If you are thinking about getting a dog, especially if it is your first time, you may well want to consider the implications of getting a puppy -v- getting an older dog. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
If you opt for a puppy, you will have a cute little fella that you can guarantee that everyone who sees will adore, in exactly the same way as a new-born baby. However, puppies grow up a lot faster than a baby, and at six months old he will be fully grown and an adult dog. Nonetheless, he will still rush about and play like a juvenile until the age of about two: this is when most dogs begin to settle down and behave like adults. It is the equivalent of us passing through our teens.
Your puppy is going to need house-training, and until he has got the idea you are going to have to put up with accidents around the home. It is no use scolding him, because he doesn’t understand; you just have to train him with love and understanding.
Visits To The Vets
He is also going to need his injections in the same way as we humans do when babies, so there will be visits to the vets. You are going to have to train him to a collar and lead. In this connection, the sooner you can get a puppy collar on to him the better. He won’t like it to begin with, but will soon get used to it.
It is a good idea to take out pet insurance early on, as you will get the benefit of lower premiums for his lifetime, or for the length of the insurance (some insurers will only offer cover for a limited number of years). However, this is another expense that has to be taken into account.
You will need to spend time training him the way you want him to be, so that he is well-mannered and you can take him out in polite society in the knowledge that he will behave himself.
Your puppy is going to need much the same attention as you would devote to a baby, so you need to be prepared to put in the time. While he won’t need long walks in the early stages, he will soon get to the point where he needs a couple of miles a day so you need to ensure that you have sufficient time to give him the exercise he needs.
By contrast, if you take on an older dog, you should be able to dispense with all the puppy-training routines. However, you may have a bigger problem because the dog has acquired habits that you dislike. Training a puppy is one thing, because you can bring him up the way you want to from scratch.
If an older dog has bad habits, you are going to have to break those habits, and re-train him the way that you want. This can take time and effort, but you need to do it. It is not true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – you can. But be prepared to persevere.
Another point about taking on an older dog is that you will not have him for as long as you would a puppy. Small dogs can live for as long as 20 years, but the larger breeds run to about ten years or so. If you take on a dog who is already 5 or 6, he may have lived half his life already. You also have to consider that an older dog is more likely to suffer from health issues, so the vets bills may be heavy. Furthermore, if you wish to take out pet insurance, the premiums are going to be considerably higher than if you take a policy out when a dog is a puppy.
Whether a puppy or an older dog, you need carefully to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both before making a decision.