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.
Last edited by Saskia; 01-19-2012 at 04:19 PM.