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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry if I'm starting a lot of threads today for no reason, but another thread made me want to bring up the issue of young dog owners.

First let me give a brief overview of me and my dog for those of you who don't really know us...

I currently have a rescue dog named Riley who is almost two and is a Golden Retriever/German Shepherd mix. *He is extremely laid back, sweet, and gentle and gets along well with dogs, adults, and children - he has never met anyone or any animal he doesn't love! *I rescued Riley when he was about eight months, so too old for puppy kindergarten, but we have been to both basic obedience and CGC and are planning to do some beginners agility this summer just for bonding.

I currently rent but I am allowed pets and the rental does have a fenced in back yard. *I got Riley a little before I moved into my current home and we did not have a fenced in yard at the time, but actually we did fine with it. *I would never allow him off leash in the yard but he got tons of exercise and we drove to a nearby park where he could run around off-leash almost every day. *He gets about two hours of exercise pedawned day and we go for tons of hikes and swims on the weekends.

Riley is crate trained and is never alone in the crate during the day for more than a few hours, if I will be away longer he goes to doggy daycare or I have a dog walker come midday to go for a long walk. In terms of training I also believe in using exclusively positive reinforcement and doing a ton of training. *I usually hand feed all of Riley's kibble and use that as training practice every day, saving higher value treats for when we are in the park or something like that

Riley is up to date on all shots, vet visits, etc, and takes interceptor and frontline every month. I try really hard to research as much about dog health as possible. He is not overweight and in great shape. We have PetPlan insurance and I have about $4000 in savings for emergencies.

And, I am in my early twenties.

Anyways, now to my point! Young dog owners get a bad wrap because many are irresponsible and uninformed. Many rescues around here won't give a dog to someone in their early twenties, nor would any great breeder, and I run into many people who are of this same opinion.

I would love to know your honest, no holding back, opinion on young dog owners. Should someone in their early twenties be able to have a dog? Can a young adult be as good of a dog owner as someone older? If you were/are a breeder would you sell a well bred dog to someone in their early twenties? Do young dog owners give you hesitation?
 

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Dr. Rainheart
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I am with you there as I am in the same position as you. Some breeders I spoke to when I was trying to find my boy would not sell a pup to me because I was young and still in school.

Beamer has done great in the apartment. We got on walks twice a day (and of course many potty breaks). We enjoy hikes and doggie play dates whenever possible plus long walks on campus. He is at a good weight as well and all UTD on his vaccines, etc. Since I work for a vet, he can come to work with me sometimes when I am at home and is a good weight, too. We also have pet insurance just in case something were to happen. Beamer honestly does get much better care then a lot of dogs that live in my complex. Some only ever see the light of day for potty breaks, and it is sad.

I do know that there are a lot of irresponsible owners about my age (I'm 22) but there are a select few who are great. My life revolves around Beamer and I wouldn't have it any other way.
 

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Beware of Nestle Purina
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I have been working and saving for my animals since I was 15. IMO- People in their 20's can have pes but must be responsible pet owners who research and plan ahead for their pets. My pets needs always come before my wants.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My main question is for those who are not in their early twenties - what do you guys, who are older and more experienced, think of young dog owners? Are you extremely wary? Would you be unwilling to sell them a dog or give them a rescue? Or do you look at them kind of as the next generation of dog owners and rescuers and golden lovers?

You don't need to be polite if you don't want to! I want your true opinions, even I have bad feelings about young dog owners a lot of the time.
 

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In my honest opinion, potential dog owners have to be evaluated on a case by case basis. To discount someone based on age as not being a good dog owner is ridiculous. I think a seasoned breeder could weed out who is acceptable vs who isn't with a face to face interview. If I was young and wanting to get a dog, I would insist on a face to face interview. Not every young person is impulsive and stupid. If you are young and ready for a dog, believe me, it will show. Hope this helps....
 

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I think you really have to spend some time doing your homework on anyone, young or old. I have 4 young adult sons, ages 21-29. Two are wonderful responsible pet owners, the other two have no business owning a pet IMO. But I also know lots of older folks that I'd never trust my pets with. I don't think age has anything to do with it!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is very helpful guys. I have been thinking a lot about this lately. I am thinking carefully about adding a second dog next year, in 2013, when the timing is right. I think I would provide a great home and obviously it wouldn't be a snap decision and I would be planning and saving for a long time beforehand. But I worry about being judged prematurely by breeders and rescue organizations because I am young. Although on the other hand, I can very much understand, I know many young people who I don't at all think would be good dog owners. I just wonder how much it might hamper in getting a golden from a truly reputable breeder.
 

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I agree it seems a little rash to rule out ALL young dog owners. Personally, if I was a breeder I think I would consider more than just age before ruling someone out.

However, I used to work in a shelter and we saw a lot of dogs given up by young owners when their circumstances changed (moved for a job, new apartment) etc. But then again, I guess we saw that with older owner too.

My husband and I were married but young when we got our first dog and I don't remember anyone ever asking out age. Maybe it was because we were married so we were considered more "stable"?
 

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I got my first Great Dane when I was a teenager. Completely my responsibility. By the time he was 8 months old, Jake had to have orthopedic surgery to correct OCD in his shoulder. Huge bill, paid it on my own. Didn't take a dime from my parents or anyone.

He was always sick with one thing or another, all treatment paid by me. He bloated when he was 5 yrs. old, I was 23. He had to have emergency surgery which I also paid for. And if anyone has had any experience with bloat and what the surgery costs, you know it was extremely expensive. But I did it on my own.

So I think that age is just a number and if you're a truly responsible person, you can have a pet at a young age and do right by them. Someone who is not as responsible will be that way at any age. Sometimes they learn and improve as they get older, but it's not a guarantee.
 

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Your responsibility level is commendable, and rare in someone your age. In general people you age are just not ready for the responsibility being a good pet owner requires.

Having said that, it does depend on the person and their maturity level, I would not rule out a young person only based on their age.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I didn't mean to toot my own horn or anything like that, I just am curious to know how this is viewed by those more involved in the dog world, especially since in some ways I'd love to break in to this world.
 

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Kate
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I think it should be case by case....Young dog owners - especially college kids.... they should be carefully screened just as older people should be.

I was 19 when I bought my horse. With my own money as I had a good job, etc. My horse cost thousands more than my first car did. And then I paid board for him every month. This in addition to the two dogs and buying that first car. And I have a big family to back me up if I ever got into trouble.

But there are kids out there who have no jobs, who are deeply in debt, have no immediate expectations of living and working in one location long term. My sister and her boyfriend are both working very hard and balancing a variety of jobs in addition to having a social life with all their friends. There is no room or time for children or dogs in all that.
 

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You are a very responsible and mature young woman.

I think each person should be evaluated on a case by case basis too.

I have seen some very responsible pet owners and many what I consider not to be, age is not a factor in this, it's all about the individual.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It's reassuring that so many people would be willing to go on a case by case basis. Any ideas for how to help convince a breeder or rescue group that I would be one of the good cases of young dog owners?
 

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It's reassuring that so many people would be willing to go on a case by case basis. Any ideas for how to help convince a breeder or rescue group that I would be one of the good cases of young dog owners?
If you're thinking of a Rescue, you might want to sign up to Volunteer or maybe Foster for a group. The GR Rescue I use to help, (it closed down a little more than a year ago) used college students as fosters if they lived off campus in apartments or in houses.

I don't have any experiene working with a Breeder because both of my pups are adopted.
 

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3 goldens
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My dad owned dogs his entire life, always English setters or pointers, quail dogs. The only time he was not his dog was the 3 1/2 years he was in the Navy during WWII. Daddy loved his dogs and he taught us the same love. I got my first one, an English Setter for my 11th birthday. Of course I couldnt pay any vet bills, BUT it was up to me to feed and water her, train her, etc.

I ws married at 19, had my first baby a4 months after turning 21, and my second 3 years later at 24. In my 67 years I have noted some of the best mothers are ones that have chilcren early, some of the worst are ones that have children later, like in mid 30's. It just depends on the person. I think the same goes with dogs. I have known lots of young people who would do any and everything for their dogs, and have known older people who justs tossed a dog aside like an old shoe if it needed daily meds, etc.

So, I say, having children, having dogs--it all depends on the person.
 

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Remy's Mom!
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I posted on the other thread but wanted to say thanks for everyone for giving us youngsters a chance. My boyfriend and I are not married, but have been dating for 6 years. We are both students. We both work. We live in an apartment on the third floor, and it's a pain.

However, we take Remy to the park almost every day. We have an emergency fund titled 'Remington". We've been through paying for an illness unexpectedly and most definitely understand the risks and plan for them.

Thanks for judging us on a case by case basis instead of as a whole :)
 

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Lost Her Mind
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I was 20 when we got Mojo. Gary was 24. Breeder never asked our ages (she was totally BYB tho...)

It's sad that there are so many young people giving the rest of us a bad name. Not just with dog ownership, either. Just in general. I helped an elderly woman with her groceries a few weeks ago and she said I "renewed her sense of humanity" for people my age. I wasn't sure if it was a compliment or what LOL. I wish people would take EVERYTHING as a case-by-case situation with us young folks. ;)
 

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I also wanted to comment and wanted to thank those who don't judge based on age... I was 18 when I got Joey! It was the summer after my first year of college and I wasn't planning on going back (switching programs) I had a basically FT job (35 hours) live with my parents who know all about Joey.. it was no 'secret' I like to think ive done a great job with Joey. Our breeder was great for meeting us and was totally cool with me being young . she met everyone living in the house (mom,dad,bro,me) and approved us within our first meeting..

That being said.. I have a lot of friends who want to get dogs but are NOT in the right place too. I have talked many out of getting a puppy because I know they wont give the pup the proper amount of attention and love needed. When im not at work.. im with Joey..

Edit to add: I was blessed with Joey's breeder.. everything was easy and smooth from day 1. Had I had problems with a breeder not wanting to give me a dog because of my age I would ask if I could provide references, Ive worked/volunteered for numerous animal related things and I live with my parents still. I think every case should be case-by-case... Some young people (like myself and the ones posting) are born to be with animals and give them the unconditional love they need! some young people should NOT have a puppy or animal because it is a faze that they could quickly get over...
 

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This is a bit off topic, but I happen to like this generation of young people alot-you are the future. There are so many opportunities for you now that weren't available to me when I was in College and your age, especially for women.

Times have changed for the better.
 
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