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Discussion Starter #1
Folks --

I went by a convenience store yesterday, and the sign in front said they were giving away a 2-year old female black lab to a good home.

I am not sure our family can handle 2 labs, but we realize that for Misty's sake, it would be good. We continue to think and consider. Anyway, this is why the ad caught my attention. However, clearly, I am skeptical and suspicious.

I talked to the owner -- a lady in probably her mid 40s. She and her daughter (who owns the dog) were both there, though the mom did most of the talking. I asked if it was a purebred lab, or a mix. The mom said "I think it's purebred," and then turned to her daughter and said "right?" The daughter said "yes, she is full lab." I didn't ask specifically, but I assume this means no papers, and thus no way to even begin to check into the ancestry of this dog. I asked why they were giving her away, and they said that the daughter just does not have the appropriate space or time to devote to the dog, though it is a "really good dog." They said they just want to see the dog "go to a good home, where she will have the space she needs and the interaction with people that she needs."

I told them I'd think about it, and we left it at that.

I have considered going back, and asking for a chance to meet the dog -- to see her, see what she knows or doesn't know from a training perspective, see what her personality is like, and try to see if there are any "issues" which might be the "real" reason they are giving her away. IF I decide to do this, and IF she "passes" my "inspection," I would ask to take her for a couple of hours, take her home, let her meet Misty, and see how that goes. Then, I would want to take her to my vet, have him check her out, and go from there. If everything seems fine, and on the "up and up," then I'd have some thinking to do. However, in the mean time, like I said, I remain skeptical, and doubt it would ever get that far to where I'd have to consider taking her.

My main concerns, I think, would be major health problems -- hip dysplasia, eye issues, etc. My questions are -- 1. can a vet do a simple test to check for hip dysplasia, or the eye problems? 2. What other issues should I be on the lookout for if I do decide to meet the dog?

I feel bad for the dog, and my heart would say it deserves to be rescued and put in a situation where it can be loved and appreciated. My head says, number one, that I'm not sure our home could handle a second lab, and number two, that there are likely hidden issues with the dog which would make it even MORE of a challenge...

Thanks,

Steve
 

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How old is Misty? Most trainers/breeders will recommend a year or two between dogs - personally, I like a gap of 5 or 6 years.. long enough to forget the 'joys' of housebreaking and teething and teenage rebellion (and seriously, so that the first puppy is grown up, well trained and settled) so that I **want** to do it all again for a cute new face...
 

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When the rescue I volunteer for, takes an owner surrender dog, we try to ask for the following:

Vet records, or permission to contact current vet (current owners will need to contact vet first to give permission to give out info)
Where/when the dog was purchased and any registration info, is applicable.
Proof of hearworm treatment, as well as a heartworm test.
Current living environment - children in the home? crate trained?
Anxieties, phobias (not many people come clean with this info....but I always try to push the "easy" answers like, thunder? vacuum?)

As far as hip issues, an x-ray will tell a lot, but like everything in life.....there's no guarantees when you rescue a dog. We had many dogs we picked up from pounds, or running loose and we never had any background information on them, yet placed them with families and they led a very happy life. IMO, I think addition to running her to a vet to be checked, you might also want a reputable behaviorist temperament test her.

Good luck, keep us posted if you decide!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
kaytris --

Misty is almost 6 months. The dog in question is, apparently, 2 years old. From the tone of your post, you might have misunderstood. In this case, the "new" dog is not younger, but older. I can understand what you are saying -- I am NOT ready for the teething/biting/housebreaking thing again, which is why I thought this (a grown dog that is HOPEFULLY trained and settled down) might be a good way to get that playmate for Misty that I really think she would enjoy. Anyway, in the reverse sense, this WOULD give me the 1-2 year age separation rule of thumb you mentioned (but not the 5 or 6 you personally prefer!)

MyLabsMom --

Thanks so much for your helpful info. That is great stuff, and some of which I might not have thought of.

As for "no guarantees when you rescue a dog," I know that. I'm not looking for iron-clad guarantees, but I'd like to have the odds well in my favor. I just am concerned that some major issue happens to be THE reason they are looking to get rid of the dog. I have a feeling this is, at LEAST, an unregistered dog which did NOT come from a reputable breeder. I have NO proof of this, other than the fact that if someone had purchased the dog from a breeder, they probably wouldn't be willing to GIVE it away, and further, many breeders want the dogs back, apparently, if you wish to get rid of them in the future, right? Beyond my suspicions here, I would like to know what other issues may be lurking.

I will keep you posted, but I think this is a long shot -- both because I'm not sure our family is ready for the commitment of two dogs (we will have to decide soon), but moreso because I think as I take slow, deliberate steps in checking this dog out, I will come across some issues which won't sit well with me. But, on the other hand, I can't help but think of the poor dog, not wanted by its owner, and the possibility that it ends up in an even worse situation...

Steve
 

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One of my standard q's with owner surrenders is who is the breeder and have they been contacted? I also agree w/ getting the vet records.... I saw my share of dumped labs w/ temperament and health issues while doing rescue fosters. It could be a godsend for your pup, or just the opposite. If the dog is not trained and quite active, for instance, it could do physical harm to your pup. Personally, I'd sugget waiting until you get this one thru the first year or more of obedience training. You want your pup to bond to you... not to another dog and if that dog needs obed too, you will be stretched tight. I'd suggest an older, calmer dog given the details provided. -Anne
 

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I really think you should wait as well. Six months is still so young. Two will split your focus unbelievably. Seriously. You need to get Misty to a really solid place before you even think of adding another. JMO :)

We waited till Angus was one year, and adopted Simon, who was about five months younger than him. Honestly, we probably could have waited longer. :-\ But, I fell in love, so what's a girl to do?

I also agree that when you rescue, you sort of have to take a lot of things on faith. You can find out as much as you can, and that's good. You should take the dog to a vet for an exam...but, still no guarantee something won't crop up later.

You probably shouldn't rely on the new dog being trained and a good influence on the younger one :) Get Misty through her crazy teenage months, and then SHE can be the role model for a new dog.

I think it's great you're considering adopting another. I love having two. When I stop speaking to one of them, I still have the other. :p :D But it really is something that needs to be well-timed.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Anne --

Good points. I agree with you completely that if this dog needs obedience training, and is out of control, I will be overtaxed. This is one of the reasons I wanted to take the dog home for a couple of hours. I'd get to see what she does or doesn't know, and how she behaves. Let's pretend for a minute that the dog is relatively calm, and fairly-well trained (sits, stays, recall, housetrained, etc.) Would this change your opinion?

Just FYI, Misty has REALLY leveled out, personality-wise, in the past month or so. She is really getting the obedience thing pretty down pat, and her "insanity" has really waned. She's becoming a great dog, and she seems to have really bonded with us. All she wants is to be around us, like a typical lab. Her favorite thing is for me to plop down on the floor. She then comes over to me immediately, gets right up to me, then tucks her head under, and does a somersault into my lap/onto her back, so I can rub her belly! Silly girl!

AngusFangus --

Thanks for your input as well. That's two of you who say "wait." Hmm...

Like I said, Misty is GETTING to a "solid" place, but is not quite there yet. If it would be a case where my focus would have to be split, training-wise, I wouldn't do it. I would only consider it, like I said above, if the dog seems to have been worked with quite a bit (which, I'm sure, is unlikely anyway). As for the "fell in love" part -- that's understandable ;), and also one of my fears as well. That's how I ended up with Misty (my wife CONNED me into going to "just see the cute little puppy!")

I appreciate your input about "it has to be well-timed..." I am not sure about the timing here, especially given the input I've gotten here.

Just curiously, when do the "crazy teenage months" set in? I don't think we've hit them, yet...

Anyway...if I decide to check the dog out, I'll report back and get some more feedback from everyone.

Anyone else have any ideas to add?

Steve
 

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Kudos for at least considering this dog. I have no idea what I would do in this type of situation. I do know that now another dog is out of the question because 1. Tal is only 10 months and I want to wait until he is at least 2 years old and 2. Timewise, emotionally, financially and space wise I just could not take on another dog.

It still boggles my mind that people do not more carefully consider what they are getting into when getting a dog.
 

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Well, one other thing I wanted to mention: It would be a good idea to bring her home first, make introductions, and see how things went. BUT! You won't really have a clear idea of her true behavior for at least several weeks. You can get a general idea, but I know it was several weeks (months?) before we started to see the *true* Simon. :)
 

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myfavoritedog --

I hear you about the "timewise, emotionally, financially..." issues about taking on a second dog. I think of these things too...

The tough part is, we ALMOST took Misty's black litter-mate when we got her. We wanted her to have a dog companion. Now, I can see that this would not have been the best idea (and not to mention that we likely would have gone insane), but I still have some level of longing to get a black companion for her. Seeing this ad, and thinking "gee, if everything worked out right, we could get a dog which was past the "puppy" stage, and perhaps well-behaved, while Misty could finally get her playmate..."

I know it's a pipe dream, most likely. If the dog was that well-trained and well-behaved, they wouldn't be getting rid of her.

AngusFangus --

I had an idea in the back of my mind that I would not see the "true" dog in a short time like that, but I thought I could get an idea of its training level, and how well she and Misty could get along.

Curiously, you say it took several weeks or months to see the "true" Simon. First of all, was Simon a rescue? How old? Also, what did you not see at first, that you began to see as time passed?

Steve
 

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OK! Yes, Simon was a rescue. Both boys are, actually. They both came from the shelter. We got Angus when he was a teeny puppy, only about five weeks. He was hell on wheels, so when I started looking for another I knew for SURE I didn't want another puppy!

When we adopted Simon, he was seven months. Angus was one year old then.

There were LOTS of things we didn't see at first. My only interaction with Simon had been in the shelter. I went to visit him five times before we brought him home. He was the sweetest, most affectionate dog I had ever met. Just cuddled up and wanted to be loved. Pushed his head into my tummy. Tried to crawl in my lap. Rolled over and let me rub his belly (incidentally, your belly rub story sounds just like him!)

What did not become apparent until much later is what an attention hog he is. Oh, it was sweet and adorable in the shelter, when it was just me and him. But he constantly "guards" me from Angus. He is super needy and clingy, and cannot stand not to be the center of attention.

Of course I still love him dearly. :angel: He really is a super sweet little guy. But he is also very, very jealous.

There were so many other things, too. He started having accidents in the house. Once in a while, randomly. It took us several months (long story) to figure out that he had a UTI. His urine came up clear after the first accident, so I chalked it up to not being housetrained. It happened so infrequently, and coincidentally, it seemed to happen around excitement. Then one night, he had an accident in class. I actually saw this one happen, and he did not seem to have any idea that he was even peeing. ??? OK, that's definitely not right. I got him checked more thoroughly this time, and there it was. That was last December. Knock on wood, since he was treated, we have had no more accidents.

I also had no idea what a talker he is. He has turned into quite the conversationalist. It can be cute at time, but Kevin sometimes describes it as a knife piercing his skull. :D He's very shrill and high-pitched.

I guess what I'm saying is, there are so many things that just don't show themselves in a couple of hours. I spent several hours with him before adopting because, just like you, I wanted "the perfect" dog to be a match with Angus, and with us. I took every precaution I could, found out everything I could, asked all the right questions...and yet, there were still surprises. ;) That's what I meant about "taking things on faith." You just never know with a rescue.

I don't mean to make Simon sound bad, btw. :) He's a sweet boy. Very sweet! He just came with a little baggage. But hey, I've had Angus since he was barely weaned, and he's actually probably more whacked out than Simon. :D Really, you just never know!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
AngusFangus --

What great information. Thank you. Your description makes things MUCH more clear. How do Angus and Simon get along?

Steve
 

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Steve,
Some dogs I fostered and adopted out showed their true colors quickly, but others took the 3 wks or more to "get comfortable" in their new places for the devil to appear. A couple were so bad they had to be euthanized several months down the road. I know my personal dogs sometimes took some abuse from fosters, and that was why I quit. I compete my dogs, and the last thing I want is for them to distrust other dogs.

One more thing. I have a litter right now. I also have a 7 mo old that is doing pretty well with her training too. My plan is to NOT keep one of these pups here, rather co-own w/ a person so I don't have 2 so close in age. My 27 mo old is enough of a puppy still and she and the 7 mo old can really have at it in play at times. I really worry about the consequence of sometimes too rough of play on joint health... it takes some added supervision and even then, nothing is fool proof. Why not find someone at obed school who would enjoy frequent play sessions with Misty for now??? Or take her to doggy daycare every now and then??? I still do that w/ my pups as I really want them socialized w/ other dogs, not just those at my home.

Oh, btw.... in my opinion the worst puppy stage is yet to come for you!!! 9-12 mos is probably the worst for most dogs, at least this is the age many seem to show up in the shelters. Growth begins to slow, and energy is even more abundant... -Anne
 
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Ok, i've read you're story, and i whould probaly do the same thing ;)

Check up's by vet's and stuff like that :)

But never let you're hart speak in such case's, otherwise you end up with a hughe pack of dog's in you're house! ;D

And you cant carry the whole wretchedness of the world on you're shoulders :-X

But if you can, and willing just give this dog a second change! 8)
 

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I am not sure our family can handle 2 labs, but we realize that for Misty's sake, it would be good.
This says it all to me. Deep down only you know whether or not you can handle a second. From this it sounds as though you are not ready. For the record I think Misty is far too young for a brother or sister. I know you say it "would be for Misty's sake" but really, she can't miss what she doesn't have. All dogs are happy in single dog families -- they don't "need" a companion because they get that from you. The only dogs that would suffer temporarily without a canine companion would be dogs that have been living with other dogs for years and years.

Unless you are 100% certain you are willing to make a commitment to another dog (and from what you have said it sounds as though you are not), don't do it. You may think that getting an adult dog is the easier ride...no potty training, no biting or puppy antics, but they can actually be just as difficult if not more so.

If you want my opinion I would pass up on this dog, wait at least another year when Misty has matured and is fully trained and then look into adding a second.
 

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We wanted her to have a dog companion.
This is NOT a reason to get a second dog. The reason you would want to get a second dog is for YOU...not your dog. And since you are still having so many puppy issues with Misty (recall, etc) you really should wait. Rider just turned four and I have had Rookie for about 6 weeks now....even though we've fostered a lot of dogs over the past years, none of them were here to stay...and I didn't get Rookie because Rider needed a companion, I got Rookie because I wanted another companion, and I wanted to compete in certain dog competitions that Rider could not.

That's my two cents. I'd wait.
 

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I definitely agree with Dani on this.

Labs LOVE humans. Your wife is a stay at home mom, right? Misty has someone there the majority of the time, if I'm correct. And then she has a little girl to run around with. I think Misty has PLENTY of companionship

And please realize that the vet bills will at least double, the time you spend with dogs will not go down in the least- for me, it's gone up, the cost of toys, training, etc, goes up by I swear fourfold, ....

What are you going to do if, a month down the road, when the dog has settled, Misty and the dog have some aggression/fear issues? Are you equipped to handle that?

Don't get a companion for Misty unless it's a companion for you first.
 

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Not sure if this was brought up, but Brody was a rescue and we were not told about his fear of noise or any other anxiety generators. He is not too bad during thunderstorms, neighborhood fireworks, and other noise producers. When they do happen, you can literally see him shaking. He also becomes a drool machine from panting so hard. He doesn't try to tear up the house, but if you ever needed a third appendage, he is the dog for you...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
OK everyone...


With the exception of Felix (thanks for your input!!), everyone has pretty much said "Misty is too young for bringing a second dog in."

I can't help but take all this advice to heart.

Trickster --

About handling a second dog -- we CANNOT handle another one that needs as much training as Misty does at this point. This is much of my hesitation. IF (I know it's likely a pipe dream) this dog was in pretty good shape, training-wise, THEN I think we could do it. The only other hesitation is the financial end of things (we're a bit tight financially at this point), but the main one is the training.

I think I might "meet" this dog, just to see where she is, training- and temperament-wise, but I think I've pretty much given up (thanks to the majority of the advice here saying "NO!").

At some point, I WOULD like to have one more lab, but maybe that's still a ways off. Curiously, for those who mentioned this, are you saying it is better for labs to have people companions than dog companions? (Yes, gabbys mom, Ginger is a stay-at-home mom, there with the pup during the day; I'm amazed that you remembered that! There are so many folks on here that I've talked to, I can't keep ANYTHING straight!!)

Thank you all for your advice. If someone could address the dog companions vs. people companions a bit further, I'd appreciate it. Dani? gabbys mom? Trickster?

Steve

Oh, by the way, Trickster -- did I read in another post that you are 19 years old? That is amazing! If it is true, you are the most knowledgeable 19-year old, with respect to dogs, that I could possibly imagine!
 

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steveandginger said:
About handling a second dog -- we CANNOT handle another one that needs as much training as Misty does at this point. This is much of my hesitation. IF (I know it's likely a pipe dream) this dog was in pretty good shape, training-wise, THEN I think we could do it. The only other hesitation is the financial end of things (we're a bit tight financially at this point), but the main one is the training.

I think I might "meet" this dog, just to see where she is, training- and temperament-wise, but I think I've pretty much given up (thanks to the majority of the advice here saying "NO!").
I've got to agree with the others who said wait - and I'll go farther and say don't go see the dog. You say your family isn't really ready for another dog, financially or training-wise. I find it hard to believe this dog is the perfect angel (sit, stay, recall etc. what you say you are looking for) and they're giving her the boot because of time constraints? People generally don't worry so much about time constraints with a dog that has the level of obedience you're seeking. Coupled with your financial situation I think going to even see the dog is a mistake, especially in the face of all the advice you've received here.

Second, I get the feeling that you would have a difficult task objectively evaluating the dog's personality/behavior yourself when you go meet her. You're a fairly novice dog owner correct? Most rescues have very experienced dog owners evaluating their dogs, or a professional behaviorist (and time in foster care so "true" personalities can come out). What I'm trying to say without coming across as a major b**** is that you won't really have an accurate idea "where she is training-wise and temperment-wise" - because you're not yet sure what to look for. Does that make sense?

My advice is this - all the time and money you would be spending on this second dog (and it would be AT LEAST double what you're spending now) spend that on Misty! Sign up for more classes, buy new toys or book for you to read, play with her twice the amount, train her more frequently - you will be impressed with the dog you receive in return I think and find no need for a second to occupy Misty's time.
 
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