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This is what we did in preparation for Jordan...

1. Researched the breed - we learned they are very very smart and make great working dogs.
2. Found trainers (multiple) that have experience not only in training service dogs but in working with GSDs!
3. Found and bought about 25 durable toys (which wasn't a cheap feat in itself!)
4. Read everything we could find on the breed and on positive reinforcement training.
5. Cleaned. We cleaned everywhere the puppy would be.... we chose not to move things like shoes and cords knowing we would be supervising all out of crate time and knowing she is going to be a service dog and will be in places where she will have to know better than to "take" things without permission. Anyway, I didn't realize how dirty my house was... and I clean daily... but cleaning was a big deal before bringing the baby home.
6. Checked the fence so she has "wide open spaces" to run and romp off leash, safe from other dogs and cars!
7. Did the yard!
8. Researched training! (Methods and how-to so we could begin shaping her asap)
9. Researched food... like seriously, I dont think as a new parent I need 8 million food choices! Like, it isn't complicated enough!!
10. Spent LOTS of time with our other kiddos, knowing that the puppy would steal the spot light from them even though we intended on it not happening!

Now. What we did when she came home to make her comfortable and safe was more in depth...
1. took her to the vet right away
2. started training the first night (no bad habits allowed!)
3. cuddled and bonded
4. introduced her to the family (furr kids included!)
5. finally chose a food
6. bought an insurance policy for her
7. named her in our WILL and whom we want her to go to (god parents) (As the other kids are) and named a percentage of our savings & life insurance policies to go WITH her for expenses so she can maintain the same level of care in case of our deaths.
8. socialized. Boy she gets me out of the house more than I ever would have without her -- we socialize a minimum of ONE hour per day in public.
9. Set a schedule and stuck with it! Potty, food, training, play, etc.

Now, this is what I considered but not SERIOUSLY enough (no matter how much research you do, there's nothing like reality to smack you in the face!)

1. I am home all day with her, I love her to death, but having a 14/15 week old puppy in the house is like having a 2 year old. She wreaks havoc if I let her, and often the only time my eyes arent on her is if I am sleeping (which please take in to acct doesnt happen often) or Im taking a bath (in which case hubby gracefully takes over the puppy watch). The only time I am not scrambling after her saying leave it, gentle, good puppy, or clicking and dispensing treats is when she naps! I wouldnt trade her for the world but she takes A LOT of energy.... more than any other PET we have ever had. It is something to be aware of... this dog doesn't have a "slow down" button...yet atleast.

2. Please take in to account the size of these dogs.... 30 pounds sounds like nothing to me ....but Jordan is 14 almost 15 weeks old and she is ALREADY 32 pounds.... she is going to be gigantic.

3. And because of the size you have to be more persistent about the training! Nothing like a 80 to 100# untrained dog in the house (that would be very hard to live with!)

I hope I didn't repeat too much, sorry it's so long, but I hope that helps someone : )


· Registered
156 Posts
Mac's Mom
We don't think we will both die at the same time but if we did... I wouldn't want our kids put to sleep or in a shelter. We know all their quirks and special needs (Milo the cockatoo throws his food and water dish if you dont take them away in the morning; Corey and Annie (the chi's) can't be split up they get depressed and cry and refuse food!, etc) A lot of ppl wouldn't be willing to take them and we fear they may be put to sleep or just "given away" to anyone. We tend to take on the "hard cases" - all our animals are rescues except Jordan. They come from foreclosed homes, stores that didn't want them, the streets, and the euthanasia list. We figured it is our job as their parents to do our best to make sure they lead happy fulfilling lives even if we arent here. The little dogs and the kitties would go to my mom, Milo and Wyatt would go to good friends who have lots of birds and experience, Jordan would go to a friend who is looking at getting a service dog in the next 5 years and her husband, the lizards go to another friend's son.

We just figure when we bring them to our home it is our responsibility to care for them regardless of what happens to us. We even have emergency plans "just in case" for if the house burns down (how to get them out, how wed split them off while we relocated, etc) or if we had to go in to foreclosure. Unlikely events but being safe, is better than regretting not taking the day or 2 to plan out these things if they do happen! : )

PS. it probably helps that the pets are our kiddos... we arent planning on having human children for a long time - it makes it easier to put them first I am sure... and when we choose to have human kids we will stop adding to our fur family. It's important to us to spend quality time with everyone and be able to provide for them all.
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