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Old 05-21-2008, 02:39 PM
maybe532 maybe532 is offline
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Default Picking a puppy-need advice

My husband and I have been preparing to get a puppy for about 9 months now and it is almost time. I have researched so many different breeds, thought about what characteristics I want in a dog, and read practically every book in my library about dogs. I narrowed down a few breeds and read everything I could get my hands on about them. The breeds I am most interested in having is Newfoundland and GSD but I also love aussies, labs, goldens, great danes, and boxers. Then I realized I really wanted to adopt a dog from the shelter after finding out that my local shelter has more than a 90% euthanasia rate. I visited the mobile adoption clinic over the weekend and spent a little time with some puppies (and older dogs) and spoke with some volunteers for quite some time. What I really want is a puppy but would consider an adult dog if we "clicked". So today I went up to the shelter to look at puppies and it was an okay experience. I brought my husband and 3 year old daughter (the volunteer advised me to bring her) and we went into the adoption area. We looked at each cage but it was so overwhelming for all of. We took some of the puppies to the play yard to see how they acted and all of them bit at my daughter's shorts and shirt and that really turned my husband off. They were 2-3 months old. Is this normal puppy behavior or is this a personality trait? We took some out individually and others out in pairs and they all just jumped and scratched her and bit at her. We took out an adult lab that was labeled as "good with kids" and she seemed calm until she got around my daughter, then she jumped and pawed at her. She definitely liked kids but she was probably better suited for older kids that would enjoy wrestling. We also took out a 6 month old GSD/lab mix and he basically ignored us the entire time. He was relatively calm and allowed my husband to man handle him but he wouldn't give us the time of day. I told my husband he wasn't very people-oriented and that wasn't what we wanted. We left after that because my daughter was getting sleepy and wasn't in the best of moods anymore.
I don't know what I expected but I was really let down by the whole experience. I didn't fall for any of the puppies but I did really like the first lab mix but he was the pup that bit at my daughter the most. How do you choose a puppy in that kind of environment? It didn't help that a few of the puppies had poo covering their paws and therefore I didn't want to get them out and the rest where wet from water (or pee) and we reeked when we left. I literally had to shower when I got home, I smelled that bad. Is this normal for a shelter? I know they are probably doing all they can and the volunteers were very nice and seemed to enjoy what they were doing. I still want to adopt a puppy, I just need some guidance so that I end up with a dog my whole family will enjoy. Maybe we should try another shelter? Or wear more appropriate clothing next time we go? And leave my daughter home until I narrow it down to one or two dogs we like and then go get her?
Any and all advice is very welcome.
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Old 05-21-2008, 02:43 PM
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puppies are exciteable, they explore with their paws and mouths, completely normal behavior. If you don't want to work thur and train thru those issues, you DON"T want a puppy. Even a larger dog that has been isolated in a shelter, and they love people, will jump and paw,even a trained dog will if put in an environment like that. Once it settles in and some training at home easily can fix that. Puppy mouthiness sometimes takes a while.
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Old 05-21-2008, 02:50 PM
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I'm glad you're going to adopt! have you read any books on puppies? If you are not willing to work on training them not to nip then an older dog would be better. It is VERY normal behavior, in fact it's more than normal it's just what they all do. Look through the training and puppy forums to learn how to stop nipping. As for the adult Lab, Labs are known to be jumpers when not trained, so if you want him be ready to train him not to jump. How old was the Lab exactly? If he was still young he just might have never learned not to nip, if he's older then he might just be mouthy and that can be stopped the same way as nipping.

If you want an adult and did not fall for any there then check out other shelters or wait until they get more. If you want a pup then you (and your husband) have to expect he will nip and your daughter will most likely be nipped as well unless you keep a very close eye on her and basically keep her from playing with the pup. I have never met a puppy who does not jump and nip

Definitely wear more appropriate cloths next time so that is one less thing to worry about. Have you checked out petfinder? www.petfinder.com
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Old 05-21-2008, 02:51 PM
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Most young pups and dogs are just so thrilled to have company and interaction they'll be all over you . Take your time ....you'll know the right one . Good luck !!
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Old 05-21-2008, 03:04 PM
maybe532 maybe532 is offline
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Thanks, I feel much better. I didn't know if all puppies nipped or if these just happened to be nippers. We got Lucy when she was 3 years old and when my parents got their dog she didn't nip (we were teenagers though). The puppies didn't nip us, just her. I was basically trying to see what was "normal" because we don't want an aggressive (or dominant) dog. Since they weren't nipping us I wasn't sure if this was dominance towards her or just them being a puppy.

The lab was about 18 months old, she was very calm until she saw my daughter. I really wouldn't mind all that energy as long as she isn't jumping on my daughter. I'm sure once they are in a home environment and they get the proper exercise it is much more manageable. I need to remember that these poor puppies are locked up all day long and they are probably so happy to get out that they just go nuts.

I am prepared to train and socialize them but I want to get the right dog for us and not regret our choice. The volunteers said only the best puppies/dogs make it to the adoption room so I assume they must temperament test them somehow. The volunteers said they were not the ones to decide, it is up to the animal control employees.
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Old 05-21-2008, 03:07 PM
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I would get an adult. All the breeds you are looking at are good sized dogs and will likely need lots of training to not knock over your child. If your husband is put off by pups being pups you might be a lot safer/and happier with a young adult who will be faster and easier to train.

(pups will nip and jump and bite even when they have lots of exercise, they are like toddlers and explore the world with their mouths.)
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Old 05-21-2008, 03:32 PM
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Baxter'smybaby Baxter'smybaby is offline
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have you looked rescue groups? Often dogs will be in foster homes, and you may get a better "read" on their temperment based on a more normal environment. I would also suggest asking if you can take the dog for a walk--that can give you a feel for the dog too. The shelter I adopted from actually suggested that I walk the dogs--I took two out for a walk and that made a big difference to me who I decided to bring home!
Also, labs are great family pets--but younger labs take alot of work to keep them from chewing everything in sight, and exercised properly. An adult lab (3 years old or more) may be calmer and more appropriate to have around your 3 year old. We raised our lab from puppyhood--but my children were 6 and 8 years old--able to learn how to manage the puppy with some guidance. A three year old isn't reliable enough yet.
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Old 05-21-2008, 03:44 PM
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and (since I'm still bored) here are all rescues in Houston (and WOW I had no idea how many there were!):

ALL BREED:

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX113.html

http://www.cap4pets.org/

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX1079.html

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX971.html

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX863.html

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX778.html

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX1114.html

http://www.hcphes.org/vph/About%20Us/shelter.htm

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX946.html

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX832.html

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX1047.html

http://www.hppl.org/

http://www.smartpetz.com/

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX1121.html

http://www.homelesspets.net/

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX1086.html

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX779.html

(There ARE dogs) http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX973.html

http://www.houstonhumane.org/

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX892.html

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX1109.html

http://clearlakeallbreedrescue.org/

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX1005.html



BREED RESCUE (from your list):

Australian Shepherd: http://www.staraussierescue.org/

German Shepherd: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX1153.html

Golden Retriever (I don't know how old your daughter is but they will not adopt to people with children under 5): http://www.grrh.org/

Golden Retriever: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX321.html

Boxer: http://www.lsbr.org/

Labs: http://www.houstonlabrescue.com/


Ok so I hope that helps, i can't even imagine how many dogs must be in my last post
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  #10  
Old 05-21-2008, 03:46 PM
maybe532 maybe532 is offline
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I am thinking going to the shelter to walk dogs whenever I have some spare time and eventually I will find one that clicks with me. I know they are in need of volunteers so I can help them out while helping myself. Plus if my daughter isn't there I can focus more attention on the dogs. If I find one I like we can go up there as a family. Does that sound like a good idea?
Rescue groups are also an option, I have been looking on petfinder.
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