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My family and I have been discussing getting a puppy sooner than we initially planned. Originally we decided on the rough collie breed as it seems tobe aour best match. I got in touch with a reputable breeder that I could visit. She was very nice and emailed me with extensive information. She didn't have puppies available for our plans next year, but offered us to visit her and her impending puppies this past June, whcih we accepted. She also offered to help us find a reputable breeder that may have available puppies. I wrote twice and now haven't heard back from her. In the meantime I went on petfinder and saw an adorable border collie mix (looks like a golden retriever) puppy, approximately 7 1/2 months old. She's in a shelter in TN and they can transport her to the Northeast where I live. Her foster mom says she's good with kids and cats (which is my main concern) but she's not housebroken, crate trained or leash trained. Her story touched us and we applyed to adopted, withdrew. And now resubmitted application. she's a lovable, sweet, affectionate dog and the foster home is surprised she's had her for so long (over 2 months).

I have two cats and 3 kids that I am most concerned about. Is a 7 month old puppy too "old" to be with cats? Will I be putting my cats at risk if I pursue this? Is this too much dog for a new dog owner?
Is this nuts?
 

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My concern wouldn't be age so much as breed? Rough Collies and Border Collies are REALLY really different. If she is BC or part BC, you are looking at a high-energy, intense, VERY active dog- gird your loins! :)

Re: Cats... I've fostered greyhounds of various ages with cats in the house. I'd just make sure you have an "escape" room for the cats, where they can go without the dog coming in and bothering them. I use a babygate suctioned to the wall about 1 foot up (so there's room for the cat to run underneath). Litterbox and food are in the "escape" room. A slow introduction and you should be good, especially if the dog is being fostered with cats and used to them.

Good luck!

Jen
 

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My family and I have been discussing getting a puppy sooner than we initially planned. Originally we decided on the rough collie breed as it seems tobe aour best match. I got in touch with a reputable breeder that I could visit. She was very nice and emailed me with extensive information. She didn't have puppies available for our plans next year, but offered us to visit her and her impending puppies this past June, whcih we accepted. She also offered to help us find a reputable breeder that may have available puppies. I wrote twice and now haven't heard back from her. In the meantime I went on petfinder and saw an adorable border collie mix (looks like a golden retriever) puppy, approximately 7 1/2 months old. She's in a shelter in TN and they can transport her to the Northeast where I live. Her foster mom says she's good with kids and cats (which is my main concern) but she's not housebroken, crate trained or leash trained. Her story touched us and we applyed to adopted, withdrew. And now resubmitted application. she's a lovable, sweet, affectionate dog and the foster home is surprised she's had her for so long (over 2 months).

I have two cats and 3 kids that I am most concerned about. Is a 7 month old puppy too "old" to be with cats? Will I be putting my cats at risk if I pursue this? Is this too much dog for a new dog owner?
Is this nuts?
The problem here is you don't really have a chance to meet the dog first. How do you know she's lovable and sweet if you're several states away? You may think you're doing a good deed by rescuing, but there's a decent chance the dog may just end up back in a shelter again because you weren't prepared for the intensity she is likely going to bring into your home. Do you know how much work a BC can be? Especially one so young? Are you prepared for the challenge of house breaking a dog who will likely be running circles around you?

I'm not trying to persuade you away from rescuing. I just want to make sure you make the most intelligent decision. Rescuing a dog you have never met sounds risky. Especially one that is a very high maintenance breed.

I've known and owned both border collies and rough collies. For your situation the rough collie sounds like a much better fit. A dog is a 12-15 year commitment. Do not make an impulse buy on a dog.
 

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I'm not going to weigh in on the breed, since I've never had either. I just wanted to ask: if you are willing to rescue, why not look at rescues in your area? There are likely to be several dogs that would be perfect fits for your family, and you would be able to meet and interact with the dogs and talk about their temperaments with the foster families before taking on the commitment of actually adopting.
 

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I'd be concerned that the foster home has had her for 2 months and she's not housetrained, crate trained, or leash trained. What have they been doing for 2 months? Nothing, evidently. . .it sounds like she's been left in the backyard to do whatever she wants.

Taking on an untrained, unsocialized 7-month-old will be a TON of work. If you're ready for that kind of challenge, then go for it. But don't underestimate how hard it'll be.

Also, adopting/buying blind like that can turn out badly. It's always best to meet the dog you're going to adopt/buy instead of having the dog shipped to you without ever meeting him/her.
 

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I'd be concerned that the foster home has had her for 2 months and she's not housetrained, crate trained, or leash trained. What have they been doing for 2 months? Nothing, evidently. . .it sounds like she's been left in the backyard to do whatever she wants.

Taking on an untrained, unsocialized 7-month-old will be a TON of work. If you're ready for that kind of challenge, then go for it. But don't underestimate how hard it'll be.

Also, adopting/buying blind like that can turn out badly. It's always best to meet the dog you're going to adopt/buy instead of having the dog shipped to you without ever meeting him/her.
This. Especially the bold part. If you have 3 kids, how are you going to have time to spend literally HOURS a day exercising and training a BC? I'm not sure about this mix, but Border Collies can typically run for 2-3 hours a day and need mental stimulation on top of that. They are incredibly intelligent, intense and high energy.

Honestly, it doesn't sound like the right breed for you or your situation. Why are you looking for a dog that's so young? Potty training takes a lot of time and committment, and I'd be concerned that with 3 kids, you wouldn't be able to maintain a regular potty schedule. Why not an older dog that you KNOW is good with cats and has its fundamentals down?
 

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I'm with everyone who says to try going local and take your time feeling out the dogs interaction with you and your children before taking them. Sure this pup is cute and sweet but it doesn't mean it can't be a pain in the you know where! Pups will be pups but also her breed isn't the easiest of dogs. I just feel if you're having reservations then maybe listen to them as its better than regretting getting her and giving her back.

I made the mistake of taking the wrong dog based on what a rescue said was a match. My dog was a senior and though the other dog was near her age, he was muscle. He was excitable and knocked her off the couch and she was hurt. He wasn't being mean he was just oblivious of space. I thought the right thing to do was tell them ASAP. Unfortunately, these people were sortve friends running the rescue and local meetup groups so I also burned bridges as they took major offense. It would have been fine if we had no other pets, but you add in other pets and children and those become variables in complications once the dog is actually home.

With more pets and kids the more time you need to give. I just don't know if you'll be spread too thin with a highly energetic dog who needs a lot of training. Then it just becomes unfair for everyone involved.
 

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Hi all! Thanks for the input. We decided to email the puppy's caretaker/foster and tell her we decided we cannot proceed with the adoption process because we have never met the dog, so we don't know her personality, her interaction with the kids and our cats (just because she likes the outdoor cat she lives near doesn't mean she'll like two housecats). I told her how we felt, that it was unfair of us to adopt a pet based on an idea of her, and not her herself. We may not be the best suited owners for her. It was sad and hard to write the email. I wanted to call her but I really felt that I would have gotten a bit too emotional. I'm not sure why I got so attached to this puppydog (or the idea of her) in the few short weeks we were thinking of adopting her. She's so pretty and cute, she poses for the camera and smiles. But when it came down to it, we were felt we were basing our decision on hearsay and how she looked friendly. I'm sure she's friendly. But, I'm not sure she would like our cats, and our kids, because at this point she's only around cats and children for very limited times.

I also took into account that she may be a little less socialized than I can deal with at this time. I'm sure classes and time would help but like my husband said, we would be hitting the ground running and have little room for error. Up to this point she's been in the backyard with between 2 and 5 other dogs and she doesn't stay in the house fulltime. She is socialized with her little pack but what about with stranger dogs and neighbor dogs and such?? If we were to take her, she would be a dog that is mostly inside and outside occasionally (basically, with us, so if we went outside we take her) and walks, and she isn't even leashed-trained. It just seems like a lot to learn for this novice dog owner. Her young life really got to me and saddened me how people view their pets and animals. The mother of this dog is one of 3 dogs a family had. All three of their dogs are older. The mother of this puppy had a tendency to wander away from home so the owners decided to let her get pregnant, believing that having a litter of pups would keep her closer to home. The mom had 5 puppies and they decided to keep this one puppy because she was the prettiest. She did all the cute puppy things but then after 4 or 5 months of random puppy cuteness and no guidance, they tired of her older puppy ways and desired to get a swimming pool and they believed with her sharp nails and rambunctious nature she would rip the pool. So they decided to bring her to a local shelter that is a kill-shelter and be done with it. I guess they hoped she would get adopted. That's when this foster lady heard of her and her background and took her in. From what she said (and I don't know this woman, so it's hearsay) the puppy is happy, healthy, friendly and playful, though a jumper, which she said she's working on but doesn't have a lot of time to work on it. But I have too many variables to worry about to take on a dog I don't know. I hope she finds a good home. The woman that took her in seems to like her, but has her hands full and I just hope she finds the nicest, best home for this dog.

So we decided we will get a puppy at some point in the nearer future. Though I see some of the benefits of getting an older dog, for our family situation, a puppy would probably work out best. One reason is that we have two cats, one seems to be up to the older dog challenge, but the second one is more timid and intimidated. I think that a puppy would feel less intimidating to her because the bark would be less loud (for now) and the puppy would closer to her size (for now). As the puppy gradually grew she would be able to adjust to having a dog in the house. Another reason is that my youngest is a self-proclaimed cat-person. He just turned 5, and he's a tad smaller than the average 5 year old. He's scared of dogs. My husband's uncle has the most docile, overweight, scaredy-cat dog (beagle) I've ever seen. The dog is so cute and non-threatening and my son was so nervous to be around the dog he avoided going into the house. He did have a scary experience years ago with my mother-in-law's GSD that has for some reason left him scared of dogs since (he was less than 2 years old but still remembers the experience. The dog kept grabbing his fingers, trying take his cookie and kept nipping his fingers, no matter how many times my MIL tried to intervene, eventually we kindly asked her to bring the dog into a different room, she was adamant in getting at his food; my son also witnessed the same dog going after a dachshund that was in it's own driveway, so I guess it's left an impression--and this is the same dog that nipped my daughter's nose out of "excitement"). He knows many nice and laidback dogs but he's still scared. He knows many playful, rambunctious and sweet dogs, but he's still scared. He's scared of all breeds and sizes. But my husband has lived many years without a dog and really misses the companionship a dog brings. So, we feel that a puppy would be the least intimidating to our son. He will get to experience the cute, playful, smaller side of dogs, gain a sense of responsibility by being a part of the caring and training process, and watch his pet grow from puppyhood to old age. Through that he will probably feel closer to the dog and less intimidated. We want the children (and cats) to respect and not fear dogs. Also, since I have two rabbits, I hope that a puppy would grow up and consider the rabbits part of the family and not food! That seems more possible with training a puppy than taking on an older dog. I guess no matter what decision we make in choosing a dog, I'll end up with some sense of guilt.

Anyway, thanks again for all the help.
 

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It sounds like you made the best decision for your family.

I do want to say, however, that puppies are rarely less intimidating to children than a well-behaved adult dog. They might be small and cute, but they jump and scratch and nip---a LOT. That's how they play and it can take a year or more to teach them to play more gently. So you'll probably have to be very careful about your son's interactions with the puppy. My nephew is wary of dogs, and he most decidedly did not enjoy having his other grandparents' Pug puppy come visit, even though the pup is small and cute. But he is OK with my large dogs (after about 10 minutes of being scared every visit), because they're old enough to be gentle and well-behaved.
 

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Yes, I see your point. Bouncy puppies are just as scary for my son as well. He doesn't like jumping dogs, and he doesn't like when the dog gets in his face. The loud bark or continuous yippy bark gets him nervous as well. I just feel badly his first memorable dog experience was scary for him. Since I never had a dog, this is going to be my first experience as well, and I don't mind taking care of a baby (though, as silly as this sounds, puppies seem like more work to me than human babies!). I've never had a fullday, fulltime dog experience and I'm not sure how I feel being thrust into dogness all at once. Puppies are work work work, so are dogs, but, dogs come with a more defined personality. I like dogs, but always had cats, and cats, well cats are cats. Love them, they're awesome. I love their aloofness and their grace, and how they only want you when they want you. Plus, I know this sounds goofy, but dogs are bigger, at least the ones my husband likes, and well, I'm not used to big pets. So, the smaller puppy will help me get used to a bigger animal too (and I'll be the one taking care of the puppy/dog anyway, so my husband's experience with dogs will be only limited helpful). At this age, he's rather articulate and he does say that a puppy would seem to be less scary for him (though still scary). Until I knew my cats, I supervised every interaction between them and the kids, even though Willow was a kitten when we took her in. Yeah, puppies are cute, but they grow into even cuter more awesome dogs!

My cats are a big concern. Willow doesn't seem to like dogs and puppies. Before we got her, she was outside since she was about 6 weeks old and her previous owners barely had her in the house (I thought she was a stray that we fell in love with and took her in). They tossed her out when she didn't get along with the pitbull puppy and went at the dog. Typical Willow lol. She stalks Lilac, our second cat, out of play, but Lilac doesn't find it funny. I think I will be less worried with Willow getting hurt with a puppy, as she is more than likely to be bossy, and I don't want her to hurt the puppy, but that I can help make sure doesn't happen. Lilac is size intimidated, the bigger the person or animal, the more nervous she is. She is my main concern other than the kids. I just don't see her initially happy with a dog. Lilac is a sweet but grouchy little kitty. She was found on the streets with her little litter of kittens and had a tough time. I want her life her to be as stress-free as possible.

I hope to raise a gentle and well-behaved dog as you and many other have here on this board. This has been an invaluable resource. Plus I just got my first dog raising/training book! I don't want a cute looking dog that is ill-behaved. I hope to raise a good dog that is a happy part of the family. Thanks again! :)
 

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I am someone who adopted a 3 month old puppy from a rescue organization - I am in Maine, and my pup came from Mississippi on a transport. I didn't get to meet her before I adopted her, but I had contact via e-mail/phone with the foster mom who answered all of my questions. I don't think this is necessarily a dumb decision - as long as the puppy is young enough, and as long as you are able to have some kind of contact with the people in care of the dog who will be honest with you.

However, this is a 7 month old - not a 3 month old.

A 7 month old BC would be too much of a hassle for me, and I've owned dogs my whole life. Too much of a hassle for most, IMO. Some breeds scare me - simply because of their energy level. I would never adopt a BC and I wouldn't recommend one to anyone unless they're an experienced dog owner. They're just so much work. Even our lab mix is a lot of work - but a BC would be worse!
 

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Yeah, my nephew (he's 5 1/2 and "articulate" doesn't begin to describe him, lol) said he thought puppies were less scary, too. But a bouncy nippy puppy changed his mind. Maybe it would be a good idea for your son to meet a few puppies first? And cats really tend to be un-fond of bouncy puppies as well.

I'm not trying to talk you out of it, honest! But when the puppy is going through the vampire phase, the cat won't come out of the laundry room, and your kid is covered in teeth marks and screaming that he hates the puppy, I don't want you to have to say that nobody warned you! But that, too, shall pass, and with patience and a lot of work you can eventually have the well-behaved dog you dreamed of.

What breed are you considering? Still looking at Rough Collies? I love Collies. Who's the breeder you're thinking of?
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Yeah, we're still considering rough collies, if we decide to go that route. My husband loves GSD and grew up with them, but I'm a tad allergic to animals and GSD, labs and many cats get my allergies going big time, but I love animals so I can't not have pets. The rough collie has the size hubby seems to like and the personality for all of us, so it seems to be the best choice if we decide to go the breed route. Plus I must love to clean up fur, because both my cats are furballs, shed like crazy at times and require brushing a few times a week, so if we get a rough collie, hey, I guess it will be like my cats, just times 100 lol.

I don't think I will be able to make a decision that will please the cats. They will tell me, I'm sure, in their own cat way, that they're not happy I brought any dog in the house. And as for my son, I think you're right in that he'll probably be more scared than we anticipate. Either way, there's going to be some adjustment, so we'll see how the journey goes.

I've contacted a collie breeder, Riverrun Collies. She's very informative. She doesn't breed her dogs very often, so she said she will help me locate a reputable breeder that she would trust if she were looking for a breeder. Through my research I have the names of a few others, and a rescue a few states (not far) from me, but I haven't contacted them about available puppies/dogs yet, though I probably will within the next week or so. Plus I look on petfinder weekly in case we decide to go that direction. Collies seem to be lovely dogs, and the ones I've know have been great. The fact that the breed in general likes to be around their humans is very appealing to us.

As for adopting a dog from far away, I've seen it work out too for others, as it has for my husband's uncle, who has adopted a great dog from a distant shelter. I think that if my situation was different and I had the time and experience, this BC mix would have been a great dog for us, but it's just too much at this time. I was happy to receive an email today from the foster lady about the BC mix. She was understanding about our situation, and she didn't hold any hard feelings toward us. She understood that with kids, we were making what we feel is best decision. I'll probably always wonder about the sweet pup and feel a little bad about not pursuing it, but it's the best decision we could make now.
 
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