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Adopting an Older Dog

Making the decision to share your home with a canine is one step towards a rewarding experience. Why not take the next big step and adopt an older large breed dog. There are many beautiful large breed older dogs that are just waiting for someone to invite them into their home. They will repay you many times over with love and devotion. Adopting an older dog is a wise choice for many families because they require less training and attention. For the busy two paycheck family or the family with children, maybe you don't have 18 hours a day to devote to your new furry family member.

Remember puppies need to eat more often which means they need to go outside to do their business more often also. It's very seldom an older dog will have to relieve themselves at 1, 3, or 4 in the morning as a puppy will. Also an older dog will not cry or whine all night when you first bring them home. Taking in a senior dog usually means they are housebroken and are accustomed to sleeping on their dog bed at night without fuss. Why should you consider an older dog? As mentioned above, the older dog is usually housebroken and not as active as a puppy. Even if the older dog isn't housebroken when you bring them into your house, they are more easily trained than a puppy and a lot faster.

The older dog has most likely reached their maximum height and weight so you can see what you are getting. They are more settled and usually respond to love and attention more readily. An older dog knows what it's like to be alone with no home of their own and they usually accept their adoptive humans without fighting the pecking order.

By this I mean they will accept humans as the leader of the pack. Older dogs, especially senior dogs, usually require less activity or exercise. When taking senior dogs on their daily walk, it is usually at an unhurried pace and may even require rest periods.

An older dog likes sitting or lying by their master's side and doesn't need entertainment. Adopting an older dog means you don't have to worry about all the puppy shots and hopefully the dog has been spayed or neutered. If the older dog has not been spayed or neutered, don't worry. There are no medical or physical reasons why you can't spay or neuter an older dog. If adopting an older dog from a breeder or breed rescue, the dog has most likely been evaluated.

With an evaluation, the person offering the dog for adoption will know the dog's weaknesses and what problems you may face as the new owner. They will be able to instruct you on the dog's temperament and to what degree the dog has been socialized. If adopting a dog from the shelter you may have to spend many days or weeks around the dog trying to evaluate it. This may not be possible and you may have to forgo the dog at the shelter and adopt from a rescue group.

For your safety and the safety of your family, make sure you feel confident before bringing a large breed rescued dog into your home. Some people are under the misconception that older dogs are only given up for adoption when they have some type of problem. This is very seldom the reason given to breed rescues or shelters.

Some reasons for giving up their pets: ? Moving to another city ? Divorce and selling the house ? Death of the owner ? Lost job and can't afford the animal ? New baby ? New roommate is allergic to dog Sometimes it really isn't the dog's fault when they lose their home. Any dog that is rescued from a shelter or rescue group may belong to the group above or could be a stray that wandered away from his home and couldn't find his way home again. When you bring your new older dog home, give them some time to become familiar with you and your home. It may have been a long time since they lived with a loving family or lived inside. If a dog was with a foster family, they will adapt much quicker then a dog that has been in a shelter.

Either way, they may have a few accidents with their house training or seem a little confused or shy. Be patient and loving with your new companion and they will adjust in time. If possible, try to spend extra time with your new dog as they become accustomed to their new house, new yard and new human. The rescued older dog wants to please you and may take a few days or weeks before they relax and feel right at home.

Giving a senior dog a warm loving home will benefit you and your health. Studies have shown that having a pet companion helps lower blood pressure and people with animals recover faster from surgery and illness. A senior dog will lay by your side on the bed or floor while you recuperate.

If you are considering bringing a dog into your life, please consider adopting an older large breed dog. There are so many older dogs just waiting to be chosen and given a second chance at happiness, theirs and yours.

Jim McKiel lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife Doris and their pet family members Buddy and Buster. They have devoted their lives to the betterment of pet ownership. For more information, visit Large Breed Family Dogs


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