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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Or can they bond with older dogs?

It's kind of a moot point, since I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of our 5-6-year old rescue boy; as is dd.

However, I am feeling a little guilty and sad that I am somehow depriving her of the experience of having her very own puppy to grow up with. She's 5, very gentle and dog-crazy. Dh and I have always adopted older dogs and cats. We love them and they just seem to come into our lives, as did our soon-to-be Sparky.

He's supposed to be excellent with children, just abandoned. He is literally running at large and he needs us. But I passed up some pretty cute puppies to take him. I asked dd how she feels about this and if she wishes she was getting a puppy. She said no, she really likes Sparky's fur.

I'm planning to take her to obedience classes with me and Sparky. She actually requested this and I think it'll be good for their bonding. We're making treats for him and she will get to pick out his new collar and leash.

I guess I'm looking for reassurance that she can have a relationship with this guy, even at his age. She so deserves that. He's a smal-ish (40 pound) retriever mix in good health, so I'm hoping for many years of loving him!

Anyone have success stories with kids/older dogs to share? What else can I do to foster their relationship?
 

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I think adopting an older dog is one of the most wonderful things you can do. Puppies are much easier to place-you have done a great thing and I think older dogs can be more desperate to bond.

I wouldn't worry one bit about not adopting a puppy. Sometimes I think adopting a puppy is overrated. There are so many adult dogs that need homes. Our next dog will most certainly be an adult dog.
 

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I think with a 5 year old, an older dog is a really good choice.

Our dog was 2 when our oldest was born. They're incredibly close. We also adopted a 4 year old when our son was 3 and they bonded very very well too.

The only downside to older dogs is that they just won't live as long. We've lost one of our dogs and our oldest son was devastated. When our other dog dies (he's a large breed and 8 1/2 now), I can only imagine how hard it will be for him.
 

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We have cats, which is obviously very different, but our older cat is much more patient with our son than the younger cats (who we did get as kittens when DS was quite small), and consequently better friends with him. An older animal is sometimes more able to be calm around children (who are unpredictable and sometimes unintentionally rough), and that may make it easier for children to approach and bond.
 

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My hairdresser adopted an adult dog, and she has 4 kids, the youngest being 2.5. She's a lovely dog, a lab, that had been rehomed several times due to hip dysplasia. The kids seem to love her.

Personally, if I were to adopt a dog(I only have cats at the moment) if the time was right, I would definitely look into adopting an older dog, as I would have some idea what their temperament was like with my kids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, everyone. This little dog sounds truly exceptional. The rescue coordinator knows him well and says he is "bombproof" with kids; though I know there is probably really no such thing. But kid-friendliness was really my number one consideration. Dd does know basic dog-safety, but it sounds like he's the kind of dog the whole family can really interact with. Dd is very much on-board with the rescue thing. I just don't want her to go along with it just because it's what I think, if she'd really rather have a puppy. FWIW, she's never actually ASKED for a puppy, just a dog. She stops every.single.dog on the street and knows all their names. It should be great.
 

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I've only adopted adult (sometimes elderly) dogs so I'm biased. My children bonded fine with our dogs. The dogs were here first and already quite old. When we take in another dog I'm also planning on an adult dog. Puppies are cute, but have their own set of challenges. Also, I believe some children can be hard on a puppy. Since puppies have a much easier time getting adopted, I'd rather adopt a less desirable older dog. (or one of those puppies someone adopted and returned deciding they were too much work once they outgrew their cuteness
)

Good luck with your new addition!
 

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Dd was great around dogs until my parents got a puppy. The normal puppy behaviour left her terrified of dogs. She's getting better about it, but she's still very nervous around most dogs. Basically I think that puppies are over-rated and that an adult dog is a very fine choice.
 

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We adopted a puppy when ds was 4. I don't think their bond will ever be as strong (as with the adult dog we adopted previously) because he hated all the puppy behaviors. Remember, when a puppy jumps on an adult's legs, it is kind of cute and a minor annoyance. When a puppy (after the initial tiny stage) jumps on a preschooler/younger kid, it can be frightening and almost knock them over.

Dd, on the other hand, who was 7 months when we got the puppy, loves the dog more, I think because she doesn't remember all his puppyness. I don't think puppyness is that special to kids... in general I think it is more annoying. Your dd will bond with your adult dog, and won't remember any of the annoying puppy behaviors
 

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Personally, I think an adult dog is a better choice with children than a puppy. With a puppy and small kids it's like you have two unpredictable sides to the equation. There's a whole lot of peeing, pooping, teething from everyone.


The whole thing about bonding is a myth IMO. I think older rescues bond just as well, if not better, than puppies (individual dog personality differences aside).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I come from a family of "rescuers." When I was little and our old cat died, my mom promised me a kitten. She was a personal care worker and happened upon an adult stray near one of her clients. She told me she promised to take him home. She very gingerly asked me if I would consider this guy, even though he wasn't a kitten. I don't remember feeling guilted into it, but I immediately said yes. I carried that cat around like a baby-literally-for years. He would wrap his arms around me and I would just walk around the house with him. He slept with me every night. When he died I felt like I would die with him. We also took in a horribly neglected neighbour's older dog when I was a kid. Same thing. Loved that dog to bits. And it's true, I don't remember even thinking about a puppy/kitten. I was too busy loving the animals we had. And I'm sure that's why I'm carrying on the tradition. My mom taught me compassion, but so much so that sometimes it hurts. I can see that I am passing that on to dd, though it's not like I preach or anything. I want her to just enjoy the animals. God knows she's going to grow up always being around them. It's just so much fun that she loves them and loves going to animal-related events with me. I don't know if that's her, or if she's just picking up on my enthusiasm. But I'm so happy she's interested!

I feel very reassured now!
 

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as stated above - most kids quickly get weary of puppy antics. the jumping and biting that puppies use for play isn't welcomed by most children.

i think it's wonderful to adopt an older dog when you have young kids. the rescue i work with usually places older dogs with little ones and puppies with the 11-12 year old children.

congrats on the new addition!
 

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i think that i would prefer a dog young enough to train in agility work considering my son's personality. i don't know what that means though. i mean, an adult dog (age 3 and up i guess) would probably take to agility training fine.

we're thinking of getting our family a dog when he is between 5 and 7 yrs old and can be involved in agility training with the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Zoebird, I'd really like to do agility training with our dog, too. I think dd is genuinely interested in dogs enough to want to do that with me. My only reservation about this adoption is actually his size-40 pounds. He's not big, but without a car, it's not that easy to get to doggie things like agility. A really small dog would be easier to take in a taxi, convince friends to drive us, or even take the bus with doggie in a carrier. And a puppy I thought we might be able to train to ride in a bike trailer. We'll see, though. None of that was a deal-breaker. One of the things I'm really looking forward to is just getting to know our dog's personality and strengths. I'm just now realizing how very much I love and want dogs and want to really try to involve myself more in the dog world. So I'm hoping it's a "where there's a will, there's a way" thing. Agility is amazing, isn't it? I've definitely seen star pupils at the Eukanuba Superdogs shows who were rescues as old as 7-8 years when they started. It probably depends a lot on the skills of the handlers (I'm a complete novice).

I'll update when Sparky arrives. It may yet be as much as 2 weeks, depending on when someone can drive him here (he's a couple-hundred miles away).
 

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honestly if i had it to do all over again i would not have gotten a puppy. she is so hyper and full of puppy crazyness, chewyness, destructiveness that her cuteness wore off quickly and i think the girls would be far more bonded to an older dog who had already gotten past some of that. now that she is older they are really starting to bond with her. our next dog will be at least 2 years old.
 

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Our current dog was about a year old when we got her from a rescue. The kids loved going to the adoption clinic and meeting the various dogs. They bonded with our dog just fine. Puppies are cute, but their destructiveness can be a pain for kids, too.

Our older dd has made the rescue where we got our dog her "cause." Her RE class was looking for a service project and she suggested the rescue. They ended up raising about $500 and getting a bunch of donations.
 

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I have always rescued older animals...we just got our first, and our last, puppy.
Adding a puppy is like adding another child and can get pretty crazy, lol. Like a pp said, my children do not appriciate puppy behavior and it is hard to give the puppy the one-on-one attention I think it needs.

Any future dogs joining our family will be adults
 
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