Homeless dog behind bars in an animal shelter

  1. What You See Is What You Get

When you adopt an older dog, you already know how large they will get, if they get along with other pets and their personality. You will easily see how they behave around you, your children, friends in your home, and strangers. Many older dogs are great with children since they oftentimes came from homes with kids, and they tend to be much calmer.

  1. Older dogs are not necessarily “Problem Dogs”

Older dogs usually come from homes where they were loved once but were given up for reasons unrelated to their behavior or temperament. The most common reasons dogs are relinquished to a shelter are:

  • the owner doesn’t have time to care for them
  • the owner cannot afford to care for the dog (oftentimes if the pet is sick)
  • a lack of training means the dog has unwanted behaviors, like jumping, barking, or potty training
  • the owners move to new housing that does not allow dogs
  1. You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!

One large benefit of adopting an older dog is that they are usually trained in at least the basic commands, have been taught manners, and are potty-trained. Older dogs are just as capable of learning new tricks as younger dogs; you just have to consider any physical limitations like obesity, heart conditions, arthritis, or muscle ache. Older dogs can actually be easier to teach than puppies since they have longer attention spans.

  1. They Tend to Enjoy Down Time

An adult dog has already grown out of the destructive puppy phase where they destroy your shoes, go through the trash regularly, and have to go out to pee in the middle of the night. Puppies may be super cute, but they will need several years of constant supervision and training before they can be trusted to be alone in your home. Plus, older dogs tend to love cuddle time on the couch after a short walk around the block vs a puppy who will need to be thoroughly exhausted several times a day before they sleep.


  1. You’ll Be Saving the Life of a Dog Who Still Has a Lot of Love to Give

While unfortunate, older dogs do tend to be overlooked in shelters for cute puppies when people come to adopt. Many shelters are overcrowded, and if an older pet isn’t adopted in a timely manner, they are more likely to eventually be euthanized to make space. According to the ASPCA, 80% of dogs who are euthanized in shelters were healthy and could have been adopted into new homes.