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10 Reasons to Adopt an Adult Dog

10 Reasons to Adopt an Adult Dog

10 Reasons to Adopt an Adult Dog

When it comes time to get a dog, many people consider adoption over purchasing. If you’re one of them, why not look at adult dogs? Puppies are a lot of work, and adult dogs bond just as well as puppies. Besides, there are quite a few advantages to getting an adult dog.

  1. An adult dog has an adult bladder. Puppies can only be expected to “hold it” for as many hours as they are old, plus one. Therefore, a four-month-old puppy can only be expected to hold it for five hours. You probably plan to be home for the first weekend — even a long weekend — when you bring your dog home. But what about after that? Have you made arrangements to walk the dog or let her out every three, four, five, six or seven hours over the next six months? Is there someone home during the day with your dog. If not, consider an adult dog. They can be housetrained even if they’ve never been housetrained before. And best of all, the can hold it until you come home.
  2. An adult dog is past the puppy chewing stage. This stage, from two months to two years of age, is when much of the home destruction happens. Chewed cabinets, sofas, shoes, window sills, and clothing can cost you plenty. But an adult dog, given chew toys and bones to keep him occupied, is no longer in a chewing frenzy.
  3. An adult dog is as big as he’s ever going to get. With puppies — especially puppies whose heritage is unknown — you never know. My cousin got a “Beagle mix” who is now nearly 50 pounds. Many apartments have weight restrictions on the dogs they will allow, so if you rent, you may need to get a smaller dog. In addition, food, vet care and boarding are all more expensive for bigger dogs. If you’re sure you can’t end up with a bigger dog, get an adult.
  4. Adult dogs are better able to focus, and this comes in handy during training. Although puppies can and should be trained, ask any trainer and she’ll tell you it’s often easier to train dog who’s mature. And don’t give in to fears that an adult won’t bond to you, or that you can’t teach an old(er) dog new tricks. Both are false. Every day is a whole new day for dogs, and the bonding that takes place during training (or retraining) is every bit as rewarding as that with a puppy. Plus, you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to take him out!
  5. What you see is what you get. Some dogs are very active as puppies, then mellow out considerably as adults; others are very cuddly and passive as puppies, then develop the energy of a squirrel on crack cocaine as they grow. An adult dog’s baseline personality is pretty well set, and shelters are full of dogs who became the “wrong” match as they grew up.
  6. If you’re a fan of a particular breed, getting an adult purebred might be easier than you think. Breed rescues take in dogs from shelters and breeders … dogs who may have lived in comfortable, loving homes prior to coming to yours. Don’t assume that all rescue dogs are street urchins with no training who will not withstand being on a leash or being brushed. Then there’s the added bonus of getting a dog who’s very “typey” and a good representative of the breed you like. Remember my cousin who wanted a beagle? Her dog (whom she adores, by the way) looks more like a smaller Irish Wolfhound. I loved collies all my life, and got a puppy from a breeder. His mom and dad were both gorgeous examples of the breed. He was a ball of fur with good coloring as a puppy, but as he grew, he began to show some conformation faults. His ears didn’t stand up. They drooped all his life. His back legs pointed outward, like ballerina feet. He grew and grew … to 90 pounds. He looked very gangly because of a very long back and high hips. His coat was so thick that our groomer, who had show collies, said he had three coats. Most people didn’t recognize him as a collie. Several people asked if he was a collie mix. Don’t get me wrong; I loved him dearly until the day he died. But as collies go, there are others who are better representatives of the breed. If you want a Papillon or a Pug that looks like a Papillon or Pug, consider an adult dog.
  7. The first year is a lot less expensive with a grown-up dog. All those trips to the vet to give your new puppy round after round of innoculations can really add up. A healthy adult should only need to go to the vet once a year.
  8. Most adult dogs are already socialized. Puppies must make mistakes and be corrected by dogs and humans to learn how to interact with others. Most adult dogs have already had run-ins with other dogs, so they know how far they can go. They want to keep the peace, and this is what socialization is about. The first time my young Lab got a correction from a Husky at the dog park, I could see her working it out in hear head. In hear world, everyone loved her, and everything was hers. But suddenly, she was put down hard by another dog. It was a necessary learning experience. An adult has been around the block and will be more aware in social interactions with kids, dogs, and you.
  9. Instant companionship is yours when you get an adult dog. Puppies have to wait until they get their last round of shots before they should be around other dogs. They can’t run very far, and are easily knocked around by kids and other dogs. They’re uncordinated, untrained, and must eliminate, eat and sleep often. An adult dog can go running with you today!
  10. If you’re adopting a dog to save a life, consider this. Most people get swept away by the cute factor of puppies. They come to shelters looking for puppies, therefore most puppies in shelters have a much better chance of being adopted than most adult dogs. When you adopt a dog, you’re saving a life. Why not save a life that’s running out of time, with fewer chances at being adopted? Many people say, “the dog knows.” Owners of adult adopted dogs often say that these dogs are grateful and happy dogs. One thing’s for sure; you’ll never regret it.
 
70 Comments

Posted by on December 30, 2008 in Miscellany

 

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Take Your Dog for a Walk

If your dog is getting antsy, anxious or destructive, there’s one thing that can help more than any toy, training device, music CD or drugs: go for a walk. A 30-minute walk every day cures most dogs of most vices within a few weeks. Dogs are meant to roam. A house or a yard are confining to them. Letting a dog out in the yard does nothing to cure his “cabin fever.” You know how you feel when you’ve been in the house with the flu for three days? You need to get out. You need fresh air, sunshine, a change of scene, somewhere to go. So does your dog. So if you see him/her becoming restless, barking more, getting into things he/she shouldn’t, chewing up you bedspread, digging and being more aggressive toward others, start walking. You’ll be surprised what it does to not only burn off excess energy, but strengthen your relationship with the dog.

A walk will also focus your high-energy dog before attempting any task such as training, putting medication on, traveling in a car, etc.

 
50 Comments

Posted by on October 2, 2008 in Miscellany

 

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A Housetrained Dog Doesn’t Necessarily Have to Ask

I read a great tip from an article by dog trainer Kathy Diamond Davis the other day.

The question was how to bring an outdoor dog inside. The dog was an adult and had never been housebroken. Her perspective was this:

“I don’t train my dogs to ask when they need to go outside. I take them outside on a schedule. Their bodies easily adjust to wait until the next scheduled [potty break]. I get many questions from people who don’t consider their dogs housetrained until the dog will get their attention and persuade them to stop what they are doing and take the dog out every time the dog needs to go. In many cases, this is expecting too much from the dog.”

Kathy’s distinction between training a dog not to soil the house and training a dog to let you know when he/she needs to go out is important.

Without knowing it, I have trained my dogs the same way. We go outside first thing in the morning, after every meal, whenever I come home (no matter how briefly I’ve been gone) and last thing at night before bed. This way, the dogs have predictable breaks, and they “hold it” until the next break. Of course, if they’re not feeling well, have drunk too much water at the dog park or otherwise need an extra break, they get extra breaks. I also let them out if they’re hanging out at the door.

But I like Kathy’s suggestion that we take responsibility for getting our dogs outside for a potty break, rather than giving that responsibility to our dogs.

Check out Kathy’s book, Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others, or read her blog at http://kathydiamonddavis.blogspot.com/

– Lisa

http://www.dogtoysandtreats.com

 
 

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Are Dogs Better Than Kids?

Did you know that Seattle now has more dogs than children? So does San Francisco. In a recent poll, 45 percent of dog owners said that having a dog is better than having a child. There’s a popular book out called, “Why Dogs are Better than Kids” that, in a tongue-in-cheek style, explains why (“Dogs give you warning before they throw up in the car”).  The USA has a birth rate of 13 births per thousand, down from 30 births per thousand at the beginning of the last century. At the same time, 63 million American households have dogs, up 23 percent in the last 10 years alone.

You see it in the news headlines: “Dogs are the new kids!” they proclaim smugly. I have every reason to agree — I’ve never had kids, I’ve always had dogs, and I have a business that depends on people indulging their dogs. Heck, we have an entire department devoted to puppy showers.

Yet all this is troubling to me.

In our increasingly technological society, we can work from almost everywhere. Wi-fi, remote PC access services, cell phones and networks allow us to work where we want, often from home, like never before. The average age of video games is 33, and two-thirds of heads of households play video games regularly. We talk with friends on the phone while we drive and do errands. We clear our schedules so we can watch our shows on television, but we don’t have time to see our families and friends anymore. We get our news online when we’re ready to read it, and shop without ever leaving home. In our society, it’s all about me.

Meanwhile, let’s face it; we’re becoming isolated. Individuals increasingly live in a bubble. College kids don’t study together or see each other at the library anymore; they do their homework online from their rooms. We don’t have to get together to socialize; we have chat rooms and Internet game sites. We don’t have to mix with each other to go to the movies; we have Netflix deliver them to our door. Even volunteering can be done without a time commitment.

We’ve become so accustomed to having everything exactly when and how we like it — from news to shopping to social interaction — that we don’t have the patience for being around other people like we used to. We don’t want to wait in line. We don’t want to wait at a restaurant. We don’t want to wait through commercials. We don’t want to wait for our luggage at the baggage claim. We don’t want to wait to save up for what we want.

Having choice is good. It drives free markets, keeps prices low, and gives consumers the power to decide who succeeds. Having convenience is good, too. But how much is enough? What happens to us when we have exactly what we want, all the time, on demand?

I think we miss each other.

We’re social creatures. We need a group. The “reptile” part of our brain (the part that’s hard-wired for survival) tells us that there’s safety in numbers. It’s not natural for humans to be solitary. I’m speaking in general terms, of course; there are always individuals who do prefer to live in seclusion. But as our society pushes all of us in that direction — slowly, steadily, byte by byte — I believe that many of us are reaching out to dogs to reconnect with someone who needs us, someone who will protect us, someone to take care of, someone who will be there for us, no matter what. That reptile part of our brain still has a nurturing need,  nesting need, a need for family and safety in numbers. And while we may not be aware of it as we busy ourselves with conspicuous consumption, celebrity watching and career maneuvering, it’s there.

Enter the dog.

Recent studies have found that having a dog reduces blood pressure and other effects of stress. That’s probably not why you and I got a dog, but we’re probably connecting with the things that make our blood pressure go down. Things like that wagging tail that greets us at the door, every single day. How many people in our homes get up and come to the door when we come home? The dog always does, and that feels good to us. The dog needs us. He depends utterly on us. He’s not going to become independent and leave (well, not most dogs). So having a dog placates our abandonment fears. He’s not going to judge us, no matter what we wear, buy, eat, drive or look like. Now we’ve got an antidote to constant criticism from ourselves and others that plagues us day after day. He’s another heartbeat in what for some is an otherwise empty home. Now we’ve got companionship in an isolated world. And all without the baggage of a human companion. No words that come out wrong. No shirking of responsibilities. No manipulation, tardiness, meanness, cheating or misunderstandings.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great to have a dog. I can’t imagine my life without dogs in it. I think most compassionate, responsible people’s lives would be enhanced by having a dog, and yes, I think people who like dogs are better people than those who don’t. But as I ponder why we love our dogs so much, I also ask myself if maybe we should reconnect with each other, too. Maybe it’s family that we really need. Maybe we should give each other a break, take more interest in each other, have a little more patience, and enjoy one another a little more.

Dogs aren’t better than kids. Nor are kids better than dogs. They just have different roles in our lives.  Or at least, they should.

What do you think?

 
38 Comments

Posted by on January 31, 2008 in In the News

 

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Lucky Dog Radio Show

 Have you heard about The Lucky Dog Show?

It’s a new weekly radio show that talks about hot trends and cool products for dogs and the people who love them. If you love shopping and dogs, this show was made for you. Every Saturday morning, you can listen from anywhere in the world as The Lucky Dog Show dishes up the best in dishes … plus toys, treats, beds, apparel, summer and holiday items and much more.

 The Lucky Dog Show is all about the coolest, freshest stuff for dogs. Visit www.luckydogshow.com for details on upcoming shows, how to call in, and when to listen.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on October 28, 2007 in Miscellany

 

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Neighbor’s Dog Poops in My Yard

One of my neighbors lets his dog poop in my yard almost every day. He has a medium-sized mix, so these land mines are somewhat sizable. I’m not a dog hater (I have two of my own) but I wish he wouldn’t let his dog “go” on my grass. How do I raise this topic without alienating one of my neighbors?
B.C., Carlsbad, CA

Dear B.C.

Most dog owners these days know to pick up after their dogs, whether they’re at the park, on the sidewalk or anywhere else. But there are still some who think that leaving land mines outdoors is okay.

You could try a sign in your yard. I’ve seen one that’s made of wrought iron that is very attractive and small. If you can’t find one like that, perhaps a small sign like the real estate agents place beside the road would do the trick. Be sure the wording is tactful. You might even use humor to deflect any hurt feelings. Say something like, “We love ’em too, but we don’t want ‘piles’ in our yard. Please pick up after your dog.” Or try, “Pick up after your dog, please. It’s only human.” Something that your other neighbors won’t mind seeing every day.

If you don’t want a yard sign (or if that doesn’t get the point across), you might want to have a friendly chat with your neighbor. One friend of mind with a similar situation was able to get a neighbor to stop letting her dogs pee on her grass (it was turning her yard yellow) by getting to know the offender. She’s be sure to be outside getting her mail or pulling weeds as the woman walked by. She would greet the woman, stop to pat the dog, and talk about the weather or the neighborhood or traffic … something they both shared. As they got to know each other, the neighbor stopped letting her dogs make their stop at that particular yard.

If your neighbor is more of a hard case than that (or if you don’t want to invest the time needed for that approach), perhaps a more direct chat would be in order. Greet your neighbor, compliment the dog, then say something like, “I’m trying to keep my lawn in better condition, and I’m training my own dogs not to go on the front lawn. If you could keep your dog from going on my lawn, it would be a big help.”

Your homeowner’s association may be willing to remind everyone of city ordinances concerning picking up after dogs, or even write a letter to the neighbor directly.

Of course, the coward’s way out is to leave an annonymous note at the neighbor’s house stating that dog owners are expected to clean up after their pets. I once got an anonymous note in my mailbox when my grass was pretty shaggy. The note mentioned that neglected lawns bring down everyone’s home values. I was horrified, but my lawn has been mown, walkways edged and bushes clipped ever since. (By the way, don’t put anything in someone’s mailbox; it’s illegal.)

Got a question about dog etiquette? Send it here.

 
169 Comments

Posted by on August 21, 2006 in Dog Etiquette

 

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