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Old 04-29-2005, 01:23 AM   #46
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those dogs are so cute digi- im sure youll be a great dog owner when you finally get one if your relatives are any indication.
you can tell just by lookin at em how happy/healthy they are.

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Old 04-29-2005, 08:55 PM   #47
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Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
Sounds like you know a bit about dogs so what kind of dog would you suggest for me.....I like bigger dogs (retrievers, german shepherds, other herders and working dogs), I don't like dogs w/ curly or wavey hair (cute....but not for me), it would have to be OK around cats and most likely children in the future, would probably have to be at home for 8 hours but would be walked at least once a day and brought to a park or place for running and fetch, etc.

And can you tell me more about the agility training? Like how you started with that and what exactly you have to do?
One thing to keep in mind is that almost all breeds have rescue societies - Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue, one of the oldest, AMRONE (Alaskan Malamute Rescue of New England) just two examples... and they may often have a dog that needs a home a little "different" from normal, and yours might just fit the bill.. needs to be an "only dog" for example. These societies will often also have dogs that are breed-mixes, that show a very dominant side of that breed... sometimes those are the best dogs of all.

I started Geiri, my brother's Groenendael (black Belgian sheepdog) on basic AKC agility training at a local facility which offered "doggie daycare" and many levels of training classes, from "puppy kindergarten" to "problem dogs".
A typical agility course may involve a tunnel, a "see saw" type thing, a hoop to jump through, and a row of poles to weave in-and-out of as they learn the right route -- that's part of the game as well, doing it all in the right order.

As for what dog might be 'best' for you, that I couldn't say truly... reading up on specific breeds is always a good idea, finding out the negative traits as well as the good ones etc. The SPCA *always* has dogs... who knows who you might fall in love with there, no?

That said there are definitely some dogs that are considered to be good "beginner" dogs and some - like the Belgians, or Dalmatians, or Malamutes, Akitas, etc - that just require a lot more experience to work out happily and successfully, both for you and the dog...
Collie/German Shepherd (GSD) mixes are often good dogs to start out with... always depends on the individual dog's temperament. GSD/Lab, GSD/Golden Retriever tend to be easy-going dogs that still have an interest in agility, tracking etc.
Boxers and Boxer mixes are also very loving, easy-going dogs, good with kids/cats if you acclimate them early on.

Things to keep in mind:
  • Training a dog isn't cheap - whether you're taking them to classes or buying the stuff to make an agility course in your own back yard - research the availability and pricing in your area.
  • Also consider 'doggie daycare' when contemplating the financial aspect of owning a dog - if they turn out to have issues with separation anxiety, it's worth it; also, if you'll be gone more than 8-10 hours at a stretch with nobody coming home.
  • "Veterinary pet insurance" is also gaining in popularity and credibility - it was viewed with suspicion ten years ago, but coverage for dental procedures, routine care as well as emergencies can prove to be a lifesaver for your finances if a health crisis comes -- allergies, genetic diseases, hip dysplasia, epilepsy just to name a few common ones. For example -- My GSD/Lab, Lady, has severe hypothyroidism (like me...we match, heh) and her medicine is not cheap, and I will have to provide this for her for the rest of her life. I wsn't told she had this condition when I adopted her at the age of 5, a few years ago. If I had purchased a pet insurance policy at that time, I would be getting partial reimbursement for both her medicine and her routine blood tests for the condition.

Feel free to email me if you want to chat more..

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Old 04-29-2005, 09:42 PM   #48
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Originally posted by wolfeden
GSD/Lab, GSD/Golden Retriever tend to be easy-going dogs that still have an interest in agility, tracking etc.
Boxers and Boxer mixes are also very loving, easy-going dogs, good with kids/cats if you acclimate them early on.
Thanks for the info! I like the sound of those dogs (above). GSDs have always been a favorite. Everyone I know seems to be scared of them, but the ones I've known (that were trained properly) were the most obedient and loyal dogs ever. I also like labs of any color and golden retrievers. Boxers I know less about, but I do think they're adorable. I took two "what dog is right for you" tests online and both suggested a samoyed b/c they're gentle and OK with strangers, kids, and other pets. I'll have to look into those (they just look like a LOT of brushing!). It also suggested a rotweiler, but I've always been hesitant around them since my uncle's bit my face when I was 4. That and I grew up in the ghetto where the rotties and pits were the dogs of choice and were always kept chained in yards, usually neglected or beaten so the were very aggressive. I really like watching the more popular dog shows b/c the commentators will tell you important things inexperienced people should know about each dog.

Those shows are pretty helpful to me since my only real experience w/ dogs was the 115 lb Chesapeake Bay Retriever I used to dogsit/walk. He was absolutely out of control and had failed his obedience course. I watched him for a week straight one summer and was so pround when I finally got him to SIT on command. He was good for me getting used to a HUGE dog that was wild and would jump, nip, and bark at you. I also sometimes babysat this couple's babies and when I first started going there, I was so overwhelmed by their dog they would keep him in the basement. Watching a four-week old and a one year old is enough without having to deal with a dog the size of a pony tearing through the house!

I just think dogs are such amazing animals. Just the other day my housemate told me that their family dog Dash, a mutt most closely resembling a sheltie who's had no formal training, once got out and instinctively herded their cattle that were escaping across the road.

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