Hi, I have been looking around petfinder and google for Corgi's to rescue from a shelter or buy from a breeder.
Even though I want a tri-color, I am willing to open my home to a young to adult dog especially when there are the benefits of little to no housebreaking and a dog that is possibly more comfortable around people.
However, the dogs that I see in the DC area for adoption are in the 6+ year old range, some as high as 8 to 10.
Is 6-8 years old too old to adopt?
Am I setting myself up for a buddy that is too old to train or play with or won't have enough time to be my companion?
My most awesome heart dog was 6 when we found her at the pound. (I don't think she believes in age though!)
I don't regret a single moment. She's 8 now and I wouldn't trade her for the world!!! :-)
There are pros and cons to any scenario, and I guess it's up to each of us to decide what we can handle. For me, personally, that age would be tough because it means I might only have another 4 to 6 years with the dog, and only a few before old-age related decline sets in. Remember that senior dogs can sometimes be as much work as puppies; a dog in its final years cannot always be boarded, so it might interfere with travel. They sometimes have continence problems, they may have age-related health problems. Then again they may not. Some even get senility and no longer recognize or respond to their people. These things are all a nuisance that we handle readily when dealing with an old friend. However, how would you feel dealing with all that with a dog you'd had for a year or two? Some people would relish it, others would not. The key is to be honest with yourself, about your inclinations and what you intend on doing with the dog.
As far as the rest, it helps to weigh out the pros and cons. Here's some off the top of my head:
Cute, lovable, most people bond with a puppy instantly because young animals bring out our nurturing instincts.
Reasonable expectation of a long time to share with your new dog.
Easy to shape the pup how you want it shaped (actually could be a con for some people who lack the time to socialize adequately).
Very easy to train; many pups will learn a new command easily in two short training sessions (reliability is harder and comes much later, but teaching the concept is easy with pups).
Pup will think your lifestyle is "normal". This makes puppies the best bet for people who lead not-quite-typical lives that older dogs might have trouble adapting to. If you expect your dog to come to work with you at a busy office, happily meet strange dogs every day, reverse day and night if you work the night shift, accept your grandma and her motorized scooter and seven pet parrots, etc, a malleable puppy is usually the safest bet.
You give up your life for a year, if you work full-time: playing with, housebreaking, training and socializing pup will take ALL your free time.
You will have something you love chewed to pieces
You will have a favorite carpet peed on
You will have a favorite outfit ripped by a playful puppy
Puppy will go through a physically awkward stage (probably) where no one but you thinks he's cute
Puppy will want to play for hours and you won't be able to do much else except clean the bathroom and quickly write out some bills.
Puppies are just a ton of work and people either love it or don't. After the newness wears off, many people secretly long for the grown-up stage. Personally I love raising puppies but it's not for everyone.
Adult dog pros:
Will most likely come already house-trained, and after a one-week watchful period will probably be safe for accidents in your home.
WIll have settled down and not require so much exercise; the first weekend we brought home our adult Corgi, Maddie, we were reading the Sunday paper and I commented that we would not be able to do that if we had gotten a second puppy.
MAY come pre-socialized, and already know some basic obedience.
If the dog came from a shelter situation, it may be "grateful" to be in a home and be very devoted to you.
Adult dog cons:
Still very trainable, but there may be a big learning curve as the dog adapts to your training style compared to whatever it was already used to.
If the dog came from a home where it was well-loved, it may bond to you instantly or it may seem befuddled as to why its world has changed so much.
The dog may be poorly socialized, or not socialized to your lifestyle (may not be used to cats, may not be used to greeting strange dogs, may not be used to children, etc).
You may find that it takes longer for YOU to feel bonded to an adult dog; an adult does not instantly trigger our nurturing instincts the way a puppy does. We are genetically programmed to want to care for round-faced, big-eyed, stumbling things because they remind the primitive part of our brain of human babies. The same is not true for adult dogs. No matter how much we love dogs, the hard-wired nurturing part does not kick in and you need time to build a relationship.
The dog may have bad habits that were allowed to persist for years, and can be hard to break.
The rescue may not have had the dog long enough to accurately assess it; dogs frequently shut down a bit in rescue and seem more mellow than they are. Problem behaviors may not become apparent til long after you've had the dog in your home.
I've brought home a Corgi puppy and an almost-five-year-old from a breeder. I love them both, and both experiences were enjoyable. All else being equal I prefer raising a puppy, but when we got Maddie it was a time in our lives when I was not really looking forward to puppy-raising again (In the past few years we'd built a house, raised a puppy, and had my husband go through two job changes with some lay-offs in the middle, and between it all I had given up almost all my hobbies). So the fact that we had a great opportunity to get a well-socialized adult was perfect for us, and I don't regret it for one minute.
Beth, thanks for the great reply and everyone else who commented.
My main fear is what Beth said in her first paragraph of having a great buddy for a few years then he'll enter his twilight years going into all the problems us humans have when we age.
I'll have to think on this but maybe a better choice might be to find a young corgi from a breeder (or rescue) that is just starting adulthood.
Thanks again all.
I once had a dog with canine senility and it has sort of colored my views of what the prospects might be with an aging dog.
Mind you the dog DID live to be 16, and of all the aged dogs and cats I have known, she was one of only a tiny handful to get senile. But it was not an easy experience. She hardly seemed to even know who we were. She did not greet us when we came home, she did not really care if she interacted with us or not. It was much the same as watching a person you care about slowly lose touch with the world. She was a shell, no longer the dog we had known. She tended to pee inside a lot, she had trouble keeping weight and was therefore very bony and had a very bad coat. She went on like that for several years. I honestly think many families would have had her put down, but she did not seem to suffer or be afraid of things and so we felt we owed it to the dog we loved to let her live out her days, as long as those might be.
Because we had loved her for so long, we were able to look past all of it, even being ignored. But had we not been bonded with her so strongly it would have been very, very difficult. Objectively she was a ball of ratty fur who smelled a bit, peed a lot, and didn't give us the time of day. But she was OUR ball of fur and we loved her. Again, facing that without all the good years would have been tough.
Still, one day I would love to adopt a senior dog from the shelter, one who only has a few years left, and have the chance to give an old dog one last shot at love and comfort. I think it would be a wonderful thing to do. Right now is not the time in my life when I'm willing to do that, though. That's why I say it's important to be honest about what you want from a dog, and then get the dog that's most likely to give you that.
Edit to add: lest I sound like I'm being harsh, let me put it this way: Would most of us deal as well as we could with dealing with a parent with dementia? Yes, probably. But how would most of us deal with being the caretaker for a co-worker we'd known for 2 years who had dementia, if that were suddenly thrust upon us?
Many dogs live to be in their teens with few problems. But anything after 10 (7 or 8 in giant breeds) is open to the problems of age.
Bev can attest that my 6.5 year old Roslyn can run circles around most dogs. We adopted her at 5 years old, although she was poorly socialized and had aggression issues, she adapted well was re-trained and we love her so much!
I couldn't live without my Rozi girl now!
The thing with that is, one could say it about any of society's problems, yet you rarely hear it except about dogs.
When I was building a house, no one said "Oh, you should really rehab an old house in an iffy neighborhood. If you don't, who will?"
When people are having babies, no one would dream of saying they should not and should adopt instead. And when people do adopt, it's almost always an infant; older kids in foster care almost never get taken.
I don't hear people saying that we should take jobs picking vegetables or milking cows when we're choosing a career (or for that matter encouraging kids to grow up and be nurses' aides).
The bottom line is, doing good to society is just one factor in choosing a pet, but we should all pick the pet that is right for US. For the average person who wants to have just one dog and do a lot of stuff with it, a senior can be a big undertaking. And no one should be made to feel guilty for wanting a puppy. I have actually not renewed a subscription to a dog magazine I liked because the anti-breeder/ pro-adoption bias was so strong that it made me feel guilty every time I picked it up.
Personally, I was just replying to the question. Everyone needs to do what they want.
Have you checked out rescues? When I was looking I found a 5 month old little guy who was very handsome BUT one of his owners was severly allergic and so they found a rescue instead of dropping him off at a shelter. Maybe check out a rescue a little further away?
I also found a few younger females in MO but I didn't want a female rescue. This one was also willing to work with me even if I was a few states away.
Good luck in your search and keep us updated.