The Settled Senior Dog – Most dog breeds are considered Senior at the age of 7 (obviously, this depends on the breed!), and reaching the “Settles Senior” stage at around 9 years old.
· Most senior dogs have been house trained, have basic training and been evaluated to see ow compatible they are with other animals and children. This kind of info is very useful when trying to fin the perfect fit for your family!
· It’s difficult to watch a pet grow up, old and to ill health and die. This is a sad one but can really make your relationship with a senior dog all that more precious. Even knowing that heartache could be right around the corner, most owners would do it again and again because the joy is just so much more. Plus, a nine-year-old dog may still have another four years left to live. Why not help make those years as comfortable and content as possible by giving him a lovely retirement home?
· Senior dogs are more than likely to be sweet, slowed down and gentle. They have their boisterous years behind them and will be happy just sitting with you and going on short walks. Older dogs are less likely to be anxious, skittish or excited as older dogs, and this will suit you if you’re a bit older too.
· Older dogs might come with a few age related illness or health problems, such as arthritis, Diabetes, sight or hearing loss. These issues can be time consuming and even expensive.
· Long ago learned and undesirable may be harder to train out of. You ca certainly teach an old dog new tricks, but undoing behaviour is much harder.
· The biggest reason that senior dogs are hard to adopt out? It's the mentality of "why would I give my heart to a dog who is only going to die in a year or two?" Dogs wiggle into your heart quickly and adopting a dog that is 10 years old could mean that your relationship is of short duration.
The Mature Adult - Most dogs are seen as mature adults between the ages of 3 and 6 years. This is when your dog will really come into themselves and knows what they like. Mature adults dogs can easily settle into a new life and be happy.
· Like senior pups, most mature adults dogs are house trained and have basic training (sit, stay, come etc.). And much like senior dogs, have been evaluated to see if they are compatible with other pets and children. This can really help you see if the dog will be a good fit in your lifestyle or family.
· A full grown, mature adult dog can still be playful and puppylike! If you’re wanting a dog that can keep up with family life, a full-grown dog has fewer physical limitations on what kind of physical activity they can do.
· An adopted mature dog will be less likely to run away, knowing a good life when they experience it.
· Again, much like senior dogs, it’s harder to combat unwanted learned behaviours from before being adopted. It can be done, but it’s harder than training and can take time.
· The fear that an adult dog won't bond properly with his new owners is a big one. Some breeds are notorious for being "one-man" dogs, and this puts off a lot of potential adopters.
The Adolescent Dog – This stage is typically between the ages of 1 and 3 years. This can be one of the more frustrating age stages for dog owners and, like teenagers, dogs tend to push boundaries and be mischievous at this age. Consistency and supervision are the most important things for this stage, even if it means going right back to basic puppy training.
· Dogs over a year old have made connections between behaviour and reward, even if that reward is slightly delayed.
· The age-related restrictions on physical exercise have started to lift, allowing to do more strenuous play with your dog, like longer hikes, jogging, jumping games and starting dog sports if you are so inclined.
· There might be behaviours that you need to deal with, like counter-surfing, biting, and inappropriate marking.
· As was mentioned earlier, adolescent dogs will push their boundaries and constantly try to get away with things. It takes a stern leader to get through the adolescent stage, but once you do, the rest is smooth sailing.
The Small Puppy Stage – Puppies are the sweetest, hardly anyone can resist a cute puppy! But all cuteness aside, puppies are hard work and as cute as they are, there’s a lot to deal with both good and bad.
· It had to be said. They’re SO CUTE!
· Starting with a puppy, you wont have to contend with the aforementioned learned behaviours and already established training (or lack of). You start with a blank slate! While genetics do play a role in how your matures and what type of personality he develops, most of his adult life will be shaped by you, his owner, trainer and "parent."
· Puppies take a great deal of time. You really don't want to get a puppy when you aren't home a lot of the time. Your puppy will be missing out on valuable training and socialisation if they are left alone for long periods
· You will need to invest a little more money at first on your puppy's vet care for things like neutering/spaying and their vaccines.