This month we’re going to look at the pros and cons of both buying a new puppy and adopting an older rescue dog.
Whether this is your first dog, or you are an experienced dog owner, choosing a new dog can be a tricky decision with both practical and ethical implications.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both buying a new puppy and adopting an older rescue dog, and weighing up these factors can help you make the best decision for you.
Adopting an older rescue dog
The main benefit of adopting is the obvious ethical benefit—you are saving their life!
Adopting is also generally easier and cheaper than buying a puppy from a breeder. You don’t have to wait for a litter to be born and there will be an animal shelter for your council area.
There are many kinds of dogs to choose from at animal shelters. Rescue dogs are fully checked by a vet, wormed and vaccinated. And, unless you are adopting a puppy, they will also be already de-sexed.
One of the main advantages of adopting an older dog is that you can avoid many of the downfalls of the puppy stage: toilet training, biting, jumping, waking at night, chewing, digging and unlimited energy.
The main risk of adopting a rescue dog is that you won’t know the temperament of your dog’s parents or their history of health issues. A mobile vet can come to your home if your rescue dog is too scared to come to a vet. We can also advise on how to cope with any behavioural issues he might have.
Many animal shelters will let you foster your dog first to see if they fit into your family and they will take your dog back if things don’t work out.
Buying a new puppy
You can adopt your puppy from an animal shelter, but here are the main advantages of buying your puppy from a breeder.
You may have your heart set on a particular breed. When you buy from a reputable breeder you can chose a dog with a temperament that suits you and your family’s lifestyle and needs.
When you bring your puppy home from the breeder, you get to train him from that first day. This hopefully avoids behavioural problems down the track and it also helps foster a bond between you and your pup.
If you have bought your puppy from a breeder, you won’t have to ‘undo’ any of the long-term behavioural damage that has sometimes happened to rescue dogs.
The downside of buying a puppy is, of course, the high energy levels and the constant supervision and training that is required. You also will be responsible for the vaccinations, de-sexing, etc., of your puppy.
So how do I decide?
Sometimes you need help deciding which dog will be best for you family. We can help you decide. Whatever you chose to adopt an older rescue dog or buy a new puppy, you could also consider the following factors:
What is the size of your house? Do you have the room for a large dog? Or do you live in an apartment with little or no backyard that would suit a smaller, calmer dog?
Do you work full time or travel a lot? Do you have the time to exercise a dog? Or would you suit an older or calmer dog that doesn’t need as much exercise?
How old are you and do you have small children? The animal shelter or breeder will advise you which breeds are suitable for your family, especially if you have small children or if you are elderly yourself, with limited mobility.
Are you prepared to put the effort into training a puppy? Or would you prefer to adopt an older dog who is already fully trained?
And finally, it is often the dog that choses its owner!
How does the puppy or rescue dog interact with you the first time you meet? Does he come to you and make eye contact? Is he curious, timid or boisterous? Does he like being touched?
So many clients have told me stories of going to the shelter or the breeder with a particular dog in mind, but coming home with a totally different one. Their dog has chosen them!
Contact us act if you need further help.