Five things I love about living with a middle-aged dog

My dog Ace is 8 years old. I guess that makes him a senior, but I prefer “middle aged.”

Most of the information available on dogs is about adopting a puppy or a young dog, which is great, but what about middle-aged, older dogs?

There are so many shelter dogs of all ages waiting waiting to be adopted. Many of them are far past the “naughty stage” and may even have years of training.

The following are a few reasons why I love my middle-aged dog. If you’ve ever lived with a middle-aged dog, I’m sure you can add a few additional ideas in the comments.

My middle-aged black Lab mix Ace retrieving his ball

1. He’s lazier than ever (so am I).

Ace has always been a low- to medium-energy dog. He’s been a perfect apartment dog over the years, but I appreciate his general calmness even more now.

Sure, it’s nice to head out for a long walk, and we do this quite often. It’s  just that I appreciate how I don’t have to run with my dog for an hour every single morning, and he’s just fine with that. He loves to sleep in. He loves to take naps. He doesn’t mind if we spend an entire weekend at home watching a whole season of House of Cards.

2. My middle-aged dog has seen it all before.

Over the last seven years, I’ve taken my dog to countless new places. He’s met dozens of other dogs, if not hundreds. He’s lived with multiple foster dogs and cats. He’s gone on camping trips and roadtrips and he’s had the opportunity to meet a wide variety of new people.

Of course, this is all possible because Ace is a naturally laid-back, friendly guy. But I love that because I’ve been able to take him places over the years, it doesn’t faze him now if we visit a new coffee shop or walk in a new area. He just goes with the flow, for the most part anyway!

[quote_center]”It doesn’t faze him now if we visit a new coffee shop or walk in a new area.”[/quote_center]

3. He’s got the training down.

Sure, I’m the type of person who will always be training my dog, but it’s nice that Ace knows and obeys (usually) the basics like sit, down, stay, come and heel. This allows me to do more than ever with my dog.

Ace the black Lab mix wearing a red collar, he's a middle-aged dog

4. My middle-aged dog doesn’t get into things.

The days are gone where my dog might chew on or rip up something that’s not his . Recently, I was about to take the trash out before leaving, and my husband asked why I was bothering. “Well, I don’t want Ace to get into it,” I said. And then we both had to smile because we knew our dog would never even consider doing such a thing.

We never have to “dog proof” the apartment anymore. And there’s no need for a kennel. I think there’s literally a zero-percent chance that Ace would chew up a shoe or a book or an expensive gadget. It was a different story seven years ago.

5. We know each other well.

I feel like I can predict all of my dog’s actions, and I know he does the same with me. We’ve reached a comfortable point where our lives are predictable, yet of course my dog is willing to goof off or head out for a hiking adventure at the spur of the moment.

It’s just that there’s no stress worrying about how Ace might act or what he might do. I know exactly what he’ll do. This doesn’t mean he’s perfect. He’s just predictable. Yes, he’ll whine in the car. Yes, he tries to pee on potted flowers. Yes, he chugs his water and then pukes multiple times per week.

But I know these things, and I prepare for these things.

How about you? What do you love about your “middle-aged” dog?

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16 thoughts on “Five things I love about living with a middle-aged dog”

  1. my dog is 15! i have learned so much through him. piri, our cocker spaniel, was store bought. back then we didn’t know how bad this was but because he was store bought he opened our eyes to this issue and have found so many great organizations working to fight puppy mills. we have also found a lot of shelters that we support to this day. when piri started to age with us he’s taught us a couple of other issues – senior dogs and health and senior dogs in shelters and their low adoptability rates. we like to show people that hanging out with senior dogs can be just as fun. we have to be a bit more mindful of the kind of activities we do with him but he’s still a charmer. i also always have to tell people that piri may be cute and having dogs “looks” very cute, but there are so many things we have to do to take care of them. i always worry when people ask me what kind of dog my dog is so they can get one too that they may just see the cuteness factor and now others like.. growing old with them.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      He is so adorable. I love all your pictures of him and how he’s still out and about doing fun things. He doesn’t look 15!

  2. So on board with this. We’ve had nothing but ‘seniors’ for the last ten years, since our puppy Sally turned 9 in 2004. She’s gone now, as is Tino who was about the same age and then we adopted senior Becca and then senior Jack & Maggie. Wouldn’t trade their calmness and serenity for a crazy-ass puppy.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I’m trying to decide what would be best for me and my next dog. I like the idea of adopting a young dog so Ace can “mentor” the dog. But I also like the idea of an older dog – less stress for me, my husband, Ace and the cats.

  3. Mom says 4-8 are the best years. We are adult enough to know what needs to be done, we still have playfulness, and we still have the energy to do almost anything. Younger than 4 is still real puppy, immature, over 8 we start to slow down and have more issues. That is a generalization, but it is how it is for us. Mom says I am her favorite walking dog these days because I am middle aged. Bailie is nuts on a leash often times, Katie has her arthritis slowing her down.

  4. I spend a lot of time with my parent’s 9-year-old beagle mix. I love how his calm presence mellows my crazy teenage dog instantly. I love how he can keep himself occupied (although, admittedly, he’s always been good at that). I love how, instead of jumping all over me like I’d been gone for months like my dog does, he’ll just walk up and wag happily at me from the hall. Sometimes he’ll let out a funny little howl of greeting, just once. Sometimes he won’t even get off the couch . . . I love him!

  5. I don’t consider any of my dogs middle aged or senior yet, but I look forward to that predictability, and the potential of not having to dog proof everything.

  6. I agree with you all the way. My shihtzu was a real pain when she was much younger. Now, not so much. I think she has finally embraced and understood the value of sleeping in after all my demands to let me sleep over the years. lol. Ace is handsome, btw.

  7. I so agree with this! I have Simon-16 Stella-10 and Stanley5(?). Just like Janey I purchased Stella when she was a pup at a pet store. I wasn’t educated like I am now. I rescued Stanley from the pound and they said he was a senior. We think he is about 5. I love how laid back all my dogs are. I live in Az so in the summer it’s pretty much laying around the house and napping…. And that’s what we do! I do walk them early in the morning to wear them out.
    There is something about an older dog that is special.

  8. Donna is 5 this year… she sounds like a middle age already D: wahahahaha… good points on adoption. I wouldn’t adopt a puppy but I did set the criteria at younger than middle age when I was looking to adopt, just wanted a dog I can spend more of her years with rather than less. 😉

  9. My beloved Benz was 16.5 when he passed away in March. When he died, part of my tough grieving process involved making a scrapbook of all my old photos of him. Seeing pics of him from his younger years reminded me of all the crazy problems we had with him – the intense separation anxiety (he’d jump out of windows), how he’d leap all over visitors and bark angrily at anyone who passed by. It was strange to remember because as a senior he was so much more calm and easier to manage. It’s definitely nice having a lower maintenance senior who has mellowed out but still has tons of love and cuddles to give!

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