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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was wondering what kinds of puppies are good for first time owners. I had a German Short-hair Pointer and a Yellow Lab growing up and loved both to death. I was hoping for a small dog (maybe a medium dog) with low to moderate energy due to the fact that I work. I've read that poodles and Bichon Frise are good, but was hoping to get advice from real dog owners.

Also I was wondering about how working people care for new dogs. I'm going to be a credentialed teacher soon and was wondering if there were any things I could plan in advance to make the puppies life easier. For instance, if I brought a puppy home in the beginning of my summer vacation--would that be better for the dog or just confuse it after I went back to work in the fall? Also, if I plan to walk the dog before and after work, would that suffice or do I need to hire a dog walker?

Any advice is very much appreciated! :)

More info:
I do not have any pets currently, so when I get a puppy they will get all my attention. I'll most likely be living in an apartment then. I'm hoping to buy a new puppy in the next two years. I know it might sound weird to do research this far in advance, but I'd rather be on the cautious side of things due to the kind of commitment a new puppy requires and the fact that I've never owned a dog before. Next year I'll be doing a teaching credential program and, after that, getting a teaching job (fingers crossed). My plan is to get a puppy after my first year of teaching ends (or as close to that as possible) so that I'll have all summer to train and get to know my puppy.
 

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Welcome! It's great that your doing your research in advanced and you're right that a puppy is a big commitment that does require careful planning. I'm a first time owner and I researched for years before I got my first dog and it really paid off.

I would recommend bringing your puppy home beginning of the school break because it will give you time to bond and better deal with potty training/foundations and other issues that may arise (plus you'll probably be pretty tired :p). Before you go back to work in the fall you can always start transitioning your puppy by slowly increasing the time left alone.

Also, a walk before and after work will usually be enough for most dogs so you won't necessarily need a dog walker. I usually walk my dog for about an hour when I get home from work and he's fine. We do try to be pretty active on the weekends though.

In respect to the breeds you've mentioned, I'd say their energy range is more along the med-high ranges but I think with a 30min-1hr walk morning/evening with some mental stimulation would be more than enough. Are there any other specific traits your looking for?
 

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I know you said puppy, but if you want a dog that meets your requirements, a retired racing greyhound fits the bill.

If your set on a puppy though, whippets are a good choice, little higher energy though and it might be hard to find a breeder.

I also agree with getting the dog during school break. I took three days off when I got my dog and it really helped.

Welcome to the forum and kudos for doing your research now!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Rescue Pup vs. Good Breeders?

Thanks for all the comments!

The biggest concern I have is whether I should rescue a dog or buy one from a good breeder. I'm most concerned with finding an easy to train puppy, due to my limited experience training dogs. The first dog I ever had was already an old, good-tempered dog by the time I was born and the second dog I had was fully trained when I adopted her from a local Guide Dog program. So my knowledge of training a puppy is limited to the books I read now and the Dog Whisperer episodes I watch. I am committed to getting a good dog trainer and having a set schedule for obedience training asap after the adoption takes place. However, would I be smart to buy a dog from a reputable breeder considering they can tell you what characteristics the litter was specifically breed for (IE intelligence). Or can I find an easy/easier to train dog if I adopt a puppy from the pound or a rescue organization (considering I most likely won't know their background)?

Regarding adopting an adult dog: while it completely makes sense, I really want the experience of raising my own dog from a puppy. Hence the extensive research.
 

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Please stop watching dog whisperer. He's a terrible trainer and you are learning terrible untrue things about dogs. For example, he confuses fear for domination. That will lead you to punishing a terrified dog. Google kikopup and zak George and tab289. Dogstardaily.com has wonderful advice.
 

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Hi jmd.

So glad to see you doing research before bringing home your new puppy. I'm a fellow teacher, and I wholeheartedly agree that you'll want to take advantage of your summer break to get your puppy off to a great start.

I want to welcome to the Forum. Once of the first pieces of advice I got as soon as I joined was to turn off Cesar Milan, and I'm very grateful that I did. On this site, you'll learn about a very different, and much more effective and kind approach to raising your puppy. Positive reinforcement training is just that - positively rewarding your dog for desired behavior. It's based on a scientific understanding of how dogs really behave and process information.

One well-known PR (positive reinforcement) trainer is known as kikopup. Here's her website: Dogmantics Dog Training | Progressive Reinforcement Dog Training It's packed with very helpful videos and articles. I hope that you'll take some time to learn about this method of dog training and to trust us when we tell you that watching Cesar Milan is a waste of time.
 

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We have a lot of "sticky" threads filled with resources and good advice.

My experience with dog ownership involves adult rescue dogs, so I can't help you much about whether to buy a puppy from a breeder or consider a rescue pup. I'm sure that others can provide guidance. Here's one thread that might help:

http://www.dogforum.com/new-additions/considerations-before-buying-puppy-11762/

This thread contains a plethora of articles on why "dominance theory" as espoused by Cesar Milan and others can do much more harm than good:

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/dominance-dogs-4076/
 

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This forum will help you a lot with your decision to get a puppy. They have given you great advise already! I can't wait to see what you decide on the breed! I have herd mixed reviews on the dog whisperer. I actually like watching him. Im not 100% sure if he is right on his training but what he does seams to work and he really seams to love dogs. I would do some more research on the forum and ask lots of questions. The people here are so nice and helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi jmd.

One well-known PR (positive reinforcement) trainer is known as kikopup. Here's her website: Dogmantics Dog Training | Progressive Reinforcement Dog Training It's packed with very helpful videos and articles. I hope that you'll take some time to learn about this method of dog training and to trust us when we tell you that watching Cesar Milan is a waste of time.
Well, that's a pretty handy recommendation--kikopup is from where I live!
 

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I would recommend black lab. They are fairly easy to train and very forgiving of mistakes. My personal favorites. :)

I started off watching CM as well - he has some good tips, but most of his training techniques are fear-based and are prone to backfire. The dominance theory has been disproven by some extensive studies.

Kikopup and Victoria Stillwell are both fantastic. :) :)

Can't wait to see the pup!

As for whether to rescue or buy, there is no right or wrong here. When you buy from a responsible breeder, you can expect to pay around $1,000. This doesn't even begin to cover the costs of testing and the amount of work and time that go into the pups. If you go for someone who really knows their stuff, that initial cost will save you in vet bills later.

When you rescue, the cost is lower, and there's a good feeling in that you provided a home for a dog and gave the rescue more room. If you can, see if the rescue knows anything about the parents. That's one thing is that if you don't know anything about the pup's parents, it can be difficult to predict personality. That said, I adopted my current dog, Chase, as a puppy without knowing anything about his parents, and I adore him. He's been a challenge, but he's a really, really good dog.
 

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This forum will help you a lot with your decision to get a puppy. They have given you great advise already! I can't wait to see what you decide on the breed! I have herd mixed reviews on the dog whisperer. I actually like watching him. Im not 100% sure if he is right on his training but what he does seams to work and he really seams to love dogs. I would do some more research on the forum and ask lots of questions. The people here are so nice and helpful!
Yes, I completely agree that this is a FANTASTIC forum. It really is. :)

About Cesar Milan, I think the key point here is that what he does SEEMS to work. He's a charismatic guy, and I'm sure that he genuinely cares about dogs. However, the way he trains dogs is to make them suppress their emotions. It's like a teacher getting the unruly kid in the back of the classroom to keep quiet under the threat of a paddling. This thread explains what really happens when a dog is trained with dominance-based training:

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/suppression-modification-shutdown-fallout-4776/

Positive reinforcement training is about getting the dog to change its emotional response to a given situation. That's like the teacher reaching out to that same unruly kid and transforming him into a student who wants to learn and be part of the classroom.

Maybe, on the surface, it appears that the first teacher has great control over his classroom, but it's really just a facade. What Cesar is best at is being a television personality, not a dog trainer.

One of the truly awesome trainers here is inkii. Besides her own dogs, she fosters a lot of rescue dogs that would normally not be given a chance. This is the ongoing account of her work with one such dog.

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training-behavior/half-feral-pup-arriving-soon-advice-130137/


Jmb - The reason I've written all this is because Cesar Milan's programs and books are all over the place (my local library has an entire shelf of his books!), but as long as you're preparing yourself for your first puppy, you'll want to read up on the best techniques for raising it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Good books?

Jmb - The reason I've written all this is because Cesar Milan's programs and books are all over the place (my local library has an entire shelf of his books!), but as long as you're preparing yourself for your first puppy, you'll want to read up on the best techniques for raising it. :)
There aren't a lot of books on puppy training with high ratings on Amazon other than Cesar Milan's books. I've found an online PDF from dogstardaily.com about how to prepare and pick out a puppy, but I'd love to read more. Does anybody recommend "The Art of Raising a Puppy" by The Monks of New Skete? That was another highly rated book I found on Amazon about raising a puppy.

Dog Star Daily PDF found here: http://www.dogstardaily.com/files/downloads/BEFORE_You_Get_Your_Puppy.pdf
 

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I'm not familiar with "The Art of Raising a Puppy." Hopefully someone else will jump in. :)

Two puppy books that are often recommended here are:

"Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right" by Sophia Yin
"Before and After Getting Your Puppy" by Dr. Ian Dunbar
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm not familiar with "The Art of Raising a Puppy." Hopefully someone else will jump in. :)

Two puppy books that are often recommended here are:

"Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right" by Sophia Yin
"Before and After Getting Your Puppy" by Dr. Ian Dunbar
The PDF I linked to is by Dr. Ian Dunbar actually and called "Before You Get Your Puppy." Thanks for the recommendations!
 

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The Monks of New Skete have gotten better since their heyday in the 80's, but still aren't a progressive training group. They advise more punishment than is necessary or healthy, and they still have a lot of dominance theory in their philosophies despite the fact that it has been soundly disproven.

Here are several beginner books geared toward working with puppies from reputable, ethical trainers who use minimal amounts of punishment and whose techniques are based on solid science and research. Any of these will set you in the right direction. In no particular order:

1. Dr. Ian Dunbar's "BEFORE and AFTER You get Your Puppy" (sometimes sold combined, usually separately as "Before" and "After")
2. Dr. Sophia Yin's "Perfect Puppy in Seven Days"
3. Ahimsa Dog Training's manual (available as an e-book on Amazon, very short and easy to read, but it covers the basics nicely)
4. Teoti Anderson's "Puppy Care and Training"
 

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To be honest, getting a young adult shelter dog (6 months plus) isn't much different than getting a puppy. They may not know anything but at least they can hold their bladder for longer. Mine came housebroken mostly which is huge. Some dogs have baggage of course, but a young adult dog may offer you advantages like being housebroken while still being more or less a blank slate.
 

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To be honest, getting a young adult shelter dog (6 months plus) isn't much different than getting a puppy. They may not know anything but at least they can hold their bladder for longer. Mine came housebroken mostly which is huge. Some dogs have baggage of course, but a young adult dog may offer you advantages like being housebroken while still being more or less a blank slate.
Having two adult rescue dogs myself, I'm all in favor of bringing home a shelter puppy. However, I think the advantage of a younger puppy is that the owner can play a more crucial role in its socialization, which occurs from about 8 to 12 weeks.
 

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I'm a big fan of rescues, about 25% of rescues are purebred and many of them wind up in shelters because people liked the idea of a puppy but not the reality, puppies are a lot of work! The majority of issues a dog may have are human based and with a little patience, love and training it's amazing to see the transformation.

You may also want to look at a dog that's 6 months to a year old as you'll have a better indication as to the energy level and disposition of the dog and whether or not it's suitable for apartment living if it's going to be on it's own for several hours a day.

If you google "The 10 best apartment dogs" you'll be surprised to see that many are large breeds but what they all have in common is that they are lower energy and none are working dogs.

As far as Cesar Milan's puppy book... I read it and it doesn't really give any solid information, it kind of glosses over in a very general manner and I agree with the other people who have replied... he's good entertainment but not a great dog trainer. Go to youtube and subscribe to kikopup and start watching some of the videos, very detailed and great positive reinforcement training style. Good luck!
 

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Welcome to DF! It's great (and not weird at all) that you're doing so much research before getting a pup.

Getting a dog or pup while you have time to devote to bonding and training is great! One caution would be to make sure your pup has opportunities to be alone so your return to school isn't an abrupt change in routine.

Some of the toy / companion breeds might work for your situation, depending on how much physical and mental exercise you can provide. The more activity you can provide, the greater range of breeds/individual dogs you can consider. Sporting breeds are generally easy to train and friendly; however, they have higher exercise requirements. Since you'll be living in an apartment, you'll want to consider any breed and/or size restrictions there may be.

Many folks have dogs and work full time. I'm sure you can get suggestions for making it work. My dog gets some type of activity in the morning (walk, play in the yard, trip to dog park) and walks/yard play plus training in the evening. We also take formal training classes regularly. It helps that I have a partner to share the responsibilities. If I were single, I would probably have a dog walker as much for my comfort as my dogs. :)

I, too, think a retired greyhound could be a good fit for you. Most are trained to some degree (although trained for kennels, not homes) and they generally lower energy.

If you're adamant about a puppy, I'd recommend deciding on a breed and going to a reputable breeder. Rescue puppies are adorable and adopting is a good thing, but many dogs don't develop their true temperament until they are closer to adulthood. When adopting an adult, you know what you're getting more or less; with a puppy, you have no idea what you're getting into. For experienced dog folks, that may not be a problem, but for someone with limited experience, it could backfire.

As far as puppy books, there's a book section of the forum with many recommendations (not Milan, not Monks). I really liked Paul Owens' puppy and dog books (there's a good bit of overlap, so I'd get only one) and Sophia Yin's How to Behave so your Dog Behaves.

Good luck and let us know what you decide!
 
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