By guest blogger Alexandra Seagal
When many families decide to bring a new dog into their home, they often think of a puppy first. But there is an equally good option found in rescues and shelters all over the country and who is deserving of a loving, forever home.
Senior dogs (dogs over the age of 7) offer so many benefits to potential adopters, yet many people wrongly conclude that older dogs in shelters are there because they are problem dogs. On the contrary, many adult dogs in shelters are there through no fault of their own, but due to a change in the previous owner’s attitude, allergies, or lifestyle changes.
So if you’re thinking of adopting a dog, consider our…
5 Great Reasons to Adopt a Senior
1. Senior dogs already know where to “go”.
Housetraining a puppy takes a significant amount of time, patience, and consistency, and you are bound to deal with accidents and damaged carpets along the way. Those wake-up calls in the early morning hours to race your puppy outside aren’t exactly a thrill either.
Senior dogs are already trained to eliminate outside, so you don’t have to start from square one with them. You can save a lot of time and money replacing furniture and rugs by adopting an older dog.
2. You’ll know about a senior dog’s behavioral and medical history.
Puppies are full of surprises, including being more rambunctious than planned and growing bigger than expected. That often leaves both owner and puppy frustrated at their circumstances.
With older dogs, you will be able to effectively choose a dog who fits with your lifestyle and living conditions. A senior dog’s size, personality, temperament, and activity level are already established; there is no need to guess about the dog at all. Additionally, knowing the dog’s medical background will allow you understand what you’re getting into when you adopt him.
3. Older dogs are already trained but are also willing and able to learn new things.
Training a puppy can involve large chunks of time and practice, not to mention fees associated with any training classes you might enroll your pup in and money spent on dog crates. Puppies are adorable, but puppies pulling on leashes, jumping up on people, not holding a stay command, or not socializing correctly with other dogs are not.
Senior dogs are a ready-made package as they will already know basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “heel.” You can avoid all the work that it takes to train a puppy by adopting an older dog who knows what he’s being asked to do.
This doesn’t mean that seniors are old dogs who can’t learn new tricks; in fact, they are better at learning new commands than puppies. Adult dogs can focus much better on the task at hand, something that puppies struggle to accomplish. Additional training for a senior dog is not only fun for you as an owner, but it also keeps your older canine mentally sharp and agile.
4. Seniors are ready to give you all of their love.
No matter what painful background experiences they’ve had — neglect, abuse, homelessness — dogs are all about living in the moment. They are excellent at forgiving and forgetting.
Whatever they have encountered in their past, whatever emotional or physical scars they carry, they are more than ready to let you into their hearts. All senior dogs want is love, kindness, a good home, and good food, and they will love you forever in return.
5. You’re giving an older dog a second chance.
Older dogs deserve the chance to live out their final years in a loving home surrounded by people who care for them. A crowded, noisy, stressful shelter environment is not the right atmosphere for a senior dog. But sadly, shelters and rescues are full of older dogs, and it takes much longer for seniors to get adopted.
Some shelters are overpopulated and may not have the time to wait for a senior dog to be adopted. Too many of these old pals are euthanized in shelters, while some spend years at rescue facilities waiting for a home. By adopting a senior dog, you are saving his life, literally or figuratively, and your kindness will be repaid by your new dog every day he is with you.
Senior dogs make the best, most loyal companions, so be a hero and adopt a senior dog! His gratitude for a loving owner and a permanent home will be the foundation of a beautiful relationship between you both.