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Help me decide about adopting a dog

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I need some advice.
I am wanting to adopt a dog but I don't know if it is a good idea right now, or which dog to choose... I have a senior dog (Golden Retriever.) I had another senior dog who passed away recently and I had been thinking about getting another dog for a while now, but even more since he passed away.

I like to do agility and other sports but my Golden had to stop these a long time ago due to back problems, so I would like a dog I can do sports with. I am not sure if I should wait to get one until after my senior dog is gone.

The first option is, I have been fostering a shelter dog who I kind of like but I am not sure if I might want to adopt him or not-- sometimes I think maybe it would work out and sometimes I think it is a bad idea or that he is not a good match. He is a Lab mix about 10 months old. He is very friendly, housetrained and actually pretty calm for a young dog... Some of the reasons I am not sure about possibly adopting him are that he plays really rough with other dogs and with my cats (tries to grab them or puts a paw on their backs which is especially bad as he did this to my arthritic senior cat), and has bad habits such as he jumps up on people with his claws (I have bruises/scratches). He also has not had any obedience training and pulls very hard on leash but those last two are things I can work on- I am not sure how to work on the playing too rough though. He also REALLY wants to chase small animals on walks and I have small pets (in cages of course) so I am a little concerned about that. He watches my rats in their cage pretty intently but does not try to go up to them or jump at the cage or anything (I can also keep him out of the room where they are kept if needed.)

Another option is, I know of a German Shepherd puppy available from a breeder. I have always wanted a German Shepherd but have not had the opportunity to get one before. He is about 4 months old, mostly housetrained and has some obedience training (took classes). His parents have OFA hips/elbows and other health testing done and the mother does agility. He has some type of food allergies so they are lowering the adoption fee.
I am not sure if a puppy is a good idea, although I do have quite a bit of free time right now for training and socializing...

One thing is with either of these dogs I can't do dog sports right away because with large breeds they should not do any activities which are hard on their joints until about 2 years old, to prevent injury while they are growing.
The other option is just to wait and not get another dog right now. I would be able to start preparing them to do sports activities but could not actually take classes for say agility, flyball, etc for quite a while.

The other option is just to not get any dog right now-- to wait a while, which would probably mean waiting until next spring at the soonest.
post #2 of 16
Hmm....some will say the prey drive can be over-ridden in a pup....I'm always leery of that. However, you know it's natural for most dogs to have the predatory instinct to want to eat small/caged animals. I personally think it might be a good idea to go for the GSD pup.

At the same time, have you considered going to the shelter? We just euthanized a dog who would've been perfect for you. Awesome agility dog, quick as a whip, but became aggressive in the kennel.
post #3 of 16
My Lola was 10 months old when I got her and did a lot of things that your foster does: a bit rambunctious, played a bit to hard with the cats, etc. I think that most puppies will do that unless they have a playmate of their own species to play with. Once Lola became bonded to my 5 year old dogs, she left the cats alone.
post #4 of 16
Are you interested in a smaller dog - like one of the spaniel types (springer spaniel, brittney)? They are active, easier to handle and are pretty good in agility too.

We have a lab (a calm one) and she loves agility. I recommend an adult and one that is pretty much trained in basics for your best bet. Pups are cute, but take a lot of work on training.

You want to avoid terrier types as they have to high of a prey drive. JRT's should not be totally trusted around cats (this from a JRT owner who's dog killed one of their cats he lived with for years!)
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
My dog who passed away recently was a terrier, mostly Rat Terrier and maybe part Jack Russell and/or Boston. He had no prey drive whatsoever but was VERY highly driven by toys.

I definitely want a large dog, all my favorite breeds are large breeds and I really enjoy the larger dogs. I used to not really like small dogs at all but now I do like them more since owning my terrier who was about 22 lbs... He was a stray as was my Golden so they kinda chose me, which is part of the reason I am so nervous about picking a dog-- I am not used to being the one choosing!

I thought about going to a shelter but I was a little leery because they usually have a lot less information about the dogs than a rescue group (or a breeder) would have... However the Lab mix I am fostering is from a (no kill) shelter but they don't actually have a shelter facility, the dogs are housed in a local boarding/daycare kennel.

I have not been able to find any young adult dogs who already have training. I think the Shepherd puppy probably has had more training than most of the adoptable rescue dogs I have looked into...
post #6 of 16
If you are interested in a lab resuce, I'll pm you with the info. Its run by some members on the Labrador site I belong to. They are very good people and you might find the right one for what you need
post #7 of 16
I think if you are looking to do agility for fun then really the breed doesn't matter that much. And you're right, you do have to watch overexercising the large breeds until their skelton is fully developed. But if you want to be competitive, really competitive, you practically have to get a puppy who was bred for that purpose. I tried doing it for fun for a while and lost interest because everyone else in the group was dead serious - 'winning isn't the most important thing, it's the only thing' type of people. I know some of them and they tend to go for a super smart herding type that they obedience train from day one. Also they tend to be clicker trainers.
post #8 of 16
Get a shelter dog. IMO there is nothing better then a shelter dog if you have the patience to work through a few quirks… but that’s with any dog. If your thinking of getting an older dog you may have to train self confidance as opposed to a puppy not chewing. Or have to train no tugging on leash, as opposed to house training a puppy. Either way you need to train. Just with an older dog you can get started on fun sports right away.

Shelters have so many dogs to choose from, different breeds, sizes, temperaments, ages. My boyfriends and I volunteered at the shelter to try out the different dogs and we ended up finding a dog that was so perfect for us its insane. Finding my Bruno was like fate.

If you feel like you are ready for a dog then why wait? Dogs add so much to life (as do cats ) get an older dog, that has a low prey drive, and can do sports… there’s got to be a few at the shelter. Off hand I can think of at least 3 that would fit you from my local shelter.

Good luck!
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nekochan View Post
I need some advice.
I am wanting to adopt a dog but I don't know if it is a good idea right now, or which dog to choose... I have a senior dog (Golden Retriever.) I had another senior dog who passed away recently and I had been thinking about getting another dog for a while now, but even more since he passed away.

I like to do agility and other sports but my Golden had to stop these a long time ago due to back problems, so I would like a dog I can do sports with. I am not sure if I should wait to get one until after my senior dog is gone.

The first option is, I have been fostering a shelter dog who I kind of like but I am not sure if I might want to adopt him or not-- sometimes I think maybe it would work out and sometimes I think it is a bad idea or that he is not a good match. He is a Lab mix about 10 months old. He is very friendly, housetrained and actually pretty calm for a young dog... Some of the reasons I am not sure about possibly adopting him are that he plays really rough with other dogs and with my cats (tries to grab them or puts a paw on their backs which is especially bad as he did this to my arthritic senior cat), and has bad habits such as he jumps up on people with his claws (I have bruises/scratches). He also has not had any obedience training and pulls very hard on leash but those last two are things I can work on- I am not sure how to work on the playing too rough though. He also REALLY wants to chase small animals on walks and I have small pets (in cages of course) so I am a little concerned about that. He watches my rats in their cage pretty intently but does not try to go up to them or jump at the cage or anything (I can also keep him out of the room where they are kept if needed.)

Another option is, I know of a German Shepherd puppy available from a breeder. I have always wanted a German Shepherd but have not had the opportunity to get one before. He is about 4 months old, mostly housetrained and has some obedience training (took classes). His parents have OFA hips/elbows and other health testing done and the mother does agility. He has some type of food allergies so they are lowering the adoption fee.
I am not sure if a puppy is a good idea, although I do have quite a bit of free time right now for training and socializing...

One thing is with either of these dogs I can't do dog sports right away because with large breeds they should not do any activities which are hard on their joints until about 2 years old, to prevent injury while they are growing.
The other option is just to wait and not get another dog right now. I would be able to start preparing them to do sports activities but could not actually take classes for say agility, flyball, etc for quite a while.

The other option is just to not get any dog right now-- to wait a while, which would probably mean waiting until next spring at the soonest.
Whether you wait or not until your Senior dog is gone is your decision but I will share an experience of mine. It's "food for thought".
I adopted Buddy, a Golden Retriever Rescue when my Amber, another Golden Retriever was 14 years old. I honestly think that Buddy helped keep her alive another year. They truely bonded. He acted like her Father and was very protective.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
I still can't decide! I made a list of "pros" and "cons" for the two dogs--

1- 4 month old male German Shepherd (from breeder)


Pros:

-Attended puppy classes already (socialized)
-Parents OFA'd hips/elbows (dam 'excellent', sire 'good')
-Comes from known genetics
-Mother has agility/obedience titles
-Discounted cost due to possible mild food allergies (the food he was eating had a formula change and he started getting itchy. Skin scraping was neg.)
-Being a puppy, has not yet developed "bad habits" and breeders has discouraged things like chewing on hands and jumping up (but will need continued training to ensure he doesn't develop any bad habits!)
-Comes with a 2-year health guarantee

Cons:
-Have to wait longer to do activities (until adult)
-Have to go through puppy phases such as teething
-Probably has food allergy
-Comes from American show lines so is pretty angulated (I tend to prefer the more straight-backed Shepherds)
-Breeder advises not neutering until 1 year old so I will have to deal with "male behaviors"


2- Lab mix, male 9 months old (from shelter)

Pros:

-Crate trained
-Can start "sport" training sooner due to age
-Very friendly
-Shelter's trainer willing to help with behavior
-Already neutered

Cons:
-Play rough with other dogs (may be due to age or to not having enough exercise)
-A little rough with cats, but playful (needs training in that area)
-Has some bad habits such as jumping on people
-Has a high prey drive when out on walks
-No health guarantees
-Has not had any training
post #11 of 16
Nek,

Personally I'd pass on both. I know there is a better dog out there for you. We got Keno at 14 months old. Whoever had her originally took her to obedience classes. She is VERY well trained and we are happy with her. We had no idea how she would be with cats, but we got her 2 months after she had her puppies (10 of them), so maybe a mother instinct was still there.

She is excellant with the cats. Can be a little overwhelming at times but will quickly obey commands and very trusting dog.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Personally I'd pass on both. I know there is a better dog out there for you.
I totally agree.

German Shepherds are also prone to arthiritis aswell My friend is having hers pts soon bcuz he can barely walk bless him

And IMO I agree with GoldenKitty45, somewhere there is a dog out there who is right for you.

Have you considered collies? (As in something like a Border Collie) They are not overly big, not overly small, are great at agility, obedient and are very trainable. And tend get on well with other pets.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
No I had not considered a Border Collie or similar, they are just too high energy for my taste plus a little on the small side...

I do love German Shepherds so if I don't get one now I will be in the future...

I also wanted to mention, I am not like a serious competitor with agility, I mostly just like to do it for fun and if I get a title on a dog it's just a bonus.
post #14 of 16
You could always get something like a mix of golden and shepherd

you'll find a great one someday
post #15 of 16
Have you considering a retired racing greyhound? I went to several rescue events and some of the had their own cats. All of them either seemed to like cats or disregard them.
They also like to be active and play with their people.
post #16 of 16
In all honesty, if you really want a GSD, maybe look into a rescue one who's around 2ish years old that has had basic training.
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