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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed a trending thread for people currently on waitlists, and even though I'm not in the market for a puppy yet, it did make me wonder:

How soon is too soon to contact a breeder to inquire about applying for his/her waiting list?

How long can one expect to wait from between being accepted for the waitlist to being eligible for a puppy in a particular litter or being matched with a pup?

Does/should the timeline change if the person inquiring is unable to predict his/her exact living situation (where they might live, day-to-day schedule, family situation, etc) in the not-so-distant future?

For instance, I'm considering going to grad school in 2013, and would consider raising a pup during that time, but I wouldn't be certain which school or where I'd be living until early-to-mid 2012. Should anyone unsure of their exact living situation wait to nail down the details before speaking with a breeder?

I included my situation only as an example of a type of circumstance that may arise for many people, whether they're considering a job change, relocation, etc -- I am mostly interested in how the timeline works for anyone researching a pup, and how it might change based on the person's situation.

Any thoughts? What was your personal experience during the research/applying/waitlist process?
 

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From what I've been told and what I see, I think that once you are serious about getting a dog, you should start looking for a breeder 6 months- 1 year before you get the dog.

Like for example, take my case.

This is my last year here at this community college. I live at home with my parents. Now, next year I am officially moving to the town of the university I'm going to. If everything goes well, I'll get a puppy after I have settled into my rental home or apartment and before I start classes. I'll have a month or two to spend with my puppy.

Now, the reason I say 6 months - 1 year is because when you find that breeder, there is no guarantee that their upcoming litter will suit you or that they will have a recent or upcoming litter at all. I have heard some people find their breeder and having to wait a 1 year for the breeder to do another breeding or a breeding that produces a pup suitable for them.

I've always wanted a GSD. So I took my time, did research, and concluded that a is one dog that does fit me. Then, I went on a breeder search. I had to find a good breeder that breeds what I was looking for in my area. I didn't find the perfect breeder in terms of price, but it's close enough to where I am fully comfortable with this breeder and like this breeder.

Really, if you're serious about getting a GSD or any breeder, I don't think it's ever too early to look for a breeder and stay in contact with that breeder. The wait is long, but when that time comes, the fact that you kept talking with that breeder and kept up with the breeder will only having you gaining something instead of losing.

That's my 2 cents and how I feel.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow, thanks GSD Fan -- you definitely answered my question! I'm in a similar situation as you -- I've always wanted a GSD (essentially grew up with them at my grandmother's) and I have done quite a bit of research on my own. Like I said, I'm not in the market at the moment (I go to school in downtown LA, and live in a no-pets 2bd apt with a number of roommates) but it's definitely something I will be able to commit to in the future. I have done some breeder research and have a good idea of what I'm looking for, and now it seems I should be contacting them earlier than I thought!! Good luck to you with school and your pup, and thanks so much for your response!
 

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I don't particularly think you have to be settled and know where you're going to live before getting a puppy.

We got ours in the winter of my senior year in high school, and I wasn't sure where I was going to college. We moved an hour away and found a place that allowed pets. Money wasn't an issue for us though either.

I think if you KNOW you will be able to afford living somewhere that will accept dogs and know you'll make the time it isn't an issue.

Just my opinion though.
 

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I waited until I was settled personally. So often people have the best intention to get a dog, provide it love, exercise, training, and time only to find out getting settled wasn't as easy as they thought. Money is tighter than expected, cars break, jobs are lost, and a slue of other things you can't predict now. If you know your going to be going back to school and don't have an idea of where you'll live, work, or what your schedule will be like it may be best to get those ducks lined up first to avoid breaking your own heart later when you have fallen in love with a dog you can't give a stable life. JMO though and it doesn't always end up bad especially if your family is supportive but do give it some thought. If you got a pup now the one bonus is that it would be 2-3 years old before you'd have to move and be reasonably trained and out of the butthead puppy stages. Just remember when I rented I paid $100 extra per month in rent to have my dog which made it so I had to pick up a few bar shifts at night after school and my other job just to make all my bills. If your the type of person who can and is willing to do this go for it:)
 

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@DJEtzel: I jealous you were able to find pet-friendly housing near your school! I'm fortunate that money isn't a huge factor at this point, but I go to USC, where there is no nearby pet-friendly housing, and I don't have my car here, which is another problem -- I'd need it to go to training/schutzhund (which I'm definitely interested in, but still need to research re: time commitment w/ school) and more importantly to get to a vet in case of emergency. So hopefully law school will work out.

@Zoeys mom: I have the same concerns -- right now, I reasonably understand the amount of time training/exercising/etc a pup would be and I would never bring a puppy home without a realistic plan, but I do know that things change that might even be out of my control, and then there's a dog's well-being in the balance. I try to go day-to-day right now thinking "Okay, it's finals, and I'm so busy. If I had a dog right now, what would I change to accommodate her today?" So far so good, but law school is a whole different beast. But as you said, upon graduation I'd have a more mature three year old on my hands by the time I'd be working full time, and I'd have a more flexible schedule with classes during puppyhood.

It's a big decision (it's a little ways out, but I'm a planner!) and it isn't one I would make lightly. It helps to get some insight from people who have been there before, so thank you so much for your input!
 

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Well here was my situation and you can take from it what you will. I'm currently on a waiting list for a pup have been for a little while now (about 5-6 months) My husband and I moved to Korea (he's Army) we knew we wanted a dog when we got home and we knew we wanted our first to be a GSD (had GSd's before along with other breeds and fostered) Shortly after getting to Korea I started looking for everything I wanted in the breed what lines I wanted what I wanted to do with the dog sport wise etc... I tried to make sure all my ducks were in a row before ever contacting the breeder. I figured if a breeder wouldn't respond to me a year + out from purchasing they probably weren't gonna be much for support after they got my money either. Now granted keep in mind they are very busy so I don't expect them to be my best friend with multiple calls and emails a week when I'm over a year out from buying a pup but deifnitely the initial contact and build a good relationship then maybe every few months just an email touching base making sure everyone is still on the same page etc..

I definitely think if you know it's gonna be awhile nothing wrong with touching base with a breeder and get approved to have one of their pups let them know about when you are looking to get a dog because at least then you are on the waiting list and if your situation changes and you need more time or even maybe less time and they can generally work with you.
 

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I didn't know I was going to be in the market for a puppy. My dog died unexpectedly in a freak accident in July and I was devastated. I knew that I was going to need a pup sooner rather than later to help fill the hole in my heart, but luckily I'm a "breeder stalker" and already had a good idea of who was in my area.

From there I figured out which ones had litters on the ground or upcoming, began communicating with them and visiting them. I picked the one that made the best impression on me-- dogs, owner, and facilities, hands down a truly impressive breeder.

Total time from deciding to get a puppy to making the deposit was less than two months. Of course now I'm on waiting for a puppy that won't be ready to go home with me until January and that's if there's a suitable one in this litter. If not I'm waiting for the next one.

Hope that helps. If you do your research and have it narrowed down to a few breeders it doesn't have to take very long after you decide to get moving if you're the kind of buyer breeders want for their dogs.
 
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