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Hi all,

I've just received permission from my landlady to get a dog and I need some general advice. I certainly don't want to make a mistake in selecting my new companion.

First a little bit about myself. I've recently graduated College and started working. I had a dog all my life growing up until I was about 19 when we unfortunately had to put her down because she was living in pain (which by the way was the most painful experience of my life). She did live a happy and healthy 17 years though. My current living situation is fairly stable. I'm renting a large 3bdrm house and living with a friend who is also working. We have a small yard, but are within walking distance to quite a few parks and I intend for the dog to be a running companion.

As for the breed, I really want a medium to large dog and I've basically narrowed it down to Husky, Shepherd or Lab. I realize these are active breeds, but outside of work I don't have a ton of other hobbies so I don't mind if the dog consumes most of my free time. Any advice on these breed types?

Now onto the questions. Would I be able to get a puppy knowing that from 8-4:30 I'll be out of the house? I may be able to come back for 10 minutes during lunch but I can't take time off. If this is not plausible, then I'm not opposed to go the route of a shelter, however I still would want a dog that's relatively young.

Also, I found a dog on craigslist - it's a 10 month Malamute/German Shepherd mix. It's not neutered though, which I'd have to take care of (is that something that can be done so late?) Is it generally wise to go through sites such as these? Any other general advice for someone in my position? There is a wealth of information on this site that I will definitely take advantage of.

Thanks in advance for the help!
 

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I would steer clear of the puppies in your situation. That doesn't necessarily mean you need to go the shelter route, though. The breeds you mentioned are fairly common at most shelters, but you could also look into a breed specific rescue. Many rescues foster their animals in family homes, so they can tell you more about the dogs than yor basic city shelter. If you tell us where you're located, we might be able to help you find a great dog.

I can't speak to all three of your breeds, but I can talk about Labs. They do need vast quantities of physical exercise and plenty of training, but I feel they are less drivey than the other breeds you're interested in. I've owned Labs and I really feel that they can live without a job, which I don't think I'd say about GSDs or Huskies. I dunno if that's a plus or a minus for you, but there you go.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'm located in the central NY (Syracuse) area. I'd be willing to travel to pick him/her up, but I've found most shelters don't allow long range pickups due to housing checks. I'd definitely want a dog under 1 year old though. Thanks for the help!

Also, I'm a little worried about getting a dog that wasn't trained properly as a puppy and will therefore have a rougher time in adulthood. I've heard that dogs do their best learning/socializing at 7-14 weeks. Are there any signs I should look out for when selecting my new dog that would hint at long term destruction/instability? I'm certainly not opposed to working hard to train a dog, but if I had a choice I'd want one that was brought up properly.
 

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Lab Rescue in Killingworth, CT

Lab Rescue in upstate NY

GSD rescue within 300 miles of Rochester, NY

German Shepherd Rescue of Central New York

Husky rescue about an hour from you

I am of the opinion that you can't guarantee the personality or temperament of any dog. Not a puppy from a breeder, not a youngster from a shelter, and not an adult from a rescue. Having said that, going the puppy-from-a-breeder or adult-from-a-rescue routes are probably going to give you the best chances of getting what you want. A breeder knows the kind of dogs he or she breeds and has had experience evaluating individuals within that type. A rescue will often foster its animals and, if you go for a dog that is one year or older, you're going to get what you see. If it's fearful, it's fearful. If it's dog aggressive, it's dog aggressive. You can certainly work through these sorts of issues with nearly any dog of any age, but at you're at least going to know they're present.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I appreciate the links and the advice as well. I'm going to visit this German Shepherd/Malamute mix today at a dog park so I'll be able to get a better understanding of it's temperment and if it seems to be overly aggressive or passive I'll be able to tell and make a decision.
 

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I agree that you shouldn't get a young puppy. They need to go the bathroom every couple hours or they start going in the crate. You just don't have the schedule to raise a puppy.
If the malamute mix doesn't work out, you should check out the local shelter. You might find a great dog there. Mine always has a couple shepherds.
 

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I appreciate the links and the advice as well. I'm going to visit this German Shepherd/Malamute mix today at a dog park so I'll be able to get a better understanding of it's temperment and if it seems to be overly aggressive or passive I'll be able to tell and make a decision.
i know what dog you are talking about. I saw it posted on there. My bear came from craigslist
 
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