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Old 01-21-2014, 06:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Seeking advice for adopting a puppy

I wasn't too sure if this would be the right place for this post, but here it goes:

Hey everyone, I am new here, and I hope to soon to be a first time dog owner, I have been doing plenty of research online for a few different breeds and have narrowed my search to two possible breeds, 1) border collie or 2) german shepherd.

I've come here hoping to get some people who have had personal experience with both breeds that could help guide me to buying a dog, which I will be able to give the best quality of life too.

I've read that both breeds are active and require a fair amount of exercise and stimulation/interaction, border collies more than german shepherds, I dont think this would be an issue, I have much experience handling and working with racing thoroughbreds, so I dont think working with a dog and teaching them would be so difficult.

I am currently a university student, so this means two things, a) there will be times where I will be unable to dedicate my full attention to my dog for a few days (exams, assignments etc.) this wont mean I wont take him/her for walks, it just means I can not do as much as I would like. Also this means b) Money is an issue, I dont want to buy crap food for my dog, as mentioned above, i worked with racing thoroughbreds and I understand quality is everything, giving an animal quality attention, diet, environment will result in a happier animal.

Also grooming requirements, I understand that all dogs shed (I have a family cat that sheds year round, she hates being groomed, let alone bathed). With this is mind, out of a border collie and german shepherds what would the requirements be? and what would be an easier coat to look after?

Please, anyone who could help with my situation based on the information I have given, it would be much appreciated. I forgot to mention I do have a large backyard, and I do not live in a rural area.

Also some additional info:

The backyard is fenced. A fair amount of exercise would be 2 walks a day, as well as teaching tricks/obedience, this may change on weekends if I have time to go to a dog park/beach then I will definately go there.
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Either breed while your in school will be a handful. We had a border collie growing up and I've been around Shepherds all my life. Both shed a fair amount. I will say I think the border collie is a little easier.

I'm not trying to discourage you but maybe you should wait until your out of school. You could have either dog for upwards of 15 years. That is a lot of responsibility with your studies, job, relationships, etc. I'm not saying it can't be done. I did it but it wasn't perfect nor easy.

A GSD pup is a handful for sure. Both breeds are extremely intelligent and take a lot of care. Both breeds are wonderful and will make great companions. Both breeds need a job to do. Neither will like being alone or ignored for long periods.

This will be a tough road, just make sure your up for the challenge. You can't go wrong with either breed but I'm partial to GSDs.
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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When I was choosing a puppy I wanted both those breeds too. They both will require a lot of work, exercise and care. With regards to coats they both will shed. I find that if you do a 10min brush each day that they should be pretty good.

The only problem you will have is with school. When I got my first GSD I was in high school so I was away all day and had study and home work to do in the afternoon. Luckily my mum went out during the day to play with her.

If you have a family member or a friend that could come over to play with her when you are away or busy that would be a great help.

Otherwise good luck!
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I do flyball and agility so I see a LOT of Border Collies. I've never owned one myself so I'm just basing my opinion on dealing with them in training sports. The majority of them to me are softer dogs than my GSDs (or dogs that I prefer to handle). They seem very handler sensitive. In training they pattern almost instantly! Show them something once or twice (at most, lol) and they've got it! That can really help but also be a hindrance when trying to move on and they are just offering the same thing over and over. In general though they have great drive and very high intelligence. Many seem very handler-focused and are not as prone to chasing other dogs as those of us with terriers have to deal with, lol. In general all the ones I know and train with are just too soft, a bit to "edgy" for me.
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I guess my first question is, what draws you to these two breeds? What do you plan to do with the dog? Understanding what exactly you're looking for, and what you like about your concept of the breeds, may help us suggest which would be the better fit.

Another question I have is whether you're thinking of adopting a dog or buying a puppy from a breeder. Those are two different things. Both have pros and cons, and again, which is better for your individual situation depends on what it is you're looking for in your ideal dog and how you want to live with/what you want to do with that dog.

In any case, two walks a day plus tricks and obedience might or might not be enough, depending on the specific dog/bloodline, what you consider a "walk," and how you define "tricks and obedience."

Personally my advice is always to wait until you're out of school. Caring for a dog may mean missing out on opportunities that can have a big impact on your life down the road.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I prefer these two breeds because I want a big dog thats intelligent, and is protective. I generally have short days at uni, so basically during my semesters i am either at home or university (will have a long day approx 2/5 days a week), I do not work during semester. As for walks about 30-45min per walk, and 30min obedience training.

Thanks all for the replies so far, very helpful.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zedative View Post
I wasn't too sure if this would be the right place for this post, but here it goes:

Hey everyone, I am new here, and I hope to soon to be a first time dog owner, I have been doing plenty of research online for a few different breeds and have narrowed my search to two possible breeds, 1) border collie or 2) german shepherd.

I've come here hoping to get some people who have had personal experience with both breeds that could help guide me to buying a dog, which I will be able to give the best quality of life too.

I've read that both breeds are active and require a fair amount of exercise and stimulation/interaction, border collies more than german shepherds, I dont think this would be an issue, I have much experience handling and working with racing thoroughbreds, so I dont think working with a dog and teaching them would be so difficult.

I am currently a university student, so this means two things, a) there will be times where I will be unable to dedicate my full attention to my dog for a few days (exams, assignments etc.) this wont mean I wont take him/her for walks, it just means I can not do as much as I would like. Also this means b) Money is an issue, I dont want to buy crap food for my dog, as mentioned above, i worked with racing thoroughbreds and I understand quality is everything, giving an animal quality attention, diet, environment will result in a happier animal.

Also grooming requirements, I understand that all dogs shed (I have a family cat that sheds year round, she hates being groomed, let alone bathed). With this is mind, out of a border collie and german shepherds what would the requirements be? and what would be an easier coat to look after?

Please, anyone who could help with my situation based on the information I have given, it would be much appreciated. I forgot to mention I do have a large backyard, and I do not live in a rural area.

Also some additional info:

The backyard is fenced. A fair amount of exercise would be 2 walks a day, as well as teaching tricks/obedience, this may change on weekends if I have time to go to a dog park/beach then I will definately go there.
WELL, I'm currently a full time student at PSU so I feel like this might be my expertise. I'm a senior, not sure what year you are, and I'm also a chair of an organization and work a part time job (to give you an idea of my workload). I already have one GSD who is four, and since she is conditioned to have a huge yard at home, my parents watch her during the semester.

SO, I decided to get my second GSD while I was down here (at school). I got an 8 week old DDR (East) male GSD. He is now 6 months old. In my honest opinion, if I could go back I would probably have waited until I graduated. To explain why, I'll break down your two concerns of time and money.

First, time. I'm not sure if you are also working, but you need to take in your class schedule in account. The first month for potty training is crucial. Is your schedule set up that you'll be able to run home every one to two hours in-between classes to let the little one out? If not, do you have someone who can let them out? As young puppies, they can NOT hold it very long (and honestly shouldn't be forced to).

If you also have a job, is someone going to be able to exercise and take out your puppy for those longer class-straight-to-work days?

What about your homework ? You know that once the beginning of the semester is over you will eventually have homework every night. What about that ? Are you going to be able to go to class, get your homework done AND exercise, train and bond with your puppy? What about the nights that your friends will want to go out, are you willing to stay in?

And lastly, finals week. Is a distracting puppy going to affect your grades?

You should really evaluate these questions.

In my opinion, an answer to most of these questions is no.
In my experience, it was a "yes" for me because 1) I have a wonderful vet assistant as a roommate and 2) I pulled outrageous time efficient nights, never went out, and pretty much sacrificed everything to make my life work with my puppy. And let me tell you, it was NOT easy and I don't think the normal person could do it. If I wasn't a crazy animal lover it probably wouldn't have worked for me.

If you don't think you can devote a huge chunk of time, I would say wait. Because your time in college will most likely correlate with their puppy stages. And those are the most crucial stages you need to spend with your puppy. Your life will be MUCH easier if you wait until you graduate.


Second, money. First of all, if you're considering a purebred, especially a GSD, you must choose a reputable breeder. Reputable breeders put a lot of effort and money into ensuring they're raising quality dogs, and in return their puppies will not be cheap. My first GSD was $900 and my second GSD (the puppy I've raised here) cost me $1200. I also spent almost $180 on gas to drive and pick him up.

Next, you have the astronomical initial costs of first getting a puppy. You will need to invest in a crate, leash/collar, dishes and all the supplies that you will need. The large crate I got was $80, and he's almost out-grown it. All the random supplies like dishes,leashes, shampoos, and bed are about another $100 (that really depends on the bed).

And then of course the biggest initial expense : the vet. The puppy will need not just a couple, but a SERIES of shots. At least 3 parvo/distemper shots (I went with four to be safe), two Lyme (optional but highly recommended in tick infested areas), bordatella (sp?)(optional but highly recommended in large dog populated areas ), and of course rabies. They will also want to do an initial exam as a new puppy, and a check up later. This will add up immensely. And since they are all 3-4 weeks apart, the cost will be practically right on top of each other. Then, you will need a flea and worm preventative EVERY month. Since your puppy will constantly change weights, you will have to buy them individually (instead of bulk sale). Revolution is $20 a dose (depending on your vet).

At one visit (yes, ONE), my bill was $137. Mind you he had three visits in a row.

After your puppy receives all this, his vet bills will begin to lessen because the boosters are farther apart. However, what if he was to have a medical emergency? Would anyone be willing to step in and front you the money?

Then of course, we have food, bones, and toys. Dogs, of course, eat the most as puppies. I was going through a bag every two weeks. I fed him Blue Buffalo, which averages around $55 a bag. It's slowed as I have changed his portions but again, it still isn't cheap as you know. Bones and toys, well you'll probably want to replace those weekly for awhile as he's exploring his teeth, I think I spent about $20 a week on new bones and toys.

And since you are a first time dog owner choosing between the most intelligent breeds, you would probably want to enroll in a puppy class. More time and more money.

Puppies in general are IMMENSELY expensive, and at one point I donated plasma to be able to afford his Blue buffalo one week while I was in-between paychecks.

As for shedding, they shed a decent amount. As for the comparison between the breeds I'm not sure.

What I'm trying to get is all the things I DIDN'T think about before getting him, and wish I had. Though my parents would happily intervene cost wise, the time was never irreplaceable. Granted I am VERY happy with my puppy, sometimes I think about all the time and money I would have if I would have waited a little longer to get him. I hope you'll consider all of this before making your decision.






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Old 01-21-2014, 08:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zedative View Post
I prefer these two breeds because I want a big dog thats intelligent, and is protective. I generally have short days at uni, so basically during my semesters i am either at home or university (will have a long day approx 2/5 days a week), I do not work during semester. As for walks about 30-45min per walk, and 30min obedience training.

Thanks all for the replies so far, very helpful.
Lastly, a GSD during the puppy stages will need more attention than this. For the first few months you will need to devote at least half your day to them if you want to ensure they turn into well behaved, stable dogs. And, border collies are rather small-medium sized dogs.


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Old 01-21-2014, 09:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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@ Mocha,
At one visit (yes, ONE), my bill was $137. Mind you he had three visits in a row.

I saw that and went omg lucky, one vet for one dog for me is 235.00 and even at 235.00 the first thought that crosses my mind is "oh thank god its not more", vets (some of them) are insanely expensive. I should also add that my dog is 100% healthy, i cant imagine what it would be if one was sick.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misslesleedavis1 View Post
@ Mocha,
At one visit (yes, ONE), my bill was $137. Mind you he had three visits in a row.

I saw that and went omg lucky, one vet for one dog for me is 235.00 and even at 235.00 the first thought that crosses my mind is "oh thank god its not more", vets (some of them) are insanely expensive. I should also add that my dog is 100% healthy, i cant imagine what it would be if one was sick.
It was only for a check up, one vaccine and a fecal exam

I always think the same thing.... I can't imagine what it would be if he actually had something seriously wrong with him. One time he had a bump and I thought it be something serious and luckily it was something simple. The differences in vets are insane. My vet back home is half the cost. One time a visit was only $40.... Imagine that!


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