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How old were you when you got your first dog? --That wasn't your 'family's dog' when you were younger? What made you decide to get him/her? Do you think you were ready at the time? What do you wish you had known?

My family has a few dogs and I'm away at college, I miss them so much! I'm basically counting down the days until my lifestyle is doggie compatible (1 year 8 months!) and I have enough time for him or her <3 :)
 

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Never had one growing up. Got my first (and only) at age 23. I needed a companion, and had the time to devote to being a good owner, so I guess I was ready. I didn't really know what I was getting into with the specific dog I chose, though. Not that I regret it - she's just way more dog than I planned on having.
 

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I am 24 and got my first dog 10 months ago. I was ready and had the time to devote to properly raising a puppy. I did tons of research on the breed I wanted and continue to do research on them to better prepare myself for the future.
 

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I'm 20, 21 later this year..... Still don't have my OWN dog, just "family" ones. I too am counting down until I can get one! I thought it would be late last year when I moved back home to Australia after my 18 months abroad in Canada, but alas I realized I actually don't like it much here, so sometime in 2013 I'm hoping to move to LA or NY for a year. Then after that I'll have to figure it out from there.... But I can't get one now cause I don't want to leave it behind, nor could I afford the $3k to get it to the US, and the $6k to get it back to Aus (not to mention the 1-3+ months quarantine...)

I constantly go on random bursts of dog supply shopping sprees... I've got almost all the supplies and toys right now. Quite sad... seeing as I'm probably 2 years off still. :(. Going to spend this year fostering though, I've got the supplies.. so why not! I'm even studying to be a dog trainer, so much fun. Hopefully, I'll be prepared! Haha........ I feel like the crazy dog person right now.
 

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I was 24 when I got Muggsy. We always had a dog growing up and those years in between were hard, but I knew the time was right when my mom went from "you're not ready" to "let's go to the shelter". Not that I let her rule my life, but I don't know a more responsible dog owner.
 

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I was 24. I was living in Santa Barbara in a tiny studio apartment when a bedraggled Irish setter stray followed me from the parking lot to work.

It was unplanned and absolutely one of the best things that's ever happened to me, and possibly her.
 

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I was 26 when I got my first. I already had two horses and rented a pasture for them and felt I was more than capable of taking care of a dog on top of them. :)
 

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I was 14 years old and received my first Rough Collie and I did take care of it myself. I was a responsible child. :) I also took care of the thirteen puppies she had. We bred her to a Champion Rough Collie with the experience of a reputable RC breeder. I was called away from a dinner date with a boyfriend when she began to whelp ... Lol! My date thought I was crazy and wouldn't stay to watch the process! Lol! :)
 

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Wow - guess I was a late bloomer! Got my first non-family dog at 34. Had cats since I was 24, but never felt ready to take on a dog. I'm so glad we finally took the plunge - having Hobbes has totally changed our little family, in a good way.
 

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when I was 8 and we got Shadow, the family dog, I begged for my "own" dog, my parents said "when your older"..a promise I never forgot and when I was 13 I decided I was "older" and my parents got me Happy, but obviously I was only 13, I didnt really make any decisions or pay anything lol, same with Misty, my parents got me her was I was 15..same thing, but they have always been "my" dogs and as soon as I turned 18 all their files, legal stuff etc.. went straight to me. Electra is my first dog in which my parents have never had any involvment whatsoever, and I got her when I was 18.
 

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I was 21 when I got Carter just after my boyfriend of 6 years and I brought our first house. We had been talking for a while about what pet to get. I want a cat, he wants snakes. I wants ferrets, he wanted some sort of exotic animal :-/ Finally after many months of debate he decided he wanted a dog, and while I didn't because I knew how much work a dog was (I never had one but I understood) and I knew with him working 50+hrs a week I'd be the one to take care of it. He finally won and we brought home Carter and I found the part of my life that's been missing all those years. Now I could never imagine not having one in my life.
 

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35! What made us decide to get her? Well, following my dads death, my kids were begging (and begging, and begging) for a dog. We had never had one due to my very severe dog allergies, but found out there were a few breeds that might work. We started looking, and found Zoey, a pap/poodle x. When she was let into the "visitation pen" with us, she walked up to my son, stood up putting her paws on his shoulders, and carefully licked his face. Then, she proceeded to do that to every member of our family. It was pretty much impossible to not take her home with us after that. We didn't know it then, but we were very ready, and we needed her very much...she helped us to heal after several very devastating losses.
 

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Not sure how to qualify - I "brought home" a stray when I was 14 yo, and learned unenlightened positive methods with some force and punishment. Got my first dog totally on my own at 29 yo, using a little force, but no punishment. Read Karen Pryor in 1986... but it didn't "click" b/c I already knew Learning Theory. Then, learned Calming Signals when I was 45 ... and learned two-way communications. I wish that I had known Learning Theory and Calming Signals when I was 14... and I wish there were some rigorous, double-blind studies for Calming Signals. Even if some of the detail is wrong, the additional observational techniques are light years beyond using Learning Theory methods alone.
 

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I was 20 when I first brought Sydney home. That's also when I moved into my first apartment where I was truly independent (not a dorm room). My family got her when I was almost 18 but she didn't come live with me until two years later (when it became clear that she was being neglected).
 

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I got Gally last year. I was 23. I was finished my education, had a steady full time job, a secure place to live and the support of my bf who is also my roommate. Together we have more then enough to support ourselves and a dog. Having the support system was the real key though as a puppy really takes a village to raise.
 

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I was 14, Kechara was a Christmas present to me from my parents. I was responsible for all her training and trialing expenses. Tho my parents still payed for food and vet care.
 

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Rosie and Nikki were 'mine' and I did all the training and stuff but I was 9 and 10 respectively and so didn't exactly pay for them.

My first dog totally on my own was Summer and I have had her about 4 years now. So that would make me 21 when I got her. That sounds about right.
 

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I was 16 or 17; Scout was a malamute/collie mix from a nearby farm. I was responsible for all of his vet bills and for feeding and walking and training him (my parents may have bought his dog food; I can't recall). I trained him using some physical force because I didn't know any better -- this was just before I got the Internet and all I had were old training books. He was a very intelligent and forgiving dog, though, and ended up polite and happy. My parents kept him when I went off to university, and I returned home after that and resumed his care until he got old and developed mobility issues (which were also probably partly my fault -- back then I didn't know that large breeds/mixes shouldn't do a lot of jumping and running as puppies) and I had him put to sleep. He was a great dog.
 

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I was 20. I spent my whole life begging my parents for a dog, and they never wanted one. We had a cat and other small critters, which were great and I loved them very much, but I always, always desperately wanted a dog. I used to "steal" the neighbors dog 3 or 4 times a day and take it for a walk when I was younger (they didn't mind!) and was just always drawn to dogs where ever I saw them. We got Zoey when I was 20, and Maggie when I was 21. :)
 
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