If you are considering adding another four-legged family member to your household, please consider adopting a senior canine. In addition to giving a wonderful animal a new lease on life, you may be surprised at how many benefits there are to choosing an older dog over a young pup.
What exactly is a “senior” dog?
Exactly when a dog is considered a senior depends on his size and his related life span. Smaller dogs, which tend to live longer than larger breeds, can often live well into their teens. Larger breeds and breed mixes typically have shorter lives but can still live more than a decade. In general, a dog is classified as a senior when he enters the final third of his projected life span.
It’s sadder still to know many of these pets will never leave the shelter… unless more adoptive families are willing to give them a second look.
1. Be a Hero
By adopting an older dog, you are fighting for the value and beauty of life at all ages and stages. Shelters are frequently overcrowded and older dogs are often among the first to be euthanized. By choosing an older animal you are truly saving a life. It’s heroic to see beauty and love where others often don’t even bother looking and give and older dog a second chance to live out the rest of his or her life with dignity and love.
2. Easy to Train
Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Hogwash! Older dogs are great at focusing on you—and on the task at hand—because they’re calmer than youngsters. Plus, all those years of experience reading humans can help them quickly figure out how to do what you’re asking.
3. Older dogs have manners.
Unlike puppies, many grown-up dogs have spent years living with a family and being socialized to life with humans.
They may have received obedience training and respond to commands like Sit, Stay, and Down.
Many are house trained and it takes a matter of hours or a day or two to help them learn the potty rules in their new home.
4. You can teach an old dog new tricks
Dogs can be trained at any age and older dogs are just as smart as younger ones. Older dogs have a greater attention span than a puppy, which make them easier to train.
5. Fewer Surprises
Older dogs are a known commodity, easy to assess for size and temperament. You won’t be wondering just exactly how big they’ll grow, and you’ll know who the dog is: aloof, friendly, or shy, so it’s easier to decide how the senior you choose will fit into your family and your lifestyle.
6. Your furniture…and carpet…will thank you
Older dogs are more likely to be housebroken and have doggie manners. If their training is still a bit lacking, they have the physical and mental abilities to pick up skills fast, unlike puppies. Seniors also are much less likely to be destructive chewers.
7. Instant Companionship
Most senior dogs have already been socialized and learned what it takes to get along with humans, and often with other pets. You can skip a lot of the training and socialization that puppies require and just get to the cuddling. Older dogs know the routine, when you open the car door they jump right in. They know what the word “walk” means or “treat” so you can have more meaningful interactions with your older dog without years of training. The reward for spending time with your new senior companion is the quick bond you create that builds a special future together.
8. You can custom order your senior pet
If you’re looking for a short-haired cat, for example, or a kitty with no history of dental disease, you can search until you find an older pet with exactly those attributes. If you already have a cat and need your adoptive dog to get along with cats, again, you’ll have a much better chance of finding an older adoptive dog who is a perfect companion for your family.
9.They know how to walk on a leash.
Leash manners are always a top priority for dog owners. Younger dogs are more eager, energetic, and less relaxed. If you want to take a nice calm evening stroll, having a senior dog as a walking buddy might better suit your needs.
10. They’re CUTE!
Need we say more?
These are only some of the reasons that a senior dog makes a wonderful companion for you and your family.
Find your best friend; adopt a senior dog!