Getting a puppy? Advice?

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Getting a puppy? Advice?

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    01-19-2012, 08:36 AM
Green Broke
Getting a puppy? Advice?

I know this is a horse forum... but anyway.

I really like animals, and a few years ago I wanted a dog but I thought, oh no, I am only 18 and I want to travel the world a bit, my lifestyle is just not suitable for a dog, so I didn't get one. I looked after my mother's cat/my cat when she went travelling last year, for about a year, but he wasn't so happy, as he had grown up with a dog and other cat protecting his territory, and strange cats would always beat him up and come into the house where I lived. He seems happier with my mother's other animals. But I loved having him, coming home and fussing over him, I know it sounds a bit pathetic, but he really made my life a lot better.

Recently I came back from living in Europe, and also have lived in New Zealand a while ago, and I don't really want to live overseas again - just not for me. I want to settle down. So coming back, knowing that am ready to settle, I really want a pet, a dog. So I researched breeds and everything, spoke to people, and settled on all that, and I have the money saved, and the house I am living in said I can get a puppy, there is already a dog here that would love a friend, and there is a great yard. And I contacted a breeder today that has a dog that sounds suitable for me and I am visiting it tomorrow and everything feels like it is just slotting into place. I have the perfect house with the perfect people to live with, uni is going great.

I want a dog so much, to go walking with, playing, driving around, something that will be with me in 10, 15 years time, a dog to be happy when I come home, but part of me is scared that I am not ready. I'm almost 22, and only have a few months left of my degree, and I will be a university graduate so I think that, regardless, I'll be able to support myself and dog if need be, even though I do plan to do further study and have long term suitable accommodation here. But I am still scared. I don't know why, I don't know if I just don't want to commit to something, because I tend to runaway from having to commit, and if I have to just push past it, or if maybe I am making a bad decision.

I spoke to my parents and they both (separately) think that if I want a dog, and I am sure, then I should get it. Yesterday I would have said I am 100% sure, but going to see the puppy tomorrow, I don't want to fail and do badly by the dog, or end up homeless or something.

I'm an adult, and should be grown up, but I can't make a simple decision without all this ridiculous anxiety. What do you think? I'll never really live in a city, I'm not going to have that sort of animal unfriendly life... just not me, and a dog feels right, but at the same time...

Any advice greatly appreciated.
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    01-19-2012, 09:22 AM
If you feel ready, I would say go for it.

I live at home, and we have three setters, one is 'mine' so to speak. I doubt he'll come with me, but he's been my responsobility.

Have you thought about loaning a friend's dog for the weekend before hand? It take a lot of time and commitment.

Also, I would never ever go to a breeder again. Not anything against them, there are just hundreds and hundreds of dogs in homes. Our last three dogs have come from homes, and they're superb.

What sort of breed/height are you looking at?

Also, puppy training can be tiresome. I would recommend going to a dog forum, lurking a bit and reading some of the posts! You may want to look at something a couple of months older.. 4-6 or even 8 months old.

For dog walking, you have to be careful at young ages as their bones are still developing, and you shouldn't ask them to go up/down stairs and or jump up and down from things like the sofa. All that can effect their bones later on in life.

If you have a full time job, are you able to take your dog in to work, or put him in a doggy day care? Personally for me I don't like leaving one dog home alone whilst I work 8-12 lunch then 1-5. So I would have two, but on the other side of the coin having two pups at a same/similair age can be asking for trouble, as they teach each other SUPER bad habits... we have no carpet on our bottom step!

What about going on holiday? Have you thought about where the dog would stay, and can you afford the cost?

There is plenty more to think about, but there is something to chew on for now :)

I would look in your local pet rescues though. I know out here the dogs all have a thorough vet check and innoculations before they're sent anywhere!
    01-19-2012, 09:26 AM
What breed are you looking at ? Have you consistered energy level and how much exercise it will need? Also if you get a young puppy expect to have to get up in the middle of the night to take it out to go potty.

Sounds to me like you are ready for a puppy though...=]
    01-19-2012, 10:07 AM
My preference is for the small terriers. They are energetic dogs for their size yet don't require or take up a lot of space. My female Cairn stood 10" at the shoulder. She ran flat out when chasing a ball so exercising her was fairly easy. The rough coat requires frequent grooming which is nice one on one time. She could also tolerate freezing temps. Long enough to do her business and race around a bit.
    01-19-2012, 10:11 AM
I do like Cairns.

I'm just not a fan of yappy terriers, ESPECIALLY when they get under your feet ;)

But I haven't owned one.

Better lap dogs than my giants!!
    01-19-2012, 10:18 AM
I love cairns ! I have an airedale terrier right now.

Little yappy dogs are created my theirs owners, not all little dogs have to be that way =]
    01-19-2012, 11:50 AM
If you have doubts before getting a dog, you'll probably have regrets after you get one. Just my two cents. I don't know about australia but here you could foster a dog from the shelter for 30 days to see if you like it. This also helps make sure you get a dog that's compatable with you. I have a Jagd terrier (along with 6 other hunting dogs) and he doesn't bark at all. He is also a small dog so they're good indoors. As long as they get excercise outside. And no cats around in my case.............. haha
    01-19-2012, 04:16 PM
Green Broke
I have looked into breeds and have decided that I am getting a miniature poodle, and while they're not a breed for everyone, I think they're best for me. The energy requirements and size suit me, and even though they require a bit of grooming, I used to groom my horse twice a day every day, so I am okay with upkeep.

As for trialling, a year or two ago my mother went to Thailand for a month and I looked after her dog/family dog while she was gone. The care wasn't a problem, but the dog doesn't really like me that much, she is a one person dog. She would also look after a dog I had if I went away for a few weeks to a month, but otherwise I would probably bring my dog most places. I actually did look at shelters, they are called RSPCAs here in Australia, and I have checked out a few in person and online. I am keen to get a puppy because I like the idea of training it, and it growing up with me as I will have it for at least a decade. The shelter had two variety of puppies, both would mature far too large for my lifestyle, and while I looked at the older dogs pretty much all of them, while I was there, had behavioural problems. While some would be minor and be okay with some people, I just don't feel comfortable getting a dog there because I don't know, and I can't really guess, what they are going to turn out like, what behaviours they have, and if I can fix them. Some people have gotten great dogs from there, but I have also heard of people who had heaps of problems and ended up having to surrender the dog a year or so later. As much as I would like to "save" a dog, I don't want one that isn't compatible with me or my lifestyle. To me, it would be a bit like buying a horse at an auction - you have no idea what it is going to turn out like at home! And here you can't trial a certain dog. I don't know, rescuing to me is a little iffy, both in dogs and horses. You may be saving a life, but so many horses die everyday, and dogs, and cows, and cats, and sheep and pigs and really, to me, aren't their lives equal? I think they are, but if I were buying a horse I wouldn't rescue one I knew nothing about (unless I had lots of land and money and wasn't planning on it being my only horse), nor would I rescue a cow, or chicken or sheep. It's sad, but its the world we live in. All I can really do, I think, is to ensure I make the best decisions about the dog suitability, and care for it and ensure I don't perpetuate this problem, and they don't end up like that.

Time wise, I have a month left of holidays, so if I got one now I have all the time in the world to take it out at night, do training, supervise it etc. When university starts up I will be gone a few hours a day, not too much, but there is another playful dog here already who my puppy would be living with, and as its owner is another student most of the time there is someone around. The puppy I am looking at is a tad older, at 13 weeks. I've found the info out about my local dog club and they have puppy obedience classes I would attend every week. The breeder is reputable, and the dog comes with health cert, all vaccinations, wormed, microchipped, pretty much toilet trained, used to grooming etc. It costs a small fortune but I have saved up the required money.

I don't know, you have all offered great advice. And I really have thought about it, in depth, for a few months now. I've run the costs, researched feeding, thought about all eventualities, considered different breeds. Its like I am torn between running away from any commitment, like I did so much as a teenager, to actually deciding to get what I want, and cement the more settled future that I do want. I need to start somewhere. A few years ago I used to move house every couple of months, change jobs, I'd only date someone a couple of months before leaving, and sometimes I would just pack everything up and drive away and start a new life. The last year or two though I have really made an effort to grow up, because running away from problems fixes nothing, and you end up with nothing.

Sorry, I have turned my advice thread into a crappy self reflection one. I'm going to go look at said puppy, and if I am there and feel it is right, I will get it, but if I am just not sure, then I'll think about it and wait.
    01-19-2012, 04:24 PM
Minature poodle.. cute... all I can remember from the breed is the upkeep, and not child friendly.. if you're going to have a bun in the oven anytime soon, I'd probably say no ;D

But, if you've done your research, why not!
    01-19-2012, 04:51 PM
Well one good thing about poodles is that they don't shed. We have a poodle mix and he is a butt head. He even growls at my nieces and nephews, so I would not say kid friendly. Now I have a lab and I can do anything to that dog and she doesnt care but she sheds like no tomorrow and I will never again have a dog that sheds because it's impossible to keep up with the hair.

Just keep in mind that if you get a puppy you have to get all the vaccines and just like a horse you have to give them boosters every couple weeks at first and then once a year after that. Not to mention getting him or her spayed or neutered. Food cost, grooming costs.

And potty training a puppy can be frustrating to say the least. And don't think that if you find a "free puppy" online that it's actually free. My lab was "free" and she wound up with a expensive urinary problem which cost $75 each month for medicine without which she would pee in her sleep. And then she tore all of her ligaments in her knee and a couple hundred dollars later she has arthritis and needs joint medicine.

Not trying to talk you out of it just giving you some things to think about it.
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