A Big Decision: Should I get a puppy?!

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  1. Opps..not the best place to post this. Mods..can you guys please help me move it?! SORRY!

    I know many of you lovely TPFers are dog lovers and owners! I'm thinking of making a huge decision in getting a puppy myself..but to me it's a big deal. Please help!

    First of all, I've had a puppy with my ex before. However, he kept it the majority of the time, meaning the dog stays over at his place at night. I also never had to deal with cleaning him or anything like that. I did all the easy things like getting it food and toy, taking walks, etc. So I never "really" took care of it.

    Second, I'm afraid that I might not be ready for one. Not that I'm not mature or responsible enough, but I might not give it enough attention as it requires. I honestly hate how so many people get dogs just to be cool (referring to some of my friends). I think it's a big deal because I want to make sure he/she's safe, healthy, and happy. It's like being a new mom you know.

    Third, is it A LOT of work? I have this notion that it requires even more work than babies (yea crazy I know). I love children and I've been sort of a mom to my two neices even since they were born. But I can't shake this idea out that dogs are a lot more work than kids.

    Oh and I forgot to mention that I'm getting either a labrador retriever or a golden retriever. As you know, they're HUGE! And that also means it's a lot of responsiblity.

    Any suggestions would be highly appreciated! Dog owners..please contribute your 2 cents. I would love to hear some stories of you and your dog(s). Thanks a bunch in advice!
  2. I think it is great that you are thinking it through and not just saying, oh, but they are cute. Here are some thoughts for you.

    IMO, if you are questioning if you have enough time for the attention, maybe you are not ready just yet. I thought really long and hard before I got a dog and made sure I was ready. How many hours are you gone for the day? Where will you keep your puppy when you are not home/work/school? Do you plan to have a designated area, like a puppy room that is barricaded or crate? How much space do you have and is it enough for a big dog? Do you live in a house, apartment, condo- and do you have a yard? (It is just my opinion, but I feel larger dogs do well w/ a fenced yard to play in, unless they are taken very frequently to a dog run or park where they can just let it all out or unless they are walked/run w/ you for a good distance daily). Do you travel a lot and if so, what are your plans for when you go out of town?

    I even took both of my parents dogs for a weekend to give it a go first. If you aren't there yet, maybe look at your lifestyle and time commitments a bit more and see what you come up with.

    I would also suggest an older dog- from a rescue or shelter. Puppies ARE a ton of work and you have to be very consistent with them. They need routines and take a lot of time. Potty training is a lot of work and takes time. You'll also need to make sure your pup is socialized with other animals and people and I think obedience classes are a must. That takes class time and practice time. Just some considerations. Puppies also have more expenses- like the series of shots and spay/neuter. If you adopt a dog, those costs will be less b/c he/she will be up to date and neutered/spayed. An older dog, esp. from a rescue, may already be housebroken and trained. My parents adopted an older lab/shepard mix and he is a dream- the most disciplined dog I've ever seen and very well socialized, even though he had been abused.
  3. moving....
  4. I could not agree more with the above statement. To add: There are many older dogs who would be so happy just to have a nice place to sleep and call home. many peolpe woud pass them up because they are not puppies.
  5. I echo what elizat says. Please listen to this advice. If you are "not sure" then you are not ready and might find a puppy to be too much for you right now. Why not wait a bit?
  6. ITA! The "not sure" part is a definetely no go. Yes they require lots and lots of care especially if its a puppy. Training is a constant. But with all of the goods of a new furbaby comes the not so goods, such as vet bills, what to do if you have an over active/high energy dog with possible disciplinary problems. These are just a few things you really have to think about. But on a good note I am a mom of 3 and let me tell you even really hard to handle dogs are way easier lol!
  7. I have owned many dogs before, and recently our 7 year old [abnormally large] Boxer died, and as sad as it is, we usually move on by getting a new puppy, so I can relate!

    Puppies are a ton of work. But that is not to say that older dogs from shelters aren't. I think the reason I prefer puppies is not mainly the "cute" factor (although I will tell you - they are ungodly adorable) but the fact that you watch them develop their personalities and you watch their health history. Adopting a shelter dog is a WONDERFUL idea - I'm not knocking it. Many of those dogs need good, loving homes just as much if not more than puppies.

    However, to disagree with elizat, I do not think obedience classes are a must. It is very easy to train a dog if you know how to "talk" to it. Dogs are creatures of habit and are kin to wolves who run in packs. The trick to training a dog is establishing the ALPHA DOG. You HAVE to be the Alpha Dog to your puppy/dog, or they will disobey you repeatedly! Most dogs, especially bigger ones, show their authority by standing over the inferior. Do this to your dog when you need to be strict. Be sure to use low tones for punishment and normal/higher pitched for praise. They WILL understand you. Don't be afraid to be strict or your dog will never be trained properly.

    About pottytraining:
    When you are disciplining them, for when they potty in the house, here is what I do: Stand over them and ask in a low tone of voice "Did you potty in the house?" (NOTE: When they are older/trained and understand this and have the occasional slip up, as all dogs will, they're ears will shift down and they will avert eye contact.) Grab their collar by the top, twist it SLIGHTLY - this is not hurting a dog, but if you just yank their collar, they can slip out of it easily. Take them to the scene of the accident, and stick their nose in it. Note again!: You don't have to RUB their nose in it and get yicky pooey on them... that's cruel. Just make sure they are sniffing what they did up close. Spank their buts, say "No, BAD DOG" and then take them outside. Because I live in a house, especially one of 3 acres of land, I can just take them outside and shut the door. If you're not in a place to do this, it might be a bit different for you.
    They ARE going to potty on your floor. A LOT. Get puppy pads! They are fabulous. Your dog will designate a spot in your home quickly as their bathroom area. They will come back to this place time and time again until they are trained to potty outside. Once they find it, just puppy pad it up! Saves a ton of grief over messy floors.

    On socializing:
    I think it's wonderful to have them socialized. They really are just like children (from observation. I don't have any kids yet). Obedience classes, if you have no other dogs, are a good way to help with this, but if your dog knows its boss (You!) then other dogs shouldn't be too much of a problem. I'm sure someone is thinking "but labs are big, you can't control/train something that big on your own". If you assert yourself, you can. Our Boxer was 115 lbs... normal boxers are 50-70. He was mistaken for a Mastiff by his Vet who had to look at his AKC papers to believe us. He could be very aggressive (especially over food) and could drag any of us around the yard. But my mom trained him well and most of the time he was a nervous-nelly mamma's boy too scared to potty outside by himself. There will always be times when your dog's instincts kick in and get the best of him - you just have to not give up. They are dogs, not grown people.

    Oh, which brings me to another point: Buster (the Boxer) was a nervous-nelly because he had a series of health problems. You have to be prepared financially and emotionally for these kinds of things. He was AKC registered, fully neutered and had all shots, he was the perfect puppy. He got Demodex (sp?) mites early in his life, which is very common in Boxers. We chose to dip him - they can't be in water, or direct sunlight for very long during this time. In contributed a lot to his anxiety. He also developed a thyroid disorder and was placed on pills twice a day all his life. Then, he took off with my inhaler that was accidentally misplaced, punctured it while chewing on it, and absorbed Alburterol straight into his lungs. He went into cardiac arrest and almost died. (He was only about 2 yrs at this time) It was random, freak accident and it could have easily been prevented. He also developed a malignant tumour a year later on his leg that had to be removed. And finally, in the year or so before he died, he was on doggy arthiritis medicine. All these things costed a ridiculous amount of money to get through, not to mention was just very scary when they happened. Not all healthy dogs stay healthy!

    Finally, as I know this is getting extremely long, we have a black lab who is almost 2 years old right now, and let me tell you - they are ENERGETIC. They will need LOTS of playtime, will knock off everything on your counters with their tail, but are the sweetest friendliest dogs. You will love one if you get one, just make sure you have the time, dedication and room for one. I have always loved dogs more than any other animal, and they truly will be your best friend. I hope this has helped you in some way :tup: Good luck to you and your possible future canine! Dogs rule cats drool!

    And for those of you who are interested, here is a small tribute to our passed buddy.
    R.I.P. Buster 2001-2008
    "Busterman, Busterman! Does whatever a Bustie can!"
    We miss you Big Boy!

    And here is my personal sweetie, the baddest ***** in town, Bubbles! (Hey, I used it in the literal meaning, don't worry!)
  8. Oh and one last thing to follow up - please be sure to use flea, tick, heartworm medicines regularly. I don't mean to gross you guys out but since moving to the middle of the boonies, our dogs have had fleas and trust me, you'll be itching too if you catch my drift.

    And use treats! Beware of eating fish and tuna - dogs LOVE it more than cats, they will beg nonstop. They also love Beer too, not sure why. No, I don't let my dogs drink Beer. My mom is an avid alcoholic and leaves beercans lying around sometimes.
  9. OMG :wtf: You have GOT to be kidding me. This is the number one way to NOT train a dog.........I can't even think of anything else to say other than you need to read some dog training books. This is terrible and will only make your dog afraid of you not respect you as his leader.

    OK, back to the OP: If you have to ask and you are not sure a puppy is right for you, then I say no. When you know you have the time and energy, finances, etc. that a puppy requires then perhaps revisit the idea when you have NO shadows of doubt. You have all the time in the world to get the perfect pup for you. Just be patient and you will know when the time is right :yes:
  10. You have been writing some off the wall posts thats for sure..........
  11. Puppies are a lot of work! From about the ages of 2-4 months, they require some sort of continuous care with you only being able to leave them a few hours at a time. I have had lots of puppies, but first it was with my parents, and then with my husband. Never by myself, because it is a pretty huge committment to tackle by yourself.

    The other thing to consider is where you are at your life. If you might start a new relationship or move or start a new career, a puppy will be at least a 10 year committment. Let's just say that I have had to foster three dogs in the last three years due to sisters and friends that have gotten puppies and then their work has relocated them to a small apartment in NYC, or a new boyfriend is allergic to dogs, or a new job had too long hours to care for the long. Luckily, I was able to find these dogs new homes, and one I just kept.

    Puppies are bad! They only get away with the terrible things they do because they are pretty much the cutest thing on earth.

    Of course, I say to everyone considering getting a dog to consider a shelter. I know the Houston SPCA always has 100's of beautiful dogs, including a lot of puppies, some even full bred puppies. Lots and lots of labs or lab like dogs. One of mine is a black lab with a little husky mixed in (from the SPCA of course) and I have had her for 8 years and she is my little gorgeous angel, with the personality of a lab, but is grey with hazel eyes. Also, consider getting a 6 mo to 1 year old dog. They are still young enough to be in their formative years, but they are often potty trained and require less constant supervision. All my dogs have been from the shelter, all mixed breed, and all perfect.

  12. I'm sorry you feel this way, I don't know what to say other than this is what we have done with all our dogs, it is effective, and our dogs our not afraid of us nor do they disrespect us. Maybe you read it wrong; sorry if that is the case. Like I said, it's not hurting the dog. I never abuse my animals, nor will I ever. I am not sure why you are so horrified...

    And are you suggesting that I am drunk? That's pretty tacky. :confused1:
  13. Um....... no. I have no idea why you would even get the idea I was suggesting that you were drunk. That sure is way out in left field :confused1: so IDK.............:wacko::dftt:

    And no, I did not "read your post wrong." That is why I direct quoted it from YOUR post and used bold on the stuff that I thought was really wrong to do. You wrote it so I just read what you wrote verbatim.
  14. I just didn't understand this comment, that's all. I'm not trying to stir up trouble with you...

    In any case, let's just leave it at that, agree to disagree on dog training. Our dogs love us, I'm sorry it bothers you the way we go about it.
  15. Lol...