If you are not prepared to go through the trials and training of a baby puppy, an older puppy or even a mature dog can be a good alternative, especially for households in which the family pet may have to spend much of the day unsupervised. Old English Sheepdogs are very adaptable, and an OES of any age can become a member of the family in a very short time (about 2 minutes!). They need people and will continue to give their love and devotion to their new owners.

There are many reasons that older dogs are available. Breeders often hold a puppy until they can determine its show or breeding potential; a brood bitch that has been bred once or twice and is retired. Circumstances change and an owner has to place a much-loved pet; an OES is lost and ends up far from home in a dog pound.

We find out all that we can about the older dog that you are considering - in order to determine if it will fit into the lifestyle and "atmosphere" of your family. The dog is usually housebroken and may know some commands.

The OES may be a bit confused when you first adopt it and require a few adjustments, but with patience, consistency and reassurance it will adapt readily to your routine.

Time must be taken to be sure that the dog knows where it is to sleep, relieve itself, where and when it will eat, and what it can and cannot do in the house. In short, it has to learn the routine it will be following and what is expected of it.

Even if the dog has had some obedience training, attending class is an excellent way to brush up on training and help the owner to understand the dog's responses and personality more completely. Training together is fun for both you and your new friend, and it accelerates the bonding process.

It is important that ALL family members meet the dog BEFORE its adoption, and agree that THIS is the dog that they want.

Poem for an Old Dog

One by one they pass my cage,
Too old, too worn, too broken, no way.
Way past his prime he can't run and play,
Then they shake their heads slowly and go on their way.
A little old man, arthritic and sore,
It seems I am not wanted anymore.
I once had a home, I once had a bed,
A place that was warm, and where I was fed.
Now my muzzle is grey, and my eyes slowly fail,
Who wants a dog so old and so frail?
My family decided I didn't belong,
I got in their way, my attitude was wrong.
Whatever excuse they made in their head
Can't justify how they left me for dead.
Now I sit in this cage, where day after day,
The younger dogs get adopted away.
When I had almost come to the end of my rope,
You saw my face and I finally had hope.
You saw thru the grey, and the legs bent with age,
And felt I still had life beyond the cage.
You took me home, gave me food and a bed,
And shared your own pillow with my poor tired head.
We snuggle and play, and you talk to me low,
You love me so dearly and want me to know.
I may have lived most of my life with another,
But you outshine them with a love so much stronger.
I promise to return all the love I can give,
To You, my dear person, as long as I live.
I may be with you for a week or for years,
We will share many smiles, you will no doubt shed tears.
And when the time comes that God deems I must leave,
I know you will cry and your heart will grieve.
And when I arrive at the Bridge, all brand new,
My thoughts and my heart will still be with you.
And I will brag to all who will hear,
Of the person who made my last days so dear.

-Author Unknown

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