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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I hope some folks have had a similar experience or know someone who has and can give me their perspective on this:

I'd planned to bring a dog home this May. I'd set aside this whole past year to find the right dog for me and do everything carefully and thoughtfully. As fate would have it, I found the right dog much quicker than I thought and he's brilliant. Because I cannot bring him home until the last of March (due to scheduling and several other factors), my pup's been staying with the trainer from whom I bought him and I'm driving quite a way each weekend to train.

I know this isn't ideal. The trainer is spending much more time with him than I am, and while my pup does seem to like me, he sees the trainer as the "head guy."

My question is this, how long do you think it's going to take when I bring him home in March for his loyalty to transfer to me-months, years, ever?

The trainer is doing such a marvelous job and my dog is learning like crazy. I'm a bit concerned that 1) I'm not going to know enough to maintain his training, and 2) his loyalty will always be divided.

I'd really appreciate anyone's thoughts on this. I don't have anyone else to ask, and my family already thinks I'm a little nutty for the time I've spent thinking about it!

One last comment, because of my pretty hectic schedule (I have three jobs) and the time it takes me to drive so far to train, and the fact that it gets dark early, I'm only able to spend about two hours a week with my dog (I know, that's awful, isn't it?). The trainer said yesterday that he'd really hoped I'd be able to come two or three times a week to train. I felt guilty and careless to have to tell him that there's just no feasible way I can do that. I know what he recommends is the best scenario, but I literally cannot do that. How bad is that?
 

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Is your schedule going to slow down when you bring your pup home? I worry less about your question with transfer of loyalty than about how much time you will be able to spend when he comes home. I hope you will be able to slow down a little when you get him home, and I think from what you said that may be why you are not bringing him home yet.

As to your question, he should transfer he loyalty without any problems if..

1. He will need lots of your time to bond and train him.
2. Practice NILF with him from the beginning, gsd's have to have a leader, either you are it or he will take the job. If he gets the idea that he has to take on the roll you will have a problem.

My older girl Lexi was one year old when I got her. She had been fostered since she was found on the streets when she was about 5 months old. Within a day she was a velcro dog for me at home and within a week she was starting her SAR training. She was fostered by females so she was prime to bond with another strong female very quickly.

I hope this helps a little, please don't take the schedule question as being critical, I just had to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Sharon, I think my schedule is more a question right now because it's just impossible for me to manage to work full time and drive over an hour several times a week for training. I don't think it'll be a problem (and I welcome any comments on this) to spend time with him when he's home. Of course I work full time, but I plan to do extended daily walks and play/train in the evenings. Does that sound like enough time to you?

When I worry about the time issue I think, "I know other people with good dogs and good relationships with dogs don't spend their whole days with their dogs--they have to work sometime!" So I feel like it can be done, I'm just trying to visualize it.

Sometimes I have such specific questions that I ask about getting him acclimated to my home that the trainer looks at me like I'm insane. It's just that everything is new to me and I want to do things right in order to prevent bad habits or miscommunication (which would be my fault, of course, for not communicating clearly).

I've planned for so long for a dog, and, crazy as it sounds, I'm actually kind of scared I'm going to blow it. This is something I absolutely must get over or else I'm going to create problems. The thing is that I honestly don't know how to "get over it!"
 

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make the time and go visit your puppy more often. you can visit your dog whether it's day time or night time. you can visit your puppy late at night or early morning. if you don't train your puppy everytime you visit that's ok because he'll still get to know you. i wouldn't worry about your dog bonding with the trainer. he's going to bond with you after you bring him home.

we brought our boy home at 9 weeks old. before we brought our boy home we asked our neighbors on both sides could they help with the puppy. they were glad to help out. our one neighbor would come in sometimes 3 or 4 times a day to take care of our puppy. she trained him to do several things. our dog is 19 months old now. our neighbor still takes care of him when we're out. when my dog hears the neighbors come home he'll go to the door because he wants to see them. sometimes i let him out an he over and says hello. after the neighbors play with him i'll call him or my neighbors says "go home" and he comes running. for as much time as my neighbor has spent with and spends with our dog i know he's mine and i know i'm his.

when you bring your dog home i think he's going to know he's yours and he's going know your his. i also think from the time you bring your dog home he's going to know his new home. when you start feeding him, training him, playing with him the bond is going to start. i do think you should visit your dog more often. make the time. i also think if you don't visit your dog more often he's still going to bond with you just fine.

so with 3 jobs do you have time for a dog? it sounds like you need a sitter or someone to come in and help you take care of your dog.
good luck and visit your dog more often. it might be time consuming but the end reward is priceless for you and your dog.

good luck!!!!
 

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Lucy, in all honesty, I don't think your schedule is conducive at all to any dog (only able to work with the dog two hours a week). Will you have time to MAINTAIN the training? What about potty breaks? What about playtime, exercising, hang-out time, etc? It sounds like you'll have a young-ish pup, so what about socialization? There is a LOT more to owning a dog than just going to training, make sure you can swing it. I work full time and am typically out of the house between 645a-5p including drive time but not including any stop at the grocery store if needed, but DF is home until 1145a so our schedule works for having someone around most of the day and having ample potty breaks. I have time in the evening for exercise time, training time, and class time plus we're both home on the weekends, but you know it STILL doesn't feel like enough. Renji has been an angel since I've been home from work the past two weeks but he's more of a pest when we're on our work schedule because he's alone a few hours five days a week. So please REALLY think about your schedule, don't try to sugarcoat it; the only one who will suffer most will be your dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, DoggieDad. I appreciate your advice. I have a full-time teaching job, and then two evenings of the week I teach somewhere else. So it's not like every minute of my life is filled with work. I've been waiting so long for a dog that I just figured it was now or never.

Short of taking time off work, I just don't see where I can fit another 2 hours (taking into account travel time) into my days during the week to visit. I think all I can do is just devote bunches and bunches of time once he comes home (I'm plannning to bring him home at the start of my spring break week so I can be on-hand for all that early adjustment stuff).

I'm definitely not above soliciting the help/services of a trusted caretaker to come over and help during the days sometimes. I think I'll need to interview people to make sure I trust them enough, though! I've already interviewed a few vets to find the right one for us.

So much to learn...thanks again for taking a moment to write.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Diana, thanks for the input. I don't know if I explained myself clearly (or maybe I did and you're still thinking I don't have enough time, in which case please feel free to express that opinion). Right now my pup is with the trainer from whom I bought him. He's almost 3 years old. Right now he's so far away from me that I can't seem to get time to train more often than two hours.

Once he comes home with me in March, though, I'll be with him much, much more and spending more time training, etc....

I appreciate your candor and I agree that I do not want my dog to suffer any shortcoming on my part.
 

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i see you have posted a 1,000 times. do you have a dog now? is this your first puppy? you seem nervous. i have two children. when my wife was pregnant and i knew we were going to have a baby, i had the same feeling when we were going to bring a puppy home. don't tell my children this." it takes a whole forum to raise a puppy". don't worry you've got lots of help here. what's your puppy's name?
 

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1. Teaching usually has spring break, TG break, winter/xmas break. Teachers days usually start early but end early too.

2. You have two nights obligated.

3. There are two weekend days.

I know there's prep time and when the kids are out, the teachers aren't necessarily out. I also understand that you could be teaching something other than the standard schedule. I would find more time to visit the pup now but if you can't do that, I assume that when the drive time diminishes (you will still want to take him places) that you will be working with your pup more, that you will find you have more time for him.

Many of us have gotten puppies under less than ideal situations. The pup will probably always remember the trainer and be happy to see him/her. That doesn't mean he won't adopt to your home and be happy there.
 

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Quote:Once he comes home with me in March, though, I'll be with him much, much more and spending more time training, etc...
That's better than my initial impression! Plus, he's three years old, I thought this was a young pup. He's an adult now so you won't have to worry about a ton of socialization. When you bring him home, spend as much time as possible with him bonding. Take a week off work if you can. Do FUN things, don't necessarily go to training, just let him get used to you and living with you, go to parks, play fetch, go on hikes, take him for rides in the car, etc. Hand feed him in exchange for light obedience. That will help get bonding going. Don't forget to leave him alone a few hours on most days so he doesn't see you 24/7 and get a shocker when you go back to work. After that, go to training classes, things should be fine. He'll be happy to see your trainer but he'll soon bond with you. Your trainer should also know what to do to make sure he focuses on you.

Your schedule sounds better than I thought and I think you can make it work. Make sure he gets plenty of physical exercise but also TONS of mental exercise and training outside of classes. Training sessions can be short and sweet - five minutes in the morning, five minutes when you get home, five minutes at night, before feeding time, etc. Brainwork is the best way to assure a happy dog.
 

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First, congratulations on your new dog!


I don't really have much to add, just wanted to tell you that I recently got a 2.5 year old male GSD. He is a suspicious type who doesn't care much for strangers and he needs a strong leader, and it took a good month for him to form a strong bond with me. For those weeks, I was the only one who petted, trained, walked, and fed him (I did take him to work with me, he stayed crated in the car and we took short walks on my breaks). I did not take him out for socialization, I did not let anyone outside my family meet him. Now, he looks to me for everything good and at the same time is happy to get petted by complete strangers.

If I were you, I would spend more time with him while he is with the trainer. An hour drive is not very far. If this is your first dog, it will be helpful for you to not only see what training methods he responds best to, but how to live and interact with him on a daily basis.

Don't worry about messing up the dog, just accept that you will make some mistakes and know that you can also fix them. I have completely trained my first dog twice, in two different languages, because the first time around I did such a poor job.


Good luck with him!
 

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DoggieDad, thanks for the kindness. I have indeed posted a lot and this is my first dog and I am a little bit nervous about doing this right! I appreciate all sincere thoughts and advice about this adventure. I can't even imagine having a human baby; I'd probably go nuts. It's good to have trustworthy people who mean well.

And thanks, Diana, for the specific advice. I'm definitely taking note of your good suggestions. I appreciate your honesty.

I didn't mention that my incredibly supportive husband has been quite sick for a while. He's stabilized for the past year, but he will need a heart transplant at some point in the (we hope very, very distant) future. I give him much of my time and attention, so Middleof Nowhere, that could be the missing element I neglected to mention earlier. My husband means the world to me and I work several jobs to stockpile funds for the medically-uncertain future, and I feel as though I "stockpile" experiences with him, too, because each day is such a gift. While it's true that I do have a couple of evenings in the week where my time isn't tied up, I treasure those rare moments of good time with him. Additionally, we can count on one doctor's appointment a week for him and I go to those with him. I should have mentioned that earlier, but it weighs so much on our lives already that I guess I try not to think more about it than I must.
 

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Yikes, good luck with your hubby! We have an organ transplant in the close family, there were harrowing moments but the difference it has made in health is amazing. I'm sure you're attending all the transplant sessions and things they have to prepare for the time, but we didn't have that (it was an emergency transplant) and for a full year things were off kilter (not only was he sick prior, but after the transplant he dealt with a major fungal infection). Their dog spent time in the kennel, I babysat him for a bit, it's rough. Are you SURE you want to divide your time between your husband and a dog, especially such an intense breed? It absolutely can be done but it will be very difficult at times. Organ transplants are nothing to sneeze at and though you say "distant future," what's the actual timeframe? Within a month? Year? Ten years? What if you need to go to an out of state hospital? We had to move him from Florida- the medical Dark Ages- to a great teaching hospital in the midwest. I don't know what we would have done if we had our dog at the time, but their dog is an older beagle and while he was very stressed out, he certainly didn't need a whole lot of activity like my bonehead does.

Please be sure you do not spread yourself thin! It sounds like you have a major upcoming event that you are very concerned about (obviously), do you really want to add the stress of dog ownership in the mix? Again, it can be done, and dogs are wonderful, but everyone here will tell you that they do bring in their own stresses and concerns. I certainly applaud the time you're putting in thinking through all this.

Quote:I feel as though I "stockpile" experiences with him, too, because each day is such a gift.
Yes. That you have this chance is a treasure.
 

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I think something that is throwing most posters off is that you keep calling him a "pup". A canine that is close to 3yo is NOT a pup.

If you called him a DOG, it might help. (Because even though you post that he is 2YO, since you then call him a "pup" folks might think that you ment to post he is 2 MO.)

Not trying to be critical, just trying to get you the most accurate and helpfull responses.
 
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