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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I live in 1200sq ft apartment in Santa Monica and would like to get a medium/large dog. I was looking at labs but it sounds like they really need a yard - otherwise they get anxious and chew things. I can realistically walk/run my dog 2x/day but not for more than 30 min each time. I don't think that would be sufficient for a lab? I like labs because they are sporty and I go hiking, biking, beaching, lake trips all the time. They seem to have a really friendly temperament and I think they are generally pretty good looking. Are there any other breed recommendations? Do you think a lab would fit? I'm also not home for about 45hrs/week
 

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1200 SF is a fairly large apartment. While a yard is a nice thing to have, and very convenient for potty breaks in the early morning/late night or playing fetch, it isn't really all that important either. Dogs don't really exercise themselves in a yard alone, they tend to only exercise by interacting (with you or other dogs in the yard).

2x day at 30 minutes isn't bad, its moderate I'd say. But you'd need to figure additional time for training daily (mental exercise), plus play and more activities on the weekends /non-work days. While I only walk my dog about 45 minutes a day during the work week, we often spend several hours at the park on a Saturday and I add activities like car rides (to any place that allows dogs or to friends houses etc), training, "exploring" (aka visiting a new part of town with different scents and sounds) and really just anything where the dog can come along.

Have you considered a slightly older lab? About 18 months to 3 years old? Then you will get a dog that is moving past the puppy stage, who is physically mature enough to go running or run while you bike (never run a puppy on-leash, it can damage growing joints) and the dog will likely be housetrained (which make the apartment thing even easier). You also have the advantage of getting a good idea of the dog's personality- labs vary in activity level just like any other dog. Most are on the higher energy side, but plenty are "moderate" energy.

Is the 45 hours per week a typical work week at 9 hours per day? That is fine for an adult dog but a long time for a puppy/under 1 yr unless you can afford a daily dog walker (plus, potty training is harder if you can't take them out frequently)

And of course, make sure there is no weight restriction for your apartment complex, many say only "under 30" or "under 50 lbs" and still call themselves "dog friendly"
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Shell,

Thank you for that. Are there any negatives to getting a dog already 18-36 months old? What are the negatives/positives of that option vs a puppy for my situation? As for work I choose my own hours and I'm typically gone from 4pm-11pm or 8pm-1:30AM. I'm home on weekends.
 

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Shell,

Thank you for that. Are there any negatives to getting a dog already 18-36 months old? What are the negatives/positives of that option vs a puppy for my situation? As for work I choose my own hours and I'm typically gone from 4pm-11pm or 8pm-1:30AM. I'm home on weekends.
I haven't had a puppy, although I've been around them when friends or trainers had puppies around. But I found many advantages to adopting a slightly older dog and enjoy fostering the slightly older (young adult) dogs. I got my dog when he was 1.5-2 years old. He came housetrained, he didn't chew, he was dog-friendly and people friendly. He needed training on leash walking and good manners on greeting people (as in, no jumping!) but right from the beginning he could be left alone at home for the workday and didn't require a dogwalker mid-day. Also we could jump right into running and hiking and of course, he already had all his shots and was neutered so I didn't have to worry about that. Being full grown, I knew exactly what size dog he would be and had a very good idea of his energy level and personality from the get-go.

Similarly, the dog I recently fostered was about 14-16 months old, she went to her new home with 14 weeks of class-based training (plus all the training I did), crate trained and house trained and used to spending the work day home crated with no issues. The adopter was able to meet her twice, walk with her and then let her play with their current dog and then do a trial overnight before committing to the adoption (well, she actually called back just hours into the "trial" and said she was in love with the dog and wanted to keep her)

Finding a dog in foster care can let you evaluate the specific dog you are interested in rather than relying strictly on what the breed is typically like.

Advantages of a puppy from a RELIABLE breeder (as in, one who health tests for genetic diseases and does not breed dogs that have those diseases as carriers or as symptomatic) are that you have a better idea of the dog's health history and genetics. You can also be the one training and socializing from the very beginning. Some people see that as a very important thing, personally I find that a good natured young adult dog (trained or not trained) can adapt quickly to a new household and to your training requirements. It is usually about 2-3 months for a dog to fully feel at home in a new home.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks. How would you suggest finding a good 16-36month old dog that's been trained etc already in Los Angeles? I'm also not sure which breed to get yet. I'm looking for something relatively low-maintenance that is sporty but not overly energetic (the 2x 30-min walks in OP might be an exaggeration - I think realistically I can do 2x 15min). I'm looking at Boxers and Yellow Labs as potential candidates. I don't like small dogs but would accept a medium-sized dog if it wasn't too small.
 

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A retired greyhound is a good apartment dog too, or so I've been told!
 

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Thanks. How would you suggest finding a good 16-36month old dog that's been trained etc already in Los Angeles? I'm also not sure which breed to get yet. I'm looking for something relatively low-maintenance that is sporty but not overly energetic (the 2x 30-min walks in OP might be an exaggeration - I think realistically I can do 2x 15min). I'm looking at Boxers and Yellow Labs as potential candidates. I don't like small dogs but would accept a medium-sized dog if it wasn't too small.

if you are getting an older dog, probably from a shelter or rescue, you can always ask what the temperament and energy level is like. There will be quite a bit of variability within a breed, especially if its a mutt.
 

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Hmm, 2 x 15 minutes is not much. Boxers are high energy, I can't think of many (any) Boxers under the age of 5-6 years that could make do with only 30 minutes per day. A lower energy lab... maybe. But not a typical lab. I think if you can't do at least one 30 minute walk plus a 15 minute walk, you might be too busy for a dog... Think clearly about your schedule on the whole- not just walks but time committed to the dog in general; including feeding, potty time, bathing/grooming, training, etc.

I'd get on FB and start looking at rescues. A starting place could be "No Kill Los Angeles" Observe a bit to see if whatever rescue you are dealing with is considered reputable and reliable. Some rescues try hard but gloss over issues with dogs in an attempt to get them adopted faster, other rescues are simply disorganized and can be tedious to deal with (unanswered emails and such). Remember though that most rescues are run by volunteers with regular jobs who can get very busy.
Your local Humane Society shelter (which is NOT the same thing as the "Humane Society of the US") is also a good place to look- just go, meet some dogs, most classify the dogs based on energy level and you can tell the employees there what type of personality you are looking for in a dog and they may have some adult mixes that fit those characteristics.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks again. I'm thinking a lab might be best. I also forgot to mention I go backpacking for 3-4 days at a time and probably couldn't get a medium-sized dog because of that. I can make more time for the labs exercise requirements or hire a walker if I get caught up in work, probably 2x 20minute jogs (not walks). That being said, are there any lab-mixes that would slightly offset a labs typical high-level of energy and/or walking requirements? Also, are there any other large dog recommendations that can handle hiking like that?
 

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I would also suggest looking at rescue organizations and shelters in your area. I have adopted/rescued older pups and adult dogs with great results. Most shelters and rescues will have information on the dog's energy level and temperment. I have had a Lab and Lab mixes. Some of them could be trusted in the house alone or with another dog while I was at work and others I wouldn't leave unsupervised even for a quick trip to the local store. They are individuals.
 

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Don't get a boxer - great dogs, higher energy than you can handle.
Don't get a Lab pup - they don't exist, they're really little goats or furry piranhas. I love the pups but they're difficult for first time owners, if you don't know what to anticipate.

The suggestion of an adult or senior is a great suggestion. A 9+ yo Lab will sleep 18 hours a day.... But you will want to walk the dog 30 min./day .... and be able to spend some time with the dog after work... even if just watching TV. A 3 - 5 yo Lab will be more energetic if desired... they're adaptable. Should be lots of rescues in your area, ask for the qualities that you want and be as straight forward as possible. You might also consider a Lab mix... (I vote for Lab x GSD :) )
 

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Thanks. How would you suggest finding a good 16-36month old dog that's been trained etc already in Los Angeles? I'm also not sure which breed to get yet. I'm looking for something relatively low-maintenance that is sporty but not overly energetic (the 2x 30-min walks in OP might be an exaggeration - I think realistically I can do 2x 15min). I'm looking at Boxers and Yellow Labs as potential candidates. I don't like small dogs but would accept a medium-sized dog if it wasn't too small.
If you can only do two 15 minutes walks per day, I would seriously reevaluate getting a dog. I think of two 30 minute walks per day as the bare minimum, for a small dog, not a large one. Why do you think you wouldn't be able to walk your dog more?

If you are really set on getting a dog, and really determined not to change your lifestyle more to accommodate their typical energy needs, I would second the retired greyhound suggestion. Or else go to a local shelter and tell them you're looking for an elderly couch potato.
 

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Honestly. id go for a older 3+ shelter dog.

2 15mins walks a day isnt even sufficent excersise for a pug. No breed.

Medium and small breeds can and do well on long walks. Depending on the breed. big dogs dont always = more excersise. a dog like a jack russel terrier will need much much more excersise then a dog like a bullmastiff

Call some shelters, ask about dogs they have in foster homes available for a meet up.
 
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