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Old 11-17-2012, 11:01 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Leila,

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Yes, I've definitely decided to not get a puppy...
Well, just to give you something of a contrarian point of view...

The first thing I'll point out is that if you get a 5 or 6 year old dog, understand that 6 or 7 years is going to wind up passing very, very quickly.

Also, while it is a lot of effort to raise a puppy, there's something of an immeasurable reward too. When you bring home a puppy, you wind up knowing your dog intimately. You saw every phase of her growth, and know every bit of her life.

Also, while I've owned GSD's all my life, and can't see myself ever owning any other breed of dog, if you look around here for awhile you'll see pretty clearly that the breed does have some serious issues. There are some pretty poorly bred dogs out there that can be very hard to handle. If you get a dog whose history you don't know, you could wind up with some of those issues that are so ingrained you may wind up never getting them out.

You're really in a situation where you can raise a pup if you want to. It's a challenge, but it's certainly far from impossible. And if you bring a pup home at, say, 12 weeks, you're only looking 5 months until she's past the land-shark stage. And these dogs tend to be pretty smart; they're easy to house train and it's not all that hard to get them to learn to come, sit, stay and heel.

Ranger's 6 months old and is completely house-trained, comes, sits and stays perfectly, and heels as well as you'd expect for a puppy's attention span, which is well enough that it's not a chore to walk him.

He also likes to stay in the back yard from time to time. In fact, I also work out of the house, but I do travel a lot. My wife works outside the house so when I'm traveling, she usually leaves him outside if the weather's nice. That means he gets to chase a squirrel every now and then if he wants to. But mostly he just sleeps by the door.

Also, look around here just a little and you'll get an idea of the different lines of GSD's. Get a pup, and you can make a determination of which line is best for you, select a breeder that breeds that line, and get a pup that -- while there are no guarantees -- you can reasonably expect to have good hips, good health, to be your companion for over ten years, and to be the type of dog you're hoping to get.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:58 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Typhoon View Post

The first thing I'll point out is that if you get a 5 or 6 year old dog, understand that 6 or 7 years is going to wind up passing very, very quickly. So? Getting an older dog takes all the burden from having a puppy and they are very special.

Also, while it is a lot of effort to raise a puppy, there's something of an immeasurable reward too. When you bring home a puppy, you wind up knowing your dog intimately. You saw every phase of her growth, and know every bit of her life. It's a huge leap to take on a puppy for a first time dog owner as you can tell from all the threads about it. They make a great second dog once you know what you are doing.

Also, while I've owned GSD's all my life, and can't see myself ever owning any other breed of dog, if you look around here for awhile you'll see pretty clearly that the breed does have some serious issues. There are some pretty poorly bred dogs out there that can be very hard to handle. If you get a dog whose history you don't know, you could wind up with some of those issues that are so ingrained you may wind up never getting them out. An adult dog has a known temperament and you will know if the dog fits your lifestyle or not right away. You will know if the dog is kid or cat safe and what if any training issues it may have.

He also likes to stay in the back yard from time to time. In fact, I also work out of the house, but I do travel a lot. My wife works outside the house so when I'm traveling, she usually leaves him outside if the weather's nice. That means he gets to chase a squirrel every now and then if he wants to. But mostly he just sleeps by the door. Hopefully your pup isn't destroying the yard or barking all day annoying the neighbors. Maybe chewing the siding off the house in his spare time?

Also, look around here just a little and you'll get an idea of the different lines of GSD's. Get a pup, and you can make a determination of which line is best for you, select a breeder that breeds that line, and get a pup that -- while there are no guarantees -- you can reasonably expect to have good hips, good health, to be your companion for over ten years, and to be the type of dog you're hoping to get.
Too many people get a puppy with no idea what to do with it and then dump it once it gets a little older when it becomes unmanageable. Way better chance of success with getting an adult first, learn about owning a dog, and then a get puppy down the road if that's what they want.

Is it possible for a first time owner to get a puppy and do it well? Yes, but it takes a special person and a lot of time and effort to do it. How many people come here failing at it?
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:05 AM   #23 (permalink)
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All rescues are not created equal. You can get a nut case of an older dog or an older dog with health issues just like you can with a puppy.

It pays to do as much homework on rescues as it does breeders.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:04 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Is it possible for a first time owner to get a puppy and do it well? Yes, but it takes a special person and a lot of time and effort to do it. How many people come here failing at it?
More than a few I'm sure.

But that doesn't mean all of them. To me, Leila sounds like someone who wouldn't be one of them. Someone who came here looking for advice with such a well-thought-out post doesn't seem like the type who'd abandon a dog down the road for any reason.

And I thought I'd at least present her with another point of view.

And my main point is simply that the time we have with them is all too brief as it is. Maybe that's colored a bit by the fact that both of my last two dogs were fine and healthy on their fifth birthday, but Kaiser never lived to see his eighth, and Harley never lived to see his ninth.

Yes, puppies are trouble, and a pain. But I also think you develop a bond with a pup that you never quite develop with an older dog. And I think Leila at least deserved to hear that point of view.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:22 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I missed all this, so...

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So? Getting an older dog takes all the burden from having a puppy and they are very special.
Understood. But GSD's only live about 12 years on average. So you're missing half the dog's life, and you're 5 or 6 years closer to the heartbreak of losing them. That was my point.

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It's a huge leap to take on a puppy for a first time dog owner as you can tell from all the threads about it. They make a great second dog once you know what you are doing.
That's a point of view, and a valid point of view, and one that's been well-represented here. But it's not the only point of view. Just to be very blunt, I think sometimes the posters here tend to be just a little too proud of themselves. Yes, a puppy is a lot of work, but it's a lot of reward too, and I've known lots of people whose first dog -- and first GSD -- has been a pup and they've done very well.

Quote:
An adult dog has a known temperament and you will know if the dog fits your lifestyle or not right away. You will know if the dog is kid or cat safe and what if any training issues it may have.
Maybe. That would depend on where you get the dog, and what the situation is. And again, it's certainly a valid point, one to be weighed in a decision. But it's not in my opinion an absolute mitigating factor.

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Hopefully your pup isn't destroying the yard or barking all day annoying the neighbors. Maybe chewing the siding off the house in his spare time?
Well if he was, I guess I wouldn't let him stay outside. Fact is, I was touched to the point of tears how much the neighbors missed Harley and reached out to me when he died. They all know Ranger now and they're glad to have him around. As far as the house goes, if he's going to chew when someone's not around, probably better siding than furniture. But he doesn't do it. If he did, then obviously I'd have to deal with it.

Understand, I'm not advocating leaving a dog outside all the time. I'm just -- again -- presenting a differing point of view.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:28 AM   #26 (permalink)
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There are plenty of younger adults to be found from breeders who kept back dogs or had dogs returned for no fault of the dog. I've seen MANY dogs around 1-2.

Puppies, while great, aren't for everyone. I got Pup at 4 months old, and enjoy her MUCH MUCH more now that she is a few months over 1. There were MANY MANY challenges that could be discouraging to first time dog owners in a breed that is a bit more challenging like this one.

That said, there are probably equally many problems with older dogs if you don't choose the right breeder/rescue.

Good luck!
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