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How to Decide between Puppy or Adult Dog Adoption

The advantages of getting a puppy are obvious: Puppies are adorable, sweet, and cuddly, plus you get to train them from the get-go. On the other hand, choosing an adult dog often brings you an already trained pet that doesn’t need expensive puppy shots and who is likely to be grateful for a second (or third!) chance with a caring human.

If you welcome a grown dog fully into your life, she’s yours just as much as the puppy you take from her mother at seven weeks. Some people say the bond is tighter because the dog has seen the world and knows how lucky she is.

A puppy is a good choice if you have the time, patience, and flexibility — not to mention the sense of humor — to deal with canine babyhood and adolescence. You won’t find any shortcuts to the delightful business of puppy-raising. Expect 3 a.m. walks and chewed loafers, endless hours of play and just as many hours of training. You don’t really know what you’re going to end up with until you end up with it — this is especially true of mixed-breed puppies, many of whom are bigger or smaller adults than anyone at the shelter could have guessed.

Puppyhood is a wonderful trip, full of surprises and delights, but one you shouldn’t take if you aren’t committed. If you don’t put in the effort, you may end up with a dog that drives you crazy — or one you’ll drive to the shelter when you can’t stand her anymore. If you honestly aren’t up for a year of puppy antics, adopt a grown dog instead.

A grown dog is an excellent choice for situations where no one is home during the day as well as for retirees who love the companionship of a dog, but haven’t the energy for a puppy. Choosing an adult dog is the way to go for anyone who wants to feel good about giving a decent dog a second chance.

Grown dogs have an undeservedly bad reputation as dogs other people rejected or couldn’t stand. But dogs end up in shelters because their humans move, die, divorce, or become allergic — all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with the dog’s behavior. And the real plus with an adult dog is that the adjustment period inevitable with any canine relationship is a lot shorter with a grown dog.

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