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What’s The Best Time of Year To Get a Dog? With Trainer Tips!

Thinking of adopting a dog? Make sure you consider whether it's the right time of year for getting a new pet.

Key Takeaways

  • There is no best time of year to adopt a dog, as the right time depends on your personal situation.
  • The most important consideration is how much time you have available. New dogs are very time-consuming and need a lot of care, training, and attention during the first few months.
  • Adopting during the summer can make house training more convenient due to the warm weather, dryer ground, and longer daylight hours.
  • Avoid adopting near a significant holiday, such as Christmas. These periods are often stressful and make it harder for your dog to adapt to your routine.

When is the best time of year to adopt a new dog? And are there any times that should be avoided? With the help of our IMDT-accredited dog trainer, Rebecca Morello, here are our thoughts!

Which Season Is Best For Adopting a Dog?

A puppy in mud

The short answer is that there is no best time of year to get a new dog.

There are certainly advantages to adopting in summer, particularly if you live in a region with cold winters.

Puppies (and many rescue dogs) need to be housetrained, so warm conditions and longer daylight hours can make it more comfortable to take your dog outside. The dry ground also means less mud being tracked through your home!

We also advise against getting a puppy or rescue dog just before Christmas or any other big holiday. These holidays can be more stressful than we realize, and this stress can affect your new dog. Dogs also require an adjustment period when moving into a new home, which can be more difficult if you have family and friends visiting.

However, these seasonal weather changes are often much less important than your personal situation when deciding when to adopt a dog. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main considerations.

Do You Have Time To Care for a New Dog?

A puppy playing with its toy

A big consideration when deciding to adopt a dog is how much free time you have available over the next few months. New dogs bring much love into the household, but they are very time-consuming – especially during the settling period. This period can last anywhere from 3-4 months up to a year for some rescue dogs.

So, if you know the next few months are likely to be busy, now is not the best time to adopt a dog. Instead, look for a period on your calendar where you can take time off work and other commitments to help the settling process.

Let’s take a closer look at why a new dog needs so much of your time.

Those Time-Consuming First Few Months

Dogs of any age require a lot of attention, but caring for a new puppy is effectively a full-time job!

So, if you plan to adopt a puppy, you need plenty of free time for the first few months. This helps establish a training routine and build a strong bond. Unfortunately, taking a few days off work just isn’t enough.

The same is true for adult rescue dogs. These dogs often have challenging backgrounds, so they need lots of love, care, and attention during the first months.

In fact, many dog rescues use the 3x3x3 rule, which states that it takes 3 days for a dog to decompress, 3 weeks for a dog to learn your routine, and 3 months for them to feel fully at home. While this can be a useful guideline, in our experience, many dogs need even longer than this to feel truly settled and relaxed.

Training Requires Dedication and Time

Training a new dog often takes much more time and patience than many people realize!

Regardless of the dog’s age or breed, you’ll need to teach them key new behaviors, such as where to toilet and how to relax on their own. You’ll also want to teach basic cues, such as “sit” and “on your bed.” This requires many short training sessions throughout the day, which can be time-consuming.

“It’s also important to remember that many dogs have behavioral issues,” says Rebecca Morello, IMDT dog trainer. “Most of the time when I see clients struggling, it is because they didn’t anticipate needing to handle ‘extra’ issues, such as separation anxiety or stress-related behaviors.”

For these reasons, you should be prepared to devote a lot of time to your dog’s training during the early stages.

House Training

Puppies have small bladders and will happily toilet on rugs and carpets, so they need to be accompanied outside every few hours. Not taking your puppy outside enough can make the house training process take much longer, not to mention stain your carpets!

This is one of the reasons why adopting in summer can often be more convenient. However, regardless of the time of year, you should be prepared to take your puppy out on a regular basis during the first few months (including during the night).

While older dogs might settle in faster – and may not need as much training – they still require help to feel comfortable in their new environment. It’s also worth noting that many adult rescue dogs are not fully house-trained.

Other Considerations When Adopting a Dog

A puppy on grass

Along with the amount of free time you have available, there are other important considerations when deciding when to adopt a dog. These include:

  • The age of your family. As a general rule, it’s not a good idea to get a dog if you have young children or are expecting a child. Caring for a new dog takes up a lot of time, which most parents of young children don’t have! Ideally, you should wait until your children are at school before getting a dog, as studies have shown that babies are more likely to be bitten (usually because they provoked the dog accidentally). Young children are also often not responsible enough to be around a dog.
  • School holidays. If you have older children, it’s best to avoid getting a new dog during school holidays. Giving your new dog the attention and care they need is much easier if you have child-free time during the day.
  • Financial situation. As we revealed in our guide to the cost of owning a dog, a pet dog is very expensive! If you’re tight on money, or have some large expenses in the coming months, then it’s probably not a good idea to adopt.
  • Your grieving period. If you’ve just lost a dog, it can be difficult to know how long to wait before adopting a new one. This varies between people, but it’s important to avoid trying to fill the hole in your life with a new dog before you’re ready. You also need to consider any other pets you have. Remember, dogs grieve for lost loved ones too.


The best time of year to adopt a dog varies depending on your personal circumstances.

Adopting in summer can be more convenient, but the amount of free time you can dedicate to your dog during the vital first few months is more important. The age of your family, upcoming holidays, and financial situation also play a role.

Do you have any questions about the best time to adopt a dog? Please let us know in the comments section below. You may also want to read our guide to whether you’re ever too old to adopt a dog.


Richard Cross

Richard is a journalist who specialises in dog behavior. He's written hundreds of articles and books related to dogs, including for the Continental Kennel Club, Dog Fest (the UK's biggest dog festival) and various veterinary surgeries. When he's not spending time with Jess and Rudy (his beloved Labrador and Golden Retrievers), he enjoys reading, hiking and watching sports.
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