great articles: What to Consider Before Getting That Cute Puppy
What to Consider Before Getting That Cute Puppy
Puppies are appealing -- overwhelmingly so. A puppy can turn a 350 pound, two-fisted, nail spitting, bare knuckles bar fighter into a cooing, baby-talking mound of mush in a nanosecond. Baby dogs are just too stinking cute for words. Buy Adorable Puppy
They can also be walking, wailing, trouble seeking, peeing and pooping machines. But they're so irresistible we don't give a flip. Cuteness conquers all, and we stumble around, tripping over the leash that attaches us to that adorable little furball who is gnawing on our sneaker laces and generally finding minuscule ways to wreak maximum havoc on our lives as we try to figure out the best evacuation schedule -- exactly how many minutes and seconds after eating will the remains of the last meal find its way out the other end -- so that we can teach the little bugger to do the business outdoors, as well as make sure it doesn't ingest something valuable, obstructing or toxic. We set the alarm clock for regular intervals, then wake up twenty-minutes before the buzzer sounds worrying that we haven't timed it right. We take our new little precious outside and beg and plead, "go potty, good girl/boy, time to potty, please hurry up and potty, don't you have to potty now? " Returning to bed, we set the alarm once again, and about the time we drop down into that deep, theta wave sleep, we're awakened by a distressed whimpering from the pup who now really needs to go do that potty thing that didn't happen thirty minutes ago. Repeat as necessary through the night, and sometimes for several weeks -- even months -- afterward.
Those puppy teeth. Hydraulically operated hypodermics. Puppies chew. It's part of their makeup, and there is nothing they love to chew on more than something we value highly, like the new $80 sandals, the corner of the table bestowed by the hawk-eyed mother in law, the cherished collectible toy we're saving to pass on to a favorite niece or nephew, or our own personal, pain sensitive hides.
But it's so CUUUUUTE!
Sometimes cuteness doesn't equal everything out. Sometimes our lives are such that it isn't a fair start for a puppy. We don't have the time and can't sacrifice the sleep or sanity to give a puppy the guidance and teaching and attention that are mandatory to raise a healthy, stable, happy dog.
The number of adolescent and adult dogs in shelters and rescues is staggering. They're past the agonizingly appealing baby stage and now their former owners have realized they don't have the time, or they didn't have the time in the beginning and now aren't willing or don't know how to correct behaviors that should have been addressed before they even got a chance to start, way back when the animal was still stinkin' cute. Or it has become apparent now that the dog is older that they brought home a charming little puppy that grew up to be way more dog than they're equipped to deal with, so they throw up their hands and dump the dog at a shelter or rescue, or on the side of the road or on craigslist or kijiji.
But you've been wanting -- needing a dog in your life.
Very often what these older dogs need is someone who will give them a fresh start. A person who will display patience and intelligently communicate what is expected, rewarding and reinforcing desired behavior while gently steering them away from bad habits.
An adolescent or adult dog has more than a two hour bladder. There is reasonable hope that you will be able to sleep through the night. There are more ways you can safely burn an older dog's energy. You can -- once you're aware of their unique temperament -- take them places like dog parks and let them run. Long walks are a definite possibility. Wrestling, tug, fetch, frisbee... all things you can't really do with a puppy, but you can with a semi or full grown dog. The learning curve is so much shorter, and somehow most of these dogs understand what you've done for them and respond to it with gratitude and a devout desire to please you.
A grown or nearly grown dog also doesn't need the same amount of direct supervision and can more easily be left alone in a safe place with toys to keep busy while you go out and earn that kibble cash.
Puppies are wonderful, but so are dogs and almost-dogs, and depending on what is going on in your life, one of those older, maybe not quite so perishingly darling ones might be a custom fit. There are surely plenty to choose from; maybe you should take two!