POOCH SCOOP: You can teach an old dog new tricks with treats (PHOTOS)

P.A. Melle’, The Pooch Scoop
Sissy has been in Alaqua Animal Refuge most of her life. She is about 5-and-a-half-years-old. She has done a wonderful job in the training program and is a favorite because of her laid-back sweet nature. She is patient and gentle, even with children. Learn more about the shelter at

It’s a game of Tug o’ War deciding on whether to adopt a pup or an adult dog, but an adult dog may actually be a better fit for your family. If you’re raising children, adding a pup to the mix often adds a lot more stress to an already demanding schedule. An older dog will give you the same joy, love and affection without all the time required to train a puppy. “Empty Nesters” or retired folks should consider adopting a senior dog, as they bond quickly and make great traveling companions.

Decide your commitment in dog years? On average, smaller breeds have longer life spans and larger breeds have shorter life spans. A great Dane may live about eight calendar years. Life with a border collie, 12 to 14 years. Any pint sized breed may require a 17-year commitment or more. That’s 119 dog years. Choose your commitment level before adopting a furry friend for life.

Bark all about The Unconditional Love Project: Training Shelter Dogs to be certified in the “Canine Good Citizenship” program is one dawg-gone pawsome idea! This pre-training creates balanced companion dogs. Call Samantha Graves at Alaqua for information on these graduates at 850-419-4978. Alaqua recently acquired 97 dogs, which has overtaxed their resources. Please adopt or donate today.

Paw Script: Canine Good Citizenship Certification and/or Therapy Dog Certification are required for volunteers to visit hospitals and nursing homes with their dog. Check your local requirements.

Patty’s Ten Top Reasons to adopt an adult dog

10. Senior dogs can reduce stress and lower blood pressure, as they are calm and low maintenance.

9. Adult dogs are not teething puppies, so they shouldn’t chew up all your belongings.

8. Older dogs can focus, unlike the flightiness of a distractible puppy. 

7. You can teach old dogs new tricks and they are ready to be instant companions. 

6. Most older dogs have already learned what the word “no” means.

5. Older dogs settle in quickly. No puppy whimpering and barking all night to keep you up.    

4. What you see is what you get — older dogs are fully developed in size and personality.

3. Rescued dogs are not inferior; many were wonderful pets that their owners had to give up.

2. Most rescued dogs develop a deep loyal attachment to their rescuers.  

1. Most adult dogs and seniors are already spayed/neutered and housebroken!

Pawsome Pooch News: To learn the ancient healing art of Jin Shin Jyutsu for you and your BFF (best furry friend), call Janine Takasugi at 310-869-1974.

Pawgress Report: Saturday, Nov. 16, is the “Wag N’ Walk” 5K Run/Walk with the Dogs beginning at 9 a.m. in Destin Register Sept. 1-Nov. 15 online at and the fee is $25. Vendors can reserve a spot to sell their wares at the 5K event for $25 bucks. Call Nancy at SOS Printing at 837-3190. For more information on prizes, categories, event rules, go to the 

Wag the Dog? Are you held hostage to your home because your dog might misbehave? Whether you adopt an adult or a pup, exercise and obedience training are the two must-dos for your dog. Dogs and people by nature follow a strong confident leader.If your dog can depend on you for food, shelter, direction and protection for survival, it actually relieves him of that responsibility so he will gladly follow. If you as his “Pack Leader” are inconsistent in rules, I assure you that your dog instinctively may feel the need to take over and lead you in and out of your home. It’s the natural order of life. It’s survival of the fittest. The strongest most confident “dog” leads the pack. RX: Enroll in obedience classes and take three long brisk walks a day for 20 minutes with your BFF to burn energy.   

Dogs Don’t Lie: Their heart sees what is invisible to the human eye. Trust that.

Pooch Costume Contests: Watch for news in October at HarborWalk Village on Facebook.

Your Best Furry Friend may be the only creature that loves you more than he loves himself.

Authors Opinion: Too many pets, not enough homes. Okaloosa County could lead the pack in reducing the number of homeless pets produced in our area by initiating county required breeding registration/permit fees before any cat or dog can be bought, sold or bred in this county. The fees can subsidize animal control costs and help local shelters provide low cost spay/neuter programs. Other counties, like Walton, Bay, Santa Rosa and Escambia may soon follow a strong pack leader. 

Chow for Now!

P.A. Melle’, a.k.a The Destin Dog Whisperer/Pooch Scoop Reporter, is a resident of Destin, freelance writer and American Red Cross volunteer.