So you have decided to adopt a dog. Great! Now you must decide: do you go with cute little ball of fur or the sweet, old fella with the big brown eyes? Read on to decide which age is best for you and your family.
Consider the following in selecting an appropriate puppy. In a litter of puppies determine which is the active, dominant one as well as the quiet, submissive one. The latter would probably not be good for a family with children but fine for a single or elderly person where there will not be as much excitement or activity. A puppy who mouths and chews your hand is more assertive and will require a firm hand in training. Cradle the pup on his back in your arms. If he struggles to get down, he is independent and may be difficult to train. Hold him out at arm’s length, and if he shows no fear, it indicates that he is trusting you as his leader. Throw a set of keys alongside of him (do not hit the dog!). If he goes to the keys, smells them, and wiggles all over, this is a good sign. If he acts fearful by withdrawing, he may not be able to tolerate the loud noises and unpredictable behavior of young children. Take the puppy to a quiet area. Bend down, clap your hands, and call him. If he comes happily wiggling all over, this is a good sign. If he does not, he may be aloof and independent as an adult dog. The advantage of adopting a puppy is the absence of learned behavior problems.
It may be difficult, but find out as much as you can about this dog’s past. You may be adopting a dog with a behavior problem. On the positive side, most behavior problems are solvable and, you can teach an old dog new tricks! It just takes a little longer and a lot more patience. A definite plus in adopting an adult dog is that someone did not want him, and, if you do and are patient and caring, you will have a devoted friend for life. Look for a dog that is happy and active. Keep in mind that when you look for an adult dog in a shelter environment, he will be under tremendous stress, having just been given up or picked up as a stray. As with a puppy, check his tolerance for noise with a set of keys. If he withdraws, he may be shy or fearful, but a patient single person or an adult family could help him overcome his fear. If he returns your glance with a glazed stare, this indicates distrust and aggression. He would not be a good adoption for a family, Take him to a quiet spot and find out if he likes to play, be held, walk alongside, and act equally responsive toward all members of the family. If he was not properly socialized as a puppy or was abused, he may react fearfully to a particular member of your family who may remind him of a former abusive person. An advantage of adopting an older adult dog is that you save yourself the craziness of those puppy years. Also, an older dog is more likely to be content with being left alone all day.Let the volunteers of LARAS House help you in selecting just the right pet for you and your family.