No Bones About it!
Fran's two bit advice (free)
YOUR SPOILED DOGS are like spoiled children. No one can stand to be around them, and eventually, they won't be able to stand being around you either.
ALWAYS ASK if your dog can play with someone else's dog you may meet on the trail or on a hike. They may have a fearful dog that is afraid of other dogs. Don't allow your dog to overwhelm another dog. Simply be courteous and respectful.
DON'T ASSUME that every dog SHOULD get along with every other dog in the world. Dogs need to develop relationships with other dogs, just like people need to in order to trust and feel free to play happily. Sometimes, those relationships need to have time to grow without a lot of pressure. Sometimes, dogs can have a personality conflict with another dog. It happens. Try to respect that. Don't force your dog to have relationships with another dog they are uncomfortable with.
Not everyone loves your dog(s) as you do. That doesn't mean they are evil people. It means they have a right to dislike dogs as much as you have a right to own as many as you wish. Be sensitive to others when your dog approaches ANYONE. This is just being polite on your part and part of being responsible.
Cute little dogs are still DOGS and need to be treated as such. They are not little people.
Picking a puppy is like buying shoes. You have figured out you want snow boots, but now you have to find the boot that fits YOUR foot. Consult with a professional trainer/instructor BEFORE you pick your puppy. They have lots of useful tools to help you make the right choice about which puppy suits you best.
Two puppies (especially siblings) are not better than one, unless you don't want to have any relationship at all with your dogs. They will love each other, bond with each other, and leave you out of the loop. The only one that really benefits from you taking two puppies is the breeder.
Great dogs belong to GREAT owners who care enough to train their dogs.
Waiting until your dog is 6 months old to start training is like waiting until your child is 17 then enrolling them in kindergarten. Yeah, it can work, but usually its hard to set them up for success in the real world that way!
I have invented the Lassie Pill. They are a little expensive, about $5,000, but sure enough, your dog will become Lassie. This pill will instantly stop all behavior problems, especially those that have been going on for 6 or 7 years with no effort on your part whatsoever to stop them. You realize, of course, that it is going to cost you about that much over the dogs life time to fix the things that get chewed because of separation anxiety, in veterinary bills for things ingested, perhaps in a law suit because your dog bit someone, or if your dog gets hit by a car when he ran across a downtown street to see your best friend while he wasn't wearing a leash or collar.
When you rescue a dog, don't anthropomorphize him. Treat him like the lovely DOG that he is. Being permissive and over accommodating because he has had such a rough life in the shelter will only confuse him and contribute to anxiety. He needs you to give him clear boundaries, leadership and LOTS OF LOVE to make a smooth, healthy transition.
UNCOOL to walk your dog downtown without a leash or collar. All it takes is ONE time for your dog to run across the street to see a friend, chase a squirrel and get hit by a car. Dogs are dogs, even obedience champions can have a momentary memory lapse!
Veterinary Offices - are NOT the place to let your dog off leash to socialize. Other dogs are there because they are usually sick, and most times under stress. That is NOT the time for any dog to be expected to be polite and social. It is simply unfair to any dog to have that expectation. You risk your own dog getting whatever illness the other dogs have or bitten by the other dog that is stressed.
Puppies biting fingers - is not cute or acceptable because they are teething. What you teach them as puppies are behaviors they will think are acceptable when they GROW UP! Now imagine that this puppy you let teethe on you is a German Shepherd! Grabbing clothing as an older dog is down right disrespectful as well. In this day of litigation for everything, this could become a HUGE problem for you and your dog down the road. Replace your hand with a toy.
Playful rough-house with your hands. When you rough-house with a puppy and allow them to bite your arms or hands, again you teach this puppy a behavior they think is acceptable when they grow-up. Literally, rough housing with your hands around a dog's mouth is an invitation to bite and not appropriate. Play with your dog, but use toys for them to grab not you.
READ everything you can. Then realize that many trainers will disagree. That doesn't mean they are wrong, it means that each trainer has different experiences, different dogs and they have grown to use what works for them. As a dog owner, use what works for YOU and YOUR DOG. Hopefully an in-person trainer/instructor has lots of different methods and can prescribe what will work for YOU and YOUR dog. Make informed decisions for your dog just like you would your child.
Be cautious of the trainer/instructor that will tell you what you WANT to hear, not what is necessarily good for you and your dog.
Always remember, you will certainly get what you pay for. And you will get out of it what YOU put into it. Ask for references and years of experience when hiring a "trainer/instructor"
There are other trainers/instructors who will disagree with me on every point above.