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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone, I've been looking around this forum and several other sites for a while now doing some homework to prepare myself for getting a dog. I would be a first time owner, grew up in a household that always had a cat around and would never even consider a dog, so I'm real excited about finally having one. Right now I'm learning various ways to train a pup and getting a list of stuff I would need and schools/vets in the area. One thing that has been nagging me for a while and is something I just can't seem to make a decent choice on is the breed of dog that would suit my conditions.

A few things about my living situation:

I live in a condo, so I don't have my own yard and the place is probably not much bigger than a standard two bedroom apartment, so the dog would not have much of an area to run around indoors.

I'm single and live alone, meaning there would be long periods of time (specifically 7:30-5:30) where I just simply won't be around. My job is only 5 miles from my house so I could make a slip out if I needed to get to the dog for anything though, but I don't have any regular hour long lunch breaks so it's not something I could do regularly. Crate training will obviously be an absolute must because of this. My boss might be understanding enough to let me slip out for a bit during lunch hour to let the dog out to do his business and then put him back in the crate, I do understand a puppies bladder isn't all that big.

I do exercise regularly! I'm at the gym pretty much five days a week in the morning but would love to shift some of those days into local jogs around the neighborhood if I had a jogging buddy. So I would like a dog that's good with getting exercise a few days a week in the morning on top of daily half hour walks in the afternoon. I'm not sure how much this translates to dog exercise, is that much only a little, a decent amount, or a lot? I don't have a yard to romp around in so this would be the lions share of exercise he would get.

I would like a medium size dog, I understand a large dog wouldn't do well in a condo so I won't even entertain the thought, toy dogs and things like poodles don't interest me very much, sorry, just a personal preference. The less shedding the better, but I've got no problem with running a brush through daily.

Are there any breeds I should be on the lookout for? Most people have suggested to me to either adopt an older dog from a shelter or to buy a pup from a good breeder. Personally I would like to get my first dog as a pup from a breeder and train him myself. After that any other dogs I get I would rescue, I think getting that first experience with a fresh slate so I could learn to deal with dogs in the future that may have some quirks would be helpful. Plus everyone at some point wants to own a puppy.

I have been looking at Greyhounds since they seem to match what I'm looking for but I think it would be a bit of a shame to have to keep it on a leash all the time outside, so I'm not sure if one is right for me.

Thanks in advance for any tips or suggestions. I'm probably still a long ways off from being prepared enough to actually get a dog, but I'm looking to make every effort I can to do this right.
 

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You don't want a puppy. For your lifestyle- long times away from home, jogging, etc.- a puppy would be highly unsuitable. Crate training doesn't help a puppy hold it any longer than they physically can, so on those 10 hour days, you'll be training the puppy to go in his crate. Puppies also can't jog, it's bad for developing joints.

What you want is an adult rescue. An adult will be able to jog with you, hold it for 10 hours and better fit into your life.

Ps- Puppies aren't blank slates. Genetics is huge in behavior and temperament. Also, while you may want a puppy, your life may not be best for a puppy and you need to consider what the dog needs, too.

Go to petfinder.com and I promise you'll find the dog for you.
 

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You don't want a puppy. For your lifestyle- long times away from home, jogging, etc.- a puppy would be highly unsuitable. Crate training doesn't help a puppy hold it any longer than they physically can, so on those 10 hour days, you'll be training the puppy to go in his crate. Puppies also can't jog, it's bad for developing joints.

What you want is an adult rescue. An adult will be able to jog with you, hold it for 10 hours and better fit into your life.

Ps- Puppies aren't blank slates. Genetics is huge in behavior and temperament. Also, while you may want a puppy, your life may not be best for a puppy and you need to consider what the dog needs, too.

Go to petfinder.com and I promise you'll find the dog for you.
I really cannot say it better than this. Amaryllis hit every point I wanted to touch on.

An adult dog can bond and learn new things just like a puppy can, it's true.
 

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I have to agree with Amaryllis. Puppies are a full time job especially if you want to raise them right and make sure they are well socialized and well trained by the time they reach adulthood. Having a puppy is really similar to having a baby.

A puppy can't hold it 10 hours. For the most success with potty training a puppy needs to go out at least every two hours if not more during the first few months.

If you want a jogging buddy you will want a dog that is at least a year old, closer to a year and a half would be better to ensure you wont be damaging growing bones and joints. A non-brachycephalic (no smushed face) dog would be best. That leaves a lot of options open of course.

If you contact your local shelter or rescue and tell them what you are looking for most will be able to help find a dog that will match your lifestyle.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had a feeling I was going to be steered towards an older dog, and I'm pretty OK with that, I figured my long time away would make house training difficult if not impossible but just needed to be told that I guess, hah.

I suppose I'll look into the local shelters, I would rather save a dog at the end of the day, anyway. Is there anything I should be aware of or on the look out with when it comes to shelters? Any odd behaviors from the dogs or something that may be a bad sign at the shelter itself?

Also still looking for suggestions as to breed types if there's any good fits that you might know of.
 

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Most shelters are full of lab and pit mixes which isn't a problem but if you're going to get a dog that looks like a pit (or any bully breed) you need to make sure that your condo doesn't have any breed restrictions.

As for what breed... what do you do when you're not working and what do you want to do with your dog?
Do you hang out with friends a lot?
Do you want to take the dog places?
Are you looking to only run with the dog, for exercise, or could you accommodate a more energetic breed?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
PatchworkRobot said:
Most shelters are full of lab and pit mixes which isn't a problem but if you're going to get a dog that looks like a pit (or any bully breed) you need to make sure that your condo doesn't have any breed restrictions.
I'll double check but I don't think there's any restrictions on those breeds, huskies or any dog with a resemblance to a wolf are restricted though, but those are way too high energy for me anyway.

PatchworkRobot said:
As for what breed... what do you do when you're not working and what do you want to do with your dog?
If I don't have any plans during the week I usually just relax at my house when I'm not working, or I'm at the gym, or running errands.

PatchworkRobot said:
Do you hang out with friends a lot?
I do have friends over at my place, I don't throw parties or anything but it's not unusual for one or two people to drop by for an afternoon.

PatchworkRobot said:
Do you want to take the dog places?
Yeah I would.

PatchworkRobot said:
Are you looking to only run with the dog, for exercise, or could you accommodate a more energetic breed?
I'm not sure how accommodating I can be, the morning runs and an afternoon walk I can guarantee, playing games of fetch and occasional trips to a park I can also do, but I doubt I could handle any high energy breeds just from the cramped living quarters alone.
 

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I think a lab mix would be a good fit. They're generally easy to train, generally quite friendly, they tend to be rather athletic, and are usually medium sized.
They aren't (generally) super high energy like border collies but walks, runs, fetch, and trips to the park are more than the average dog gets.


I'm saying "generally" a lot because with a mix you tend to get a random mix of traits from both the father and the mother of the dog. I've met a a ton of lab mixes, they've almost all been great dogs - friendly, smartish, athletic, etc.

Petfinder.com is a great site for looking at dogs in rescues and once you find one you can call up the rescue and ask them to tell you more about the dog.
 

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I vote for a Lab or Lab mix. Tell the rescue organization your situation and requirements, and look for a 2 - 5 yo adult Lab that is already neutered and house trained, preferably socialized with people. In addition, a medium energy dog might work.

However, Labs are very adaptable. As long as you provide a consistent environment, a 30 min. walk (maybe twice a day) or condition the dog to run with you, then the dog will learn your habits and fit in, possibly sleeping most of the day while you're gone. In addition, most Labs are very forgiving of mistakes, so they make a good training dog for new owners. Labs need to chew, so provide an allowable outlet, like one or two Kongs and a hard rubber bone to chew on ....

BTW - Do Not get a Lab puppy under a year ... they aren't trained and can be very destructive. Some Labs are OK after a year, but I usually suggest waiting until 2 years or older. Plus, you might ask why the dog needed to be let go... You may not want to deal with behavioral issues, but life circumstances, such as divorce, moving, job loss are common reasons for releasing a good Lab...
 

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labs are wonderful dogs, they have enough energy to do what you want to do when you want to but are also perfectly happy lounging around the house for hours and hours if you want to do that also. I do recommend crate training when you leave just till you know the personality and whether your new pet would be trust worthy outside of the crate without destroying anything. Otherwise i would recommend lab also. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone, I've been looking into adoption options but it's look like it'll be impossible. I think a Lab would be a good fit but all these shelters want things that I just can't give, vet references, personal references, fenced yards with no exceptions, up front non refundable money just to look at an application which sounds like a scam to me. They make it look practically impossible for a first time owner to adopt, which is a shame.

I guess I just won't get one after all if it's so prohibitive to even look for a decent non-puppy mill dog.
 

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That's a shame. You might swing by a local Vet office (small, private clinic) and ask them for opinions. Also, there are Lab Rescue organizations, Humane Society, ASPCA, Local Dog Pound that may be a little less rigorous.

I've read some of the 'horror' stories of adopting, and that concerns me, too. If I move to another city and my dog dies, and I want to adopt another... I dunno if I'm qualified, either.... on paper ...
 

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check out local animal control, you might find exactly what your looking for in a mutt. I had a lot of luck with animal control because all they care about is the money and making sure their dogs end up in a home, not to check references or vet references or other stuff like that. Most greyhound rescues are very rigorous also but you can always give it a shot with those.
 

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I'd check for local rescue organizations rather than the larger shelters to see if there would be any more wiggle room there. It is upsetting how a perfectly good potential owner could be turned away for not having vet references or a fenced in yard -- as though living in a cage at the shelter is better!! I was so worried going to get my pup that they were going to deny us because we both work full time (they didn't). Don't give up!
 

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County shelters are generally easier to get a dog from. I was 16 when my parents said I could have a dog and after going to the Humane Society and being denied on 4 dogs because "you couldn't handle it" I went to the county shelter. I saw a Husky mix and went for it. I had 0 dog experience and ended up getting a 3 year old Siberian Husky who pulled, ran away, and upon looking at her intake records they "did not vaccinate. snapped at vet. USE CAUTION".

I took the time and commitment seriously and now have a dog who does Rally, some Obedience, some Agility, dryland mushing, is perfect at the vets, who doesn't cause problems, and who can be let off leash and trusted in most situations. So don't give up! Keep trying. I know some organizations are more strict with their regulations but they are looking for the best for their dogs, in their defense.

It wouldn't go amiss to find a lab rescue in your area and talk to the people. Tell them you are thinking about getting a lab mix and ask to come meet some of their dogs and spend some time with them. Maybe offer to help take some of them for a walk. Your initiative will speak volumes about your seriousness and the more they know you the more they can find the right dog for you. You would also have a strong network of 'lab people' to call or talk to if you came up with any problems. Just an idea though.
 

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Side hijack that we can take to another thread: "Husky who can be let off leash and trusted in most situations"

I have no experience with Huskies, but thunk that people here had warned not to let a Husky off-leash. If you have interesting suggestions, we can start another thread. If you have a two sentence qualification, that might be useful, too....
 

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Some Huskies, through training and management, can be let off leash in some situations. Some can't at all. I don't recommend it for average owners because they are not a breed that is easy to convince that you are more exciting than the environment. The training is usually long and frustrating and you have to be constantly aware of your surroundings. But, if you take the dedication and time and commitment to it, you can get some Huskies to listen to you off leash. There are Huskies who do Rally, Agility, Obedience, etc. and they have to be off leash for that in training and trial environments. It is also important to know when they can't be off leash too (ie. your training isn't at that level). I think it is important to train for it though as a 'just in case'. Nothing is worse than a dog who has never been trained how to behave off leash suddenly have all the freedom in the world (through some accident/escape) and without the training to know what's expected of them (ie. stay around me, come when called, etc.).
 

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Have you contacted rescues in your area? Petfinder.com lists them all. Even if they say "fence required", I would contact them anyway. (Vet references apply to people who have had an animal previously. Just tell them what vet you plan to use and why, i.e., recommended by other dog owners.) The rescue I went through is a border collie rescue. They require fencing because BCs are very high energy dogs. I don't have a fenced in yard, but I plead my case and they found the perfect low energy (by comparison) dog for me.

Contact them, tell them why you'd be a great owner. Offer to attend training classes with your dog. Explain what you have to offer a dog. Fight for it!
 
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