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Dakota Katie River's Mom
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I'm a breeder and show, so I get emails from people asking about a puppy from me. I can tell you first off, if all I get is 'I want a puppy, how much are they?' I sigh. You would not believe how many people don't even sign their name! Many breeders I know will put that request immediately into the trash. I will answer, and educate. When I get a letter from someone who tells me they are looking for a puppy and then tell me about themselves, I am leaning forward reading. I love to see someone tell me about their family, other dogs and pets, their children and ages. I like to know about their house, do they own it or rent? Do they have a yard and is it fenced. If it's not fenced, what are their plans. I love when they tell me if they are looking for a pet, something for show or performance. I want them to ask me about clearences, because then I know they've done their research. The more information they give me and ask of me, the more impressed I am with them.

One of the best homes I've ever had for a dog was with a college student who trained under a friend of mine. Maturity is more important than age, so it's case by case.
 

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Megan, Moose's Mom
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Uh I feel old, I guess I'm almost considered in my late 20's now? lol. I got Moose as a present from my boyfriend when I turned 25. We knew we were going to be buying a house soon and we both had had steady jobs. We were 100% ready, and we felt ready. I think it depends on how mature you are. If I wanted to party every weekend, and not save any money and not have responsibilities, then clearly I shouldn't have a dog. But that is not me at all. I swear Moose gets treated better then some peoples kids in my old neighbourhood..
 

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I have provided references for several "young" dog owners who have come through my classes. Being able to demonstrate that a dog has been through training, is well mannered, quiet, and housebroken is valuable. I have sold puppies to young people who have proven that they are committed to training and being responsible pet owners. As always, each situation is carefully considered individually. It has nothing to do with age, for me. There have been well-off adults who I would not allow to touch one of my puppies with a ten foot pole. I sold a Zoom baby to a family solely based on my communications with their then 12 year old daughter. (After several interactions with her I asked her to have her parents contact me, and it progressed from there...) I helped the young lady convince her folks that it was a good thing... the puppy - littermate to Ch. Crew - is now the Dad's best friend!)
Every situation is different.
 

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My personal opinion is that one's place in life does not necessarily coorelate with one's age. In addition, being older, I come from an era where people adopted stray dogs wandering around the neighborhood, and did not have to be vetted by a rescue organization. So I cringe at any criteria which is so specific that it makes exclusions based on apartment vs. house, age of children, age, etc. I think that everyone should be approached on a case by case basis.

I grew up with dogs, and adopted my first dog as an adult at age 24, a dog (puppy, actually) I found at my aunt's house. No one claimed the puppy, so I kept her- no questions asked. She lived with me for 16 years. At age 24, I had completed 2 master's degrees, had just bought my own (tiny) house, and had my own business. Shorlty after, I added 2 more dogs, which were gifted to me from a customer (top breeder of Pekingnese)- she did not hesitate to give me the dogs, because she knew me well. Not having children at the time, and living alone, I had plenty of time/resources to devote to these three dogs, and feel that I was an extremely good dog owner throughout my 20's and 30's. We went on many, many walks and trips, the dogs received great veterinary care & grooming, and most of all, tons of love and attention. I am very happy that no one denied me the opportunity to care for these three devoted dogs.
 

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I have always had dogs and cats in my life. I actually got my first job at a vet office when I was 13 so I could spay and neuter my cats. I didnt have the money to do that prior to the job. Yes I think there many responsible young people out there and it is a shame that everyone is lumped together. I have placed a number of dogs with young people and I know they have fine homes. I think it depends on the person and how they were raised. I have no pet insurance and I dont have a huge savings but my animals would be taken care if something should happen.
 

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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?
Honestly, just be EXACTLY who you are. It is simple. Honest, truthful people always shine thru. Any breeder or rescue would be thrilled to have you take one of their dogs.
 

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Beware of Nestle Purina
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IMO- Some people should and others shouldn't have pets. My uncle is 60 (Buddy's previous owner) has no business ever owning pets. But irresponsible breeders keep selling him dogs and his one neighbor who "rescues" dog even gave him one :(. I would not trust him with a house plant let alone a living creature. Others are fully supporting his animals right now so they don't suffer.
 

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I just had this talk with my dog's breeder. She got a recent email from someone like yourself and she was impressed with the girl's preparedness, etc. I was 26 when I got Gibbs and married, but still young. I think we're more prepared and responsible and DEFINITELY more active than many other pet homes. We also rent... but just bought out first house and are moving next week. All around she took a chance on us-- but it paid off big for her. We show both of our dogs in conformation and I hope to have obedience titles on them soon. I have also made a very good friend. If she hadn't taken a chance on a young couple, I wonder what we would have done.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
I just had this talk with my dog's breeder. She got a recent email from someone like yourself and she was impressed with the girl's preparedness, etc. I was 26 when I got Gibbs and married, but still young. I think we're more prepared and responsible and DEFINITELY more active than many other pet homes. We also rent... but just bought out first house and are moving next week. All around she took a chance on us-- but it paid off big for her. We show both of our dogs in conformation and I hope to have obedience titles on them soon. I have also made a very good friend. If she hadn't taken a chance on a young couple, I wonder what we would have done.

I think you are probably talking about me! I've been emailing around because I am hoping to get a puppy next year, which is a big reason I asked this question! I wanted to know how people felt about it, so I could know how to respond to concerns about age. I've been drafting some responses.
 

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We had no dog experience when we got Tucker. 2 small boys 9 and 12. We ended up with a headstrong dog as our first dog. Why, because our breeder saw something in ius that said we could handle Tucker. She was so right, and everyday, I am thankful she gave him to us. Even our groomer was surprised that the breeder gave us Tucker as a first dog. She obviously saw something in us. Experienced breeders just know.
 

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I think you are probably talking about me! I've been emailing around because I am hoping to get a puppy next year, which is a big reason I asked this question! I wanted to know how people felt about it, so I could know how to respond to concerns about age. I've been drafting some responses.
I don't know why but I find that because I wasn't making it a big deal... neither did they. When I'm online I use proper grammer.. some may think i'm older then I actually am because of it.. You know h0w s0 m4ny p30pl3 lyke 2 tlk like dis wen der yung..... lol I also figured it helped when emailing give a little background about yourself :) Tell them what your doing job/school wise, tell them about Riley.. that kinda stuff! I didn't even think about what a breeder might think about me being so young... I wish you the best of luck!! I can't wait to hear all about it<3
 

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I was 12 when i got my first dog, 17 when i got gunner and lincoln when i was 19. Ruby was inherited same year i got link. My dogs see a vet when needed, are on revolution and are exercised daily. I see some people who are on welfare, on their own and have a few dogs that arent cared for. My neighbour has a dog whos loved very much and shes in her 30's on disability. It for me depends on the situation
 

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Dexter's Mom aka Kristin
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I am also a young dog owner, 22 to be exact. I have wanted a golden retriever since I was probably 14-15 years old. My parents told me no time after time because I wasn't ready to care for my own dog. Soo, I kind of let it go for a while. Went to college. My first year and a half was AWFUL. I was home sick, terrible grades, grandpa died, tore my ACL and needed surgery, etc. etc. I finally got myself together, got heavy into my major, and the second semester of my junior year my parents told me I could start looking for a puppy. *SQUEEEE*

So, Dexter came into my life. He has been living in an apartment with me at school this year. It has been difficult, I'm not going to lie. Living with him hasn't been hard..the apartment was dog friendly, but the other people living there were not. I felt so guilty making him live there..so we've basically lived at home 1/2 the year with me still paying rent because they wouldn't let me out of my lease. The time I did have him at the apartment, we tried to play ball outside and go for walks as often as possible. My grades have never been higher. I graduate next Saturday :D I'm planning to go to grad school in the fall. Dexter is like my child. I feel like I need to do well in school FOR him, so I can get my own place with a giant yard FOR him and his future fur siblings. I want to incorporate Dexter into my field somehow. Maybe prison visits. Idk. Sigh. I love that boy. We haven't spent a night without each other.

I take care of him. I buy everything for him. I pay for all of his vet bills. I clean up after him when he's sick at 2 am. I read the labels of everything he eats because he's allergic to chicken. I check his poop to make sure everything is right. I cut up fruits and veggies for him. The list goes on and on and on.

Was I ready to get a dog? Looking back, I'd say no. I wasn't ready. However, Dexter has taught me quite a bit in the past year, and helped me grow up..a lot.

1. Patience. Who knew it'd take this long to make him stop biting the leash? He was a total breeze to train. Positive reinforcement. He's been through three levels of obedience. Started work for his CGC/Delta Society. He listens so well. Does everything I ask on command...except for biting that gosh darn leash. I can't be mad at him or raise my voice because that solves nothing. He doesn't understand what he's doing is wrong, he just knows it makes mommy look silly and that's funny. OR how he has to sniff EVERYTHING before he'll go potty.

2. Money management. I knew a pet would be expensive. I did NOT know I'd feel the need to take him to the vet every time he sneezes. I did NOT know I'd feel the need to buy every tennis ball, KONG, stuffie, etc. that PetSmart has. I'm total mush, but he doesn't NEED to go to the vet every time he sneezes and he does not NEED every toy PetSmart carries. I have a steady income. I have money set aside in the event of an emergency. I know my parents would help me if it were an absolute emergency. Dexter and I are very lucky to have them.

3. Time management. Get your assignments done early because, it never fails, the week it is due SOMETHING will be wrong with Dexter. Runny eye, runny poop, runny something. Something *will* happen. Get up early for class because when you take him out, he will want to sniff every single blade of grass because he hasn't done it since the night before. MAKE extra time to be with him when you've been in class all day, or on a field trip to prison, he missed you as much as you missed him.

4. Responsibility. You're caring for another living thing. Something that depends on you to survive. There is nothing more important than that. NOTHING.

and 5. R E L A X. Just relax. Have fun. Roll in the grass with him. Play ball. Swim. Let him shake that cold water on you. Let him sit in your lap. Let him lick you in the face. Let him sleep on the bed. Let him wake you up with his cold, wet little nose. He won't be around forever. I have to appreciate every single moment I have with him.

We've had our share of issues, but it has only made me grow up and the two of us to form an unbreakable bond. Now, I am ready to have a dog. I want another, but I am not ready for two. It'll be at least two-three years before I am ready for another puppy. I hope at that time I'll be even more responsible.

Is every 22 year old fit to be a pet parent? NO. NO. NO. There are some that can handle the responsibility and care for a pet the way they need to. Some can't.
 

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Ouch, I was going to say I think I'm a responsible younger dog owner, but then I remembered I'm not that young anymore ROFL. I got Annabel a few months after I graduated college at 21, but now Annabel is 9 so I'll let everyone else do the math :curtain:

Although I do still get asked occasionally at dog shows if I'm a junior handler (juniors are under 18) :D:D
 
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Beware of Nestle Purina
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I got Lucky when I was 13- Summer before freshman year of high school. Mika at 14, Tallulah at 16- High school. Cozy at 21 finishing up my BSN but already had my ADN and was working as a nurse. I was 23 and 24 when Cozy had her litters and it keep a pup or 2 from each. At 27 I rescued Buddy.

At 15 I started working in my vets office in the kennels because I wanted another cat and was told only if I was completely supporting Lucky and Mika first myself. I baby sat before then. I also worked as needed at a family friends ribbon store.

Not including hamsters, fish, frogs, or parakeet I had during this time as well.

I my family if you wanted it you had completely support it yourself financially and with care. My mom would and still does pet sit when I go to work.
 

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I have always been raised with dogs and goldens stole my heart from a very young age... I knew from then on they were the only dogs I'd ever truly desire... I unexpectedly had to put down my heart dog, Trigger, when I was 19... It really broke me... (I know everyone can relate)

At the time I was going to college and bouncing around with living arrangements and basically just being YOUNG... I wanted a dog more than anything... I knew I had the know how, but not the steady living environment nor the funds....

I waited SIX YEARS before I finally was in a place in my life to get a dog, and so came Kahuna :) In that 6 years I had my family's dogs, all of whom I adore, and I had my friends dogs and I was always helping friends and family with training so I could be around as many dogs as possible...

I am so glad I had the maturity at the age to realize my limitations and gave myself more of an opportunity to be young and dumb haha (NOT a stab at anyone, I envy your ability to be young AND responsibly care for a dog) Kahuna and I have the best relationship and I can't wait to add to my doggy family (even though I will), but I must admit I was worried about being judged by my age (and I was 25 at the time! now 26) and the fact that my bf and I were not married...

I was worried the breeder would deem us "unreliable" since we weren't married but we just bought our first house etc etc etc... In my first email to her I basically told her EVERYTHING about me (fibbed and called Erik my fiance, tho :/) and what my plans were for my pup and what energy level I was looking for and so on and so on and those issues I was so dreading never came up...

You shouldn't have any problems, IMO... Just be yourself :)
 

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I'm guessing you will have no trouble finding a breeder to sell you a puppy. Just outline how you care for your current dog and what your philosophy is. I think many golden breeders would find you a dream owner for a puppy. I also think when the time is right, you can make use of the connections youve made here.

Regarding most young people in their twenties...I don't know. I think I'd want to ask a lot of questions and get a feel for them as people. I know at the SPCA where I volunteer, they screen people pretty carefully and ask lots of questions. But I don't think youth is an automatic "no" by any means.
 

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Claire
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I am almost 21 and my boyfriend is almost 22, we live on our own and have 2 big dogs. My parents are against it but they are small dog people. Our dogs are our kids, I know a lot of people think that we are too young but we arent really the partying type do what else are we going to do with our time other then to make 2 other lives happy! Just like parents have college funds we have doggy funds. $100 from each of our paycheques go into their accounts for vets, food, toys and adventures!!
I do think that some young dog owners are irresponsible but so are older adults.
 

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In many countries, people have human children in their early 20's, and they do just fine. Age has little relevance. It is a matter of maturity, responsibility and dedication.
 
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