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Discussion Starter #1
I debated whether or not I should post this, but I decided it would be nice to have lots of other feedback on this situation.

We have been doing a puppy search and had breeders fairly narrowed down. However, an interesting scenario has recently presented itself. I don't want to get into the nitty gritty details, but essentially someone has suggested that I purchase a green-ish 2 year old that would "kind of" be coming from someone I know and I know the background of the dog fairly well (I know...sounds confusing but I can't go into too many details without giving it away!). Price in this instance is not an issue, as the current "keeper" of the dog and breeder think that my aspirations would be a good fit, so the price for puppy versus this dog wouldn't be too much of a difference. The dog has not been titled, but has been tested in just about every venue you can think of.

The way I see it here are the pros and cons of each:

Puppy Pros
- well, let's be honest...puppies are adorable :) and puppy breath is awesome
- get to get the experience of training a good working line puppy from start to finish
- shape behaviors, raise, and train to how it suits our family
-satisfaction of doing it myself
- Elsa tends to accept puppies and be less dominant with them than adult dogs

Puppy Cons
- Potty training
- Lankshark phase
- Length of time before ready to title/compete/be an operational SAR dog

Adult Pros
- Mentally mature and good training foundation already in place
- No naughty puppy phase that makes you want to rip your hair out
- Dog would be ready much sooner to get out there and do things

Adult Cons
- Sort of feel like I'm "cheating" in taking a dog that already has a fair amount of training
- Some pressure (from myself, not the other party involved) to "do good" by the dog and make sure it reaches it's full potential
- Elsa tends to be very dominant and doesn't settle as well in the house with an adult

Soooooo. Any other thoughts? We were pretty much set on a puppy and then this opportunity presented itself so I definitely want to explore this option as well.
 

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- Elsa tends to be very dominant and doesn't settle as well in the house with an adult

Soooooo. Any other thoughts? We were pretty much set on a puppy and then this opportunity presented itself so I definitely want to explore this option as well.
The biggest concern I'd have would be your last one.

Before you make that final decision is it possible to have a "met and greet" to see how they interact?
 

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I personally just love puppies, and the stages they go thru. Though I don't compete with my dogs or use them in a job situation so a green dog wouldn't be one I would "need". I was offered a young green male when I was looking for a pup and declined. He was gorgeous, I saw him work, but didn't want an older "pup".
I think this has to be your personal decision, and will you regret it if you pass on this dog that is offered?
Some people don't like that puppy trial and tribulation stage, for me it is part of my "bonding time" and I love every second!
Onyx is also dominant, and a pup usually gets a pass til they mature a bit more. So that plays into my choices.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The biggest concern I'd have would be your last one.

Before you make that final decision is it possible to have a "met and greet" to see how they interact?
Yes it is. The person who currently has the dog is within driving distance so we can meet. Although I'm still leery if in the long run they'd mesh well together. She get's along well enough with other dogs, it's just having another dog in the house with her living is ANNOOOOYING because we have to constantly be watching.......

BUT...on the other hand, her BFF is another super dominant GSD male and when we puppy sit for him she actually will leave him alone in the house.
 

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I have purchased but have not yet received my first dog aquired as an adult -- she just turned three. She will be imported, she is titled, breed surveyed, excellent pedigree, hips and elbows done, and looks to be exactly what I want.

I think that there are puppies and adult dogs that should be placed, and reasons for each. Puppies are a crap shoot, but really any animal is. If you buy a dog as an adult, there is no guarantee that that dog will not develop some form of cancer or injury and die on you.

But with a puppy you put a ton of time up front, training, socializing, developing, etc. And then it is just heartbreaking when the pup drops out of your program for whatever reason, bad elbows, temperament, drives, etc. Then you have had this dog for nearly two years, and can go no further with him, do you find him a new home and try again, do you keep him, and get another, eventually, you have more dogs than you know what to do with.

I think if this is your first SAR dog, have a green, started dog makes sense. After you have done this for a while, you will know so much better what to look for in a puppy and what to do with a puppy to encourage what you need from him.

If you have trained a pup in this before, there still may be good reasons to get a started dog.

Has the new dog been health screened, ofa or a-stamped?

And where are you at when it comes to raising puppies. Sometimes in life are definitely better than others for this.

Kind of exciting whichever way you choose.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think this has to be your personal decision, and will you regret it if you pass on this dog that is offered?
I dunno..I was really liking the idea of a puppy for the reasons you said. I guess the only way I'd "regret" passing the dog up is if the new puppy ended up being a complete dud and having nerve issues, HD, or something like that...but that's the gamble with puppies, even if they come from the best breeders.

I know it's a decision we'll have to make on our own, but it's good to talk through things with the good people on here!
 

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If I needed a dog for a specific purpose I would probably cheat and get an older dog. That way you know the dog's strengths and weaknesses, how capable the dog is in the given job, and have a lesser chance of the dog not working out in it's intended venue. A puppy even from a great breeder is still somewhat of a crap shoot as to what kind of dog and how capable the dog will grow to be. If you know this older dog fits the bill why not.

With Elsa though maybe some warm up meetings before a commitment, and of course you already know you'll have to be able to invest the time to supervise, train, and get the two used to each other. There is also the possibility Elsa will never tolerate the dog but you have the best insight here on that one. Elsa may not tolerate a new puppy either permanently in the home so again that's something you would know better than us.

For me I like a puppy over an older dog mostly because of the fact I have 2 small kids and have found puppies raised with kids tend to tolerate them better. I also love the puppy fazes despite house training and puppy nips. I don't compete in any venue so temperament is the only real important qualifier for me, but since this dog is being purchased for work I would go with the sure bet:)
 

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One thing about meet and greet between dogs. I don't know about yours, but mine are usually fine with dogs that are strangers, but are not so enthusiastic about dogs coming over to the house, I mean there is all out dog aggression -- every dog, every where; then there are problems with strange dogs, and then there are problems with same sex dogs, and then there are problems with pack order dogs.

When my brother brought Jazzy over, it was two months before WWIII happened.
 

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I agree with what some others have said.
Just because you let the other dog and Elsa meet on neutral territory does NOT mean that they will get along at HER house.

And often a new dog is on it's "best behaviuor" when it first moves into a new home. But let a few weeks of months go by, and the dog recognizes the place as "home" and it's true colors start to emerge.

The "puppy stage" is my favorite time. I LOVE puppies. I like adults too, but NOTHING beats a baby puppy!

Is the "green dog" a male or a female?
 

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Also wanted to say that unless the 2yo has had quite a bit of actual SAR "training", it might take just as long to get it "operational" than it would a puppy. And if you started with a puppy, you would have a longer "working life".

Meaning that with the 2yo, say it taken 18 months to 2 years for it to be certified. The dog is at LEAST 3 1/2 to 4 years old before it can go on searches. If you start with a puppy and it takes 18 months to 2 years, the dog is only 2 years old before it is "operational".
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The person that has him now used to do SAR, and has imprinted him heavily on SchH style tracking and has done some air-scent stuff (basics like hideaways). She doesn't think he'd take that long to certify...but obviously you never know. So much depends on how the dog settles, how we bond as a team...and obviously how he responds at that age to totally being swarmed with training like that.
 

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Have you trained a SAR dog from a pup before?
 

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No, Elsa is my first attempt (about 2.5 years). Some ways it might be easier with a puppy because you can take your time. Might feel more rushed with an adult because of age? Even though he's some some tracking it's totally different and definitely will be a new experience.
 

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I would think that him being heavily imprinted on SchH style tracking wouldn't necessarily be a good thing. SchH tracking is an obedience exercise and isn't that great for an SAR dog is it?

In SAR you really don't need painfully slow and "methodical". You want to hurry up and find the person.

BUT I guess that would also depend on what type of SAR dog you want him to be. And how easily he would be to "speed up" if you want a trailing dog.
 

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I would think that him being heavily imprinted on SchH style tracking wouldn't necessarily be a good thing. SchH tracking is an obedience exercise and isn't that great for an SAR dog is it?

In SAR you really don't need painfully slow and "methodical". You want to hurry up and find the person.

BUT I guess that would also depend on what type of SAR dog you want him to be. And how easily he would be to "speed up" if you want a trailing dog.
Well, I guess you could say that it's a lot easier for a dog to go from imprinting in SchH tracking to airscent rather than airscent to SchH.
 

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My thoughts? Go for the puppy!

My biggest concern would be the same as Vinnie's: Much better chance of Elsa accepting a new puppy than accepting a new adult dog.

The thing is, do you want a SAR dog, or do you want a dog that you can train in SAR with? If it is the first one, I would consider the adult. If it is the second, I would take my chances with a pup.
 

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Well, I guess you could say that it's a lot easier for a dog to go from imprinting in SchH tracking to airscent rather than airscent to SchH.
I agree. That's why I said it depends on what type of SAR dog you want. If you want a trailing dog, he would need to be sped up. If you are wanting to do mainly air scent, then it likely wouldn't matter.

Course if you use a totally different command if he is going to be trailing, he shouldn't have any trouble learning that he doesn't have to be so slow when looking for a person. Afterall GSDs AREN'T Stupid! LOL.

I still say PUPPY, PUPPY, PUPPY!!! :D
 

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I prefer puppies, that way I know what the foundation/training is gonna be.. And it's something that I enjoy doing.. Taking that blank slate and shaping it.. Yes puppies can be frustrating or a crap shoot, but then again so can adult dogs. Even dogs that have had some type of foundation work.. Speaking from my own experience and watching others.. Getting an adult dog isn't always easier or a guarantee..
 

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I had to do a lot of soul searching recently to answer that question. I bond more with a puppy, going through the whole trials and tribulations experience, than bringing in an adult. My other pack members (dog and cat) adjust better to a baby than to an adult. We all (my 'pack') can shape and mold the young one better so they fit in easier.
Puppies are a PITA, however - they're cute for a reason!
 
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