Dog suggestions

Dogs, dogs and even some cats
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colorado yooper
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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby colorado yooper » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:14 pm

We have an Aussi/Short haired collie, we think, mix. All the traits of both. We got him as a pound dog and he is a great personal trainer. As new home onwners we make a point to get him lots of exercise. I put a pack on him and a pack on me and we hike for about an hour a few nights a week. It's a great way to tire him out. On the off nights we do about 1.5 miles a night. This has been plenty of exercise he's only chewed up one item, a library book, doh! He looks a little sullen when he doesn't get a big hike in or when we were both sick. I ended up driving aroung the neighborhood with him on a leash out the drivers window. My hand froze but he got a great walk in. Folks thought I was really wierd. Don't worry we went slow. He is an awesome dog, he even stood for being washed 3 times at 12:30 at night after he got sprayed by a skunk last week. We leave him with a project every day, a ball, bone, chew toy, etc. and he does great. Without the project he can get into trouble, garbage etc. We hope he'll keep our future kid in the yard without any training! :lol:
He's great with other dogs. I think any breed can be good with other dogs if they are balanced and happy. watch the Dog Whisperer on Natgeo and you'll see what I mean.
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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby conradical » Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:04 pm

I'd recommend heading over to the Humane Society. Even within a breed, dogs have their own personality. Find one that somebody has taken care of but can't keep and that meets your requirements. Just stopping in to help exercise the dogs is a great learning experience!

I picked up a Rottweiler mix of some sort there. She does great on hikes, though she is a little defensive around other dogs. But, she's come a long way in the year that we've had her.

They said that she was at Rottie/Aussie mix. I don't know that I believe it, but she did have a sister dog there at the same time. Her hair was longer and her coloring and eyes were more like an Aussie. You be the judge:
Shameless pic of my pound puppy
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Good luck!

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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby coloradokevin » Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:17 am

Those breeds can both make great trail dogs... Intelligent, energetic, and a willingness to please their owner.

But, some of those traits can also make them horrible dogs. If they don't get enough exercise, or they are bored from a lack of mental stimulation, they will find a way to vent their frustration/entertain themselves/exercise around the house.

With the herding breeds it can be hit-or-miss with how they handle other dogs; really the same applies for any given dog! My dog has a great pit bull friend at the dog park, and has been snarled/snapped at by an unfriendly golden retriever... so don't put too much stock in a given breed being "good" or "bad" with other dogs!

It is best if you can introduce them to your other dog before you decide on a particular animal! If you can't do that, starting from a puppy provides the best opportunity for you to socialize your pooch correctly with other dogs. We started this process with our dog, Juno, when she was 3 months old... daily trips to the dog park, lots of introductions with people, dogs, cats, etc. She does very well with everyone/everthing now, but the socialization played a huge role in this.

Also, you may consider a shelter dog! There are a lot of great purebred and mixed herding breeds at local shelters, and it is a great way to give a needy dog a home. We think our dog is a German Shepherd/Akita mix, and we got her from the Dumb Friends League when she was three months old... At the time they also had pure and mix breeds of border collies, cattledogs, Aussies, etc (varying in age ranges).

By the way, here is the shameless plug for my dog. Ain't she cute? :mrgreen:

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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby coloradokevin » Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:26 am

conradical wrote:

They said that she was at Rottie/Aussie mix. I don't know that I believe it, but she did have a sister dog there at the same time. Her hair was longer and her coloring and eyes were more like an Aussie.

I am fully convinced that the breed determination is purely a "marketing" tool at the shelters. When we looked for our dog, damn near every pet at the shelter was either labled an Aussie or a lab mix! Our dog was listed as an Australian Shepherd (and "possibly" mixed). Clearly she is not at all Aussie... The picture above doesn't really do her justice, but she certainly isn't Aussie (and weighs 75-80lbs... not the 40ish the shelter was suggesting!). We knew that when we got her, having had a lot of experince with dogs, but I still think the shelter does this mainly as a tool to help the dogs get adopted.

As a case in point, I was called to a house on a complaint of two "vicious" dogs when I was patrolling one day a couple of summers ago. I arrived to find two very cute Rottie puppies digging chicken bones out of this lady's trash (each dog was a purebred beyond any doubt, and they were each probably 20lbs/3 months old). This lady was completely freaked out, holding a baseball bat, and refused to open her door for fear of being "attacked". Since it was a busy summer day, our Animal Control guys were on a two hour delay.

To make a long story short, I decided to drive these pups over to the shelter myself. I bring them inside and the admissions people start debating the dog breed. "oh, that looks like maybe a lab mix, what do you think?"... This couldn't have been more clear-cut if it was wearing a sign indicating it's breed! But, labs are "friendly" and "adoptable" "family pets"... So, whatever works I suppose!
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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby Geogirl » Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:28 am

I second the retriver type of dog. I have a golden retriver and a black lab/shepard mix. Yes they are bigger dogs, but they are great pets. And keeping them out of the water is next to impossible. I have yet to figure out how to put a picture on here, but we have pictures of our golden perched on a boulder on Camelback Mountain in AZ, dog pack and all. I do go home every day at lunch to let them out, but they're worth it.
As for hip problems I THINK it is common in most big dogs. I know it is in retrivers. We had a golden we had to put on medication because she wasn't able to get up in the morning because of her hips. But she was I think 8 or 9 when it started.
If you are looking for a particular type of dog, there are rescue groups for most breeds, thats where we got our golden. No you mostly can't find a puppy, so they may have some bad habbits when you get them, but I have a hard time spending tons of money on a dog when there are so many just left because they aren't wanted.
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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby drodriguez » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:06 am

Last summer we got a boxer pup to go hiking with us. Gwen is old enough now that she'll be able to go this summer. You really ought to consider a boxer. Excellent family dog, resilient, energetic, strong, loyal, and smart. They're often described as, "smart and easily bored." They love to play wih other dogs. Actually, I would recommend a boxer even more highly because you already have a dog. Because they're easily bored they (ours) sometimes (often) digs, unless, we make sure she gets plenty of time playing with other dogs, or we have time to wear her out with a run or trip to the park. In fact, several handlers and breeders have told me that the way to keep a boxer from digging is to get another one :shock:

Other than that, Gwen is awesome, and we're told that she'll quit digging on her own before two. Never barks or chews. Not slobbery. Shed very little, though you do need to brush them every other week or so for a few minutes. They are extremely athletic and muscular. In the handful of times she's gone hiking with us this winter, she probably covers three times as much ground as we do.

We have a 13 month old son, and we got Gwen when he was four months old. They love each other. Gwen is patient through ear yanking, biting, fish hooking, and the occasional eye gouge. She has never showed the slightest sign of aggrivation or ever hurt our son, (other than occasionally getting really excited and accidently bumping him over. He's not that steady on his legs yet.) They're bes friends.
Last edited by drodriguez on Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby Floyd » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:59 am

G - Regarding German Shepherds - great dogs, but can definitely develop hip problems. If you go that route, make sure to do your due diligence on the family history. Also, my friend and his shep joined me on Harvard last year. The black coat really didn't help in the sunlight and if it wasn't for a few well placed snow fields we could roll him in, he really could have had an issue with heat exhaustion. I wouldn't say he was much of a trail dog. That said, he's a great pet and very loyal friend. Also, I've admired quite a few white shepards, they are beuatiful dogs and may take to the warm weather a little better.

As far as the original quetion, I too am VERY partial to my boys - labs, but they do require a TON of excercise. Luckily, my wife is a stay-at-home Mom - to our daughter and the 2 monsters and we live 5 minutes from Cherry Creek Dog Park. If they go without excercise for any length of time, they'll find trouble. And being so smart, they get creative - openning pantry doors for instance. You may have the same problems with the Aussies or Borders too.

Other breeds I considered before going with labs that may be more suitable to your lifestyle were Keeshonds, Boxers, and Samoyeds. Here is a website that has some useful info on different breeds -

Please, whatever you decide - do your homework and research on the breed and lineage of your dog. You'll appreciate it over the life of your dog.
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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby scarlton » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:41 am


I have had both breeds, Border Collie and Australian Shepherd. I live on a farm in Texas and both have plenty of running room. I can tell you from experience that the Border Collie requires a lot more interaction and attention. They will naturally herd anything including your kids, cats, other dogs or whatever they can. Our Border Collies had always been loyal to only one individual in the family and also tend not to do well with other dogs. We switched over to Australian shepherds about 4 years ago and I could not be happier with these dogs (I currently have 2). Very obedient and very pleasant temperment around other dogs as well as other people. Either way, both of these breeds need space. If you don't have that I think either would be a mistake. Good luck.
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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby ozone » Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:03 am

Good luck with the dog decision. I had a border collie that was a great dog and we have several friend that have border collies and Australian cattle dogs. That being said I would never own another one. They are very smart dogs but not always the most mentally balanced of dogs. Even mine was very timid and did not play well with others. Make sure you socialize them a bunch.

Two words of advice to remember "Doggy Daycare". We have dropped our weimaraner off 2x a week since he was 6months old (now 1 1/2 years old). He is absolutley wiped out for the rest of the day. The other days he either goes on a run with us or a hike. The best part is that he is so socialized now that we go out for a hike and he could care less when there is another dog or person on the trail. You can even waste time at work (when not on 14ers) and watch them on the webcam.
I am not going to recommend a weimaraner for your but I do think they are amazing dogs.
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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby Gossnath » Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:22 am

A lot has been said about characteristics of different breeds, buit i've found nurture to be just as important as nature. I spent every spare minute I could for the first 8-9 months with my dog and now he takes care of himself. Just because a breed is prone to doing one thing or the other doesn't mean they necessarily will with enough guidance.
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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby superdawg » Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:06 am

ditto all the comments on the herding breeds. they are great dogs, very intelligent, but usually require a lot of attention and exercise. they also need a lot of intellectual stimulation (i.e., they need lots of things to do/tasks to keep them busy). i've worked with both purebreds and mutts as a vet tech for several years, and as my two cents on this issue, i would definitely recommend a mutt over a purebred. not only are there a lot of great ones out there just waiting for a home, they tend to have fewer health issues (though there are always exceptions). the boulder humane society almost always has a ton of great dogs to choose from. plus, they're waaaaaay less expensive than purebreds. i got my dog at boulder humane when she was about 1 year old (bonus: she came fully housetrained with some obedience training as well). my dog is a shepherd/sheltie mix (i think), and she's a perfect size: about 42 lbs., so big enough to tackle 14ers with me but small enough that she doesn't have problems with long hikes (we've gone on lots of multi-day backpacking trips). she's 5 years old and still has got a ton of energy when we hike, and she's a great couch potato as well. i love her, she's the best dog ever, and she is incredibly sweet and low-maintenance.

i know that it's a gross over-generalization to say that purebreds have more health issues than mutts, but consider the following example: my boyfriend desperately wanted a yellow lab. so we did a ton of research, found a great breeder, checked her references, checked out all the hips/eyes/elbows of this puppy's ancestors for about 8 generations, and bought the pup. she cost 10 times what my dog cost, but we figured it was worth it to get a dog with healthy genes. well... that was in september. it is now march, and the pup is 8 months old. she just had to have a $2500 surgery to fix her urethra, of all things, because it was not properly developed. and she gets urinary tract infections about once a month (antibiotics cost about $100 each time, lab fees are about $200). hopefully the surgery fixed the UTI issues, but we won't know for a month or so. like i said, this is just one example. it could also be a total fluke. fortunately, my boyfriend (whose dog it is) could afford the surgery. it's a risk - and though the risk is not limited to purebreds, i would say that from what i've seen, purebred dogs have more of a predisposition to certain health issues. and this example just goes to show that the health issue may not even be anything that is remotely predictable.

bottom line: dogs are awesome, and they can make great hiking companions. just do your homework and be sure you're ready for a potentially large financial investment.
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Holy Schist
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Re: Dog suggestions

Postby Holy Schist » Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:39 am

Hello, drop me a PM if you are interested. We can pass off whatever knowledge we can. My wife, Myself and friends run the Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue. We have labs, lab mixes and sometimes some wonderful mutts (like a very nimble and athletic female Beagle mix, young and moderately trained)

Or check out our site or

We can help you find the right dog that will be great for your situation
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