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Puppy advice?

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What would be your advice for someone getting a puppy, particularly someone who hasn't had a puppy in a good while, or ever?



Apart from "Don't!" which would be my advice. That and "Don't get a lab." <_<



Interested to see what people come up with, and I've had a few people talking about new puppies recently, asking about toys and training and such.

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A LOT of research on the type of puppy (breed or mixed) you think you want. Read sources and talk to people. (Since you are on this forum, I am guessing you are leaning towards a BC or BC mix?)

Learn the current training techniques (I know that a lot changed in the 10 years between my 2 dogs).

Mentally prepare to alter your lifestyle to get through the puppy stages.


Please consider rescue.



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Just did this with my nephew and his wife. Went like this


1. What breed-type of dog do you want?

2. Male or female?

3. Spay/Neuter

4. Rescue (they did!)

5. Get a crate (they also did!)

6. Sent them housebreaking instructions

7. Highly recommend puppy/obedience class when the time comes


They already knew about vet stuff and they already had a schedule in mind for when the puppy came.

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What Jovi said. Plus a few:


If you get a BC or BCx, don't fall victim to the guilt syndrome when people say "Border collie? I hear they need a LOT of exercise" by redoubling your efforts to exercise a pup. Their joints are tender when they're young. Jumping after frisbees or leaping after balls is a bad idea, as is careening down stairs. Roller blading with a 4-month-old puppy (yes, I've seen people do this) is, IMO, extremely risky.


Consistency is every bit if not more as important in raising puppies as it is with raising children. If you don't want a 50-lb dog jumping up on elderly people, don't let a puppy jump up on you now. That doesn't mean you need to introduce formal obedience training from day 1, but I'd set certain rules for general manners from day 1 and stick to them. Try to anticipate certain behaviors that you do NOT want to see in an adult dog (such as chasing cars, barking at the slightest excuse) and discourage them from the outset.


Crate training ROCKS. Try to teach a puppy that it's OK to be on its own. My recommendation is to rotate time: part of the day in a crate, part in an X-pen (with you in the next room so the pup thinks it's alone, but you have your listening ear out), and part playing free (but with you watching every moment like a hawk). Puppies put EVERYTHING in their mouths in the blink of an eye, and this can include poisonous objects (wild mushrooms) as well as innocuous ones.


Socialization involves a balancing act. There's a narrow window, but it happens to coincide with a period when puppies are vulnerable. Please don't take a small puppy to dog parks where it will meet dogs off-leash who may or may not have been vaccinated, who may or may not be friendly to puppies. There are far too many risks involved (generalizing that other dogs are SCARY from one negative encounter; risk of disease from unvaccinated dogs; risks of waterborne diseases like Giardia). I have lost count of the times when I've seen people with 8-week-old puppies in places they have no business being.


I personally don't think a Border collie is a good "starter puppy" for someone who has never had a dog. I know I'll get some flak for that. If you know what you're doing, yes, they do housebreak/train much easier than other dogs. But if you don't know what you're doing.... there's a reason why so many are surrendered to rescue. Which gets back to Jovi's suggestion: consider rescue. There are a lot of really nice pups surrendered through no fault of their own. By dint of the efforts exerted by their foster homes, you could be getting a diamond not even really in the rough.

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IMO one of the most important things before you get a puppy, think about what activities do you want to do with the ADULT dog. Puppyhood is a short period in the dog's life. Volunteering with a bc rescue, I see a lot of dogs that were cute and loved as puppies but weren't the right match for their owner's lifestyles when the dog was no longer a puppy. I strongly agree with puppy/obedience classes for pet puppies but no matter how much training you do, you are not going to change the inbred instincts of the dog - in other words, no matter how training you do, you're probably never going to turn a basset hound into a top winning agility dog! (not bad mouthing bassets, they're sweet dogs and I've seen a few in an agility ring but they are not going to outrun a bc!)

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A LOT of research on the type of puppy (breed or mixed) you think you want. Read sources and talk to people. (Since you are on this forum, I am guessing you are leaning towards a BC or BC mix?)


It's not me getting a dog- if it was me I'd be on asking about senior rescues. :lol:


This is just because I had a friend recently get their first puppy, someone who's never had a dog on their own, and I was trying to think of the most helpful things to say. The owners here tend to be clued-in on socialisation, training, getting the best start etc, and good at dealing with high-energy dogs with a potential for mischief, so I figured this was a good place to ask.


I was thinking- remember to bring the dog out regularly, and praise for going outside; lots of chew toys; don't let the kids run and get the dog to chase them, and teach them to leave it alone when sleeping etc.

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