- Adopting an adult dog
How to adopt a dog?

Dog adoption

Pros and cons of adopting an adult dog

Dog shelters

Dog rescue

Dog adoption

Adopting an older dog

Adopting an adult dog or a senior dog has several advantages to consider. What are some of the positives of adopting a full grown dog?

Adult dogs that are offered for adoption by rescue organizations may already be housetrained, which makes your life as a dog owner a lot easier. With a housetrained dog there's no need to worry about the adopted dog marking the territory around your house or apartment or ruining your floors or carpets as long as you take the dog outside frequently for bathroom breaks, which is a pro. Another positive about adopting an adult dog is that what you see is what you get. Older dogs already have formed personalities and there will less surprises as the dog is full grown and his or her temperament is already shaped. Mature dogs that came from difficult experiences may need more time to open up to new owners, but they are still capable of giving unconditional love to the new owners and may simply take a little longer time to feel safe and secure with the new family.

Full grown dogs that are up for adoption may often have moderate energy levels and unlike young puppies that are full of energy, older dogs are calmer and require less exercise. The adopted dog's energy level should match yours in order for everyone to be content. Very active dogs need very active owners while less active dogs are more suitable for people who don't want to walk for miles and are happy with a few walks around the block every day with their newly adopted dog. When you are adopting a full-grown dog, try to get as much information as you can about the dog. Find out what he likes, whether the dog is comfortable around unfamiliar people and what is the dog's behavior like around other dogs. This info will help you to understand your newly adopted pet better and you will be more prepared to take good care of the new four legged family member. If you have other dogs at home, selecting a dog that gets along fine with other dogs is important as you want to keep a harmonious relationships in your home between all the animals.

Is adopting an older dog a good idea? Adopting an older dog often takes less concentrated effort than adopting a young puppy would require. Your mature dog still craves love and attention, but if you don't have the time or energy to deal with a puppy's training or socialization, an adult dog may be perfect for you to adopt.

Another benefit to adopting an adult dog is that adult dogs are often beyond the chewing stage. The older dog is grateful for a soft bed and less likely to want to destroy it. Your shoes and other household items are also safer with an adult dog. If you happen to adopt an adult dog that still enjoys chewing on things, get a few chewable toys and remove all the items from the dog's access that you don't want chewed up. Chewable toys are available in different sizes, shapes and even flavors and if your dog insists on chewing, why not indulge him and get something that is good for the dog to chew on.

HappyCare Textiles Ultra Soft Flannel Cat & Dog Blanket
Check Price

Another pro to adopting a full-grown dog is that there's no need to worry that an older dog won't bond with you. It may take a few weeks or even less for you and your mature dog to form that special bond.

Cons of adopting an older dog

While there are so many advantages to adopting an adult dog, there are some challenges to consider when thinking about adopting a full grown dog. The disadvantage of adopting an adult dog is inheriting all his bad habits. When you are adopting a dog, check with the rescue group staff if the dog that you are adopting has any behavior issues that they are aware of. Of course, it is possible that the staff may not have that information, but still it's worth a try. Knowing which specific dog behavior problems the dog has will have you better prepared once the dog is with you. Many dog behavior issues can be corrected. If the dog is very aggressive towards people or other dogs, you may need a help of a dog behavior specialist to resolve this type of a dog behavior problem.

You may not know much about the medical history or behavior issues of the older dog that you are planning to adopt. Ask the staff if they have any information about the dog's health. You may not get much information, but it's still worth trying to find out.

Correcting bad behavior in a dog may be challenging, especially for a first time dog owner. Ask the rescue group staff if they have any information about the temperament of the dog that you are planning to adopt. Is he good around other dogs and other animals? Are there any concerns that you need to know about? Always ask questions to be better prepared.

Some rescue dogs may be dog aggressive or have trust issues. You will need to work through these issues if you adopt the dog. Rescue center workers can usually tell how the dog reacts to other animals. Ask the staff questions to find out what is known about your potential future pet and his or her temperament.

Not all rescue dogs are suitable for families with children. Find out all you can about the dog breed that you are interested in adopting. Some dog breeds may be more family friendly than others. Some dog breeds may have extensive grooming requirements that you need to be aware of. Some dog breeds are easier to train than others. Families with younger children need to take into consideration the age of the kids. A fragile small dog can easily get hurt while playing with young children. Teach your kids how to properly handle a newly adopted dog. The more informed you are about the dog breed of your choice, the better prepared you will be to handle any challenges that may arise when you bring the dog home from the dog adoption center. Learn as much as you can about the breed BEFORE you decide to adopt a specific dog. Make an educated decision on the best dog for your family.

When you are adopting a dog, consider your living conditions. A small apartment can be enough for a smaller, less active breed. Small companion dogs such as Maltese, Shih Tzu, Chihuahua, or Papillon can easily adjust to living in a small apartment. Even the smallest dogs need enough exercise and several walks during the day to stay in best mental and physical shape. Medium sized dogs that are older and more laid back can also happily share an apartment with the new family. English Bulldogs, for example are medium sized dogs that don't need much exercise during the day and make good apartment dogs. Active dogs of larger size are more appropriate for a home with a yard, where the adopted dog can spend some energy and explore the environment to stay busy.

Before adopting a dog, take into consideration the dog's energy level. Is he an active and young dog that requires a lot of exercise during the day? Do you have the time and energy to provide your new pet with the level of activity that he needs to stay healthy both mentally and physically? Active dogs that don't get enough exercise may develop behavior problems and will look for ways to keep themselves busy, even if that means being destructive around the home. Destructive dog behavior is often a result of mismatched energy levels between the owner and the dog. Be sure to consider your and your potential new pet's energy levels when adopting a dog.

Find out all you can about the dog from the rescue organization so that you are more prepared to handle any challenges that may arise when you bring home the newly adopted dog. Does the adopted dog know any basic obedience commands? Is the adopted dog housetrained or will you need to housetrain the new family pet?

Video - how to pick the right dog for your lifestyle from a dog rescue center.

Dog shelters

Dogs of all ages become available for adoption for dozens of reasons, many of which are unrelated to the dog himself, so don't think you're settling for second choice by adopting a rescue dog. You will find that giving one of these abandoned dogs a new chance at life is very rewarding.

For people who prefer an adult dog, adopting a dog from an animal shelter or an all breed rescue group may be the best option. Sometimes these sources may also have puppies. Adopting a certain breed in need is a noble deed, but it also requires certain precautions and considerations. Shelters are likely to take some precautions of their own, to help reduce the chances that the dogs they adopt will end up right back at the shelter. The first precaution will be to screen potential adopters. Some shelters have a more rigorous process for this than others, depending on the shelter, the city, and the resources. Unfortunately, shelters are often overextended, short on staff, and even shorter on money. Some lucky shelters have plenty of volunteers and even have trainers and veterinarians on staff, and these may be more likely to take time to carefully screen adopters.

Some shelters require consent from a landlord if you don't own your home. Some may refuse to adopt to students. Some may require a fenced yard, and many require that the dog be spayed or neutered before adoption, a service you will probably have to pay for (some shelters have agreements with local vets to reduce the cost of this service for shelter animals). All of these requirements are for the good of the dog.

Dog rescues

Rescue groups work somewhat differently than animal shelters. Dog rescues typically all volunteer networks that may work with any breed, or may stick exclusively to a single breed. Dogs of different ages are often available for adoption. Some dog rescue organizations concentrate on senior dog rescue.

Senior dogs don't have as much energy as younger dogs or puppies and potential owners who adopt a senior dog are often looking for a low energy, calm dog who can make a wonderful family pet for older adults or for less active families. Find out how to take care of a senior dog.

When someone finds out about a dog that needs a home, rescue workers will typically find volunteer foster care for the dogs in need, so the dog has somewhere to go while the rescue group searches for a good home. Rescue groups are good at screening their dogs, because the foster home gets to know the dog and can help to determine whether the dog is comfortable with children and other pets, and whether the dog has any medical or behavioral problems. Dogs from rescue organizations are usually spayed or neutered and have all their shots. Do ask questions to find out all you can about the dog you are interested in adopting. In many cases, the rescue workers and/or foster "parents" pay to have the dogs checked by the vet, pay to have any problems treated, and even pay for basic obedience classes, to increase the chances that the dog will find a good home. Many breed rescue groups have dogs available in each state.

Adopting a dog from a rescue group is a great way to help a needy dog, but just as with a good breeder, expect to be grilled. Rescue workers see enough tragedy and don't want to send their dogs who have already been through loss and pain into another bad situation. You may also consider to volunteer as a foster home because it is a great way to get to know the animal before committing to full-time dog ownership.

Dog owner's resources

What dog should I get?

Annual cost of dog ownership

Find a good dog trainer

Traveling with dogs

Dog grooming

How to take care of a dog

Dog crates

All about dog food

Common health issues in dogs

Golden years with your senior dog

Send us an e-mail at