Buying an eight-week-old puppy is just one of several ways to bring a dog into your life. Have you considered adopting a rescue dog? Or purchasing an older dog from a breeder? There are pros and cons to these different choices.
Buying a puppy
Bringing an eight-week-old puppy into your home is hard work. There will be broken nights, and you must commit time and effort to training and caring for a very young and dependent animal. Buying a puppy is also an excellent opportunity to create a great bond and relationship with a dog. You will be the only human leader he has ever known, and in a sense, he is a blank page just waiting for you to write on in your own style.
Puppies are easy to train. Correct training from the beginning is usually much more straightforward than dealing with the problems often found in older rescue dogs.
A puppy purchased from a reputable breeder often comes with lifetime support, which can be very reassuring for the new owner. Of course, not all breeders are respected, and some puppies are born on puppy farms.
Adopting a rescued dog
Dogs end up in rescue centers for many reasons, and adopting a rescue dog can be a wonderfully fulfilling experience. It can also be a challenging one.
Some rescued dogs have ended up in a rescue center because their families have fallen on hard times. People die and get divorced, and sometimes dogs are abandoned. Many of these dogs will have relatively few problems and make beautiful pets.
Among the younger dogs in rescue centers, many, perhaps most, are there because their owners can no longer cope with them. A proportion of these dogs will have challenging problems. They may be destructive, noisy, and untrained. All these problems can be addressed given time and patience.
Whether or not this kind of dog appeals to you is a very personal matter. But you can spare the time to help a dog like this. In that case, you will be making a very worthwhile contribution to dog welfare, and, with a little effort, you can find yourself an adorable family pet without having to go through the ‘puppy stage’ (which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea).
Most rescue centers will give you much help and support in taking on an adult dog. They will also want to know much about you before letting you adopt one of their dogs. This may seem intrusive, but ensuring the dog does not get passed on repeatedly is important.
Buying a part-trained dog
Occasionally, a breeder may have an older, perhaps part-trained dog for sale. This is particularly the case with working gundogs, where a breeder will sometimes train on several pups from the same litter, keep the best competition prospect, and sell those that don’t quite make the grade for competing.
The choice is yours.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to starting with a puppy and rescuing an older dog. If you decide to purchase a puppy, avoiding puppy farms and finding yourself a reputable breeder makes sense. The next post in this series is all about choosing a breeder.