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Hello,
My name is Walt and I have had pets for the majority of my life growing up. I got married last year to a woman who also had pets in the home growing up. After purchasing our home almost two years ago, my wife and I decided it was time to add a dog to our family.

After an exhaustive amount of research, we came up with a list of breeds that we were interested in, as well as a few adoption agencies we were interested in checking out.

After emailing back and forth with a coupe of these agencies, we expanded our search to help us find a breed we were interested in. It turned out that the city we live outside of (Reading, PA) was loaded with adult pittbulls and the breed would cause a potential problem with our home owners insurance.

We managed to find a place on petfinder than had a variety of breeds and seemed like a nice organization overall. After filling out the adoption application online and having our references checked, we are scheduled to visit the kennel tomorrow and meet a dog that caught our eye.

Never having adopted a pet before, I really have no idea what to expect tomorrow. I'm unsure if I'll simply be filling out additional paperwork and meeting a dog, or if I may be bringing home a new addition to our family. I know that the agency wants to see how the dog, my wife, and I get along, but aside from that I am kind of drawing a blank.

My wife and I spent some time tonight picking up a dog bed, a lead for our yard, and a kong in anticipation of bringing our potential new family member home with us. We held off on a crate in case something doesn't work out and we need a different size for a different dog later on down the line.

If all goes well, we bond with the animal, and we bring him home with us, how long should we allow him to acclimate to his new surroundings before introducing any type of training? We are anxious to teach him to sit, walk on a leash, and introduce crate training, but we don't want to rush it and make him uncomfortable.

We have a 3/4 acre lot that is unfenced. I think that we have plenty of space to walk him in the yard until he is comfortable enough to hit the streets but I'm really unsure where to begin.

I may be getting ahead of myself a bit, but I have a tendency to want to over-think things in order to be as prepared as possible. The dog we visit tomorrow is estimated to be between 6-8 months old and is a German Shepperd Dog mix.

My apologies for the lengthy post containing a question which may seem overly simple, isn't just the over-thinker in me taking over :)

Also,
In all of the research my wife and I have done, we have found loads of information that contradicts other information we have found. We have asked friends for book recommendations and they have been pretty broad. Some recommend anything by Cesar Millan while others say to stay far away from his work. Some have recommended a book by The Monks of New Skete while others have recommended a book by Victoria Stilwell. The recommendations have my head spinning.

Being a group of dedicated dog owners with a heavy influence on the training aspect of pet ownership, what would you recommend we read on training?

Thanks
-Walt
 

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Training starts on day one......here's the potty area....no jumping, biting, going potty in the house, no chewing the table legs, here's the water bowl/food bowl, your bed, we go for a walk 2x a day, no bolting out the door....etc. Dogs love/thrive on structure/routine and the sooner he/she gets the routine down the better off you'll all be.
I'll let others recommend the books and personally suggest basic obedience classes. You'll learn 10x more in a class (and faster) than you'll get from a book.
 

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We held off on a crate in case something doesn't work out and we need a different size for a different dog later on down the line.
Get it now, you can always return it or use the divider if you get the metal wire kind.

In all of the research my wife and I have done, we have found loads of information that contradicts other information we have found. We have asked friends for book recommendations and they have been pretty broad. Some recommend anything by Cesar Millan while others say to stay far away from his work. Some have recommended a book by The Monks of New Skete while others have recommended a book by Victoria Stilwell. The recommendations have my head spinning.
If you search for Cesar on here you will find lots of good links which explain why...basically most of us don't like him. The Monks of New Skete later said they were wrong about the things like alpha roll.

Karen Pryor's clicker training book helped me to begin with. Another good one is the idiot's guide to positive reinforcement. However, everything you'll need to get started can be found in the stickies in our training forum.
 

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The length of time it takes to acclimate will depend a lot on the dog him/herself, basic temperament, and the life experiences the dog has had prior to coming to you.

Tooney hit it right on when he said that dogs thrive on structure and routine. It helps them feel secure, first and foremost.

You can learn a great deal right here on DF. I would encourage you to take your dog to a beginner's obedience class ASAP. You will learn, and, working with your dog will create and deepen your bond. When you learn to communicate with (understand) each other, all sorts of wonderful things happen!

Introduce your dog to a crate, and gradually get him used to being crated. Doing so will keep him/her safe, and will prevent damage to your personal property (and getting frustrated with, or upset with your dog, which can damage your relationship).

Keep us posted!
 

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Good for you, doing as much research as you can. What I found helpful was reading all the stickies at the top of each forum and also the training articles in http://www.dogstardaily.com/.

If you implement everything from these two sources, you should have very few problems with your dog.
 

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Good for you, doing as much research as you can. What I found helpful was reading all the stickies at the top of each forum and also the training articles in http://www.dogstardaily.com/.

If you implement everything from these two sources, you should have very few problems with your dog.
Really nice link!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all of the suggestions so far. I've been digging around on these forums for about a week now (before registering) and have found lots of great information.

Going through this adoption is kind of funny when you think about it. Back in high school I would study for an upcoming test. I'd feel confident I knew the material, then come the day of the test, I felt like I must have just forgotten everything I have read prior. It always worked out back then, so I'm sure it will all work out now. Just a matter of recalling everything that I have read thus far.

jesirose,
While I don't have the crate yet, I was planning on getting one if/when we brought the dog home today. In any case, he will have a crate for his first night home.
 
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