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Hi,
My wife and I have what we think is the world’s kindest dog, Buddy, a 10 year old male Golden Retriever. We got him when he was almost 9 and the previous owner couldn’t have him anymore. He is the best dog I’ve ever met and I never thought a dog could be as wonderful as he is.

But, he’s getting old and struggles a bit with arthritis, and we’ve therefore been thinking about getting a puppy (which Buddy hopefully can have a positive influence on). We’ve contacted the breeder he came from and she has a male puppy we can buy in 6 weeks time if we want to.

However, I find it hard to decide. We’ve never had a puppy before and some of the topics here scares me a bit to be honest. It sounds like it’s almost like a lottery where you can get a good one or you could get an absolute nightmare that can make everything really unpleasant. And that would not be good, neither for Buddy or us.

I do realize that most people wouldn’t write much when everything goes well. There’s not much point in asking “Help, our puppy is so nice and well-behaved, what on earth should we do?” after all

Still, does it happen that things go fairly well, that it’s nice to get a puppy (all in all) and not an exhausting torment? And how often does that happen compared to “help, this is terrible!” (if you know what I mean)
 

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Welcome to the forum! As someone who has owned numerous puppies of various breeds over the years, I can almost unequivocally say that no puppy is going to provide a completely trouble free experience. However, with a great breeder you can minimize some of the issues that crop up in the process. Here are my random thoughts:

1. Work with a great breeder who tests for temperament and this maximizes your chances of getting a pup that matches your families lifestyle. Of course even with a temperament match, there will be random difficulties and trials to overcome. A great breeder will be a resource throughout your dogs life and I’m convinced that in picking your breeder you are setting yourself up for failure or success.

2. How much time do you have to dedicate to a new puppy as a family? Can you commit to exercising your dog daily? I’m fairly new to the forum and the amount of exercise some people say they give their dogs daily is...interesting and in some cases sound extreme. I’m wondering if their dogs are Olympic triathletes or pets.

Don’t let that scare you. Yes, your dog will need a decent dose of exercise everyday and that’s not just a leash walk around the block. However, if you have a fenced yard, playing fetch with a sprinting dog wears them out fairly quickly. Teaching them recall by having two people stand at opposing ends of the yard and calling the dog back and forth is another great way to wear a pup out. Physical exercise is only part of the puzzle and mental exercise is just as important if not more.

3. Can you commit to short bursts of training at various times of the day? That is in addition to attending a training class weekly for around the first 12-18 months of your dogs life. We started training class as soon as possible and have continued and plan to keep some form of class going indefinitely. I’m fortunate to work from home as a PhD student, so when I get bored reading I get up and have lots of short training sessions with our pup. This has the dual advantages of giving her mental stimulation and teaching her how to live with humans at the same time.

4. Can you and your family be consistent with potty training, socialization, and manners? It is key that everyone helps and doesn’t reinforce negative behaviors inadvertently. I think this is why you see so many nightmare stories about puppies l, especially on Reddit: people simply don’t start training young enough and then are inconsistent in follow through.

The more I’ve thought about dog ownership in the last few months, the more I’ve came to the conclusion that it isn’t for everyone. Not everyone can commit the time or resources necessary to take care of a dog in a way that allows it to flourish for 10-15 years.

With all that said, owning our Golden puppy has been so rewarding. She brings so much joy to our lives and my wife and I talk about how much she makes our seven year old laugh all the time! Not only that, but he has taken an immense amount of responsibility for her care and training; that will only reap huge benefits for him in the long run. Every night when I see the two of them cuddled up on the bed, I think to myself how much it’s worth it to have her in our home.
 

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Puppies are infants and even "easy" infants are a lot of work.

And it is basically a lottery. You can try and stack the deck in your favor by doing a lot research and carefully choosing a breeder who breeds for the temperament you're looking for and has generations of health clearances behind them but health, behavior and ability will vary.

An enormous amount of a dog's behavior will be dependent on your ability to train and the amount of work you are willing to put in. It's good that you're doing research before jumping in and getting a puppy. If you chose to get one, you should go in expecting to get up 3 times a night or so for several weeks and know that accidents in the house will happen. If you're lucky, the puppy may learn within a month but a lot of puppies are not reliably house trained for months after that. You should have your house as puppy proof as you can make it and still know that young puppies need constant supervision when not confined to a completely puppy proof space (like a crate). You should expect to attend puppy kindergarten classes. They don't accomplish much in the way of training the puppy btw - they're to teach you training methods so you can go home and practice every day for.. ever? Lol. No, but seriously. It takes a couple of years to get to the well mannered perfect golden that you have now - if you put in the work training.

Honestly, I think people love to brag about their well behaved puppies so we'd have a flood of "look at my perfect angel puppy" posts if they weren't unicorn rare.
 

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It sort of depends on whether or not you all are willing to put the time and effort into a full time project for the next 18 months or so. It helps that there are two adults but someone will have to take the lead on taking the puppy to obedience class and training on a daily basis. (And this is truly a long term, two year commitment to do it right, not just one 6 week puppy class and you're done).

Between the training and exercise requirements it's a major undertaking to do this the right way. The result is well worth it, but it doesn't leave a lot of extra time for you to work on your golf game or train for a half marathon. The puppy really will do well if you all are consistent with management, exercise and training. Big decision for sure. Not one of us here hasn't had a moment when we wondered what in the heck we were thinking at least once during the puppy months but they are the best dogs in the world and worth the effort. Best of luck with doing what feels right for your family.
 

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I was scared to get a puppy too. I wasn’t sure I could handle the pup. I was hesitant up until I saw my puppy the day he was supposed to go home with me, but now I’m so happy I went through with getting him. He brings so much happiness to our days! They are such smart, loving dogs...you can’t help from being attached to them. There’s definitely some work in getting them trained, but it's worth it!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your answers, very helpful!

I certainly understand that every puppy involves a lot of work and effort, that's not what I'm worried about. I should probably have been clearer about what I meant in my opening post: the stories that concern me are the ones where people are completely exhausted, have tried everything to correct really unacceptable behavior, nothing works and their puppy is still "a terror" or similar words they use to describe the situation. I guess I wonder how common those situations are?

There were some questions about our situation etc, I'll try to answer those as best I can:

We chose to contact the breeder where Buddy came from because he's a great dog and also because we have heard a lot of good stuff about other dogs she has delivered over the years (she's a semi-local breeder, same county as us).

We certainly can commit time to a new puppy and we can exercise him daily. Buddy gets four walks a day and we play with him several times during the day. We plan on taking him to puppy class, I know that there`s a trained woman that hold those here sometimes. But that is of the 6 nights and then done variety, we don't have puppy daycare, ongoing, indefinite training classes and things like that here in rural Norway. There might be something in Oslo and other big cities, but those are all many hours away from our little island.

Good to hear that we're not alone in being nervous beforehand and that it has turned out well for others that has been that before :)
 

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Thank you all for your answers, very helpful!

I certainly understand that every puppy involves a lot of work and effort, that's not what I'm worried about. I should probably have been clearer about what I meant in my opening post: the stories that concern me are the ones where people are completely exhausted, have tried everything to correct really unacceptable behavior, nothing works and their puppy is still "a terror" or similar words they use to describe the situation. I guess I wonder how common those situations are?

There were some questions about our situation etc, I'll try to answer those as best I can:

We chose to contact the breeder where Buddy came from because he's a great dog and also because we have heard a lot of good stuff about other dogs she has delivered over the years (she's a semi-local breeder, same county as us).

We certainly can commit time to a new puppy and we can exercise him daily. Buddy gets four walks a day and we play with him several times during the day. We plan on taking him to puppy class, I know that there`s a trained woman that hold those here sometimes. But that is of the 6 nights and then done variety, we don't have puppy daycare, ongoing, indefinite training classes and things like that here in rural Norway. There might be something in Oslo and other big cities, but those are all many hours away from our little island.
I've always wanted to visit Norway, but we didn't make it over when we lived in Scotland for a few years. Having a pregnant wife and a newborn will prevent that right?

It sounds like you are on the right track to avoid what you call nightmare scenarios, but as was mentioned above, you can attempt to stack the odds in your favor in every way and sometimes the chips fall in a difficult place. You have the best opportunity to avoid those types of situations through a great breeder, exercise, and early, proper, and consistent training. Many (not all) behavior disorders develop from poor foundation training and socializing during the early phases of the pups life. If, you get the pup at 8 weeks, those next 8 weeks are vitally important to the rest of the dog's life. Ian Dunbar's books on puppies speak about that period with a high sense of urgency as do most of the other current literature on raising, training, and socializing pups.

If, you don't have training classes available past the puppy stage, there are an infinite number of books and websites out there that can help you work with your dog. What you won't get with books or the internet is the social interaction and distraction level of a class, but you could socialize with other well behaved dogs and find other places with distractions to train after your dog has a behavior down to "proof" it and make it work with lots of different stimuli. The other thing you won't get without a trainer is the one to one help if there are training or behavior issues; hopefully the trainer you speak of could help in those situations or in the worse case scenario, you could find someone that does internet consultations.

Good luck and let us know what you decide!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Scotland is a lot like Norway in many ways so it's not too big a loss that you didn't have the opportunity to visit :)

We'll probably get it at 8 weeks yes and we are aware that the first couple of months will be hectic. I'm not worried about using a lot of time and effort on a puppy really, what worries are some of the issues that are described on this forum (and elsewhere) where the puppy gets aggressive and/or uncontrollable up to the point where nothing the owner does helps. That worries me, both for us and for our old dog, Buddy.

I think maybe the trainer will be possible to contact if severe issues arise, she lives on the island ans she's a very nice person, but I'm not sure. Books and websites, that reminds me, are there any books that are particularly recommended about raising a puppy?

Thanks!
 

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Scotland is a lot like Norway in many ways so it's not too big a loss that you didn't have the opportunity to visit :)

We'll probably get it at 8 weeks yes and we are aware that the first couple of months will be hectic. I'm not worried about using a lot of time and effort on a puppy really, what worries are some of the issues that are described on this forum (and elsewhere) where the puppy gets aggressive and/or uncontrollable up to the point where nothing the owner does helps. That worries me, both for us and for our old dog, Buddy.

I think maybe the trainer will be possible to contact if severe issues arise, she lives on the island ans she's a very nice person, but I'm not sure. Books and websites, that reminds me, are there any books that are particularly recommended about raising a puppy?

Thanks!
Ah, ok, I get it now. The "aggressive" puppy posts are scaring you. That's really unlikely. These are golden retrievers we're talking about. They tend to be super mouthy as babies - they bite a lot. But they're babies, they're playing. They need to learn boundaries and to stop teething (usually the mouthy behavior disappears around 16 weeks). It's very rarely true aggression. I think most of these posts come from people who either lucked out with a non-mouthy golden puppy in the past or who have never had a golden puppy or similarly mouthy breed.

I was in the latter category and would have thought something was wrong with my girl as a puppy if not for this forum. And honestly she wasn't that bad of a biter. However, the dogs I grew up with were never mouthy at all and we would have interpreted any attempt to put their mouth on a human as kind of shocking / possibly aggressive. So combine that mindset (or similar) with a puppy that's probably not getting nearly enough exercise or training and you get posts about crazed aggressive puppies.
 

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I think that you are going into this knowing what some of the issues with a puppy could be and knowing that it will take time and training is a good thing. I think a lot of people get a golden puppy because they saw somebody's well-trained adult and they think they come that way. In my experience, having an older well-mannered dog around actually made training the puppy a breeze because I think the older dog taught the puppy a lot. Maybe I just had a really good puppy though, or maybe a combination of both, but I do think the older dog helped. I start training my puppies as soon as I get them home-they learn to walk on a leash, take treats without taking off my hand, get their toenails clipped, brushing, and I start on sit and come, in addition to potty training and basic house manners. I think sometimes the people who come here with problems either don't start training right away or are inconsistent with it. Puppies are a lot of work, but when they turn into well-mannered adult goldens they are so worth it!
 

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We took about a year to decide if we should add another puppy to our household. We have a now 2 1/2 year old male and life was good. But we have had two before and it's an entirely new dynamic. We brought home our female in July and said we could not say 'regret' or 'mistake' for at least six months because we remember how hard puppies are. She is a great pup and our male is very tolerant of her. That being said, it is so much work. You will feel exhausted regardless:). Our female is most 4 months and it gets mostly better everyday. I'd say 90-95 % great 5-10% totally chaos. As long as you keep that mindset going in, you'll be fine. I do think if the other dog doesn't get along with the new puppy, that would be incredibly hard. But if he plays well with other dogs, you will probably do just fine.
 

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I'd like to chime in to say to make sure to give your older dog a way to get away from the puppy, so he gets a break. Puppies can be exhausting for older pets, although our experience has been that our senior has been a good influence on our pup (almost 11 months old now), but we give him lots of one on one time, and time without the pup in his face. Our senior is older than yours (also a rescue, we/vet think 12-13, but aren't sure), and also has degenerative myelopathy, so as the pup has gotten bigger, we don't allow much, if any roughhousing because it's too hard on the senior (he's very unsteady on his feet, and entering the end stages of his disease, so we are protective of him). Hopefully your boy will be a wonderful role model for your pup.

GR pups are a lot of work, especially in the beginning, but it's so worth it! Since you're in Norway, if you can wrangle getting a pup in the spring, that might make your life easier for potty training, instead of trying to teach a pup to go potty outside in all the snow :) (we got our pup just before Christmas, and at the beginning of what turned out to be an exceptionally wet and windy winter here in CA - I spent a lot of time outside in the rain, wind and cold (yes, I'm a big baby in inclement weather) saying "go potty" to B. Worth it because he only had a handful of accidents in the house (less than 5) and was trained at about 5 months. It's pretty funny now, it wasn't so much in January :grin2: ) Good luck!
 

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I did not read the rest of the post after the following and will later . I am sure that the members have replied with great knowledge.

"But, he’s getting old and struggles a bit with arthritis, and we’ve therefore been thinking about getting a puppy (which Buddy hopefully can have a positive influence on). We’ve contacted the breeder he came from and she has a male puppy we can buy in 6 weeks time if we want to."

Buddy is 10. A puppy will not be a positive influence on him. Suffering already from arthritis, he will be disturbed a puppy jumping on him, going around his feet ...
If you wish Buddy to be more active and social, please adopt a real middle aged "buddy" for Buddy .
Puppy and adult /old dog games & exercises are different. Mentally & physically.
 

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Wow, a lot of answers here since I last wrote, thank you all!

It helps to read what you're writing so I'm very grateful!

I can't answer all separately (my English isn't all that great so it would take forever!), but here are some random thoughts:

-Preferably we would get a puppy in the spring, but the waiting lists are long so we really lucked out with our preferred breeder having one available now. Also, we live on the coast so the winters aren't to severe (usually). They're wet, windy and dark though :)

-A place where Buddy can rest alone is a good idea, we'll try to find a way to arrange that. Maybe some kind of gate between the kitchen and the living room will work? We could of course just close the door, but I worry that whoever we put in the kitchen would feel isolated then.

-Looks like there are divided opinions about whether a puppy is a good idea since Buddy has a bit of arthritis. It's not too bad, he has it in one foot and limps a bit. Still loves to walk and play though, even runs and no problem jumping up on the sofa or into the car. It's worst in the winter, probably because of the cold, we haven't seen limping since about May now (besides an occasional, light one), but we expect it to start showing up soon. We have tried finding a more middle aged dog to adopt for the last nine months or so, but it's hopeless. The few that shows up gathers an enormous amount of interest and/or disappears in minutes. We saw one Golden on a local Facebook-group and judging by the commentaries alone about 30 people had sent messages wanting him to the owner in just a few hours.
 

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Wow, a lot of answers here since I last wrote, thank you all!

It helps to read what you're writing so I'm very grateful!

I can't answer all separately (my English isn't all that great so it would take forever!), but here are some random thoughts:

-Preferably we would get a puppy in the spring, but the waiting lists are long so we really lucked out with our preferred breeder having one available now. Also, we live on the coast so the winters aren't to severe (usually). They're wet, windy and dark though :)

-A place where Buddy can rest alone is a good idea, we'll try to find a way to arrange that. Maybe some kind of gate between the kitchen and the living room will work? We could of course just close the door, but I worry that whoever we put in the kitchen would feel isolated then.

-Looks like there are divided opinions about whether a puppy is a good idea since Buddy has a bit of arthritis. It's not too bad, he has it in one foot and limps a bit. Still loves to walk and play though, even runs and no problem jumping up on the sofa or into the car. It's worst in the winter, probably because of the cold, we haven't seen limping since about May now (besides an occasional, light one), but we expect it to start showing up soon. We have tried finding a more middle aged dog to adopt for the last nine months or so, but it's hopeless. The few that shows up gathers an enormous amount of interest and/or disappears in minutes. We saw one Golden on a local Facebook-group and judging by the commentaries alone about 30 people had sent messages wanting him to the owner in just a few hours.
Where are you based if you don't mind me asking? Have you tried rescue groups?
 

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Norway! We really don’t have much of those here, especially not in rural areas.
I think there’s like two shelters in the entire country (that I’ve heard about and I’ve been searching every conceivable site for a dog to adopt for 9 months) and both of those are really far from here.
 

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Hi,
My wife and I have what we think is the world’s kindest dog, Buddy, a 10 year old male Golden Retriever. We got him when he was almost 9 and the previous owner couldn’t have him anymore. He is the best dog I’ve ever met and I never thought a dog could be as wonderful as he is.

But, he’s getting old and struggles a bit with arthritis, and we’ve therefore been thinking about getting a puppy (which Buddy hopefully can have a positive influence on). We’ve contacted the breeder he came from and she has a male puppy we can buy in 6 weeks time if we want to.

However, I find it hard to decide. We’ve never had a puppy before and some of the topics here scares me a bit to be honest. It sounds like it’s almost like a lottery where you can get a good one or you could get an absolute nightmare that can make everything really unpleasant. And that would not be good, neither for Buddy or us.

I do realize that most people wouldn’t write much when everything goes well. There’s not much point in asking “Help, our puppy is so nice and well-behaved, what on earth should we do?” after all

Still, does it happen that things go fairly well, that it’s nice to get a puppy (all in all) and not an exhausting torment? And how often does that happen compared to “help, this is terrible!” (if you know what I mean)
I don't feel it's really a lottery - I think any puppy you get will be difficult. Even the 'easy' ones (which I haven't heard of) will need time, effort, training, patience, and will make many mistakes in order to learn. I owned one other puppy before, which was a black lab mix and I don't remember my puppy biting as hard as my golden retriever did. But apart from that it was similar. So already, through my experience, I learned that golden retrievers particularly have shark teeth when they are young.

Still, it was worth it.

It's very good that you guys are seriously considering the work that you'd need to put into it. But whichever you decide, please understand that any puppy will be hard work. It might be one in a million where the puppy doesn't bite loads, isn't having potty mistakes, isn't lunging and jumping at people, isn't pulling on the lead, won't be biting at least some furniture or plants, etc etc.

Having said that, golden retriever puppies are not absolute demons. It's not all terror and havoc. In the same day which I'd tell my puppy off and be really upset about something he did, I'd also have a wonderful moment of bonding and would be teary at the connection we were building. There will be both wonderful AND difficult moments. So in that regard, don't be put off. If you are willing to work hard and want to invest in a dog for life, then it is worth the work.

However, I am concerned about your old dog. It is important to consider the impact on your current dog - a puppy would definitely be VERY boisterous. Maximus when he was young had a habit of throwing himself at older dogs and biting their faces. He did this with literally every dog. He didn't play by just running around and barking, he would literally trying to climb their heads and throw himself. From what I've seen, golden puppies seem to like that lol. I am not sure if an old dog can handle that, but if you supervised accordingly, it may be fine. Do more research and see if it fits for your situation personally :)

Edit: I just saw your response above, about Buddy being okay and still able to play around. In this case I think it'd be fine! Buddy might be a great influence on your pup, and be able to do some of the teaching for you. A gate between rooms would work perfectly to give Buddy a break.
 

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I would love to visit Norway! The members who
commented so far have much greater knowledge about Golden’s than I have and have posted excellent advice! I’m a newby first time golden owner of a 6 month old pup. We’ve had him since June. From reading your last post it seems like putting in the work isn’t a problem. I have never raised or house broke a puppy before Aidan. I was mostly concerned about having the problems such as: will he keep me up all night? How difficult will potty training be? How hard is it to train a golden. I was never concerned about aggression as Golden’s are known to be sweet dogs. He has brought so much happiness and smiles to our days. There are many website articles about what to look for when selecting a puppy that pertain to certain behavior and physical traits. I really almost didn’t get Aidan but am now so happy I went through wit it! If you do decide to get the puppy, it will be easier with Buddy there to help! It looks like you have some time to think about it. Let us know when you decide. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I understand that there’ll be a lot of time and effort involved from us, that’s not what worries me really. What worries me is all the posts where people write that their puppy is a “terror”, “nightmare” and similar expressions. People that write about puppies that doesn’t listen or learn at all or where people seem completely at loss what to do/where there only seem to be bad things with having a puppy.
I understand that it’ll pee inside, that it’ll bite, that it’ll probably ruin some furniture and stuff and so on. We can clean up pee, biting doesn’t sound too pleasant, but it doesn’t scare me too much either, and so on.
I guess what I mean by lottery is that some people seem to get dogs that, uhm, doesn’t sound especially nice while others get dogs like our Buddy, great dogs, greater than anything I could have imagined existed before we got him and he showed us what a dog can be. It’s amazing really, we have had Buddy a bit over a year and he has won over several people that were afraid of dogs before they met him.
And, of course, there’s a lot of dogs that fall between those extremes.
Also, I’m afraid that because we don’t have any experience, it’ll be impossible for us to raise a puppy to be a good dog. I have no idea what Buddy was like when he was a puppy, but whoever raised him must have done an outstanding job.

I hope Buddy has the health to handle a puppy, but that’s also a thing we think about. He’s not frail or anything now, he’s strong and he’s a happy dog, but he’s a bit old and he has a bit of arthritis (in one foot).
I was looking at gates online last night and there’s a lot to choose from. Any idea what height it’ll have to be?

I don't feel it's really a lottery - I think any puppy you get will be difficult. Even the 'easy' ones (which I haven't heard of) will need time, effort, training, patience, and will make many mistakes in order to learn. I owned one other puppy before, which was a black lab mix and I don't remember my puppy biting as hard as my golden retriever did. But apart from that it was similar. So already, through my experience, I learned that golden retrievers particularly have shark teeth when they are young.

Still, it was worth it.

It's very good that you guys are seriously considering the work that you'd need to put into it. But whichever you decide, please understand that any puppy will be hard work. It might be one in a million where the puppy doesn't bite loads, isn't having potty mistakes, isn't lunging and jumping at people, isn't pulling on the lead, won't be biting at least some furniture or plants, etc etc.

Having said that, golden retriever puppies are not absolute demons. It's not all terror and havoc. In the same day which I'd tell my puppy off and be really upset about something he did, I'd also have a wonderful moment of bonding and would be teary at the connection we were building. There will be both wonderful AND difficult moments. So in that regard, don't be put off. If you are willing to work hard and want to invest in a dog for life, then it is worth the work.

However, I am concerned about your old dog. It is important to consider the impact on your current dog - a puppy would definitely be VERY boisterous. Maximus when he was young had a habit of throwing himself at older dogs and biting their faces. He did this with literally every dog. He didn't play by just running around and barking, he would literally trying to climb their heads and throw himself. From what I've seen, golden puppies seem to like that lol. I am not sure if an old dog can handle that, but if you supervised accordingly, it may be fine. Do more research and see if it fits for your situation personally :)

Edit: I just saw your response above, about Buddy being okay and still able to play around. In this case I think it'd be fine! Buddy might be a great influence on your pup, and be able to do some of the teaching for you. A gate between rooms would work perfectly to give Buddy a break.
 
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