Here are a few things to consider when thinking about adopting a puppy vs. an adult dog:
Time intensive and sleep depriving
Puppies need a huge time commitment from their owners. They can’t be left alone for more than 4–6 hours per day or their emotional and behavioral development suffers.
Puppies need trips outside every 2 hours— and at least a couple of trips during the night— to be properly house-trained. Pups can’t physically “hold it” for long. Expect cleanups!
Puppies must be exposed to all sorts of sights and sounds while young to help them grow into well-adjusted adults. If you don’t properly socialize a puppy, you could end up with a shy, fearful, or even aggressive and dangerous dog.
Puppies are used to snuggling up and playing with littermates night and day. When left alone, they whine and squeal for attention and if you give in, they will have trained you, rather than you training them.
Puppy class and basic obedience is a must. You need to lay the foundation for a well-mannered adult.
Puppies need to chew on things. They are teething and learning how—and how hard—to use their mouths. You need to puppy-proof your entire home: no shoe, book, remote, cell phone, or electrical cord is safe.
What are you getting?
With puppies, you can’t be sure how big they will grow or what their adult exercise need and temperament will be.
Easier fit into your lifestyle and schedule
Adult dogs still require an investment of time and energy from you—especially when you first bring them into your life—but are generally more adaptable to human schedules.
Many adult dogs in shelters have some history of house-training. If not, with consistency, you can generally house-train an adult in just a few days.
Many adult shelter dogs are already well socialized. Adult dogs that lacked proper socialization as puppies may be more challenging. Shy dogs require a greater time and energy commitment.
Adult dogs may also need some independence training when you first bring them home, but they tend to settle far quicker and easier than puppies.
Adults need training, too, and we strongly recommend classes based on positive reinforcement methods.
Adult dogs usually have less desire to chew than puppies, and their chewing needs are easy to manage. Many still do have an innate desire to chew, so don’t give them free run of the house until you’re sure they won’t chew.
What you see is what you get
You know an adult dog’s size, appearance, and personality. Are they a lap dog? Do they require daily marathon exercise sessions? You won’t be taken by surprise.