Can an older dog bond with a new family like a puppy would?

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A dog is arguably the exception to the theory that “you can’t buy love.” Puppies and senior dogs can love their owners equally, often in a short amount of time, and with complete devotion.

Dogs have functioned as human companions for an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 years. They are tried-and-true friends to their human counterparts. Be it a dog’s scavenger nature (humans offer a lot to scavenge), a dog’s pack mentality (they want to be part of a family) or just their optimism and trustfulness, dogs bond with humans instinctively. This holds true for a senior dog as much as it would for a puppy. A puppy comes to you with a blank slate, but an older dog comes to you with an identical instinct to love.

Lacking technology (and opposable thumbs), one has to look at how else dogs have been able thrive as long as they have. One of the answers is incredible adaptability to new environments and new companions. A dog can be happy in a new situation as long as it’s a good one. This includes a good new home as well as new owners.

An exception to near-instant trust from a dog occurs when a dog has had a bad experience with humans in the past. In that case, the dog has become more wary. However, such a dog’s desire to bond and be safe, as well as his ability to adapt, is often so strong that if a human can provide a safe home, the dog’s trust can eventually be earned.

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