Puppies are a lot of work – they need to eat often, pee and poop often, they need frequent cuddles and playtime, and they can’t be left alone all day. Four hours is the maximum time you should leave a young puppy in a crate. Crate training is the widely-accepted best method for house-breaking, preventing inappropriate chewing and other undesirable behaviours.
A crucial aspect of raising a puppy is daily training and socialization to help them grow up to be a well-adjusted dog. Raising a puppy takes a lot of time, commitment, patience and consistency for the first year, but all that work will pay off with a dog that is well-behaved, well-socialized and well-adjusted. A puppy is not the best choice if you have a very hectic schedule.
If you are considering a puppy, please take the time – before you make the commitment – to learn what it takes to raise a good canine companion.
You’ll still need to devote plenty of time to an adult dog – getting to know each other, developing a routine and learning how to trust and respect each other. Many grownup dogs are already house-trained and socialized, which will spare you the experience of a puppy eating your slippers, chewing your furniture and peeing on your plush carpet.
Because an adult dog’s personality is already well-established, you can be sure that the goofy, sweet dog you meet at the shelter will be the same goofy, sweet dog two years down the road. Of course, some grownup dogs were never taught proper behaviour, so you’ll need to provide leadership and a structured environment to teach them good manners. Obedience classes that use positive, humane training methods are a great way for dog owners to bond with their pooch and learn to communicate with one another.
There’s something very special about adopting a senior dog, giving them a loving home to live out their greying years in comfort. Of course, they are calmer and mellower than puppies and adolescent dogs, but they still need twice daily walks, playtime and plenty of affection.
With senior dogs, what you see is what you get; their personalities won’t change. However, a shy dog that lived a somewhat neglected life will often come out of its shell in a stable and caring environment. People often say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but it’s not true. Dogs are amazingly adaptable and can learn new things at any age.
The downside of adopting a senior dog is that they probably won’t be with you as long as a young dog. But your life will be enriched by their sweet presence, and you’ll feel the reward of knowing you’ve given a gift to a dog in need.