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Hi, I'm 16 and never had a real pet before but after playing with my cousin's pug, I've started to really want a dog. However, I just don't have the knowledge to determine what kind of dog is right for me. I'm leaning towards a german shepherd because of how loyal they are to their owners however I don't know if a first time owner like myself can handle the tasks to maintain a healthy german shepherd who will be happy in my care. I also like dogs such as the golden retriever and labrador retriever, are those good dogs for me?

I would give my dog lots of attention and will exercise with him everyday. I prefer medium size dogs because i find small dogs not fierce enough and huge dogs would just scare my 9 year old sister who likes dogs as long as they arn't vicious towards her. I would appreciate any tips on choosing the dog for me because I don't want my dog to be sad with me because I don't know how to properly take care of her. If you need any additional information, just ask!

P.S Should i get a puppy or a already developed dog? I want a puppy however I heard they are hard to train and needs lots of training?
 

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You say you don’t want a big dog because of your sister, but pure GSDs aren't medium sized dogs but large and strong. They also take a strong assertive owner. When deciding which breed you need to take into account many factors. Energy level is a big one and how much exercise your dog will need versus how much you can provide, and how much time you'll have to devout to training. Some dogs are easier to train and don’t need constant mental tasks while others if not challenged can become destructive because they are a breed who needs mental exercise as well as physical. I suggest you Google "what dog is right for me" because there are several different websites that give quizzes and then make suggestions based on your answers.

As far as a puppy vs. a "developed" dog as you call it, you said your 16. Unless you are home schooled or you parents are willing to be a part of training a puppy is not right for you. Puppies during potty training need to be taken out every few hours and will not be able to hold it while you are school all day. Just a suggestion but once you find a breed you like, I would check if there is a rescue in the area and contact them. They would have dogs of that breed in all different life stages and would be able to confirm if that is the breed for you as well as suggest dogs in their possession that may be a good choice. Or sometimes a breeder has a dog who didn’t work out because the people didn’t have time or got a new baby and the dog is returned so its not a puppy. Aslo realize with puppies comes not only what you pay for the dog but the cost of vaccinations, supplies, and spaying/nutering if you choose to do so (personally I belive all dogs who are "pets" and not for show or the purpose of breeding should be but others on here will tell you differently. You will need to research that for yourself as well).

You mentioned Goldens and Labs and they are both great breeds for a family. They arent difficult to train, dont need to be constantly engaged and are known for their sweet dispositions ranking top of the lists for families years running. My first dog was a golden/lab mix and was amazing, never ever snapped at anyone, we could leave her sun bathing on the front porch with no fence, was content going for a run or just napping on the couch, basclly my very best friend for many years.

Dont forget dogs are a long comitment, no just for the next few years but for 10-15. Will you be going away to college and if so will your sister and parents be willing to take over the responsibilities of the dog?

I hope this didnt sound negative because it wasnt meant to, at all. I just want you to make sure you fully understand what owning a dog entails as its a big comitment, time and finances. Best of Luck! Whe you start thinking you have found a breed that fits im sure people here who know the breed will be able to give you more information on that specific choice.
 

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Why do you want a "fierce" dog? And if you don't want a large dog, why are you considering a GSD, golden retriever and lab? All 3 are large dogs?

Anyway, you're 16, what do your parents say? You also have to consider that you'll still have this dog at 31. What will you be doing in between? Whatever you're doing, the dog will need walking, feeding, play, training- every day. It's fun to play with a friend's dog, but your own dog is a lot of annoyance and sacrifice.
 

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The breeds you listed are not medium breeds. They are large, especially the GSD and GSDs especially are not a dog for the first time owner.

You're 16 so please take into account the future, finances, overall responsibility.

Your dog will need daily grooming, training, walking, feeding, playtime, you'll have to make sure it always has fresh water. The dog will need regular vet visits, not including there could be emergencies. Dogs are not cheap. Do you have a job that can support all of this/are your parents completely on board for helping you?
Also, take into account your lifestyle. I'm 19, and I've never been one who likes to go on trips or to the movies or even out to eat, so that all works out for my dogs because I spend the best portion of my day with them. Do you like to do the normal teenage things; parties, movies, vacations, school trips, etc.? A dog will have to come above all those unless your parents are fully willing to walk/feed/groom/etc. for you while you're out. Mine aren't, therefore my life belongs to my dogs.
Also, please consider college, assuming you're going. Most dorms do not allow pets, especially dogs, and the same goes for apartments. How will college work out for the dog? If you're going away for college, will your parents be willing to keep the dog? Most parents don't like the idea of taking care of a pet that's not supposed to be theirs.

Don't get me wrong, I love all my pets, but I promise you, they're a lot more fun when you can give them back. You go to a friend's house, and play with their pets, that's all you see, is the fun, not the dirty work, the frustration, the finance, etc.

I'm not trying to talk you out of a dog (although I stand firm on the GSD bit) but more to inform you. These are things you really need to seriously consider before getting a pet, and always be sure to talk it over seriously with your parents. Unless they're on board there will be drama in the future.
If after all this you decide to get a dog, I suggest going to a rescue and looking around. You'll likely find your best friend there.

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Oh I feel like adding this.
You said you've never had a real pet before, so I'm assuming you may have had things like a turtle or fish? (not that they're not real pets, but they don't require much interaction, admittedly.) If you find a dog isn't for you and you would still like a 'real pet' I'll suggest rats. Rats should live in same-sex groups -pairs at least- and are very much like dogs. They can be trained to do tricks, they come when called, they recognize you and their names. They are very lovable and playful and are fairly easy to care for. most rats, unless having gone through some trauma in their life, will not bite, they will not mess on you. They do require a special bit of vet care, but don't require the basic things that dogs need like vaccinations, etc. They're also cheaper to feed.
 

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I agree about looking at Rescues, Shelters, and dog pounds. Ask about a 2- 5 year old Lab. Tell the people this is your first dog, so you want one that has been house trained, socialized with people and animals, and had a little obedience training...effectively a dog with training wheels :)

Labs can be good dogs to learn with, because they are intelligent, tough, and forgiving of mistakes...
 
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