Why I Didn’t Want A Puppy

Note: Julia Thomson is a regular contributor to That Mutt. Visit her blog Home on 129 Acres where she writes about country living and DIY renovating.

Who’s been enjoying reading about Remy joining the ThatMutt family?

I have to give Lindsay a ton of credit for being so open and real about the ups and downs of puppydom.

When we were looking for a dog to add to our family, I knew 100% that I did not want a puppy. All of my searches on Petfinder were for young or adult dogs.

Why I didn’t want a puppy

why i didn't want a puppy

1. Energy level.

My first reason for choosing an adult dog was energy level. We were committed to giving our dog lots of exercise (and living on a farm we have lots of opportunities for exercise), but we are a low key, adult household.

We wanted a dog who could be with us around the farm while we were working without needing our undivided attention every minute (breaks for scratches or zoomies or fetch were expected). And at the end of the day when the work is done, we wanted a dog who was content to doze while we watched TV.

I wasn’t sure that we’d get that with a puppy—at least not at first.

2. Training.

My second reason for choosing an adult dog was training. This is my first dog. I wasn’t confident in my ability to train a puppy competently. I hoped that with an adult dog, he’d already have some basic obedience and be pretty much house broken.

Again, we were committed to working with our dog and had training classes lined up, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle a blank slate, like Remy.

When Baxter came to us, he was completely housebroken and had the basic obedience skills we were looking for. There were still things to work on, whether more obedience or mastering some tricks, so we got the opportunity to do some training—and as Lindsay says, training is ongoing.

Probably Baxter’s most important quality is that he’s a perfect match for us in terms of energy level.

Dude is low energy. And I mean low.

He loves his walks and can run like a greyhound when we’re doing zoomies in the yard, but his default position is horizontal. In Baxter, we ended up finding the perfect dog for us.

Baxter the boxer mix

See the post: Deep thoughts on DIY from the dog

I haven’t ruled out puppies entirely. Someday, it might be the right fit for our family. However, reading about Lindsay’s adventures with Remy (I had absolutely no idea evening craziness what a thing. Yikes!) I know a puppy is definitely not right for us right now.

Lindsay is very good about emphasizing that people should do what is right for themselves and their dogs, whether it’s training or feeding or adopting or buying.

And I think that’s good advice to apply to choice of what kind of dog to get too. Know yourself. Be realistic about what you can commit to. Be honest about what type of life you lead and make the effort to try to find the best dog for you.

You, and your dog, will be happier for it.

What qualities are most important to you in a dog?

Does anyone else share my hesitancy about raising a puppy?

Read more of Julia’s posts:

How to train a dog to be off leash

Silent squeaky toys for dogs

Tips for home renovating if you have a dog

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17 thoughts on “Why I Didn’t Want A Puppy”

  1. I don’t want a puppy, either. Does anyone want mine? 😉 Kidding, kidding . . . but seriously, I don’t think I’ll be getting a puppy again. Raising a dog from puppyhood was something of a bucket list item for me. I expected it to be hard and I don’t regret it, but I’m feeling like once was enough. I keep looking at my adult dog sitting quietly at my feet, and my puppy rolling around next to him trying to eat his ID tag, and I can’t wait for my little idiot to grow up!

  2. Sandy Weinstein

    i prefered puppies so i would have longer time with them. however, i have looked at many older rescue dogs and wanted them as well. i think it is up to the individual and their lifestyle. i know that puppies can be hard, the potty training, chewing, etc. but if you really want one, it is not a big deal. i love my 3 gals and they were 6 wks, 16 wks and 8 wks when i got them.

  3. Aside from the reasons I prefer to buy rather than rescue, I genuinely enjoyed raising my puppy. It was difficult and frustrating at times, but it was also really rewarding. It was a set of challenges that worked for me because I valued being the one to go through the process of socializing and training a young puppy. It allowed me control and knowledge I wouldn’t have had otherwise. You can’t control or know everything – but this was something I felt most comfortable doing myself. Raising her from puppyhood was a great experience. I’m very happy with the adult she’s become, and I’m proud of both of us for getting there. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I think a lot of people feel that way. People feel puppies are more of a clean slate (which I guess they are!) in a good way while others see the “clean slate” as more challenging. Remy has been easier than some of my foster dogs and more difficult than others so a lot depends on the individual dog. Ace … super easy. Some of my foster dogs … nearly impossible to live with! But all the hard work (puppy or adult dog) does pay off and you’re right, it’s really rewarding.

      1. It is a total “pick your poison” kind of thing. This worked for me and netted me exactly the dog I wanted. I’ve had friends who rescued adults who found exactly the dog they wanted and loved that they didn’t have to go through the mouthy, needy, rambunctious puppy stage.

      2. I should add that I don’t think the clean slate is easier. When I said it’s a pick your poison, I meant that it’s challenging either way – it’s just picking the set of challenges that works for you. I’m picky and hate surprises and am pretty inflexible when it comes to behavioral dealbreakers. It might sound counterintuitive, but a puppy I raise from 8 weeks and whose environment I control during the socialization window is a much better bet for me than an adult who might have behavioral surprises lurking under the surface. It’s more work in a lot of ways, but it is the safer route.

    2. The knowledge is definitely something that I miss with adopting a nearly 4 year-old. It’s usually a non-issue, but it’s definitely something I’m conscious of. I also question whether our bond is different than it would be if we’d known each other from the beginning.

      1. We’ve had three lab mix puppies and one beagle, Leia, we adopted when she was 2.5. I can definitely say that the beagle has bonded with our family just as strongly as the lab mixes we got as puppies. I don’t think you have anything to worry about with bonding. 🙂

        We looked both at puppies and at young adult lab mixes when we searched four our most recent family member. After the local lab rescue kept trying to point us to dogs we didn’t think were quite the right match, I happened to spot another rescue with a litter of lab mix puppies, and we met them and picked out Jango. A year later, Jango is best buddies with Leia, who just turned five. Jango was the easiest puppy to raise of the three puppies we’ve had. I think its a combination of experience, his low-key nature, and having Leia and our 13-year-old dog, Kepler, around to help.

      2. Different but I doubt it’s less good. It’s been so cool watching the bond between one of my Nosework classmates and her newly adopted dog develop over the last eight weeks. That dog is so attuned to her now and it’s really fun to see. I would imagine their bond will be every bit as good as mine with my dog if not better (this lady is awesome and she’s more experienced with dogs in general).

        1. Lindsay Stordahl

          I hope Remy and I can bond the way Ace and I have. For me, it usually just takes time, a couple of months or so. I remember after I’d had Ace for about a month my mom had asked me if I’d bonded with him yet and I said, “Honestly, no, not really.” Ha! And I truly remember not really caring a whole lot about him either way. Now, 9 years later, I call him my “once in a lifetime” dog.

  4. I love puppies so much, but I doubt I’ll ever have one. I’m confident in my ability to dedicate the time and energy to a puppy, but I’m not sure I have it in me. When it comes to rescue dogs, I figure puppies probably get adopted quicker and easier than the adults. Plus, I have this small bit of anxiety that my puppy may develop some issue that comes out in adulthood (aggression, fearful, escape artist, etc), that I may cause or miss during socialization and puppy development, and won’t be able to remedy. I’ve seen this happen with some of my friends’ dogs. I’d prefer to get a dog that’s lived in a foster home so I can get an idea about temperament and personality. But I love watching people raise and train puppies and commend those who do it well. And every dog needs training, love, and patience to thrive in a new home. For my life, it’s better for me to have some idea of a dog’s adult personality so it’s a good fit for us both.

  5. Before Laika I had the same exact reservations. I was searching for an adult dog because I was working far from home full time and thought it would be a much better match energy wise. Well that thought didn’t turn out as planned. I found myself at the local shelter one day falling in love with a 6 month old Shepherd mix I named Laika.

    It’s worked out wonderfully, but it certainly reinforces my reservations about raising a puppy or younger dog again. Much of it for me is how much extra time I have to dedicate to training.

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