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Hey guys! My name is Chris and I am a 20 year old college student. My parents have agreed to getting me a dog for Christmas and I am ready to enjoy this! I go to school mon-thurs (full time) and I will be living an hour away from the dog during these days. Fri/sat/sun I will be at home with the dog (although I work part time these days) and my parents will primarily care for the dog on the weekdays when I'm gone.

I am open to many options and wanted to get your input. Should I get a lab?

Pros/cons?

Puppy, youngster?

Yellow, Chocolate, black?

Advice? Tips??

Any input from you guys would truly be appreciated as I have gotten mixed responses at the German Shepherd forum.

Please respond!

Thanks!

-C
 

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IF you get a Lab puppy under those conditions, the dog is likely to attach to one of your parents. Not you. And it is going to be a lot of work for them with a puppy. You might be better off going for an adult rescue.

If you do get a pup, male or female, name it Magnet. Ooops! I just assumed you were male. Well.. staying with that thought, a Lab pup is one of the most effective chic magnets in this world.
 

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In reality this will be your parents dog, not yours. You simply don't have the time in your life to be a responsible dog owner now. Now, if you parents really want a Lab - then that is another whole question and we surely can give them guidance to find an appropriate adult or puppy.

I can understand why you got less than warm responses from the GSD board.

May I ask - what is it your family is looking for in a dog? GSDs and Labs are VASTLY different dogs in many respects.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, people have made it clear that it will be attached to my parents more so than me. Which bums me out but.. Hey what can I do.

I have wanted a dog for 5+ years now and after showing my parents consistent superior grades throughout my college career they decided to give me the ok to get a dog as a christmas present.

Now, before they change their mind.. I want to get one!

I am looking for a dog that will love everyone and everything. I hate aggressive dogs.. But I also hate pushovers. I want a dog with confidence and love for everyone.

I want it to be independent when need be, and not too difficult to train.

Those are some things I'm looking for...
 

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Many breeds can meet those expectations - as many of those expectations come about through building a strong bond with your dog and training him well with positive methods.

I want you to be warned that this should not be an impulse purchase on your part. Dogs are with us for 12 - 14 years and it's important to do research into breeders before making the leap.

You should stay away from pet shops, back yard breeders and puppy mills (who usually sell to pet shops) as those sources usually have poor quality specimen breeding stock and don't test for genetic disease that all popular breeds are susceptible to.

Buy your puppy from someone who competes with their dogs - either in the show ring or in another manner (like hunting or obedience). Ask for proof that the breeding adults have been tested. Ask for proof that the breeding adults have been successful either in the show ring or in field trials (only the best quality dogs should be bred). Even if you are not looking for a show quality puppy, you want to support the people who are dedicated to the betterment of the breed - not the betterment of their bank account.

If you are interested in an older puppy/dog, rescue is a great route. Your parents will have to be actively involved in this as no rescue is going to give a dog to you since you are away at school all week. As a matter of fact - the same goes for a responsible breeder - mom and dad will have to be actively involved in the search.

You should have enough money in the bank to deal with vet care for the first year. Depending on where you live, this could be $500.00 or more.

Have you ever had a dog before? Have your parents?
 

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Welcome to the board, and good on you for asking questions beforehand!

Please to ensure this will be the appropriate situation for the DOG, and not just getting a dog because you want one. Will you be doing right by the dog? Are you ready for the lifestyle of owning a dog? Not always being able to go out because your dog needs exercise, waking up early to walk the dog, etc, paying higher rent when you move out of your parents place because few places accpet dogs... I have had to make alot of sacrifices to be a dog owner and that works for me, but for alot of people they are not ready for it.

The reality is your parents are going to be playing a HUGE role in training and exercising the dog you get. They need to be ok with this and not think you will be able to care for the dog 100% on your own given your situation. The first few years of having a dog are alot of work. LOTS of training DAILY, lots of biting and chewing and all kinds of behavior that get better with training, supervision and exericse. Your parents must be ready to do this training while you are gone as well as the exercising. DAILY exercise, the average labrador needs about an hour of exercise A DAY (including structured exercise like walking, and more vigorous exercise like running). Not so much when they are babies but by 10 months they usually require lots of exercise.

Who will be responsible for the bills? Do yoiu have income to pay for the vet bills? Yearly shots, unexpected injuries, food, treats, TRAINING classes? I know I sure did NOT have the money for this when paying tuition even with a good part-time job.

I agree with the above, the qualities you look for come thru training adn working with the dog and building a relationship. Be realistic with yourself if you are aksing too much of your parents, if they are ready to put in the work or if they are just saying yes hoping you do all the work (which you will when you are home but there will be LOTS of work to do on the days you are gone).
 

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I agree with Tanya. Having a dog is much like having a child. The responsibility is there regardless of what else is happening in your life.

My son who has grown up with dogs wants one of his own but has finally come to realize that he is just not at the stage where he can commit to the responsibility. He is a FT college student and works FT. He sometimes stays out overnight on the weekends. He still lives with us and comes and goes as he pleases. If he had a dog he was responsible for he would have to get up early on weekdays and weekends (and sleep here) as the dog would need to get out and be exercised every day. He would have to be spending his hard earned money on dog food (which for 2 Labs is up to about $100- a month for us) pay for vet visits (always at least $100- where we live), invest time and money in training... etc, etc, etc. He is in love with the whole idea of having a best buddy - but the reality of having that responsibility EVERY SINGLE DAY has stopped him. I am simply not taking care of another dog not of my choosing.

If I were you, I'd hold off until you were out of school and able to truly commit to the care of the dog. But - if you choose to go ahead anyway - we'll be here to provide advice as needed.
 

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Jeeze. Nobody here or the GSD forum thinks I'm fit for a dog. Maybe you're all right. I figured I'm gonna be done with school in less than 2 years and I will take full responsibility for the dog then. My parents like dogs and will not leave it abandoned or ignored when they're home. They do work full time, however. Maybe you're all right. Thanks for your input I appreciate it.
 

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Jeeze. Nobody here or the GSD forum thinks I'm fit for a dog. Maybe you're all right. I figured I'm gonna be done with school in less than 2 years and I will take full responsibility for the dog then. My parents like dogs and will not leave it abandoned or ignored when they're home. They do work full time, however. Maybe you're all right. Thanks for your input I appreciate it.
You may be a great dog owner but your current lifestlye isn't condusive to having your own dog, most of us have, at some point in our lives, had to forgo dog ownership because we did not have things in place for it (living situation, working hours, lifestlye)

Young dogs from active breeds unfortunately need more than just companionship during the day, they need training and exercise (daily) so you or your parents would have to provide that (every day!).

Good luck. It is a good time to concentrate on your studies and save money for when the time comes you are ready :) I had to wait 5 years thru university before I was finally able to get a dog. It was a loooonng 5 years. Even now i have had to make some sacrifices for the dog (no going out after work, waking up early to walk the dog, saving money on some personal expenses to save for vet bills, passing on some trips as I had no dog sitter, passing on outings with friends even at times). For me it has been worth it though!
 

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Can you take another post?
If it is any consolation, I too am a recent dog owner, first puppy ever, and I have a Lab!
I too had to wait five years before I graduated. (it's odd, but i had his name picked out even before i got him, even my friends would ask about the "ramon" i didn't have!)
Anyway, I was all done with studies and I had to wait two more years because of living accomodations. FINALLY I was able to get this guy!! He's awesome! He loves everybody and is quite happy everywhere, although he doesn't like staying by himself.
I've been fortunate enough to have my family help me when I had to be away for a while, recently, we've been reuinted!! He seems at peace now and daddy is so happy!!
It' worth going through puppy hassles (i recommend getting a puppy), the vet bills, the puppy-school, grooming him, it's all worth it: he's a great companion.
Your heart is in the right place, you'll be a great owner, just wait till you're done with school. On the other hand, I've been in situations where others around me were against me getting him, and you are at the point where your parents finally agree, then I would say do it, do it now before they change their mind.
However, keep in mind what the other posts have mentioned, WHAT THEY SPEAK IS TRUE.
If I were to get another, no doubt it would be a Yellow!!
(oh-oh, did i say ANOTHER??!!)
 

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^ Thanks man.

I just finally after 5+ years of wanting a dog had my parents agree on taking one on. And now that I have the opportunity I don't want to lose it and all the responses I'm getting on these forums are bumming me out. I guess I was looking for something a bit more supportive, but I guess the truth hurts sometimes. It is what it is. Thanks for all of your input.
 

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Jeeze. Nobody here or the GSD forum thinks I'm fit for a dog. Maybe you're all right. I figured I'm gonna be done with school in less than 2 years and I will take full responsibility for the dog then. My parents like dogs and will not leave it abandoned or ignored when they're home. They do work full time, however. Maybe you're all right. Thanks for your input I appreciate it.
Chris, I am sure you will be a great dog owner someday. Everyone here understands how much work and time any dog takes...and I am sure some of us have found out the hard way. We may not have been smart enough to ask all the questions that you are asking. It shows me one thing...you want to do what is right, the responsible thing. I have had 2 labs, my first lab was not a dog that required a lot of exercise, she was not a chewer, never jumped or nipped and never required any training classes. After she passed we got another lab, Gracie. Well she is a different ball game all together. Gracie is a very mouthy lab, who requires lots and lots of exercise ( 3 or 4 good walks a day), play time, I have spent a lot of money on obedience training because she does not listen to me so well, she is a destructive pup if she is not exercised...she pulled siding off my home and tried to eat a window shutter...it has half the slots missing :( She makes the dog in Marley and Me look relatively calm. I am fortunate that I don't work and I do have a lot of time to give her and some days it still does not seem like enough. We have also added Lola to our home, she is 10 weeks old...well I can say I def have no free time now. I love them both do death and I would not change a thing, but it is def something to really put thought into. Good luck with your decision and keep up the good work with school...everything will fall into place with time.
 

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Hey Chris - i had to post because i myself was in your shoes, . I'm 25 now, i was still in college part time at 23, also a full time job working from home. And was able to move out. I wanted my own dog, labrador. I ended up really researching and finally finding a breeder, i did. I got the puppy i've always wanted.
Chris- once the pup came in i've felt like a mother since. No, i never ever will regret Apple, we are truly meant for eachother and she got me into every dog sport you can imagine. But know that i do not go out with friends anymore because she requires so much of my time, my money goes to her because a dog is extremely expensive, its a hugggeee responsibility and still is.
The semester when i was at school at night i felt guilty that MY dog had to go to grandmas house (my mother) because i couldn't take care of her on those days. It's hard, and it took a big toll on me eventhough my parents were dog lovers and had two labs of there own.
Sooo advice... As much as it hurts i'd wait (i know the feeling, trust me!!!!!!!) Once college is done you can really enjoy and give a dog everything it needs. and did i say a dog is beyond expensive ?????? ;)
 

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lab

I love my dog to death, but probably did get her at a bad time. I was finishing grad school and I got her when I still had about 8 weeks of classes left before earning my degree. It was very difficult while having a puppy who needs to be taken out in the middle of the night and is up ready to play at 5am and needed to finish all my grad school requirements. While I was at class my mom had to watch her. I also had a full time job (I am a teacher). Grad school alone plus teaching tied up my life then adding a puppy to the mix...I must have been crazy. Luckily I had help with family and friends taking her out and visiting her throughout the day. Once grad school was over and I was off for the summer, I enjoyed the puppy and she is the perfect fit for me. Looking back I probably should have waited until I was done with grad school. There are many times where Bailey comes before my social life, which was a sacrifice I made getting a dog. I feel guilty leaving her for long periods of time.
 

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Re; New puppy?

Hi Chris, a good question to ask yourself is how active are your parents
and are they dog lovers ? Lab puppies require a lot of energy and demand a lot of attention, they are very cute but do chew on everything!! If you resuced an older dog, say 2 or 3 years old, they too are very high energy, they need daily walks, mim 45 mins and love to play. My labs are 5yrs and 4 yrs. JoJo the black boy is 5 but still acts as though he is a youngster, but he has came a long way in the past two years to being more settled.
CoCo my brown baby is 4yrs but has always been a much calmer dog, but has bad joints, (had to have knee surgery when just 2 years old) They both require daily walks and a whole lot of attention, so I my advice is how active and how much time are you really going to have with a dog, it is unfair to the pup if he doesn't get the attention and exercise he needs. Well that's about all I have to say, just be sure and take into account how much your folks can handle. Labs Rule but you must give them what they need.
See ya, good luck keep us posted on your hunt for a dog, I know there is a great one just waiting for you!!!
Debby








c
 

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Everyone on here is absolutely right! Labs are not pets that you own - they own you!! Once you get a lab and look into those big eyes your life as a single human is over - you are now owned by you loving, giving, sweet, time consuming lab. If you treat them like they need to be treated - exercise, training, attention, love, good food, etc the experience is fabulous. I wouldn't trade my boys for anything, but there are days when I want to sleep in and I can't because they need their exercise before I go to work. If I dont exercise them then (besides the health benefits for them) they are extra - well, destructive is a bit harsh of a word :p, but pretty accurate! The house must always be picked up because they will be the first to find the shoe you left under the bed (makes a great chew toy).
And then there is the money. Dog beds (that turn into chew toys if they didn't get enough exercise), dog food (good food is expensive but cheap food will cost you more in the long run), supplements, toys, replacing remote contols and cell phones (5 remotes and counting, 1 Blackberry phone and 3 phone covers), laundry (dont even think about wearing something twice when you have a lab, they truly believe everyone should wear lab hair as an accessory), then there are the vet bills. Vaccines, spaying or neutering, dew claw removal, ear infections (probably just yeast.. from too much swimming in the pool - which reminds me, new pool toys and floating lounge chairs, and replacement hoses for the pool sweeper)....
 

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My concern for you is your age - you turn 21 next year and can then start going out with mates, weekends away, girlfriends who are really distracting yada yada yada.

I wanted my own dog for years but knew my situation (renting, single and partying etc) just wasn't the right situation for a dog.

When my fiance and I bought our own home and started to settle down together we got Milly. We have the time, money and focus for a dog now where 5 years ago the responsibility of a dog was not my main priority.

Maybe you should look at volunteering at a shelter or something to get your 'canine fix' while you are without one of your own? It might also put it into perspective how expensive and time consuming they can be.

My dog is pretty much just like any toddler. If I take her to my friends place I need to have an eye on her at all times, I need to consider her needs before my own and ensure she is exercised/fed/bladder emptied/mentally stimulated all before I can think about myself. The responsibility of looking after a dog is HUGE ... and it can last up to 16 years. I was always so insistent on having 2 dogs...... now 2 years after having Milly I think I like having one for the time being....... She has many doggy friends for playdates to get her socialisation so do I really need that extra responsibility and cost? Not right now..

Just think about it with a level head, and try volunteering... it can really open your eyes.
 

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I was also in your shoes...I got my very own first dog (a black lab) when I was a sophomore in college. My parents were okay with it (my dad loved dogs) because we all thought I'd be home with him. Circumstances changed in a hurry. When Tank was only 7 mos old and parents moved 3 hours away from my college and commuting was not an option. For the next 4 months I lived in rat holes because they were the only places that would allow dogs. My parents couldn't stand me living in those places so they finally insisted that Tank live with them and I could come see him on weekends. Because we had those initial months together he was definitely my dog but very easily bonded to my parents and brother as well. In the end it worked out well for everybody but certainly I made sacrifices. He was the greatest dog that ever lived so I'll never regret anything about it.
If your parents are okay with this arrangement you may want to consider at least waiting until you have a long break from school to get your puppy so it's YOUR dog.
Good Luck.
 
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