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Happiness Is Adopting An Older Dog

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By Hints From Heloise for The Washington Post

With the economy still in the dumps, dogs are being given up all across the country, so if you are looking to bring one into your home, visit a shelter.

While some dogs may be older, they just might make great pets. Older pooches have many benefits: Most are already house-trained, and they are full-grown, so no guessing if they are going to get bigger! Depending on age and breed, they can be less active and are usually more relaxed. They just may fit into your household without a lot of fuss.

If you already have a dog or two, the new addition will usually figure out the pecking order — unlike a puppy, which may want to run the place and be Alpha Dog.

When you bring your dog home from a shelter:

— Try to be with your new dog as much as possible on the first day or two to help ease it into its new environment.

— Get everyone in the family on board with behavior and training.

— Establish a routine for eating and exercise. Give your dog time to adjust.

— Let your dog develop a sleeping pattern and find its own place to sleep, or make a safe and cozy spot with a special towel, blanket or pillow.

— Give it lots of positive reinforcement. Make your new dog feel safe and loved in its new home.

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