have around, or a puppy pal? There are pros and cons to considering puppies vs. adult dogs. Puppies are great fun, but plenty of work. Puppies need a great deal of attention, much more care and training-and lots and lots of play time. Puppies cannot be left alone as long as adult dogs. They must be watched at all times or kept in a secure place such as a crate when you can’t watch them. They need frequent trips outside to relieve themselves; they eat several times a day. An advantage of having a puppy is you train and socialize the dog right from the beginning. A puppy will quickly bond with family members.
Your house will have to be “child protected” with latches on cabinets where potentially dangerous things like cleaning supplies are kept. Puppies are curious and explore everywhere, often by chewing. New pups often have difficulty adapting to being away from their litter mates and your sleep will be interrupted for the first days after you bring him home. Housebreaking a puppy can be a messy chore. You have to be patient when the puppy makes mistakes. The good thing about a puppy is he is a blank slate: he can be trained and socialized so he is a perfect fit with your family. You don’t have to worry about breaking him of bad habits.
An alternative is adopting an adult dog from a shelter or foster home, or breed rescue organization. An older dog is usually already housebroken and can be left alone for longer periods of time. With an adult dog, you know right away what you’re getting in terms of: the size of the dog, the temperament, the activity level and personality. What you don’t know is the dog’s past, what may have happened that led the dog to be in a situation of being rescued-or abandoned. Adult dogs sometimes have developed behavioral issues because of past neglect or abuse. It may take time for you and your new adult dog to develop mutual trust. Some adult dogs can be nervous or have separation anxiety when introduced into a new home. Treat an adult dog with respect and affection. Talk softly and don’t move suddenly until you know your new canine companion and he knows you.
Don’t make the mistake of treating adult toy dogs, like Miniature Schnauzers as puppies. They’re not. Some small dogs don’t realize they’re little (just like some Great Danes think they’re lap dogs). Toy dogs should be house broken and well behaved just like their bigger cousins.
Many well-trained, sociable dogs are available for adoption, however, and you can certainly find one that will fit right into your household with minimal stress or period of adjustment. Just remember to give the dog extra care, attention and love when he first comes into your home. If he feels completely welcome and loved, he is bound to make a smoother transition.