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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I'm a prospective dog owner who has loved dogs his entire life. A little background information on me:

I'm 23 years old, turning 24 on May 14th. I just recently finished up studying Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. I currently have no plans to go back to school and am working FULL time at my Dads shop, which is a machine shop. I work 8 hours a day Monday-Friday, but have weekends off. I'm gone from 3:00pm - 11:00pm and make approx. ~$15/hour. I am an active individual who runs on a regular basis or just goes for walks. I love the cottage, during the summer, and winter sports during the winter seasons. I have been a dog lover my entire life and have always been envious of friends and family with loving dogs.

Here's the tricky part...

My family has never once owned a pet, not a cat, not birds, not even some goldfish. As a child, when I was just a little guy at the age of 4 or 5, I was dying to get a dog (what child isn't right?) Not knowing the responsibilities or money that comes along with getting a dog. My parents are not exactly the dog loving type, while they adore dogs and think they are incredibly cute, they have expressed on multiple occasions that they want nothing to do with the "tedious" care or work that's involved with having a dog (picking up it's poop, cleaning up after its messes, training it, etc.) So they obviously rejected the idea, thinking that the novelty would wear off. Here I am 20 years later, still thinking about getting a dog :(. Being older now, and slightly more mature, I've been doing a lot of research into the right breed for me, and the amount of work that's involved in getting a dog, I do realize it is a huge commitment spanning up to, and possibly, past 15 years!

As of right now, I live at home with my parents to make paying off my student debt a little easier, although thanks to my loving and thoughtful parents they recently moved and found a house with a mini basement apartment, it often feels like I still live on my own.

So I guess my main questions are this; Being a full time worker 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, with parents that want nothing to do with a dog, and a younger brother (20 years old) Who said he would be willing to look after the dog while he's here, but he's leaving in September for school. Would I be able to leave my dog home alone for 8 hours? He/She would have to stay in the basement with the door closed as to avoid bothering my parents. While there is a good chance my brother would be home, he is not 100% comfortable with dogs, so I cant guarantee training on his part or any form of immediate help that's not a safety issue for the dog. I am serious about getting a dog, but I'm more serious in making sure I'm ready. I do not want this dog to end up feeling neglected.. I want to do everything in my power to make sure he/she feels loved!

8 hours seems to me like a long time, any thoughts on that?

My second question would be, what type of breed would best suit my lifestyle?

I did a bit of research on breeds and how they best suit people. From what I've gathered, read, and heard from friends, a Golden Retriever may be a good match for me. Any thoughts on what might best suit me?

Is there any way I can make this work guys? Or is it just not possible as a full-time worker? Even when I move out, which I will once my student debt is paid off, I am also currently single, meaning next to possibly a roommate the dog would be home alone without even my brother or my parents upstairs to keep an careful eye on it. But again as stated, while I am living at home, my parents want as minimal involvement as possible.

I am fully willing to sacrifice my current free-time after work to be with this dog, and to train it properly and get it used to the household. I have a friend who has had dogs his whole life, and currently has 4 at home. He is my go-to guy when I have questions or concerns, and would be a great person for helping socialize my dog. I have also checked with him and found out he does not mind if I drop the dog at his place if the family goes on vacation, or if I am leaving for a few days.

Lastly, would you guys advise a pup or a shelter adoption? I have heard mixed answers from this one. Most seem to side with a pup because they can be trained and raised as you want, where as sheltered ones often come with problems. (Family friend recently adopted a dog, the shelter said was low energy. When she took it for a walk it would chase after buses and trucks at full speed with no regard for it's leash, it would knock everything off counters, etc. She had to return the dog, as she is and older lady, and got no cash refund, or a new pick of dog.)

At any rate, I would just really like to make this happen at somepoint in my life. I will completely understand if most of you think now is probably not the best time in my life to get a dog, and I will go back into waiting. However, it's been years for me, and I'd really like to finally make this happen.


TL;DR - 1.) Am I ready for a dog?
2.) 8 hours home alone, 5 days a week for a dog?
3.) Best breed for first time owner / fits my lifestyle (Golden Retriever)?
4.) Shelter adoption or puppy?


Thanks for any tips / advice!

Prospective dog owner,

-AKA Radiofoot <3
 

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TL;DR - 1.) Am I ready for a dog?
Judging as well I can from the internet, you come off as a responsible person who's willing to be dedicated and willing to learn. Since you have no past experience with pets, I would suggest helping out a friend with their pets or volunteering at a shelter, or something similar to get a feel of what it's like to have a dog. This could help in the long run.

2.) 8 hours home alone, 5 days a week for a dog?
That might not due for a puppy, as while they're still young and needing to be potty trained, they do need to go to the potty often, and there's an issue of feeding as well. It could possibly work with an older puppy, if your brother is willing to be there to take the dog out regularly.

3.) Best breed for first time owner / fits my lifestyle (Golden Retriever)?
Retrievers tend to be all around family dogs. They tend to be quiet and active, but their coat does require a considerable amount of maintenance. They're velcro dogs, in a sense that they like to be there, so I'm not sure how they would do for 8 hours a day without you there, but then again, they may do just fine. I don't have much experience with this breed.
I'm sure others can offer better insight/suggestions.

4.) Shelter adoption or puppy?
Well, there are plenty of puppies at shelters. Dogs of all sizes, colors, breeds, ages, etcetc, list goes on. If you go the route of purchase, you should look for a responsible breeder, but if you go the shelter route you should find a dog that, well, they choose you, so to speak. Always ask the shelter everything they think they know about the dog, maybe even ask if you can take the dog you choose for a weekend to see how it will work out. You could also choose an older puppy/adult, as a lot of them will already be house trained, or will be easier to house train since they will have better control of their bladder.

I'm sure others will have a lot more, and better, advice to offer.
 

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TL;DR - 1.) Am I ready for a dog? Sounds like you are doing the research and asking all the right questions. To me, that proves you are willing to take this seriously which is good as it is serious business. Please keep in mind that a dog is much like a child. They need you, not just when they are new and cute but for every single day for the next 10-18 yeas (depending on breed)
2.) 8 hours home alone, 5 days a week for a dog? People work, it is a fact of life and dogs learn to deal. An older dog (8 months to a year) from the shelter might be a great option. Though it might not be totally potty trained by that age, it will have the ability to hold it's urine and bowels for UP TO 8 hours. One thing I read however, is that your brother might be home until September? Hm, If you could get him on board with the "Doggy idea" you might have a live in dog walker or potty break patrol? Something to think about there.
3.) Best breed for first time owner / fits my lifestyle (Golden Retriever)? Golden Retrievers are great dogs, as are Poodles, Rottweilers, Beagles and so on. What makes a dog right for you is that it must meet your requirements and you must meet IT'S requirements. That means you need to list your "must haves and your must NOT haves" for a dog. ex. I want a dog that only needs a 1/2 hour walk a day or... I HATE dog hair but love dogs so I want a non shedding dog etc... I see you mentioned running. There are many dogs that would love to run with you but remember, they need to build up to it just like any person would. Puppies, NO RUNNING until they are grown and their bones and muscle structure/joints can handle it. This might be another check in the "humane society" column.
4.) Shelter adoption or puppy? This is largely up to you. I personally love the idea of "saving a life" as you are doing when you adopt. I have adopted or otherwise rescued many many dogs in my life and have never been unhappy with it. There too, the key is knowing what you need and want and what you can offer the dog. I would recommend going and walking some dogs at the shelter. Keep in mind, these poor creatures are there through no fault of their own, that they are basically in solitary confinement and that they will likely not be in their best behavior for their interviews. Take the dog for a nice long walk, spend some time with it. After some nice exercise and the chance to relieve themselves, you might be looking a little closer at "who they are." Keep in mind, all dogs can be trained.

This brings up another question. Will you be taking your dog to training classes? I definitely recommend you do that as a first time owner with likely, no clue how to train a dog. It may seem costly but remember what you put into your dog in time and money, you will get back in love. Maybe you could talk your brother into being part of the process and that might get him interested? It would be awesome if he did.

One more thing.. .In picking out a breed, keep in mind that you will likely be moving to an apartment in the near future. How many apartments around you accept dogs? Are there size limits, breed restrictions. Whenever a person picks out a dog, they need to think not "where I am today" but "where might I be in 15 years" Keeping that in mind when you are training as well. If you don't want a dog that jumps on people when they come over "think mom or grandma" then don't allow them to jump on people now, not even friends or yourself as your dog won't discriminate in that area.


Thanks for any tips / advice!

Prospective dog owner,

-AKA Radiofoot <3
Lastly, welcome to the forum. This is a great resource and I hope you will take advantage of it and hang out with us often. Learn what you can. Most certainly share tons of photos of your new pup/dog when you do get one and stories too. Good luck to you.
 

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I was in the same position as you are now. Just finished school, never had a dog, working full time, paying off debt .. the only difference is I own a house with my partner - but he was not thrilled with the idea of a dog .. he's a cat person and we have 2!

this is going to be mostly personal experience rather than tried and tested truth/facts.

1. are you ready? I don't think any one is always 100% ready .. there are always variables, but as stated you sound responsible and are willing to do the research needed to be an effctive owner. So, be as ready, as you will ever be!

2. 8 hours for a puppy - personally - is way too long. I never left my pup for more than 4 hour intervals; now that he's older there is a little more leway, but I still don't like it (thats just me). Are you able to check on him every few hours? are you able to have a friend/brother check on him and be reliable about it?

3. Best Breed; from my research, retreivers are high energy and need constant attention and training ... BUT at the same time, all dogs are different regardless of breed some can be on either end of the spectrum. We chose a bulldog because they were "low to medium energy" ... not my pup! haha. So, maybe instead of whats a good "starter" breed make a list of the things you want from your dog - agility, health, temperment, big, small, grooming etc.

4. This will have to be your decision - good breeders are hard to find and cost a pretty penny. Shelters you can get a dog to suit you and "test" run if you will.
- after being a first time owner and having an 8 week old puppy ... I would vote shelter! Even though I did the research, read the books, talked to people, everything ... its a whole different story when you bring them home an they start peeing all over the place ... late nights, early mornings ( I spend 2 hrs in the morning with my pup before work to get him some exercise and training), and when people say you need to watch them CONSTANTLY ... it's not an exaggeration in the least, 24/7 that pup needs to be in your sight.
- they are also more expensive than you can estimate because EVERY dog has different needs (crates, toys, food, treats, collars, leashes, vets the list goes on)... I feel like I live at Petsmart!

So, in the end it is my personal opinion that you can never be 100% for a first time dog ... is it worth it? You betcha'! Just do your research, be through ... write a paper on it if you need to! Whatever it takes so that YOU feel as though you can give your pup the BEST possible chance. Is this your time? Maybe, but remember life happens.
 

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Since you are basically on your own in this and will be away at work for about 8 hours I'd definitely recommend a young adult from a shelter.

As to breed suggestions we need more information on what you are looking for in a dog:
approximate size- by weight
grooming/shedding- non-shedding usually means they need frequent hair cuts and brushing, shedding means anything from lots of brushing to simple wash and wear coats
how much time you can dedicate daily to exercise and training- you like to run, how much? puppies can't run with you but a healthy adult dog can
Velcro or independent- do you like a dog who always likes to be near you or do you prefer your space?
bibability important to you?- Some dogs are much more eager to please and usually easier to train, others are stubborn or more independent and can be harder to train.
temperment- ranging from loves EVERYONE never met a stranger types to loyal to their person/family and everyone else doesn't matter

... more things but time for me to leave work and go home to my boy, hopefully others can help out so more.
 

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I am a recent first-time dog owner. We adopted an eight-week old puppy from the shelter. We had decided a dachshund fit our lifestyle well, and I prefer to rescue animals, and the shelter got a litter of doxie mix pups so we went and checked them out. I love my dog, but I would never do this again!! My puppy is great, he's a smart, funny little guy, super friendly, easily trainable - but an 8 week old puppy is a tremendous amount of work! I have a flexible work schedule and a husband and close friends who are 100% on board with puppy ownership, and it's still exhausting. I think with a more rigid 9 to 5 and not having a significant amount of family support, an older puppy or young adult dog would probably be easier!

As far as the job thing - Hamilton has been confined to an ex-pen while we're at work since three days after we got him. He's in for about 3-4 hrs, then my husband comes home for lunch and they play for half an hour, then he's in for about another 3-4 hrs, and out 'til bedtime. He's fine with it, he just goes into his crate and sleeps, and when we get home he gets constant attention, we go to classes and groups, go on walks, play out in the yard, etc...

As for breed -- go meet some dogs! You can start "browsing" at the shelter and see if you meet anyone you like!
 

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You sound like you're ready. I echo the recommendations for an adult from rescue or a shelter. It would be hard to potty train a puppy under those circumstances, and puppies are a lot of trouble and work. An adult will be housetrained or much more easily housetrained, have a set temperament (all puppies have a nice temperament. that can change quite a bit as they mature.) and be past the chewing everything stage.

Go to petfinder.com and see what you see. There a lots of mixed breeds dogs that would be fantastic additions to your life just waiting for you. Of course, I already took the very best one, but there's still good ones out there. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow, suchgreat advice so far! Firstly, id like to thank all of you on your input on this matter, every bit of info helps! Secondly, im posting this response from my phone, so I apologize for the typos. :).

Along the lines of type of dog, id like a bit more of a velcro dog, i know that doesnt sound like the greatest idea, considering my work hours, but id love a loyal and happy companion. Not much of a fan of the smaller breed of dogs, but i love dogs in general so it doesnt matter a whole lot to me. Shedding is a non issue for me, id be willig to take time every other day to groom my dog a bit, or do some vacuuming ;). I run a fair bit although over the winter i def slacked a bit, so it will take me a while to get back to tip top shape, but i could walk forever!

I had a brief convo about a dog with my dad this morning, he kept bringing up the issue of cost. At $15 an hour, I feel like i could afford a dog, but if something were to happen and it needed surgey, id be pinching pennies to get that done; from what ive heard surgey can be extremely pricey. If anyone has any input on price it would be greatly appreciated! ( i know money is a personal thing, and can vary based on economic situation, or geographical location, but just a general idea of cost would be great. I look forward to hopefully setting a plan in motion soon, but for now its just a plan.

Thanks again everyone!

Any and all continous input is more than welcomed!

-Radiofoot
 

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You could look into health insurance plans for the expensive stuff. We use Pets Health Care Plan with our pets -- and only for accident and illness coverage. For us it had the best balance of affordability and coverage. You still have to pay up front for the services, but you get reimbursed for a percentage of the cost. There's also Care Credit that a lot of vets accept - it's a credit card for medical expenses and it is interest free for a certain amount of time.

WRT the velcro dog thing - I have a total velcro dog... but as I said, I work FT. With him, he doesn't mind that I leave him, and he's not unhappy when I'm not with him, he's just MORE happy when I am, and will choose to be close to me over anyone else if other people are around. If my husband and I are sitting on the couch, he'll be on my lap every time.
 

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Yeah a velcro dog is fine with you leaving unless they have separation anxiety which is different. My boy is very much a velcro dog but he's fine with me leaving. There is also a difference between velcro and needy. A needy dog doesn't just want to be with you they want attention all the time too, that I can't stand myself. My boy is simply happier being near me, if I pet him cool, if I chill and do my thing he's fine with that too.

The best thing to do financially IMO is to save up some emergency money BEFORE you get the dog just in case. Figure out your budget, how much you have left after paying off your debit to see if you can afford a dog right now. Also consider about home much it's going to cost once you move out of your parents and if you'll still be able to afford a dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This is all great and awesome advice guys, ill continue to work and save, and think about getting a dog closer to around the time i plan to move out (have a couple months yet). In the meantime, ill keep a close eye on how my money situation looks, and hopefully i can manage to save up a few thousand for emergency cases.


Thanks so much for veryones advice, any continual advice is always welcome. Ill be sure to keep you guys posted, and post pics when the time comes!

-Radiofoot
 

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I would suggest fostering for now, if it works out great, if not, then at least it's not the end of the world and you can hopefully hang in there till the dog is adopted out (if it works out you just keep the dog). Not all goldens are laid back and quiet, some are pretty hyper - mine certainly is and the first one I had wasn't calm till she was 8! With fostering there usually isn't much for expenses, they'll provide that sort of thing and you can take classes for free in some cases too, so you'd learn a lot.

I'd go for an older, trained/semi trained, calmer breed. One that can still go running with you but isn't going to be a whirlwind around the house and pester your parents either. If they're not used to dogs a golden that's in your face and busy wouldn't be appealing, but a dog that is happy to grab a toy and go lay on their bed would be better.
 

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I recommend a Golden or a Lab, 2 - 5 yo or older. One nice thing about adult retrievers is that they are good for learning and they are forgiving of mistakes.

I suggest that you go to a Rescue and get them to match you with an adult dog that matches your energy, and is already house trained with some simple obedience.

Also, read these two free books: http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads
 

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Bare in mind that your parents attitude could easily change once they see his or her adorable little puppy face. Plus, they won't even have to take care of it all day. Only eight hours or so.

When I first got my pup, he was only a couple weeks old and I ended up leaving him with my parents most of the time until he was older. My apartment had a subtle note that no dog under six weeks could be a registered resident. At first they weren't keen on the idea of helping me out. I work hellish hours and I can't remember the last time I worked only an eight hour day. But they grew to love him as if he was one of their own. He lives full time with me now at seven months old. Point being, parents will generally understand that it's not forever. Eventually your pup will be all yours and it will be old enough to live well with you.

You sound completely ready for a dog, financially and mentally. I'd say go for it and start looking into breeders or shelters. You seem to understand the responsibility of it after all.

In regards to the breed, I would recommend a lab. Easy to train, dependable, loving, and accepted by most housing standards. One thing to be cautious about with shelter dogs though... And I'm not trying to discourage rescue but it's something people tend not to factor into their decision... Medical bills. A lot of rescues rake up medical bills like no tomorrow. My co-worker has a rescued puggle that has cost him hundreds in medical fixings alone. Same story with my mothers lab Weimaraner mix. She has needed hip surgery and has run them upwards two thousand and escalating. Both young dogs.
 

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A lot of purebreds also rack up tons of medical bills. Dogs regardless of where you got them from also do things like have allergic reactions, ingest foreign bodies, and get hit by cars. I think the important thing is to make sure you are financially prepared for these issues if they arise, and you make common sense decisions when you get a dog, like bring it to a vet asap for a check up, keep up with preventive care, and have concerns addressed when they arise. Personally, I'd rather rescue and spend $2000 on medical bills than buy a dog for $2000.
 
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