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Advice on adopting a puppy

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by kernel, May 5, 2012.

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  1. kernel

    kernel OSU c/o 2017

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    I've desperately wanted a puppy my whole life. Every Christmas, every birthday... well, you know the deal. Now I am finally old enough to make these kinds of decisions for myself but I need guidance.

    I am 22. I am in my fourth year of undergrad but I still have one more year. I plan on staying in my current town to get my master's before I apply to my in-state vet school, which is 600 miles away. I only work part-time, and lucky for me it's at a vet hospital. So I am actually home a lot, and will be for a good part of the summer. My SO and I have a small backyard with a REALLY tall fence. There are 3 parks/open fields within a 3/4 mile radius of our house. I understand the responsibility, time and money that goes into adopting a dog. I'm ready to commit. SO says he will support me no matter what I decide.

    I think I've got most of it right, but I'm still torn inside. The biggest obstacle is that I will have to leave the state for 6 weeks at the end of the summer and I'm staying with family. The puppy that I'm looking to adopt is currently 4 months old, and at 6 months I just don't feel right about leaving it (my SO works full time). No possibility of taking it with me.

    I have and will continue to consider rescuing/adopting an adult dog. I've just always relished the idea of investing every thing I have into raising, training and bonding with a puppy. But when is the best time to do this??? I don't want to wait until I am working full time... I'm at home so much more often while I'm a student. And, of course, the beginning of the summer seems to be a great time since I won't be in school!


    I'm trying to make a well-informed, responsible decision. All the same, I've never wanted anything so badly in my life... seriously.

    Thanks for any non-condescending advice. Wouldn't mind hearing your experiences with adopting either.
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  2. StartingoverVet

    StartingoverVet Flight Instructor for hire Gold Donor

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    I have gotten adult dogs and puppies and I think one of the big misconceptions people have is that they will be closer with a dog because they raised it since it was a puppy. This is just really not true. In fact it is often just the opposite.

    Puppies are cute and adorable, no question, but you are not the center of their existence, and they are a lot of work, and sometimes trouble.

    When you adopt an older dog you can still train it. A lot of the best trained dogs are just rescued from shelters. The dogs will definitely appreciate you, and you will quickly become the center of their lives. And I really think when you rescue a dog that has had a tough life, they bond even stronger with you. Kind of like they know how lucky they are (anthropomorphizing to make a point).

    My next dog will definitely be an adult. I like young adults 1-2 years old. Still lots of life but over the puppy stage.

    And I just don't feel good about leaving puppies alone and not giving them the socialization and training that is good for them. Some people get lucky and their dogs turn out okay even though they aren't getting much attention, but often that is not the case.

    Anyway that is my opinion. I know lots of people get all weak-kneed over puppies...admittedly it is.sometimes hard to look past that feeling.
  3. pigsatuga

    pigsatuga

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    I adopted a 5 to 6 year old beagle male. He was skin and bones, a total nervous wreck and not house trained and was scared of ceiling fans, lol. We got him a crate, put him on a potty schedule with lots of positive reinforcement, a feeding schedule and taught him to walk on a leash. He is the best (meaning the most well behaved) dog I ever had. I will always adopt older dogs now. It's true, they really "appreciate" a good home. My sis just got a puppy and WOW, I forgot how much trouble they are, haha!
  4. bunnity

    bunnity Penn 2014

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    I think "putting everything into raising a puppy" and "leaving for 6 weeks, 6 weeks after I get the puppy" don't really fit. If you're set on a puppy you should wait until you're not going to be leaving it for a long time during a crucial stage of development and training.

    I will second/third/fourth the opinion that the bond with a rescued animal is really special.

    I also want to throw out the wonderful option of fostering if you want to get your puppy/dog fix but don't feel ready for a long term commitment.
  5. PetPony

    PetPony Rawr :*

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    That's what I'll be doing once I'm done raising the first guide dog: getting foster dogs. I'm so excited to start that.
  6. nohika

    nohika lurker status

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    We adopted a 3-5 year old (they're not sure how old) beagle male and a 3-year-old female chihuahua. All but two of our (lots) of dogs were shelter dogs and they're all amazing.

    Yeah, my poor beagle-boy is such a chicken..scared of balloons (just floating around ones), cardboard boxes, loud noises, odd objects, new people...and we've had him for three years. :laugh: He's fine with approaching people but gets scared when they try to grab him. He's definitely a sweetheart and I love him, but he can be a chicken.

    Shelter dogs are awesome dogs. Puppies (admittedly) are too much work for my family (four of us, two work full time and go to school full time and the others go to school full time but don't want to care for the dog). Just be aware that they may need just as much training as puppies - my beagle had been in the shelter for over a month and had forgotten how to be housetrained and the chihuahua was so scared of everyone for a while that she'd get overstimulated and potty in the house. Took about a month for everyone to straighten out.

    Love mah doggies, though. :love::love:
  7. Robdude

    Robdude

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    Is it possible to get the puppy you want and just skip whatever the 6-week thing is that you have going on this summer?
  8. SnowyRox

    SnowyRox Pennwe c/o 2016

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    You're right in thinking that a 6 month old puppy shouldn't be left alone all day when your husband is working and you are away. Some people do it and their animals survive, but it's obviously not ideal. Plus, a 6 month old puppy shouldn't be holding his bladder all day.

    I think getting a puppy is kind of like having a baby. There's never a perfect time.
  9. CarpeDiem89

    CarpeDiem89

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    Just my 0.02 cents but I have always wanted a puppy too and I was worried about leaving it at home all day while I was in vet school.You also have to realize that once you are in vet school your dog will only be a year maybe two years old and that's still really young. It will need a lot of time and energy and with vet school that's hard to provide. Its doable- but its just more added stress.

    When I was looking for a puppy I made a list of all the things I wanted in a puppy.... adult size, color, sex... If the puppy did not match everything on the list then I didn't even want to look at it. I looked into several different puppies but they didn't work out for one reason or another. Then, out of the blue, a found an older dog who just seemed to be in the right place at the right time and I really thought I was meant to adopt him. I took him home and he became extremely attached to me and I fell in love with him.

    Since he is older there are so many advantages. I can leave him at home for 8+ hours. He only has to go outside maybe twice a day. He sleeps constantly, but when I am ready to spend time with him he is very playful. He was fully potty trained when I adopted him but he did not know any other commands like sit, stay, how to walk on a leash etc. But it was not hard to teach him AT ALL. He probably picked up everything in 2 weeks. He is my little shadow and follows me around EVERYWHERE. I don't feel guilty spending all day at school or hanging out with my friends, because I know that he is probably at home sleeping. He is seriously the best thing that has happened to me since I started vet school. I am soooooo happy that I adopted an older dog vs. a puppy. So much less stress and time needed and the rewards are just as great. Its weird to say, but as time progresses I feel like more and more that he is my soulmate doggie. We are seriously meant to be together and I love him to pieces. The way that things have just fallen into place since I have gotten him make me think that he is my perfect match.

    So keep your mind open when looking for a dog. Because you might miss your perfect match if you are just looking for a puppy : )
  10. kernel

    kernel OSU c/o 2017

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    Everyone, thanks for all of the replies. I really appreciate it.

    I read most of them yesterday afternoon on the car ride to get the puppy.

    See, I found him on Craigslist and expressed interested to the person, but cautioned them that I would need some time to think (given this big 6-week obstacle, and because I wasn't sure if I wanted a puppy). Unfortunately, the owner (a teenager) HAD to get rid of the dog by yesterday because they were financially unstable and in the middle of moving...

    So I read your posts, talked to some family members as well as my boyfriend. I had a semi-epiphany. Having a dog is one of my top priorities in life- I should therefore be ready to live the lifestyle of having a dog. I decided right away to either figure out a way to take the dog with me (it's looking good so far) or not go at all. As much as I was also considering looking for an older dog, this puppy was in danger of not having a home *and* I really wanted to take on the challenge of training a youngster.

    I'm so excited and happy that I made this decision. This pooch is freaking rad :love:

    Thanks everyone. Also, I'm super interested in someday having a foster dog, that sounds pretty cool.
  11. NStarz

    NStarz Ohio State c/o 2016

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    Sounds like you have everything worked out! Good luck and enjoy!

    I have to say, fostering a pneumonia puppy for a week made me sure that I am not ready for a puppy quite yet (I like to sleep past 6 am, you see).
  12. StartingoverVet

    StartingoverVet Flight Instructor for hire Gold Donor

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    Ask for opinions....ignore advice....do what you want.

    Congrats, you are already a fairly typical owner.

    Good luck.
  13. bigkittinteef

    bigkittinteef Dick Vet c/o 2016

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    Reading my mind.
  14. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow UMN CVM Gold Donor

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    Do me a big favor and vaccinate the dog.

    I just had to explain to a client within the last few days why her dog died after she ignored our recommendation to booster the distemper/parvo/etc vaccination. She was extremely upset with us because "didn't you vaccinate my dog for that?"

    It's really discouraging sometimes.
  15. DVMDream

    DVMDream Grrrrr! Gold Donor

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    We had a client come in with her 2 year old dog today that had parvo. She never got the dog vaccinated because she *thought* that it would cost around $600 to vaccinate the dog. :smack:

    You think she would have called around and found out how much vaccines were and not just assume prices. They were not the smartest people in the world.
  16. NStarz

    NStarz Ohio State c/o 2016

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    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
  17. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow UMN CVM Gold Donor

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    I can at least understand their thought process. Even though they were wrong ... they made a 'reasonable' conclusion based on the (faulty) info they had (thinking it was prohibitively expensive). With my client, they knew it was free since we did the first in the series - they just decided the recommendation wasn't worth following. Poor dog.

    Anyway. Shouldn't have grumped about it. Just part of the business. But the phone call was fresh on my mind.
  18. kernel

    kernel OSU c/o 2017

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    :thumbdown:

    I resent this comment. I definitely rearranged my future plans (incl. summer, which was painstakingly difficult) so as to incorporate this animal into my life, and I'm sorry if it wasn't exactly how people advised me to. I did what I feel is absolutely the best for him and I.

    I would have been open to going to with an older dog, but this one needed a home immediately and the former owners weren't keeping him in a safe situation. I wasn't just going to turn him down and say, "nah fuk dat, everyone says getting an older dog is better so imma do that."


    Yes, I have him up to date on his vax (I gave him his first puppy series myself, actually) and got him neutered last week :love:
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  19. kernel

    kernel OSU c/o 2017

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    I have had to bag up and cremate at least 5 dogs in the last month because their owners pled ignorance about parvo and/or distemper. Yeah, it sucks.
  20. hopefulinva

    hopefulinva VMRCVM DVM/MPH c/o 2016

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    Good luck with the puppy. :) Keep us updated!
  21. jalyndani

    jalyndani Mississippi State 2016

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    Please tell me you at least acquired the vaccines from an actual veterinarian and not the local grocery store.

    You wouldn't believe how many parvo cases we see at my clinic every month with owners who thought they could vaccinate the pups themselves with vaccinations from the grocery store/feed store. It has been our experience that the local high school/college kids working at these places don't know that a shipment of vaccines need to be refrigerated IMMEDIATELY and not whenever you get around to it.
  22. sunshinevet

    sunshinevet

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    Since the OP works at an emergency vet hospital, I'm sure she is well versed on the consequences of parvo - as she said 2 posts up. I'm sure she is doing her best to do right for this dog. And I'm sure she is well versed in the frustrations of dealing with people who don't.

    OP, I feel people have been a bit harsh towards you in this thread, and I hope it hasn't detracted from the joy of having your new dog! Hope its going well :)
  23. hopefulinva

    hopefulinva VMRCVM DVM/MPH c/o 2016

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    :thumbup:
  24. kernel

    kernel OSU c/o 2017

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    Thanks for that, hopefulinva and sunshinevet!

    I did get the vaccines from my clinic, and gave them at the clinic.

    This has been an incredibly joy-invoking and rewarding experience so far. Since I am only working part-time for the next month and a half, pup and I have had ample opportunity to go and day hikes and work on obedience. It's been crazy fun and I am in luuuurve :love::love::love:.

    I think this was just the right time and the right dog. Weird how that works.
  25. Abney

    Abney c/o 2017

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    It is.I NEVER wanted a dachshund but she has been the absolute best dog for me. Better than I could have imagined. She's my best bud (and I just want to squeeze her until her eyes pop out!! lol) I'm glad you have your new buddy.
  26. kernel

    kernel OSU c/o 2017

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    Awww she sounds like a cutie. I am not much of a small dog person but I would be a-okay with a dachshund - I've liked every one I've ever met!

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