« on: June 29, 2006, 03:38:52 PM »
Puppies are hard in the beginning regardless, if you work close enough to home to come home and let them out a few times a day, it's doable, but it is rough. It is a commitment every few hours, all day, every day.
We have had both of ours since they were young, one since 9weeks, the other 9 months, and it really only worked well b/c my boyfriend works from home most of the time. We could maintain a schedule and we crate trained them, so it worked out. A year with the dog before school is good, but I would still think about getting an older pup--for med/large dogs, they can grow and develop into their second year, that means they are still getting a personality and hormones are raging, etc., so they could still be unhappy about your being gone most of the day. But, if you have a good foundation, then anything can work, you just have to be willing to put in a LOT of work and be VERY consistent.
As for breeds, any breed can be trained to stay by your side if you do that training right, labs are very easy to deal with and some are on the small side, some hound breeds can be similar, australian sheps are good, and though larger and rather energetic, boxers are very nice, but you have to be careful about dominance/agressiveness sometimes...and german shorthaired pointers are great, loyal dogs, some can be high strung, but in the house they are more mellow, usually. Look online for suggestions, too, there are some sites that help you pick breeds that fit your lifestyle. Very important!--be honest about your lifestyle--do you have lots of nice stuff that a dog can destroy? Will it drive you nuts to have them running around like crazy? Do you have a place to let them run free somewhere nearby (yard or dog park)? Are you active or couch-potato? Do you want a smart dog, vocal dog, silent dog, goofy friendly dog, etc...
I'll think on breeds, but just so you know, my favorite dog ever (don't tell my current dogs, and I do love them, I just haven't had them as long!) was a mutt--a shepherd/lab and something mix, she was small for those breeds, but had lots of german shepherd smarts along with lab lovability... shelters are great places to find super dogs!
anyway, that's a lot of babbling, I am a HUGE animal lover and think they bring SO much to my life, but definitely be honest about the time commitment... and remember, some of the smaller breeds can be good places to start (west highland white terriers are hypoallergenic, so they are easy to keep in smaller spaces, and rarely are yappy, they have enough energy to run around/go for walks, etc... and there are other small breeds, and they can be much easier to deal with in general, though I know a lot of people don't like the small dogs.)