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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, my name is Jason and I have been cruising these forums for about 6 months or so before joining and now posting. I am finally heading out to see a breeder this weekend and take a look at his dogs that he will be breeding in the spring, and with any luck I will be able to purchase one. I will be a senior in college next year and if I am able to live in a house I would love to have a GSD more than anything. Taking the dog for long walks or runs in the morning is something I can do without any problems and same with more exercise either mid day or sometime at night.

First thing is a GSD right for me at this age and in that environment? Also would a long run in the morning and more playing/exercising at night be enough?

Second is there any major questions to ask the breeder when I head to his place this weekend? I have already discussed hip and elbow dysplasia. I'll be seeing at least one of the parents this weekend, I believe the mother. What are some other major points of interest I should bring up this weekend.

Thanks for all of your help in advance guys
 

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I think an older dog (2ish) from a rescue would be a better fit for someone starting a new job in his first new place. Puppies are sooo much work.

That said, there's a lot of resorces online for breeder questions.

? why do you breed
? what do your dogs have to offer the gene pool
? what titles do the dogs have?
? are the working line or show line?
? what do you do to socialize the puppies before they come home
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am not starting a new job just for clarification. I am a student that will be living with two or three other guys. I will have about three or four classes per term at school and will be able to devote most of my time to a dog. Is a rescue dog still the best option or maybe an older dog from a breeder?
 

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i also agree that maybe shooting for an older pup would be better, then get your "puppy fix" in a couple years once your more settled and also more experienced with the breed.

a couple reasons why a puppy will be hard... first, raising a puppy with roommates is tough - depending on how dog savvy and dependable they are - its almost as if you'd have to train them before training your pup. its not their dog, but they'll be involved in the training/socializing more than you may think, just by living there.

something else to think about - if you got a pup, it'd be at least a year before their joints can support morning runs, esp if you get a male (they mature slower) and if you'll be running on hard surfaces.

however - if you decided on a puppy - make sure that your training doesnt only allow the dog to fit into your current lifestyle, but any and every situation that may arise you in the future. like the days when you dont have roommates to let the dog out here and there, or when your schedule is different, or when you may have to move into an apartment, etc. most importantly - you'll probably be having a girlfriend, wife, kids, within the next 15yrs so you have to make sure that s/he's socialized around kids, other dogs, (if you move in with a girlfriend that has cats) those sorts of things.

just some food for thought. as far as personal experience - i got both my dogs at 10months - so far thats been the "golden age" and i'll always shoot for that age.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the information so far guys. I do have a question with those of you who have dealt with rescues. When it comes to rescues I know they like to do a home visit but if there is a particular one that I may like more than another is the rescue willing to make exceptions if I live further away?
 

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I agree with everyone else, puppies are hard work and are VERY needy and time consuming. I have a pup right now, she is 7 weeks and is very demanding, it is just a good thing I work at home. As far as the run I agree with Camerfodder, I have a 3 yr old GSD, and I didn't start running him until he was 1 1/2 yrs old, but running for him in the morning and then walking twice later on during the day and playing ball at lunch time was enough excercise for him. Both of my GSD's came from a breeder, however they were very young, I think shelters are a great place to look first though.
 

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Ditto to the excellent information given above.

I also heartily recommend a GSD (at least 2 years old) adopted from a rescue.

(Puppies <u>are</u> a lot of work. And those walks every 4 hours can start to lose their charm really fast!)

Have you read the book <u>German Shepherds for Dummies</u>?

Please don't be put off or insulted by the title. The book does have a lot of useful information.

I think it's <u>great</u> that you are giving such attention and such consideration to this very important decision of whether or not to add a dog to your life. Both you and your dog (whether adopted or purchased now or later) will be happier for it!
 

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I agree that an older pup is a better fit for you. I did adopt a 10 week old puppy from a shelter when I was living with 3 roommates. I was able to take her to work with me once I got her potty trained but when I was working the day shift (I worked 1st and 2nd shift) it was too busy to take her so she stayed home with my roommates. They loved her but made all kinds of mistakes with her. One time they even forgot to put her back in the house at night and I came home at 2am and found her asleep on the porch in the middle of the winter!


They also didn't take kindly to her eating their stuff which gsd puppies are famous for doing! And it was much harder to housebreak her with that many people too since no one was as consistent as me.

If I had to do it all over again I would adopt. That said, it may be harder for you to adopt from a rescue because you are still in college and you don't own your own home. Shelters, and especially SPCAs and Humane Societies, tend to be a little more lenient and usually you need a note from your landlord and some references but that's it.

Finally, I did adopt a dog when I was young and I do want to say that it changed my life. I lost a lot of freedom. I gained a wonderful companion and haven't been dogless since but it is something to think about...they do have a way of forcing you to settle down really quickly because they want to be with you all of the time!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
^Thanks for the advice there was some good stuff in there. One of my main questions with shelters is how quickly do they pick up on training when they are older say 2 years old? Is crate training and basic commands like sit and stay, much harder at those ages or will it still come somewhat natural?
 

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Oh gosh, the guy I got a 4yo was such an attention hog that he really caught on fast to obedience work.

I got a 2yo dog for my last two years of college, the next stint in grad school & 10 more years of my life. (He died at 16) This was one of the best things I ever did. Yes, it limited where I could live, sometimes I was told to move or get rid of the dog (I moved). The dog went on road trips with me, the dog changed my social life (who am I kidding? I didn't have one to change!) The dog was a big commitment but a pure joy.
 

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It should be no problem to train an older dog.

I got my first pup at ten weeks old when I was going to school full time and working full time. I was going to wait until school was out, but well, I asked my landlord when my friend had pups and they said fine, so well, I went ahead and thought a couple of months wouldn't make a difference.

I was wrong. I ended up with a high energy dominant working line pup that was a terrible match to me and my circumstances.

However, I have had other pups/dogs that would have been fine in the same circumstances.

I suggest that you get a middle-of-the road pup, not one with super high drives, and not one that is very timid. You do not want the most intelligent pup in the litter or the most independent. What eight week old puppy can take the title of most intelligent anyway? But this pup is likely to be a challenge, and probably better for an experienced dog person with a job in store for it.

An easy going, laid back pup that is not easily startled and will not run and hide is probably a better pup for you. In time, it will probably have plenty of energy to take a run with you, but it will not be so energetic that it will need to vent its pent up energy on your couch.

Whether you try rescue, shelter, or breeder, plan in your budget of money and time, obedience classes. You go for eight weeks, then for six or eight more, then for six or eight more. It will expose your dog to dog people and other dogs and make life with your dog much easier. A well-mannered dog is a joy to have and training is how you get there.

Good luck.
 
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