Adopting a Young Puppy
The decision to bring a dog into your life is very much a personal one. One of the most important parts of that decision is deciding whether or not you would like to adopt an adult dog or a younger puppy.
The age at which a dog is no longer considered a puppy will vary by breed—some dogs mature into adulthood as early as 6 months, while some breeds continue to grow and mature for about three full years. Are puppies the right choice for you? Should you adopt a puppy?
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a puppy.
Young puppies tend to pick up training and commands faster.
Adult dogs can certainly learn new commands and respond to training, but puppies come to you fresh and new without any previous training or bad habits you will need to undo. Puppies are also known to respond faster to training; depending on the breed, they may even be able to pick up more complex commands faster than their older counterparts.
If you are worried about having to spend extra time training an older dog who needs additional work for their training, then a puppy who is quick to learn may be the better option.
Young puppies require lots of care and attention.
Like young children, young dogs require plenty of care and attention during this early—but very crucial—stage of their life. Young dogs must be given affection and attention to encourage their mental and social growth; they must also be fed and exercised properly to ensure that their bodies are growing healthy and strong over the months or years that it takes them to fully mature into adulthood.
A young puppy is eager to explore, and that exploration should be carefully supervised so that the dog can be taught to avoid certain behaviors, such as chewing on shoes or scratching furniture. Puppies must also be supervised to keep them from doing something that could be a danger to themselves, such as jumping off high furniture or chewing on electrical cords.
Young puppies can be socialized at an early age.
It is very important for your dog to be properly socialized with people, including children, as well as dogs and other animals. A dog which is not properly socialized may be prone to anxiety, potential aggression, and even bites or other inappropriate behaviors. When you adopt an older dog, you may not be entirely sure of the dog’s past socialization history and you will need to take care to test the dog’s social skills.
When you adopt a young puppy, on the other hand, you can make sure that the dog is being properly socialized at an early age to ensure that it behaves well with people and other animals. You can also more easily spot potential problems in your dog’s socialization—such as a tendency to fear other dogs, or to react very aggressively with other dogs—and nip them in the bud.