Poodles, like most dogs, take about two years to mature. When I brought home Dakota, my miniature poodle, in 2015, he became part of my pack of three dogs. Dakota thought he was alpha dog even though he was smaller than the others. He sometimes was too much for my gentle adult dogs and he bit them (as puppies are prone to do), and I had to keep him separated from the other two dogs when I was not present to supervise.
Raising a puppy is like raising a human toddler in that the puppy needs to be watched at all times, or he can get into trouble. If left alone, he might chew your shoes, pee or poo on your floor, tear apart the toilet paper in your bathroom, leaving a trail of toilet paper going down the hall. Your pet sitter may check in on your 7-month-old puppy and call you saying, “I’m sorry, but he ate the couch.” (This was probably a standard puppy, not a toy poodle.)
After Dakota was a year old, my life became more manageable. All the dogs could relax together and I did not need to watch them as much, but Dakota still had more energy than the adults and they could not keep up with him. Now at two years of age, Dakota is more settled, he listens to me better and is trained in basic commands, and there is now peace in the pack.
I am glad that I got Dakota as a puppy, but it took SO much energy and time to train him, I am wondering if next time I might consider an older poodle instead. Therefore, I have made a list of pros and cons about adopting an older dog.
Pros for Adopting an Older Dog
- An adult dog is usually housebroken and he is physically able to “hold it” during the night and when you are away from home.
- The shelter or breeder will make sure the older dog is fully immunized. No waiting period before taking a puppy to class or on a walk.
- Puppy chewing and land shark phases are over.
- Adult personality, general state of health, and activity level are more apparent.
- Older dogs can still bond well with new owners.
Cons for Adopting an Older Dog
- Older dogs may have developed some unwanted habits. It might take some work to retrain them to be the dog that you want.
- If the dog is a rescue, you may not have any medical history.
- Some people believe that an adult dog will not bond to them, but those I have talked to who adopt older dogs say that this is just not true. But the fear of an adult dog not being able to bond to a new owner is an issue for some people.
- If the poodle is a senior dog, there could be age-related medical problems that would cost money and it might take more time to care for them. Some people feel taking care of a senior dog is rewarding; others might not want the extra cost and responsibility.
- You might want a puppy because you want a particular size and color of poodle that is not available in the shelters or rescue organizations. So you put yourself on a litter waiting list for the particular color, size, and sex of poodle that you are looking for.
- You might want a puppy because you have other pets at home who will be more accepting of a puppy rather than an adult dog. This happens when one or more of the current pets is fearful of adult dogs.
Why Older Dogs are Available for Adoption
There is a general misconception that all dogs end up in shelters because they are bad dogs that no one wants. There are many reasons that dogs are in shelters and rescue organizations. Here are a few:
- Raising a puppy takes time and work. People may have gotten a puppy without realizing how much work is required to housetrain and teach them basic obedience. They try to make it work for a while, but this older puppy/young dog may end up in a shelter just because his owner either lacked the time or the willingness to train him properly.
- Life circumstances may change. A family who wants their poodle may no longer be able to keep him. Because of divorce, a job change, a new home that does not allow dogs, or a medical problem, people find they can no longer take care of their dog.
- Cost of owning a poodle. Some people do not consider costs other than the buying and feeding of their dog. They do not consider that the cost of vet bills, food, toys, and grooming may be more than they can afford.
- Behavioral issues. Some poodles might be more energetic than a family can handle. So the family will give up the dog because he is just not a good match for their family. There are also dogs with more serious behavioral problems, like biting, that would require a more experienced owner to handle their issues.
- Lost dogs become strays. A poodle can be a very good dog and their family loves him very much, but if he gets out of the house or yard and is found, he will be turned in to a shelter. If his owner cannot be identified, then he will be available for adoption.
Poodle Puppy vs. Older Poodle
So when you consider your next poodle, think about your life circumstances. Do you have the time and energy and money to raise another puppy? Is there a particular reason that you have to have a puppy? If not, consider the older poodle who might be waiting for you to become his forever home.
The following link describes the benefits to elderly people when they adopt a senior pet.
Seniors for Seniors