Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
– Mark Twain
I just got home from my third puppy session this week. I’m exhausted. Puppies are the worst. Don’t get me wrong… I love puppies! They’re adorable, entertaining and so stinkin’ cute! I guess I just like other people’s puppies. Personally, I wil most likely never own a puppy again, because under that exterior lies an un-housebroken, hyper, destructive little beastie.
Puppy sessions are easy in the sense that I know I won’t have to deal with aggressive behavior (usually). I know I can hang out on the floor with the little
demon angel and play while I work with the owners. I also like knowing that people are getting of on the right start with a puppy by having it trained and knowing how to avoid problems in the future with a little effort starting now. But let’s face it: puppies are just…exhausting.
The PAW Method is rooted in the belief that dogs can ask questions: “Can I eat this?” ”Can we play now?” ”Can we cuddle?” and that it’s up to you to answer their questions in a way they understand and doesn’t require force nor bribery. You Pilot them to answer their questions, which puts “money” in your Piloting Piggy Bank. The more “money” you have, the easier it is to Pilot your dog. Which brings us to puppies.
Puppies don’t have a lot of money in their own piggy banks, so it’s not tremendously difficult to get that money out. It’s just constant. Like furry little toddlers, they scamper around asking questions about everything (integral to their learning, but highly annoying). And just like toddlers, they’ll ask a question, accept the answer only to immediately ask The Same Question.
So yeah, puppies have very little “money” in their Piloting Piggy Bank, but even when you Pilot it out of them, they can refill it faster than you can say, “But how about now?”.
Of course, in the words of Shakespeare, “This too, shall pass.” Puppies grow out of their little toddler stage, they being to gain some sanity, and you don’t have to watch them like a weeping angel.
So puppies are adorable, but they are so much work!
“But I wanted to get my kids a puppy for the holidays/their birthday”, you may say. That’s all fine and dandy but are you ready for the work that a puppy entails? The work that your children say they will help you with but in reality won’t? Didn’t think so. So consider this: adopt a senior dog.
Now I know you want that whole Hallmark moment of a puppy in a box with a bow, and the accompanying chorus of “awwww…”. But there are many reasons why the better choice may be a senior dog.
1) Senior Dogs Aren’t Usually “Old”.
I know…it doesn’t make sense. But remember, a lot of dogs are considered seniors at just 5 years old. For a smaller dog whose life expectancy can be around 15 years…., well, let’s just say that would make me more of a senior citizen than that dog!
2) Senior Dogs are Usually Housebroken.
Obviously this is not always the case, and even housebroken adults can have a few accidents in a new house during their adjustment period. But that’s a far cry from a puppy who goes every two hours, yet somehow still leaves you looking for paper towels and cleaner.
3) Senior Dogs Have “Been There” and “Done That”.
Yes, it’s totes adorbs to take your new puppy on their first adventure to the park. To the pet store. To the vet…but after the 1,224th “new adventure”, the constant questions and wrangling of a quick-as-lightening puppy can get tedious as they find new and innovative ways to get into trouble. Your senior dog? He’s already been to the park numerous times, and is more interested in your company during the hike, rather than investigating that hornets’ nest nestled near that tree.
4) Senior Dogs Can Focus.
Remember how organized and rational your thoughts were as a child? Remember how you could focus on anyth-….hey wanna ride bikes?! Yeah, me neither. Older dogs aren’t wrestling with their need to explore Everything All At Once. Meaning it’s often easier to teach an old dog new tricks, rather than working with your kinetic little puppy who…wait….where did the puppy wander off to now?!
5) Senior Dogs Have Little Hope of Finding Homes
Let’s face it: everyone wants “this year’s model”. Grey isn’t cherished and revered anymore. Puppies fly out of shelters, while the senior dogs look on, not knowing that they most likely won’t ever see the inside of a home again. Simply giving a senior dog the chance to love, and be loved, when everyone else overlooked them…well, isn’t that the greatest gift of all?
So re-think what it means to bring a new best friend into your home and into your children’s lives. While I will always love my puppy sessions, it’s truly the sessions with the “new” old dog that I cherish. Because the love I see in the eyes of a senior dog, that kind of love only grows greater with age.
As Garcia sang:
Oh well a Touch Of Grey
Kind of suits you anyway
That was all I had to say
It’s all right…