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Is it a good time....to get a puppy?


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Hi,

It has been many, many years since I've been on these boards and I always found the information here so useful. So I thought I'd ask the question here that my husband and I have been pondering. Like many people, I love puppies. So much. And our last "puppy" is now 11.

Since he was a puppy, we've also had 3 kids, they are now 6, 8, 10. So we're a busy family. But our dog Orbit is very much a part of that busyness. And he hasn't slowed down much at all. He is our second dog (our OG border collie cross Laska died in 2011 when Orbit was 2), and he is just the best (as was Laska before him). The whole family adores him and he is just so well mannered and really smart and just such a team player.

All that to say that it got me thinking about how much a dog learns from another dog versus from their humans. We adopted Laska at a year old and I swear that she was grateful her entire life. She needed help coming out of her shell so she was very easy to train. Orbit was adopted at 3 months and I don't remember it being very difficult. He went through phases of course but it never felt like too much work. Maybe we are accidentally very good at training dogs or we've been lucky or a bit of both.

My question is, should we get a new puppy now, before Orbit gets too old and grumpy or should we wait till he is no longer with us. I'm leaning towards now because I believe that he has a lot of knowledge to pass on about what it means to be a dog in our family. Thoughts?

Cheers,

Iva

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I decided to respond to your post because I, also, was asking that same question last summer.  The fact that you have posed such thoughtful questions makes me believe that you will have a successful puppy experience no matter when you decide to get one.

There probably never is a perfect time to get a puppy or have a baby or get married or any life-altering decision.  However, you have thought this through and you have experience;  you know the positives and negatives;  you know how much work a puppy is.  I am now remembering (because my puppies are teaching me - again) they are only puppies for a short period of time. 

My two old dogs are 11 and 13.  They have adapted to the puppies quite well, and I totally can see how the puppies have breathed new life into them.

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All dogs are individuals, but I think young dogs or puppies definitely learn the rules of the family/pack from older dogs.  You might try introducing Orbit to some cooperative puppies if you can find them.  If he is interested and/or playful, he probably will adapt well to a puppy.  Your children already know dogs and are old enough to understand puppy behavior (with supervision for the 6 yo of course).

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I’ve been torn on this same question. Having another older dog can be nice when you get a puppy. I swear when I got my terrier puppy it has added extra life into my senior dog. The older dogs definitely helped with him. Help get some of his energy out. Help get him to focus or grab his attention. Ik they watch each other during training session picking up tricks or what the lesson is.

The draw back I experienced is:

My senior wants to be included like she has always been for 12+(Now 14 going on 15 years) years but she goes her speed now and enjoy the smell. My senior max exercises time is 30-40 minutes.

My younger dogs want to go faster and longer. Their exercise time can be 3-4 hours.

Tbh any type of outing can be like that. Instead of being able to enjoy their company I constantly have to choose who to bring and who to leave behind. Since it is no fun being pulled in two different directions. The dog left behind knows they are being left and are upset. 

Training can also be frustrating. The seniors already know what is expected and their training reflects  it. It can be difficult  trying not to have those expectations on the puppy.

When I go to a cafe or a festival or camping my seniors know how to chill and behave. Adding the pup it is starting back at 0. No, you can’t say hi to everyone. Yes, you do need to lay down. OMG what are you eating!?! Sometime they can cause your senior to act out if they both join your outing. 

Your dogs can pick up bad behavior from each other. My border collie taught my terrier how to find squirrels and rabbits. My terrier has taught my Border Collie how to bark at random objects in the car. Since they feed into each other it can be hard to break that behavior. One of my adults, now senior is thunderphobic... depending on a puppy that fear can be taught.

For me the biggest drawback for me is the time you need to put into your puppy to make them a good dog.  Whatever time you dedicate to your puppy is time away from your senior who already has a limited amount. Between your life and your current dog do you have enough time to dedicate for the puppy?

While I love my “newest” addition(he is 3 now) a part of me wishes I had waited a little longer before adding a puppy since I don’t think I had the time needed for him. He is amazing, exactly what I was looking for, and is perfect for my house/pack. While yes at that time my senior  could keep up with him. They now have very different needs and wants. Idk if that helps or not.

I also have 3 dogs currently. When I added the pup... My girl was 11.5 years old, and my boy was 4 years old.

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