Many people overlook buying an adult dog because they fear it won’t bond to them as well as a puppy and that bad habits are permanent (a.k.a. you can’t teach an old dog new tricks). Nonsense!
Some of the advantages you may enjoy if acquiring an adult dog include:
- Seeing exactly what the dog will look like fully mature.
- Avoiding the first months (or years) of rambunctious puppyhood and possibly the time consuming process of house training.
- The ability to more accurately evaluate and handpick temperament traits (independence, clinginess, laid back, active, etc.)
- Knowing the dog’s health history (eyes, hips, skin, etc).
- Saving money. Even when the initial purchase price is more (buying a trained dog), adult food costs less, vaccinations and veterinary visits are less frequent and you can avoid expensive damage from chewing.
Evaluating adult dogs differs greatly from puppies. Once mature, many breeds need to bond before freely giving affection. German shepherds and poodles are usually this way but, once bonded, are very loyal. When considering an adult,do not roll it over or take an object away. Even if the dog is of sound temperament, he may act defensively if your movements are awkward. If you are buying from a source other than the humane society, demand a trial basis of two weeks to a month. A reputable party will automatically offer this because they want the dog in a home where he is completely welcome.
A trial basis will prove that:
- The dog’s temperament is compatible with yours.
- He doesn’t have a defective character trait like shyness or aggression.
- He wasn’t sold because he was impossible to live with.
Humane societies generally have a “no refund” policy. Be prepared to return the dog and forfeit your money if you really can’t work with him. Some problems such as excessive barking, running away and house soiling are all very correctable. If you like everything but his bad habit, consult a professional trainer to assist you in correcting the problem.