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Hello to all :)

In a year or so, I will be getting a new dog... I'm just not sure what kind to get. :ponder: (Thanks in advance to those who've read this far and are still reading:happydance:) So, before you help me, you'll need to know some things about me. Here ya go:

I live in a two story house with a moderately sized fenced-in yard. It's on a generally quiet street in the suburbs. I'm in between the ages of 10 and 15 and will be away from the new dog at least 8 and a half hours on a usual school day, unfortunately. :( However, he/she will be staying at home in the backyard with my male German shepherd mix, Larry (he's slightly smaller than your average German shepherd, to give you an idea of what he looks like). A few days a month the dog can go to a doggy day care or hang out with my neighbor's dog for a 'play date' while I'm at school... But other than that, he or she will just be hanging out at home till I get home (I'm just gonna start saying "she" because I'm pretty sure I'm getting a female to minimize conflict between her and Larry).
I'm mostly interested in...
* Agility!!! Ever since I read a book in 2nd grade I've wanted SO BADLY to participate in agility trials. I tried it out in the backyard with my dogs - my dad and I made a teeter totter and jump stands - but they didn't really seem to enjoy it too much (especially Larry, who ignores anything you tell him).
* Frisbee! Larry, (who, at times, can be no more than a lump on a log --- lovable, fluffy lump on a log) will just look at me funny if I try to get him to chase a frisbee. Every once and a while, he'll show moderate interest in a ball or toy, but other than that he is determined to be bored. (Well, he does like to romp around with a sock in his mouth - probably because we don't like him to.) Sweetheart, my little Cavalier, loves to play, and sometimes will run after a bouncy ball... But I don't think the day will ever come that he catches a frisbee in his tiny mouth.
* Protection. I live in an area where crime rate is noticeably high, and it would be nice if my parents didn't feel that they had to call me every 2 minutes and 30 seconds while I'm alone walking the dog (and Larry, once I feel comfortable enough with the new dog's predictability on the leash)... If my parents even would let me walk her alone at all. Not to mention my own level of comfort...
* Off-leash walking. I've always been interested in walking dogs off the leash. I'm not capable of doing it regularly with both of my dogs - Sweetheart is deaf and Larry won't even consider listening to me call him back. But the few opportunities I do get to take the leash off (in the woods, on an uncrowded beach) I love the feeling of giving them that little taste of freedom.
* Dogs that won't leave your side. And yeah, I know that that contradicts the whole thing about me being gone 9 hours a day, but I get quite enough alone time. Nobody saves seats for me at school anymore, it's a rare occasion that someone says 'hello' when I get there in the morning, and it would be nice if someone wanted to be near me. And yeah, I know, everyone goes through stuff like this, but it's just hard to think like that when you know that, at the moment, hardly anyone around you would notice if you just disappeared. ANYWAY, I'm not here to sulk. Even though I just did. :p I'm aware that dogs who become really close to their owners tend to get separation anxiety, but remember that she would be hanging out with another dog.... I've heard that helps...?

Here are some other things you might want to know if you're interested (or bored) enough to help me out:

* My family and I can deal with the shedding. Both my parents grew up under the rain of dog fur, and it doesn't bother me too much.
* I have a cat..... a doggy cat, but she's still a cat
* I'm the only kid living in my house - no little kids or babies to worry about. I would like the dog to be friendly, of course, but I know that comes with socialization.
* I can be assertive and be alpha if needed. However, I'm kinda looking for a dog that's not too stubborn, but then again, you can't get everything you want. ? Unfortunately.
* NO SNORING PLEASE! I know some dogs tend to be loud snorers - those I immediately veto!

Here are the dogs I've been looking at and I think may be best:
* Collie (smooth)
* Miniature Australian Shepard
* American Eskimo dog
* Golden retriever

Here are the dogs I REALLY WANT but I'm not entirely sure if my lifestyle is currently suitable for them:
* Belgian sheepdog (❤!!!❤)
* Australian Shepard

Here are the dogs I've glanced at but haven't spent much time researching:
* English shepherd
* Sheltie
* White Swiss shepherd
* Australian cattle dog
* Pomeranian
* Papillon
* German shepherd
* Corgi
* Brittany
* Portuguese Water Dog
* Poodle

Thanks so much to all of you who have read down to here and are willing to help me. Please comment anything you think might even be slightly helpful... Personal experience? Know a guy who has a dog you'd recommend for me? Know a guy who knows a guy who has dog you'd recommend for me? I'll take anything. Thanks!
 

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You know...i kinda feel bad to tell you to get any dog, when they're without human contact for the majority of their life.
But if you really must get another dog, I would advise to get an older dog that is already okay with staying alone.
I definitively would not get a velcro breed that suffers when they can't be with their people.
male or female doesn't matter as long as the dog fits with your other dogs as an individual.
I've seen great team of male dogs (both intact and neutered) and even have seen good female-female dog relationships.
find the right dog for your family... the gender is less important than you think.

make sure to think closely and be honest to yourself if you can give your dog the needed daily one-on-one attention for training and exercise.
A dog should atleast have one big walk every day and if it is a more sporty dog (which you need for agility), you should be willing to spend 2-3 hours of time with them on training, exercise, bonding and playing.

An energetic, intelligent dog (which you need for agility) needs something to entertain themself, otherwise they get bored and start doing what you don't want them to do.
this is something to think when you lock them up in a boring backyard for a major part of their life.

being with other dogs doesn't replace human contact, which is needed by breeds working closely together with their human partner, like herders (Schäfi, GBBS, Aussie, belgian Sheperd dog or sheltie) or companion breeds, like the Papillon.
this means you'Ve got to be able to either find someone to give them enough human contact, or you've got to be able to give enough quality time yourself before school (i know a couple of full-time workers in my area that do a big training session and a long walk in the morning before they go to work) and after school.

Also: forget this alpha BS. you don't need it. Be clear in your communication, be predictable for them, show them that is is good to be around you because it is rewarding and safe.
You don't need to alpha them around.
Most dogs are opportunists and will listen to you when you're able to make them understand what you want and that it is the most rewarding action for them.
 

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Hey there - welcome to the DF!

Do your parents have any say in the dog breed, or are they essentially leaving it up to you? (It would be very sad to find your "dream breed" only to have your parents veto it!)

Agility is amazingly fun, but the most important part of agility is having some rock-solid obedience before you begin! But we can talk more about that when you actually get a dog!

I think any dog can be trained to catch a frisbee, but ultimately if your dog isn't into it, I don't really see the point in forcing them. What if your parents REALLY wanted to you play hockey (My Canada is showing!) but you didn't like it? It would totally suck - what if instead you really liked basketball (playing tug?!).

Any dog that is a decent size or barks is usually enough to deter people from bothering you, I definitely would never train a dog for protection myself.

Off-leash walking is totally possible for MOST dogs (some sight and scent hounds I might be nervous about), but again that relies on early rock solid obedience training.

Most of the herding breeds are going to be pretty velcro, but that comes with a whole host of challenges.

I own an Australian Shepherd and a Border Collie. My Aussie is VELCROED to me. There are definitely people who have Aussies who work during the day (Hellooooo @jclark343) but they make sure to tire them physically and mentally - are you prepared to get up early to work them or do lots of activity when you get home from school?

If you're looking into Aussies, I would suggest getting a standard over a Miniature American Shepherd - they have the same energy requirements but in my experience, your average Mini is a little nuts. Plus, unfortunately there are a lot of unscrupulous breeders that are breeding because they are popular and are not doing any of the required health checks - so be careful.

By Belgian Shepherd do you mean the Groenendael? Belgian Shepherd kind of refers to four distinct varieties (the other three being the Malinois, Laekenois, and Tervuren). Again, they require lots of mental and physical exercise, so you need to be prepared for that.

I glanced briefly at your extended list and have a few general comments:
-Be very careful about GSDs. They are so poorly bred these days that you really need to go for a working line breeder, and those dogs are a little intense.
-Australian Cattle Dogs are SO intense. Would strongly advise you don't get one. They need a serious, serious job throughout the day.
 

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I agree with @Shandula that a lot of the working line dogs are pretty intense and need a lot of training and involvement and willing to get yourself educated/experience to be happy.
this also goes for other breeds though, not only for Schäfis.
WL Malis and Aussies can also be too much of a challenge for the average dog owner.
plus there are a lot of herders out there that are Ikea-dogs (either they've got a screw lose, it's missing or it's overwound). You really have to chose the breeder carefully.

Please think also about what happens when you finish school.
I don't know how old you are, but you seem still very young.
A dog can get between 10 and 15 years old and you've got to have a plan what you'll do with your dog when you start an education or go to Uni for example.
 

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@mathilda - Oh my gosh, that IKEA comment is hilarious!
 

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@mathilda - the op is between the ages of 10-15
@Shandula - great post, great advice!
@bordercollie80 - Shandula brings up really great points. Is there a local shelter or rescue that you can volunteer at? You can handle multiple breeds and get an idea of what may suit you. If there's a local trainer that will take you under their wing, you can get an idea of the training that is involved with training a dog. I'll tell you that I got my puppy in July 2014 and I knew that I wanted to do agility with her. We are just starting our first agility class. There is obedience training needed before you can start agility. Also, these classes cost money, so that's something to consider.

I'm certainly NOT trying to talk you out of it. Please stick around here and ask LOTS of questions :) I think it's wonderful that you're doing your research. We're happy to help in any way.
 

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First things first, Welcome!

The first question I have for you would be your plans for the dog in the future. You said you were in your early teens, with a year before you plan on getting the dog. Would this be your dog? Or a family dog? I imagine you plan on moving out in the next 5-8 years? Would the dog go with you? Or stay back with the family? If this is not going to be EXCLUSIVELY your dog, please include your parents on your breed choice. Saddling them with a dog that requires a ton of mental stimulation while you’re off at college is not only not fair to them, but not fair to the dog. If you are planning on taking the dog with you, then you may have to look at housing surrounding you. Are there a lot of places that allow large dogs? Are breed restrictions a issue in your area? Also, if you do take the dog with you, are you going to be able to balance a continuing education, a job, and the requirements that a dog might need? Seriously, these are real issues that you may want to consider.

It’s great that you are doing a ton of research, but I also encourage you to volunteer at a shelter. Meet a bunch of dogs. Honestly, what you are wanting could fit MANY mixes I’ve seen in shelters. Also, if there are any clubs that run confirmation shows, those can be great places to meet a lot of different breeds.
 

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Thanks so much for replying!!! :D
@mathilda - I understand what you're saying, but it's hard to tell myself that! ?? I can devote around 1 hour in the morning before school and then agility classes / more time after school. Do you think that would be good for the average school day? I'm not really interested in the after-school activities I currently do - basketball, tennis - I only participate in them so I feel like I'm doing something. That currently takes up most of my time, so once I drop those things (which I'll willingly do once I get an excuse for myself to do that) I'll have much more free time.
@Shandula - I'm trying to do most of the research work before I even introduce the idea to my parents. They will have no problem telling me the kinks in the plan, etc... And no, I would never train a dog to protect me, or in any way to be aggressive. And yes, thanks for the reminder - my dad and I will definitely spend time finding a good breeder, no matter what dog we get. Also, I do mean Groenendael. Sorry 'bout being unclear!
@Aspen726 - I volunteer at my local shelter most weekends (and any other chance I get!) and try not to fall in love every time.... I pretty much just take the dogs out, run them around (unless they're one of the very few cases that just like to saunter around and lounge in the grass) and bring a few treats for 'sits' and 'stays'. Most of them are Pit bull mixes, all sweethearts. A few months ago I completely fell in love with a little boy, but my dad wouldn't let me get him... because he was male. I'd sent him this long text about why I wanted him and stuff since he's the first dog I'd ever really asked for since Larry but it was still "no." Sorry, I'm getting off topic! I may end up getting a shelter dog, but maybe not.
@jclark343 - Thank you, those are things I need to keep in mind. I'll talk it all over with my parents once I've done all the preparation I can do on my own. And I will definitely look into confirmation club shows!
 

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The first breed that comes to mine is the Turven Shepard, which is a type of Belgian Shepard I believe? My mentor raised them for all sorts of things & omgsh they were smart and had energy to burn. I took one up to its new owner on an 8hr drive and I though oh man I am in for it -- but it was the coolest, most well behaved dog ever! I seriously didn't want to hand her over when we got there. Of course, my mentor is a serious breeder/trainer and all her dogs go on to become search & rescue dogs or otherwise serious employment. It's always important to remember no matter the breed, you have to put in the time & work! ;)
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@CabinFever - You must mean the Tervuren! I loves Tervs, they're beautiful.
 

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Yes! That's them!! I tried so hard to convince my husband to get us one of her pups but he was like no, they're police dogs! Haha But hey there is a reason the police favor Shepards -- just be mindful of the digging... Eeek
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@CabinFever - I would LOVE to have a Tervurun (is that what you mean?) but I don't think I could manage one with school too... They're in my future! Just maybe not my immediate future.
@mathilda - just reread everything and I realized that I should have said 'leader' instead of 'alpha'. Leader is that I meant. Sorry!
 

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Tervurun is correct! Sorry, I have the brain fog bad today. I am trying to think of an alternative or something similar. Maybe a lab? They mellow out big time after the puppy stage. I don't have any experience with them personally but I encounter quite a few off leash -- my neighbors is always getting into my trash after the raccoons pry it open but he is a doll and usually just lays around until they get home & they're gone 8hrs a day.
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@CabinFever
Yeah, maybe. Norwegian Buhund? Icelandic Sheepdog? I'm going all over the place. �� I actually think a Norwegian Buhund is a pretty good option, based on the little research I've done. Now I'm looking at the Icelandic Sheepdog....
 

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Just keep in mind that a lot of the breeds you have been listing can be quite uncommon and will probably be a bit pricey along with a long drive to pick it up. Since your parents are probably going to be in charge of the transportation and cost of the dog, I would consider looking into some less obscure breeds. And, while no dog breed is bomb proof, a breed like a lab might be more forgiving if you mess up. I was 16 when I got my dog and I made a TON of naive mistakes that could've ruined a border collie, but was taken in stride by my beagle.
 

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@patronizingrabbits - Yes, I would go with a lab if not for their size. I'm doing my best to keep up with healthy foods and not just feed inexpensive dry food 100% of the time, but by that I mean convincing my parents to buy the good stuff or scavenging up the money myself. For most of the dogs' life, I had no idea about the crap I was feeding them until I stumbled upon a dog cookbook in Books-a-Million. My mom saw how excited I was and bought it for me. It talked about what good food is vs what bad food is and then I REALLY felt like an awful dog owner. I was only 9! It's just a little easier to feed a 45 pound dog than it is to feed a 75 pound dog. :(

And it's not that money's a problem.... It's just that my parents (especially my dad) can't stand buying an organic apple and 90% lean beef for a dog. Which I guess is understandable... If I try reeeaaaallllly hard. :eyeroll:
 

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I would suggest you getting a basset hound, because they are very cute and kind. I bought my basset 1 year ago, after long long long discussions with my friends and long long long time surfing the net for what breed is better to buy.
I really happy that i got him.
 
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