6 Things You Might Want to Know About Puppy Adoption
- Housebreaking: Before you adopt, consider how much time your new family member will spend alone. Remember, a puppy requires constant attention. The key to successful housebreaking is consistency; preventing "accidents" is key. Once a pup soils the carpeting, it becomes much more difficult to train them out of that behavior. Here's a good rule of thumb to consider: a puppy can hold his bladder just one hour for every month they've been alive. For instance, a 3-month-old will need to empty his bladder every three hours! And yes, that does include the middle of the night! Before you go through with adoption, ask yourself if you are available to walk your dog several times throughout the day, and if you have the patience and commitment to wake up and take him out several times throughout the night. Of course, before you can walk him at all, you will need to train him to walk on a leash, which is a project in itself.
In contrast to a pup, an adult dog's bladder is already fully developed. Many dog rescue organizations make sure their adult dogs for adoption are housebroken before they go to new homes and shelter pooches most often have already been potty-trained and know the ropes. With adult dogs you also have the advantage of knowing that your dog is physically able to "hold it" for several hours at a stretch. In most cases, adult dogs are easier to housebreak. You can teach an old dog new tricks!
- Puppy behavior: Sure, that pup for sale is super-cute, but simply put, they are adorable, relentless machines of destruction. Even the most well-behaved will destroy shoes, clothing, paper, remote controls, telephones, leashes, dog beds, carpeting…anything and everything. More rambunctious pups have been known to obliterate sofas, car seats, Venetian blinds, electrical cords, door frames…you name it, they can eat it or shred it. And when they're teething, look out! After you adopt a puppy, you'll soon discover they have very sharp teeth, and they are happy to use your hands, feet, nose, hair, etc, as a chew toy. Ouch! Needless to say, a teething pup and a small child do NOT make good companions! To keep the pup from hurting himself, and to prevent the destructive behavior from becoming a bad habit, you will need to spend every waking moment supervising his every move. Do you have that kind of time?
Many dogs for adoption in shelters or with dog rescue groups are already trained and ready to go! Many dog rescue groups use foster homes to make sure each dog for adoption is trained to be well-behaved indoors. It would be impossible for rescuers to make sure their pups for adoption get the same training before they are adopted. Although all dogs need attention and playtime, an adult dog's needs are far less demanding. And remember, no pooch is too old for love! Personality: If you're considering adoption, you probably have a good idea about what kind of personality you want your new family member to have, right? If you're a couch potato, you don't want to adopt a dog who needs to be in motion constantly; you want a furry pal who's content to cuddle up at your feet. If "active" is your middle name, you probably want to adopt a dog who's always raring to go! Maybe you need to adopt a dog who's great with kids or elderly people, or one who doesn't bark a lot, or you really want to adopt a dog who loves to lick your face, or you want one who doesn't lick your face, or…you get the idea. There are a lot of things to consider! Uh-oh…guess what? When you adopt a puppy, you can't tell how he or she will turn out! With an adult dog, what you see is what you get. Their personality is already developed, and you'll be able to spot the characteristics you're looking for much more easily. Dog rescue and shelter volunteers can help assess the personality of each dog for adoption, and carefully match you up with the right dog for your lifestyle. With puppies, there is a lot more guesswork involved. Sure, you can train your pup on certain behaviors, but other traits (like activity level) seem to be inherent in each individual.
- A smarter option than buying a puppy from a pet store: No matter how "reputable" you think your local pet store is, they're getting their pets from one of two sources: 1) a "backyard" breeder, or 2) a puppy mill. The majority of purebred dogs in shelters or rescues are the product of "backyard" breeders. These are people who make some easy cash by breeding their dogs. Most of these breeders don't know a thing about breeding for favorable health and temperament qualities, and they don't know how to raise a properly socialized litter. Many of these pets are weaned from their mothers way too soon. Sometimes, backyard breeders turn into small-time puppy mills. What's a puppy mill? A puppy mill is basically a puppy factory farm. The dogs are kept in small cages and forced to breed at unhealthy rates… it's all about money. Female dogs are made to have several litters per year, which is extremely dangerous and cruel. Each mill produces several different breeds, and pays little attention to the specific health and genetic diseases due to inbreeding. Genetic health testing is almost unheard of, and mass-producing pets for profit is the bottom line. In the worst cases, unspeakable abuse and horrifying conditions are the norm. How can you stop puppy mills? There is only one way. Take away their profits. NEVER BUY A PET FROM A PET STORE! Remember, adoption is the most humane option!
- Adult dog adoption = an instant friend for life: You don't have to buy a dog to experience true bonding. Ask anybody who has adopted an adult dog, and they'll swear their bond with their rescued pal is as deep as they come. When you open your heart and your home to a dog who needs help, they really do show their appreciation for the rest of their life! Dogs who have been uprooted from their homes, or have had difficult beginnings are likely to bond completely and deeply with their new human caretakers, whom they regards as heroes. Dogs who find themselves in the shelter or with a rescue group because of a death or other tragedy in their former human family usually go through a mourning period. Once they are adopted, however, they usually want nothing more than to please their new hero---YOU! No matter what circumstances brought them to the shelter or rescue, most dogs for adoption are exceptionally affectionate and attentive pets and extremely loyal companions. But first you have to adopt one!
- Adult dog adoption = truly saving a life: When you adopt an adult dog, you are doing the ultimate good deed. Let's face it: everybody wants to adopt a puppy, but not everyone is lining up to adopt the great adults! Its a shame too because puppies are only puppies for a few months, and then they are adults for the rest of their life. Did you know that every year, approximately 4 million adoptable animals are euthanized in animal shelters? A staggering 25% of those animals are purebreds, so you can be sure you'll find every kind of dog for adoption out there, keeping the relatively small number of dog rescue groups way too busy! An adult dog for adoption in a pound has a much greater chance of being euthanized than a pup in the same shelter. Dog rescue organizations work very, very hard to help adult dogs find good homes. Dog rescue groups are almost always made up of volunteers. They often keep their dogs for adoption in their own homes while they assess their health and personalities. If a dog for adoption needs basic training, often the rescuer will provide it. If a dog for adoption needs medical treatment, many dedicated rescuers pay for it out of their own pocket. These people are incredibly passionate about dog rescue, and they work tirelessly to make sure every dog for adoption finds a home. Nothing is as rewarding to these heroes as a successful dog adoption, especially a successful adult dog adoption!
- Okay…if you still want to adopt a puppy: If you've done all your research, and you've decided that you can give a pup a great home, time to visit the shelter or a puppy rescue organization. Start looking in your area by doing a search on Adopt-a-Pet.com! You can search by age, size, color, and breed, but we suggest just entering your zip code, selecting "puppy" from the age menu, and clicking the search button. That way, you'll get to see all the wonderful mixed-breed puppies for adoption in your area!