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Thread: How hard is having a puppy, really?

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    #1

    How hard is having a puppy, really?

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    I've never wanted to own a puppy for various reasons. However, we can't get a dog before we go to Japan. Basically, impossible for several reasons (including our temp. living arrangements that don't allow pets).

    But I am sick and tired of waiting to add a dog to our family. We've put it off for 6 years already, thanks to overseas assignments, and we've got 4.5 years before we are Stateside again (assuming we go back after our next orders, and I may be going back as a single, divorced woman if the Navy says otherwise!).

    I want something pretty specific. I'm open to mutts and mixes and several breeds, but in truth there aren't a lot of what I want--very large (80+ pounds) non-shedder, super lazy and mellow temperament. My dream dog is a bouvier des flanders, but an Old English Sheepdog would work, a very large Wheaton (though I'm not sure they are lazy like bouvs and OESes), and probably a goldendoodle/labradoodle/OtherDoodle (aka golorified mutt), though their temperaments are more varied.

    Anyway, I've asked one of my old students and she's found bouvier breeders in Japan. I'm somewhat anti-breeder but I'm also somewhat desperate for a damn dog. And I would do some research on the breeder to make sure they are as responsible as can be.

    But that means getting a puppy. Just how miserable is that, and how long does the misery last before it levels off? We may end up getting put in a high rise apartment on base, which means I can't just open the door to let him/her out. There is a balcony and I'd consider putting a sod box on the balcony as an alternative, though I worry about that from a training perspective (but it would be outside).

    So, give it to me straight! Is this like 6 months of total sleep deprivation and having him destroy everything? Two months before the worst is over and things normalize? Tell me what it's like, how bad it gets, and how long it lasts.

    (Yes, I'll also aggressively pursue rescue groups in Japan, but given the language barrier, I don't know how successful I'd be.)
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #2
    First of all, I'm so jealous you get to go to Japan! I miss it sooo bad!

    I got my dog as a puppy (she's a GSD) and holy hell.. I did get her from a breeder and I made sure to claim the quietest most "don't touch me" puppy. When we got home she turned into a little devil. She'd hide under the bed and nip my ankles when I walked by, she'd steal my dirty underwear from the hamper.. oh she was a terrible puppy. She was actually great at sleeping at night, whimpering only to go outside then going right back in her crate and going to sleep (I'd highly recommend crate training from the get-go). BUT the misery only lasted a couple months, dogs age 7:1 to humans and I think that was her toddler stage or terrible twos

    I puppy proofed, and watched her like a hawk for a while just so I could catch her and correct her if she got into something (same as when a baby starts crawling and walking)

    I started taking her to the dog park as soon as she got her shots and was old enough, and that helped burn her energy and mellowed her out a lot. Then getting her fixed helped with that too.

    I will say that she is an amazing dog now, and we have a much stronger connection than my rescue and I do. She's like my kid. Everything she is, is because of me.
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    #3
    Honestly, all puppy stuff varies from dog to dog. Your commitment level and time available to train the puppy makes a HUGE difference but a puppy with a hyper temperment could be hyper until they are 7 years old (I have one like that) or a puppy with a laid back demeanor could always be laid back (I have one like that as well). Breed can give you a good idea of what they are SUPPOSED to act like but just like people dogs have their own personality and qwerks.

    With my female (the wild one) the crazy puppy stage lasted 8-9 months, then she was just a crazy adult that didn't tear stuff up but what still hyper. With my male there never was a crazy puppy stage, he was a calm cool collected dog from 6 weeks on, he never tore anything up he never peed in the house. I crate trained both of mine from the day I brought them home and that made potty training SUPER easy and both were potty trained before they were 3 months old.

    If you aren't working and you have all day to spend with the puppy and are consistent with your training on a daily basis (and your DH is consistent when he's home) then you will have a much more pleasant puppy experience than some.

    Sorry I feel like this is all over the place but I hope it helps.


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    It really depends on the dog. Mine was pretty easy. She had one accident in the house the first day we brought her home and that was it. She learned very quickly to go potty outside. She never chewed on anything when we were home (although to this day she will destroy something if she's left home alone too long; thus, she is still crated when we leave the house). The only part that was challenging was nighttime. She would cry in her crate but she eventually stopped after 1 week and now she loves her crate.
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    #5
    Honestly, my puppy was easy. He's a German Shepherd/Border Collie mix and he was incredibly easy to potty train. We have a westie/poodle mix already so they played together a lot, which helped a ton. Seriously, the most annoying thing Truman did as a puppy would be to flip his food bowl over when it was full so the food went everywhere.

    Not all puppies are that easy. Many chew, and are difficult to potty train. Still, I feel like a lot of that is management. Don't leave shoes, clothes, other belongings, etc where a puppy can get them and chew. If you can't watch the puppy, REALLY watch (DH struggled with this one) then crate him. I've seen people tether train too, where basically the puppy is tethered to you so there's no way you can get distracted and the puppy get into stuff without you knowing.

    The worst part will be potty training in an apartment, but if you are willing to suck it up for a month or two you should be fine.
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    #6
    I've only had one dog, so limited experience. I have a 2 year old mini dachshund. Potty training was easy, although I was very strict about it. Crate training took longer. She cried every night for about a month, but we NEVER took her out during the night. She learned pretty quickly not too potty in the crate because it was her bed also. She has lots of energy, but I think that's due to her breed. She honestly only ever chewed things up to get my attention; which was fixed with training and lots of playtime. But, if you're looking for a dog that's lazy in nature, maybe the only hard part will be the potty training/crate training if you go that route.
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by z32chick View Post
    First of all, I'm so jealous you get to go to Japan! I miss it sooo bad!
    Wanna trade? And I've been to Japan (same base as next time) and while I think it is a great place, it's not right for me at this stage in my life. (I just want a damn profession!)

    I wouldn't be working full time, though I'll be teaching some English classes. (Probably no more than 10 hours a week, and no more than 3 hours at a time, putting me out of the house for 4 hours, which I know could be problematic in the very early months.) Other than that, I have no kids, I'll have essentially no husband (due to the time commitments of this job), and little else to do but obsess over what will no doubt the the world's most awesome puppy.

    Dh and I definitely aren't good about picking up and putting away. We could work on it though. I'm very open to both tether and crate training. And I love the idea of having training my dog be a hobby to fill all the time I have since I am not working. I'm not super worried about the housebreaking. (Crappy government housing doesn't have carpet, which is a plus in this.) Mostly I'm worried about the need to constantly be vigilant, and how long that phase lasts.

    Uggh. I really want a rescue. I hate that it's not in the cards for us, unless we wait until 2019.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #8
    I don't plan on ever getting a puppy again, but if it were the only way I could get the dog I wanted, I would. They're hard. Finn was easy to crate train but he had an unbearable amount of energy that I was not truly prepared for until he was like a year old. Clementine was a fucking nightmare in her crate and cried all night every night for months, but she was really easy to train otherwise. She's nuts, but she has Finn to play with now so she's not all that hard.

    Still want no more puppies tho
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    #9
    My puppy drove me insane! We got him at 4 months though and I think that's a bratty age, I would cry cause I just wanted to shower and he'd act like a monster screaming if I shut him out of the bathroom. Then he started teething at 5 months and chewed on us all the time he'd go to bed at like 10 then wake me up at 2 smacking me in the head and pulling my hair. I think he eased up at like 7 months and he's totally worth it now! Now he sleeps through the night and just hangs out while I shower. I'm a groomer so I see puppies all the time and I'm like "omg want!" but I'm not ready for another puppy plus a puppy with my 2 year old chihuahua would just be hell
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    You don't have to get a puppy from a breeder, many breeders have retired show dogs, or bitches, or stud dogs that they want to place. Two of my pets were retired show dogs. at 2-3 years old it is like you get the dog at the perfect age. Many times breeders will practically give the older dogs away, a good breeder just wants their dogs to have a happy forever home. I would ask about older dogs if you talk with a breeder.

    If you do end up getting a puppy, depending on the dog (big dogs take a little longer to mature I've noticed) it can be about 1-2 years of puppy-ness until they calm down.

    Bouvs and OES both have a lot of hair and shed a lot, you can normally keep them shaved to cut back on the hair. If you don't shave them, you can probably count on brushing them at least 5 hours a week to keep them from getting mats. Have you thought about Giant schnauzers? Their wiry hair makes them shed a little less and a little less brushing.
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