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Lest I be guilty of hijacking another thread, I'll move the discussion here. I'll argue that a first time dog owner is likely to not be incredibly knowledge about dogs and even if they are, by definition they're inexperienced. Because of this I say first time dog owners should ideally adopt an adult or young adult dog. Given that cost and behavioral issues are always in the top 10 reasons people give up dogs, adults are both less costly and you know any behavioral issues they have before hand and can prepare for them. With an adult, you can adopt a dog who is housebroken, knows basic obedience (sit, stay, walk on a leash, etc...) and basic canine manners. (Note, I'm not saying that all adult rescue dogs are this way, I'm just saying you can find them.) You also know the size of the dog, it's temperament, how much it sheds, if it gets along with cats, if it is good with kids, if it's good with adults, it's personality quirks, etc.... In another words if you work with a good quality rescue there are few unknowns. Even working with a quality breeder there are always question marks. You don't really know how big the dog is going to get, if they'll grow up to be a ball of energy or a couch potato, etc...

I personally would only recommend a puppy for someone who has a significant amount of time to spend with the puppy. If you work 8-9 hours a day outside the house and are a first time home owner, a puppy can be extremely challenging.

Everyone else's thoughts?
 

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I wouldn't say that either is better. It actually depends on what the owner wants. My first dog was 2 sibling puppies. Of course, I did tons of research and reading and I wasn't working, so I had plenty of time to do it right. I had fostered adults before that and knew I couldn't bond with an adult easily. Some people can, some can't. So I think it depends entirely on the person and what experience they're looking for.
 

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My first was an adult, the second a puppy. As a first-time owner, I think it was very good for me to start with an adult for many of the reasons you mentioned.

I'm definitely enjoying the experience of raising a puppy, though, as well.
 

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I actually happen to think that the best dog for a first time owner is one of any age from a really involved responsible breeder. The dog has the best possible foundation, no gaps in socialization and either housebroken or well on the way to being. Puppies have some advantages - they'r ecute enough that forgiving the inevitable mistakes is easier ;P- and first-time dog owners may find it a lot easier to bond with them then an adult dog* (it's not a dogs-don't-bond thing, it's a people problem.)


*Has anyone noticed that people often overlook REALLY nice shelter dogs because they are not in-your-face-affectionate with strangers? I have a guest dog here who is standoffish with strangers, but once she gets to know you is absolutely lovely.
 

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I think it depends on the individual. If you are ready for a puppy and understand what your in for then it should not be a problem. For me, it was something I wouldn't trade the world for. If I had to do it all over, I wouldn't change a thing. You just learn so much since you know every little thing about your puppy and it just makes training so much easier.
 

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Lest I be guilty of hijacking another thread, I'll move the discussion here. I'll argue that a first time dog owner is likely to not be incredibly knowledge about dogs and even if they are, by definition they're inexperienced. Because of this I say first time dog owners should ideally adopt an adult or young adult dog. Given that cost and behavioral issues are always in the top 10 reasons people give up dogs, adults are both less costly and you know any behavioral issues they have before hand and can prepare for them. With an adult, you can adopt a dog who is housebroken, knows basic obedience (sit, stay, walk on a leash, etc...) and basic canine manners. (Note, I'm not saying that all adult rescue dogs are this way, I'm just saying you can find them.) You also know the size of the dog, it's temperament, how much it sheds, if it gets along with cats, if it is good with kids, if it's good with adults, it's personality quirks, etc.... In another words if you work with a good quality rescue there are few unknowns. Even working with a quality breeder there are always question marks. You don't really know how big the dog is going to get, if they'll grow up to be a ball of energy or a couch potato, etc...

I personally would only recommend a puppy for someone who has a significant amount of time to spend with the puppy. If you work 8-9 hours a day outside the house and are a first time home owner, a puppy can be extremely challenging.

Everyone else's thoughts?
I've been searching for the "right" first dog for a month before I got Stardust. I was specifically looking for a medium sized adult dog or slightly smaller. However, because of where I live (Las Vegas), the majority of the dogs in shelters are Pitbulls, chihuahuas, and large dogs. While I do understand Pitbulls can be wonderful dogs and great pets, but I do not have any experience whatsoever, and I believe adult Pitbulls should belong to experienced owners. You'll never know if the pitbull will turn on to you, especially as first owner. I also was looking for a dog that will be okay with my two cats. There were like 10 that I saw, "does not get along with cats".

In Las Vegas, there's a LOT of animals given up, and unfortunately, not all are adopted (this is majoritly because of the foreclosures and stuff. I don't give a hoot's ass, my animals are my children, I will NOT ever give them up, I don't care about the cost, I'm more than happy to give up necessities just to feed my animals).

There was a few dogs that I had my eye on, but there was no "That's the dog I want". I did have a close call with a dog that was "trained" for the deaf. 9 year old Lab. I checked it out...he turned out to be 115 overweight, Lab Mix (HUGE dog), and he was just too big for me, and the fact that he was not well trained. He kept jumping at me (a trained certified dog DO NOT jump on people), and I just was not comfortable. I sadly had to turn him away. Hopefully he has been adopted out to a great family with kids.
The next day, I saw Stardust in her cage, and I knew she was the one right away. I didn't realize that she was a puppy until I saw her info card. I spoke to my fiance and we thought about it for half hour and discussed that it's just the perfect timing for us to have a puppy anyways. I'm a student, so I'm home often. I'm only out for 5 hours a day. My fiance works from home, so he is more than happy to take her out for potty every couple hours/ play every couple hours or so.

So, for US it was perfect. For a working couple, a puppy will not be ideal.

I did have my heart set on a trained adult, but I felt the connection right away with Stardust. So far, she has been doing so good with training. She knows how to sit, come, wait, Go potty, Dog Park. I also will take her to obedience class starting next week. We both did the research the day and as we go along about raising a pup, and I think we're pretty good. The two small issues that we're working on - Potty training (who doesn't with Puppies?) and jumping/chasing my other two cats (which I think where obedience training will help).

For a family that has kids, I would recommend a young adult because who really end up taking care of the dog? The parents, and I don't think they really want to try to raise puppies AND kids at the same time. I know I wouldn't. Older, alone people - I would recommend an adult dog.

I think it all depends on the situations.
 

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First dog I got was an adult.
I am so glad, we got an adult dog instead of a puppy.
I have a puppy now, she is alot of work.:p
 

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Discussion Starter #8
*Has anyone noticed that people often overlook REALLY nice shelter dogs because they are not in-your-face-affectionate with strangers? I have a guest dog here who is standoffish with strangers, but once she gets to know you is absolutely lovely.
There was an adult dog at the local Humane Society like that. When you walked up to his cage he would actually back away into the outside area of the kennel and stare at you with his head down and his tail between his legs. He was clearly scared to death and I often wonder what happened to him. I could see people being reluctant to adopt him because of that.
 

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I seriously WISH our family's first dog had been an adult. We knew nothing about dogs and it would have been much less disastrous. We managed, but it wasn't easy. None of our/my dogs since then have ben young puppies. Now that I have some dog experience, I think I probably could raise a puppy. But I still like adult dogs better. Puppies are messy and high-maintenance.
 

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Trent is my first dog, and trust me, I did my research. Everything is working out great with him, I'm happy to say.

I personally just really wanted a puppy because I admittedly never thought about adopting. Money wasn't an issue, time wasn't an issue, so our family suited a puppy fine, and a puppy suited our family fine. And now that Trent's home, there is ALWAYS someone home... and yet, he probably only spends time with us for 8-10 hours a day. The rest of the time he is off in his crate or by my bed sleeping.
 

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as a first time owner, my first dog was a puppy.

in the future, i think that i would like to adopt an adult dog, but i am SO GLAD my first was a puppy.

She was so much work, so much stress and so much trouble, but I feel like I have learned so much about dogs that I might not have if I had an older dog.
 

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I had to have a husband and two kids before I finally got my first dog; he was a 7mos old sheltie. We got a puppy after that, 10 weeks old and an older one was definitely easier. I think if you're completely inexperienced, like I was, a non young puppy would be easier. We werent' allowed to have pets other than fish when I was growing up so I was completely clueless. My sheltie was very easy, even at 7mos, the next was the young puppy and he, not so easy. I learned everything the hard way and it was at least another dozen years before I took the puppy step again.
 

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I think what is best for whom depends primarily on research, time, and circumstances and not so much on experience. Many first time owners seem perfectly capable of raising puppies.

Having said that, I've done puppies and adults and I think puppies are overrated!
 

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I think it just depends on the person. When I brought Uallis home from the breeder, I was in college and worked. My boyfriend was also in college and worked. It doesn't sound like an ideal situation but we made it work, it just depends on the level of commitment the owner is willing to put in when it comes to raising a puppy. However, we were not first time dog owners; my boyfriend has had multiple dogs all his life, at one point he had as many as 15, mostly strays. I had a few dogs when I was growing up, so we knew what to expect. We researched the breed for about 2 years before purchasing so we really knew what we were getting into. It's a fact of life that people have to work to survive. Most people work at least 8 hours a day. It's hard to have a puppy under those circumstances but not impossible by any stretch of the imagination. There are options for people to pursue in order to make it work. When I was in classes all day, I tried to get someone to come to my home to let him out for a potty break, if I couldn't find someone, then I had to come home and do it and that was just the way it was. We always made sure that someone was here to let him out.

Sure, its probably easier for 1st time owners to go the adult dog route but that isn't always what people necessarily prefer. Like I said, it just depends on the level of care, I guess, that a person can deal with. If the idea of potty training is too much, then yes...an older dog is much better option. If the thought of intensive training is too much, then maybe an adult dog with basic obedience is a better choice. Really its the same principal as when a person is deciding on a breed of dog...in both cases it needs to be decided what would fit in the best.
 

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Depends on the person, depends on the dog....I got Shiner as an adult and he is a very difficult dog, a sweetie, but came to me from a shelter with some issues that would be very trying for most first time owners, extreme destructiveness, neediness...he was house trained, that's a plus, but he would have been a bad match for an inexperienced owner.
 

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In my opinion, puppy or adult has less to do with experience than it has to do with commitment.
I never thought of it that way, but I think I agree with you. Puppies are more of a resource commitment (or at least they're more likely to be) than adults IMO.
 

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In my opinion, puppy or adult has less to do with experience than it has to do with commitment.
Totally agree.

As a breeder of a highly friendly, highly intelligent and very active breed, I have no problem placing puppies in homes that have the right outlook, goals and resources, whether they are experienced dog owners or not.

It helps that I am there to guide them every step of the way, as I will get emails and phone calls about things that I find routine but that are new and strange to someone that hasn't owned a dog before, and I am able to allay their fears and steer them in the right direction.

Having said that, I've also placed some young adults, and the same holds true for them. I guess that is just one of the perks you get from a responsible breeder--their time and guidance throughout the dog's life, whether it is a puppy or an adult. Any first-time dog owner needs resources!
 

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I decided to adopt an adult rather than buy a puppy when choosing my first dog. While I'm glad to have avoided the potty training/chewing/hyperactivity phases, I've had a whole other set of challenges.

The adoption fee was less than what most breeders charge, and I didn't have to get all those puppy shots, but when I brought him home he had a yeast infection in his ears, needed Rabies/Bordatella/Parvo shots, and had roundworms. He also suffers from SA, so I have to pay for doggie prozac/xanax monthly. He's my first dog so factor in all those initial toy/supply/obedience class costs as well.

After experiencing puppydom (with my parents dog a few years ago) and dealing with a new adult dog, it seems like the time and monetary commitments have been about the same!
 

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My husband and I's first dog was a very young puppy from a rescue. He adopted the dog on a impulse - and guess who got to take care of her? Me! It was...interesting, to say the least. While I was a professional groomer, I was certainly no expert in training puppies (I still am not)

What a headache. What a commitment. How time involving, frustrating...errr...I look at my beautiful, mellow, sweet adult dog and think - "You were such a damn brat when you were a baby...your dad wanted to give you up....you're lucky I stuck by you..."

I vowed after that to never get a puppy again.

Then 8 months later hubby "surprises" me with a "gift" .... another puppy...omg.... Leroy the english bulldog... He was MUCH easier!! But still....

3rd dog - Amy, a 4 year old border collie mix from a kill shelter... <whew> what a breeze...she SHOULD have been our first dog. Fully house trained. Friendly with people, dogs, and cats. Understood basic commands. Non destructive. Sweet and affectionate. All I do is look at her and I hear "THUMP THUMP THUMP" from the wagging tail.

Anyway - for me, an adult would have been a better choice. But thats not to say that a puppy cannot be done. Even for someone like me, who is very laid back and doesn't really enjoy exercising!

hulk - I have been reading your posts and I must say I really like your style.
 
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