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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm Adam! This is my first post on these forums. I'm 23 years old, and on Tuesday I'm finally going to move out of my parents house into my own apartment. I've been telling myself for years that I would get a dog to keep me company as soon as I got my own place, but the last thing I want is to get one and then have to give it up because I can't afford it or take care of it. How do I know if I'm okay to get a dog? Also, what breeds would you recommend for apartment living? Here are some facts that may (or may not) be relevant:

- I will be living by myself in a two bedroom, 700 sq ft apartment.
- I work full time, but my schedule changes every week. I always get 40 hours per week, and I always work evenings, usually 12-9pm.
- I make $745 every two weeks. Rent is $450, plus utilities, groceries, gas, insurance, internet, phone bill, etc.
- Landlord's rules are that only small to medium dogs are allowed.
- I'd prefer a short haired one, since that means less shedding. I can make an exception on that for the right dog, though.
- I enjoy going on walks, so the dog would definitely go on them with me. It would need to be all right being left at home for eight hours a day too, though, so nothing that needs a ton of exercise.
- Right now I think a boston terrier, pug, or something along those lines would be my best bet.

Anyone have any advice?
 

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Pugs are terrific dogs for 1st time dog owners but I think they require regular walks.

How about a bulldog? Some say it requires less exercise.

But from the facts you posted:
Leaving them within 8 hours is bad for me. Any dog breed you might pick can suffer from Separation Anxiety (owner absent misbehavior) :(

Having a dog really requires quality time from you or may be if your that eager to raise one you might want to consider enrolling your future dog to a dog day care center while your working.

Raising a dog is like raising a child.
 

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Hi, I'm Adam! This is my first post on these forums. I'm 23 years old, and on Tuesday I'm finally going to move out of my parents house into my own apartment. I've been telling myself for years that I would get a dog to keep me company as soon as I got my own place, but the last thing I want is to get one and then have to give it up because I can't afford it or take care of it. How do I know if I'm okay to get a dog? Also, what breeds would you recommend for apartment living? Here are some facts that may (or may not) be relevant:

- I will be living by myself in a two bedroom, 700 sq ft apartment.
- I work full time, but my schedule changes every week. I always get 40 hours per week, and I always work evenings, usually 12-9pm.
- I make $745 every two weeks. Rent is $450, plus utilities, groceries, gas, insurance, internet, phone bill, etc.
- Landlord's rules are that only small to medium dogs are allowed.
- I'd prefer a short haired one, since that means less shedding. I can make an exception on that for the right dog, though.
- I enjoy going on walks, so the dog would definitely go on them with me. It would need to be all right being left at home for eight hours a day too, though, so nothing that needs a ton of exercise.
- Right now I think a boston terrier, pug, or something along those lines would be my best bet.

Anyone have any advice?
One advice, and I don't know if you're planning on doing that, since you don't say anything about it: Wait a couple of months after moving out before getting the dog.
Especially with having $1500 a month, -$450 and - so many as of yet undefined costs. Live a couple of months by yourself and see how much, if anything, you have left at the end of the month. We had our dog for 3 months now and I'm sure we already paid around $3000-$3500:
- first time gear and then second gear, because you find something you like better :D (and then maybe third gear... :rolleyes: )
- Training (we had a personal trainer, which makes up around half of the above costs, but we have her for the life of the dog now, so if there should be any problems, we can call her anytime)
- Vet: First check-up anyways, but then, if you are new to this, like we are, you rather go too often, then not often enough, and our puppy had an accident and broke one of his nails off, that was $350 right there.
- Toys: Yes, you don't need to go overboard with this, but when I see something I think she might like, I buy it.
- Food and Treats: Until you find the "right one" the one that works for you and the dog, you might spend $100-150. Bri's food now is $50 for a 24lb bag and holds up for around 2 months.
- Daycare? We are planning to take her to daycare in the next few weeks to check it out, even though she is only alone for 6 hours a day. With 8 hours, depending on the dog, it could be okay, or it could be too long, but you don't know before you have the dog. Do the 8 hours include commute?

I can totally understand your wish to get a dog, but please be aware of the financial side. Yes there are credit cards, but you don't want to be forced to put yourself in debt.
 

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Have you had a dog or puppy living with you previously?

I'd be very wary of putting a puppy in that situation, they are very stressful, way more than I was ready for. An adult dog from a rescue would probably suit you because the rescues spend enough time without them to get to know their temperaments.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
(replying to questions in the order I received them)

Boston terriers and pugs are bulldogs, right? I wouldn't be averse to having an English or French bulldog, but I hear the vet bills for those are astronomical.

As for working eight hours a day, I tend to be a homebody so most of the time I'm not at work would be spent at home, and therefore with the dog. Also, my office is only about an eight minute drive away.

Yeah, I was planning on waiting at least three months just to be safe.

I'm planning on adopting a young dog, but not a puppy. Hopefully the housetraining would already be taken care of. And since it'd be from a shelter, not only would the adoption be cheaper, hopefully that would take care of most of the vet visits too, since they neuter/spay all their dogs and give them their shots.

This isn't my first dog, but it is the first dog I can't depend on my parents to care for if I'm not there.
 

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You could adopt through a shelter, but I'd suggest that you contact a rescue group. You can find lots of adoptable dogs in your area on www.petfinder.com and Pet Adoption - Search dogs or cats near you. Adopt a Pet Today. Pictures of dogs and cats who need a home. Search by breed, age, size and color. Adopt a dog, Adopt a cat..

In my area, public shelters are large warehouses, and the dogs are kept in kennels. It's very difficult to know how a dog might behave once you bring it home, and there is no trial period. The dog might be housebroken or it might not be. The dog might be fine being left at home or it might have separation anxiety. The dog might be healthy or it might need expensive medical treatment.

A good rescue group, on the other hand, will foster its dogs in home settings and you'll get a lot more information about the dog's temperament, behavior, and health. You may also be able to arrange a trial period, and good rescues will take back their dogs if necessary.

Adopting through a rescue group requires a lengthier application and possibly a home check, but I think it's a great option for you.
 

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Congrats!

I adopted my girl when she was 12 weeks old. I also work VERY close to home so I would scoot over on my lunch break and let her out. I'd eat my lunch in the backyard and play with her, let her use the bathroom, etc. It worked out really well for us! :)

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have my eye on two right now. Bristol is at a shelter only a few minutes drive away, and Cassie is about an hour and a half away. Bristol's page says she's a terrier, but doesn't list what kind so I haven't been able to do any research as to whether she'd be a good match for apartment living. Just looking at her pictures, does anybody know what breed she is?
(and yes I know they'll both likely be adopted once three months have passed, but I'm trying to figure out some options now so I'll have a better idea what I'm doing once the time comes)

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/32127971
and
Reeds Spring, MO - Border Terrier Mix. Meet Cassie a Dog for Adoption.
 

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Be very careful with terrier types. They have a TON of energy....they need a lot of physical and ESPECIALLY mental exercise.

I have a pit bull terrier pup and she's already chewed up the door frame/mouldings, toys, bed etc. I realize it's also part of her puppy stage but leaving a terrier alone for 8 hours is not a good idea. I come home for lunch so she's alone for 4 hours at time (which still isn't very ideal) but my neighbor comes to visit from time to time and I will be putting her in dog day care when she's a bit older and bigger.

As mentioned by @BrittaS, be prepared for the costs that come with owning a dog. If you don't plan to get pet insurance, or even if you do, have a chunk of savings (at least a few thousand dollars) put aside for pet emergencies. You never know what your dog can get into, if they catch something at the park or end up with an injury. Vet bills rack up verrrrrryyyy quickly. I recently had to remove a lump in my puppy's leg and that cost me $900.
 

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(replying to questions in the order I received them)

Boston terriers and pugs are bulldogs, right? I wouldn't be averse to having an English or French bulldog, but I hear the vet bills for those are astronomical.

As for working eight hours a day, I tend to be a homebody so most of the time I'm not at work would be spent at home, and therefore with the dog. Also, my office is only about an eight minute drive away.

Yeah, I was planning on waiting at least three months just to be safe.

I'm planning on adopting a young dog, but not a puppy. Hopefully the housetraining would already be taken care of. And since it'd be from a shelter, not only would the adoption be cheaper, hopefully that would take care of most of the vet visits too, since they neuter/spay all their dogs and give them their shots.

This isn't my first dog, but it is the first dog I can't depend on my parents to care for if I'm not there.
That sounds very good to me.

The only point I have to, again, stress out, is the vet visits. My girl was spayed, had her shots and deworming done before coming to us (through a rescue), still there are things coming up you can't predict.
Are you planning on getting him/her a health insurance? Might be a higher monthly expense, but if something happens, you're not likely going to end up in the weeds money wise.

Other than that, with living so close to where you work, coming over in the lunch brake (as a poster before me said) should be an option as well.

As SusanLynn stated, besides shelters you can also look at rescues. Since you would be gone around 8 hours a day, it would be great to know how the potential adoptee is behaving in a home by itself, separation anxiety for example. Rescues (but also some shelters) have the dogs in family foster situation and thus are able to tell you a bit more about the behavior of the animal in a more "normal" situation than at the shelter in a kennel. The process of getting the dog wanted can be a little more lengthy, but you know what (or who!) you get :)
 
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Adam, since your office and is only 8 minutes away, could you come home at lunch to let the dog outside for a potty break? That would make the 8 hours much much easier.

Additionally, if you are looking for low shedding, you might consider one of the smaller, non-shedding breeds, such as poodles, schnauzers, shih tzus, Maltese, bichon, Lhasa apso (these are just some). Many of these breeds are also well suited for apartment life.
 

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Be very careful with terrier types. They have a TON of energy....they need a lot of physical and ESPECIALLY mental exercise.
I think it's great that you are asking questions and vetting potential dogs here.

I had the same first reaction as yoshiposhi. Both of the dogs you posted are very young terriers, and I think you might be greatly underestimating how much time and attention a young, high energy dog needs on a daily basis.

You mentioned wanting a companion dog and that you would enjoy taking walks with a dog. Can you be more specific on how much time you plan to spend with your dog before and after work? What do you envision doing with your dog? Daily jogs? Lots of hiking? Hanging out at home and watching TV?

I can imagine either of these dogs wanting lots and lots of attention when you arrive home in the evenings at 9:00. How much time and attention can you realistically give your dog when you come home after a long day at work?

I would suggest a more mature, settled dog. You don't necessarily need to a senior dog, but I'd aim for a dog that is three to five years old.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes, I have hour long lunch breaks, so if necessary I can come home on my lunch breaks to let it out, play with it, etc. Would that be a constant thing, or would they eventually get to the point where they could handle being by themselves my whole shift?

I'm not sure about pet insurance. Until today I wasn't even aware that was a thing, haha. For one thing that's just another expense I'd have to pay every month, so obviously if it wasn't 100% necessary I'd prefer not to do it. After reading a little about it, I see a lot of people say it's a waste of money because all their claims get denied anyway.

So, terriers are a no go, huh? Does that include all terriers, including boston terriers? I always heard they were bred to be companions and made great apartment dogs. If not them, what breed would you suggest? Keep in mind that it has to be a small to a smallish-medium size dog.
 

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I think it's great that you are asking questions and vetting potential dogs here.

I had the same first reaction as yoshiposhi. Both of the dogs you posted are very young terriers, and I think you might be greatly underestimating how much time and attention a young, high energy dog needs on a daily basis.

You mentioned wanting a companion dog and that you would enjoy taking walks with a dog. Can you be more specific on how much time you plan to spend with your dog before and after work? What do you envision doing with your dog? Daily jogs? Lots of hiking? Hanging out at home and watching TV?

I can imagine either of these dogs wanting lots and lots of attention when you arrive home in the evenings at 9:00. How much time and attention can you realistically give your dog when you come home after a long day at work?

I would suggest a more mature, settled dog. You don't necessarily need to a senior dog, but I'd aim for a dog that is three to five years old.
As I said, I typically work noon to 9pm, with the occaisional 10:30-7:30 shift. That means what time I spend with my dog will typically be in the mornings, since it'll be late and dark by the time I get off work. I like taking walks, and can easily walk for an hour or more so it'd be nice to have a dog that could keep up with that. I don't jog, but there are some nice hiking trails around here that I like to hit every couple weeks. Other days, I like to be a couch potato and binge on netflix or video games, but I still wouldn't neglect to walk the dog.
 

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On pet insurance: I thought the same way, $3000 later I signed up. Granted, I got a puppy but a broken leg, snake bite or other medical condition can crop up at any time. It doesn't cover preventative care like spaying, just accident and illness.
 

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Regarding pet insurance, I'd suggest investigating plans and asking whether your local vet clinic would accept the one you're considering. I would not delay getting insurance as soon as you bring home your new dog. Vet bills can be very costly.

Based on your most recent post, I still feel that an adult dog (3-5 years old) would be ideal. Note that the description for Cassie, the six-month-old puppy, emphasized how energetic she is. I think you'd be coming home every evening to a puppy that wants to play, play, play, and then some. You need a dog with an already built in off-switch.

What kinds of dogs has your family had? How old are they? How much time do you spend with them on a daily basis? What do you do together?

If you click on my username and then my statistics, you can read all about my first attempt to adopt a dog. His name was Maru, and he was a young Great Pyrenees mix. I brought him home from the shelter because I thought my teenage son would enjoy jogging with him (he didn't). Maru turned out to be a handful and required far more hours of daily exercise and training than I could have envisioned. On my off days, I spent about five hours with him each day walking with him, attempting to train him, and taking him to the local dog park. When I worked, I took him to doggy care care, which quickly became prohibitively costly. After two months, despite my best efforts and good intentions, I had to rehome him.

I naively thought that I wanted a young, energetic dog, but my family's lifestyle wasn't suitable for one. I also thought that i knew what I was looking for because my family had had a Brittany Spaniel years ago, but I forgot that my memories of her were of a mature, older dog.
 

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Yes, I have hour long lunch breaks, so if necessary I can come home on my lunch breaks to let it out, play with it, etc. Would that be a constant thing, or would they eventually get to the point where they could handle being by themselves my whole shift?

I'm not sure about pet insurance. Until today I wasn't even aware that was a thing, haha. For one thing that's just another expense I'd have to pay every month, so obviously if it wasn't 100% necessary I'd prefer not to do it. After reading a little about it, I see a lot of people say it's a waste of money because all their claims get denied anyway.

So, terriers are a no go, huh? Does that include all terriers, including boston terriers? I always heard they were bred to be companions and made great apartment dogs. If not them, what breed would you suggest? Keep in mind that it has to be a small to a smallish-medium size dog.
Depending on the dog, eventually when the dog knows its boundaries and you can trust it not to get into things (like the garbage, shoes, toilet etc) a dog should be okay alone for 8 hours. My Shiba Inu (he's 12 now) is the BEST dog alone at home. I could leave a piece of cake on the table and he won't even sniff it. I was able to leave him alone at home for 8 hours at a very young age (I got him at 4 months) and he didn't chew anything, didn't get into the garbage, didn't even shred the toilet paper in the washroom. Granted, it came with training it didn't come naturally lol.

I don't have experience with a terrier breed alone at home for 8 hours but I'm sure someone else could answer that for you. I'm hoping that once my pittie matures (3-4 years) that I could, but before that, I will be sending my pup to dog day care for half of the day, or I'll be coming home for lunch.

You will probably have to continue to go home mid-shift until you feel like you can trust the dog to have full run of the house. If you can get access to baby gates and start with one area of the house first and slowly increase the area, that could be a start. That's what I'm doing with my pup.

I'm on the same page as you about pet insurance. It's hard trying to find the right one that doesn't have a million loopholes. You just have to make sure you read the fine print before signing up. Some companies stipulate that your dog needs a yearly wellness exam (that's not covered by the insurance company) in order to be covered for any claims. If your dog gets sick before you get insurance, any future visits with the same sickness can be deemed as a pre-existing illness and the insurance company can deny your claim. Other pet owners have had great experience with their policies and have saved thousands of dollars. At this point, if you're going to wait a few months before getting your dog, at least start saving as much as you can for vet expenses. If you don't decide to get pet insurance, at least put some money aside each month.
 

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I also wanted to point out that you can see the difference between Bristol and Cassie's ads as reflective of what you might expect from a shelter vs. a rescue.

All Cassie's ad shows are some photos and a guess at her age and breed. There's no description. It's possible that the shelter can give you more detailed information about her if you go and visit, but she's probably being kept in a kennel.

In contrast, Bristol's staying with a foster family and her description is quite detailed and informative. Generally, rescue groups can be much more helpful in determining whether a potential dog would do well in your home.

I adopted Maru from a public shelter after a twenty-minute meet-and-greet with a shelter volunteer who spoke very positively about him. It was her first day as a volunteer and she was very enthusiastic about my adopting a dog. After I brought him home, I quickly realized that he had never set foot in a home before. We didn't have house-training issues, but he was a chewer and quite destructive if left alone. He also had fear reactivity, and I wasn't equipped to deal with it.

My sense is that you want your first dog to be a fairly easy one. There are a lot of dogs to choose from, and it's important to take your time getting to know the one you eventually adopt.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
The only dog that's ever been in my house was a beagle. I got her when I was eight years old as a puppy, and I kept her until she passed away when she was about 10. To be completely honest, I probably wasn't the best owner for her (that, and because my parents would always take care of her when I didn't), but since I've grown up and developed some work ethic I feel like I'm much better suited to take care of one.

As for insurance, I currently have American National insurance. My dad is my agent. Can I get pet insurance through them, or will I have to go to a completely different company?

EDIT: I actually used to work for one of the vet clinics in my town. Just easy stuff like walking the dogs and cleaning the kennels, but they know me there. Maybe they could cut me a deal if I asked nicely...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
What about a dog like this? Sophie's a retreiver mix, and the coat makes me think that's most likely golden retriever. She's three years old, so not a puppy, and medium sized, so she MIGHT be acceptable by my landlord's rules, but I won't really know until I see her. What do you think, is that a breed I could take for a long walk in the morning and she'd be fine until I came back on my lunch break?

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/34875231
 
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