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Hey guys, I'm a 23 year old single male. I spend a lot of time fishing and outdoors and over at my parent's house with their Maltese and my little sister's Peekapoo. I'm the only one in the family without a dog/puppy, and upon graduating my sister has been looking into getting me a puppy. this makes my anxiety really high, wondering if I'm ready for a puppy. I love playing with my family's dogs, but I'm not sure if I'm ready for a dog. like playing with a relative's kid at reunions they're fun to play with but that's because you don't have to take them home. I'm very realistic and an over-thinker. I want to make sure I can give a puppy the best possible life I can and still somewhat keep my life I have now. I grew up with Labs (outside) on a farm, and my uncle breeds championship labs. I'm really on the fence, and yall's opinions and suggestions are very appreciated.
 

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Honestly, there's never a good time to get a new dog- especially if you're getting a puppy.

If you bring a new puppy home, it is going to change your schedule. They take up a lot of time- especially a larger, often destructive and high energy breed like a Lab. That said, they also add a whole lot to your life. I'd suggest maybe making a pro vs cons list, as well as considering to what extent you're willing for your life to be turned upside down and how much disruption would be too much.

Really, a puppy takes a lot of energy for the first few months after they come home, then they are often a little easier from 4-6, 7, or 8 months as they start to hopefully get the hang of house training, gain a little more bowel/bladder control, and get a little bit better at moving around without falling/crashing into things. Often there is a trying period of adolescence, as well, when they seem to forget everything they learned so far and tend to get difficult to be around for a few months, and then depending on the breed they'll start claming back down and get a brain in their head again around 10-24 months. Usually by 2 or 3 years they act like an adult dog, though a Lab will take much longer than most other breeds to mature.

I'm about to turn 21 with a dog, and I will say that the only reason I'm comfortable having one at this age is because she was intended to be my parent's dog (I was living at home when we got her and she ended up being a high energy level than they can really manage and bonded really closely to me, so I'm taking her with me when I move out), and because of this they're willing to pay for all her medical expenses and some of her daily care expenses. That said, if I didn't have their support I would be hesitant to get a dog this young. If you don't have a stable pay check, and especially if you're going to be renting houses/apartments I would consider if you feel like you have enough money saved in the event of an emergency. Pet insurance is a great thing, IMO, and I fully intend to get it once I find a job- you still have to pay costs out of pocket, but depending on the level of your plan and what the cost is for you will be reimbursed by the insurance company for a lot of vet bills. If you're renting and plan to get a large dog, I would suggest doing some looking around and seeing is weight limits are common in buildings near you, as well as checking breed restrictions. A lot of breeds tend to be on restricted lists, these days; most bully breeds (pits, staffys, staffordshire bull terriers, american staffys, american bulldogs; what a great percentage of shelter dogs are), a lot of the northern breeds (commonly Huskies and Malamutes), larger shepherds like the German Shepherd and sometimes the rarer large shepherds like Malenois/Belgian Sheperds and Dutch Shepherds, sometimes Boxers, sometimes Dalmatians, and often Rotts and Dobermans tend to be on restricted lists, and oftentimes dogs over a certain weight (typically 20lbs, IME) will not be allowed. I do think I've also seen Aussies and Border Collies on restricted lists, but not often. A Lab isn't ever going to be on the restricted breed list for an apartment given their generally affable temperaments, but they'll be too large for many weight limits, especially the larger/heavier Labs.

All this to say: no one can tell you whether you are or are not ready for a puppy, but 23 is still somewhat young to take on the responsibility of a dog. That doesn't mean you shouldn't, just be aware it is going to change how you live- you can't stay out late anymore, you have to come right home from work, you might have to hire a dog sitter or dog walker to come let the pup out mid-day for a bathroom break or come back home on your lunch break, you'll likely find that you have to decline some social invitations/party invites if you're an especially night-life-loving kind of guy, you might feel like you no longer have personal space anymore with your own dog, depending on how velcro/attached they are. I can't remember the last time I was able to go into a bathroom alone without my dog either sitting at the door or coming in with me. It's very normal to feel overwhelmed by a new puppy, also, (look up "puppy blues" for some stories that will make you feel supported, if that ends up being the case) and some buyers remorse is common after the initial excitement of a new pup wears off and the reality of what its like to live with a little baby pup sets in.

You might consider adopting an older puppy or even a young adult dog from a rescue that fosters dogs in homes, also, if you're looking for a little bit less chaos and/or for a better idea of what the dog will be like as an adult. Bringing home an 8 week old puppy from a breeder is really a crapshoot- a lot of studies have shown there's not a whole lot of correlation between temperament as an 8 week old and adult temperament, and they can change a lot before maturity. Very few issues- health or temperament wise- will be apparent in the 8 week old, whereas with a dog already in, exiting, or on the other side of adolescence (ie, 8+ months), you have a much better idea of what they're likely to be like. After one or two years, and especially after three, you'll have an idea of their true adult temperament.
 

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That doesn't mean you shouldn't, just be aware it is going to change how you live- you can't stay out late anymore, you have to come right home from work, you might have to hire a dog sitter or dog walker to come let the pup out mid-day for a bathroom break or come back home on your lunch break, you'll likely find that you have to decline some social invitations/party invites if you're an especially night-life-loving kind of guy, you might feel like you no longer have personal space anymore with your own dog, depending on how velcro/attached they are. I can't remember the last time I was able to go into a bathroom alone without my dog either sitting at the door or coming in with me. It's very normal to feel overwhelmed by a new puppy, also, (look up "puppy blues" for some stories that will make you feel supported, if that ends up being the case) and some buyers remorse is common after the initial excitement of a new pup wears off and the reality of what its like to live with a little baby pup sets in.
This is so true. Definitely will take up your time and not to mention your money. A puppy / dog is a life commitment. You don't want them ending up to a dog shelter for the selfish reason you can't take care of them any more:(

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” - Josh Billings

Better to think wise whether to get a puppy or not. Good luck
 
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