1. How many dogs have you had as an adult?
If the answer is none, you may want your first dog to be an adult already. Well trained adult dogs can frequently be found in rescue groups. Having a first dog that is already well on his way to being a Canine Good Citizen will be a benefit to you and your family as you learn how to live with a train a dog.
Very occasionally breeders may have adult dogs that are looking for homes, sometimes it’s a dog they raised for breeding, only to find out he or she wouldn’t be right for their breeding program, and sometimes it’s a grown puppy that was returned because something happened to his or her family.
2. How much time do you and your family have each day for a dog?
If you only have a limited amount of time each day for a dog, getting a puppy might be a bad idea. A puppy needs lots of love, care, socialization, training, and potty time to grow up to be a well adjusted dog. Consider an adult from a rescue that is already through the house training stage and is ready to be a pet for a busy family.
If you have lots of time right now, but won’t have as much time several months down the road, a young adult dog, or a puppy might be the right choice. Finding a puppy in rescue can be hard, but they are out there.
3. Why do you want a dog?
If you dream of a competition dog, or you are looking for a dog who can do a special job like therapy work or search and rescue, it is often best to start looking for a well bred puppy from a reputable breeder. You will have a very good idea of who the puppy will grow up to be as well as knowing that he or she will be built well for the job and have the right kind of temperament for the job you have in mind.
If you and your family is looking for a loving pet and companion, finding a dog or puppy in rescue may be your best option. With an adult rescue dog you will have a better idea of who he or she is and how he or she will fit into your family.
4. Do you have very small children in your family? Are you planing on having a baby in the next year?
If the answer to either question is yes, finding an adult rescue dog that has had experience and a proven track record with small children and babies may be a safer option than getting a puppy. It is very hard to try to raise very small children and puppies at the same time. On the other hand, if you have had lots of experience raising puppies, a well bred pup from known parents might be a better option for you.