Adopting the right adult dog for you
Choosing the right dog, preparing your home and establishing ground rules.
Advantages are that most adult dogs are already house-trained, know basic commands, and they tend to be calmer than puppies. There is usually a variety of adult dogs available for adoption through rescue organisations, breeders and private individuals. A senior dog makes a great companion for an older adult, because these dogs tend to be less active, and require less exercise than a younger dog.
Adult dogs will bond with you and your family, just as easily as puppies. How do you choose the right dog for you?
First, take your time. Adult dogs are available for adoption in many sizes, breeds and temperaments, and not every breed is right for every lifestyle. Think about your lifestyle, family size, the size and location of your home, and the time you are willing to spend with the dog. We recommend asking friends or visiting a local vet, breeder or rescue group to find out about different breeds, and which would best match your lifestyle. It's easy to fall in love at first sight, but you should spend time with a dog before adopting him.
Look for a dog that is calm and has basic obedience training, and avoid aggressive dogs. Find out everything you can about the dog including:
Why is he available for adoption? What is his temperament? Does he have any behaviour problems? How is he with children, cats, and other dogs? Is he neutered? Are his vaccinations up-to-date? Does he have, or has he had, any illnesses?
Preparation, once you have made the decision to adopt an adult dog, the key to successfully welcoming him into your home, is preparation. Before bringing him home, select a veterinarian, buy all the toys and equipment you will need (such as collar and leash, bowls, brush and comb) and choose a nutritionally complete adult dog food. Dog proof your home and upon bringing your new dog home immediately get him a licence and identification tag. It's also a good idea to take a photo of him. The photo may come in handy in case you need to make a 'dog missing' poster - and this can happen to even the most diligent owners.
Make sure everyone in the household, knows what the house rules will be, now that you've brought your dog home. For example, decide whether he will be allowed on the couch and stick to your rules at all times. Your new adult dog will be happy for the chance to become part of your household, and giving him clear behaviour guidelines will help him understand, what is expected of him, so he can settle more easily into your home. Most dogs take about a month or so to feel comfortable in a new home, establishing and following a routine are the best ways to make this happen.
Enjoy! Welcoming an adult dog into your home may take a little time and patience, but it's well worth it. If you are careful about choosing your dog, and follow these basic guidelines, he will make a great addition to your family for many years to come.