We are going to get a dog...

(77 Posts)

I've put it off for years, but youngest DC is 3 and loves dogs.
My mum has puppies, we are going to have one. This isn't spur of moment, my mum has had three litters from three dogs over last 6 years and we have always resisted.

It's a boy cocker, black, white bib and two white back paws. He's five weeks old.

DS has called him Scruff.

So exciting. But I think I am barking (ahem no pun intended) mad. I'm a clutter free clean freak...... How will I cope?

What is essential reading? I'm not a spoil your dog type, this dog comes from working stock and will be visiting his relatives often.

Booboostoo Thu 27-Jun-13 16:25:09

Floralnomad I don't disagree with any thing you wrote in your last two posts.

In terms of 'problems', one person's problem can be another person's virtue. For example, a dog may need far too much walking for a parent dealing with a newborn and a toddler, while perfect for someone who spends hours rambling around the countryside. Problems are subjective as they are relative to the circumstances people live in and what they are willing to put up with.

If a dog does have a problem there are a limited number of responses to it:
- avoid it altogether: if your dog chases cats, you can keep him on the lead around all cats.
- you can decide it is not a problem and put up with it: if your dog chews the skirting boards you can decide to live with ruined skirting boards.
- you can train an incompatible behaviour: if your dog jumps up on people you can train a good sit/stay.
- you can rehome the dog to someone who will do one of the above or you can PTS.

Floralnomad Thu 27-Jun-13 15:50:26

I did say that I didn't think she was doing the wrong thing ,good for her and all others like her . My dog is happy and secure ,he is also very well adjusted and probably not as bad as Jas and others on here , however from her thread it looks apparent that the husky owners comments have incited her to deal with her issues ,what I'm saying is that I would have ignored husky owner. I don't think that makes me a bad dog owner ,but TBH I don't care what people think because I know that my dog is happy , well behaved and adored. My dog does not have emotional issues thank you .

poachedeggs Thu 27-Jun-13 15:43:06

With respect, floral, chickens is at least taking an approach which will deal with the welfare implications of her dog's problem. Avoidance does nothing to resolve the emotional stress experienced by a dog who is unable to cope with the experiences life throws at it. It's taken an awfully long time for dog professionals to recognise the significance of emotional welfare but it is at last being given the attention it deserves by animal welfare organisations. Unfortunately it will also take a long time for this to filter into common knowledge.

MedicalWriter Thu 27-Jun-13 15:18:13

I'm with Floralnomad on this.

Floralnomad Thu 27-Jun-13 14:44:30

boo with respect lots of people on here seem to be striving for the 'perfect' dog whereas a lot of people who have dogs with issues just work around them . For an example my dog is a milder version of chickens , her answer and good on her is to get a behaviourist in and work on his issues ( and I'm in no way saying that's wrong) ,my answer is to walk in quieter places at quieter times and ignore people if they make remarks about my dog ( If other dogs just leave him alone he is fine ) . As far as I'm concerned neither of us is right or wrong we simply have a different approach . Hope chickens doesn't mind me using her as an example . Also lots of dogs are up for rehoming for reasons other than behavioural problems , often it's because feckless people buy them for their children or because the neighbours got one like it and 6 months later decide it wasn't a good idea after all because it sheds hair and needs looking after when they spend 2 weeks in Spain .

poachedeggs Thu 27-Jun-13 14:29:27

If a dog has turned your life upside down in a negative way, you are doing something wrong!

Precisely, which is why it's important to be sure you know what may lie ahead as a prospective dog owner. For many people this negative outcome is a reality. I'm a vet and see the issues people have with their pets first hand. Often people are embarrassed about their pet's behaviour problems, unwilling to confess the extent of its effect on their lives. Sometimes in my job I have a chance to offer the help these people need to get back on track but it is usually time consuming and expensive and could have been avoided entirely if the owners had been better informed beforehand.

I have never taken on a puppy because I have never had the sort of lifestyle which would allow me to provide for it adequately. I could go and get one and everything would probably be fine - I have a good understanding of their needs and would probably be able to compensate for shortfalls in the time I could afford to spare. But it wouldn't be fair and it could set the dog up for problems. And if you don't have time to devote to a puppy then you don't have the time to devote to dealing with behaviour problems when they occur.

I think saying that if a dog makes life tough you're doing it wrong is simplistic and naive. It's also an attitude which makes people feel like they can't ask for help. The outcome of that is rehoming or euthanasia, in a frightening number of cases.

everlong Thu 27-Jun-13 13:35:49

I understand what you're say boo but it's also good to see another side to the horror stories that you read.

Put the time in to training, buy from a reputable breeder, don't leave them all day while you're at work and there is a chance you can have a happy well adjusted dog. Mine is sat on my legs alongside the cat!

Booboostoo Thu 27-Jun-13 13:28:54

If dogs are so easy why are so many of them up for rehoming? Why are so many people on this forum alone tearing their hair out (sometimes over simple problems, sometimes over much more challenging behaviour)?

Having assisted at my local dog training club for a few years I have probably come across more dogs that one would as an individual dog owner and problems with toilet training, recall, energetic behaviour, etc. are very very common but at the same time very surprising for some new dog owners. There is nothing wrong with pointing these things out to someone in advance.

Not to mention of course that there are numerous problems that come with old age. We've had a lovely dog that was fecaly incontinent for a year and progressively getting paralysed in his back legs, so that he needed lifting, bowel evacuation, a wheelchair, etc. We've had another dog that had progressive dementia, barking all night long, becoming confused, etc.

Almost all animals require you to change your lifestyle. If you live in a city centre appartment, hate walking and spend most nights clubing, if your life does not change when you get a dog you are doing something wrong.

BTW I have also had three very easy dogs as well as the three more challenging ones. Equally I have had some very easy horses and some not so easy ones.

Floralnomad Thu 27-Jun-13 12:54:45

I agree with confused ,loads of people have perfectly well adjusted dogs and don't have the kind of stress you see on here ! FWIW I found my dog very easy ( probably because I'd waited so long to get one that nothing was going to spoil it ) , equally I found both my babies very easy ,lack of sleep doesn't affect me and both mine had to fit in to my life to a degree.By comparison I had horses as a teenager and into my 20s on DIY livery and they were a huge tie so in comparison dogs and babies are simple . Full livery was my saviour !

LEMisdisappointed Thu 27-Jun-13 12:31:46

But having a baby is no way anywhere near the same as having a dog! I say that as someone who has owned dogs all my life and had a baby at 19. I have never had a sleepless night with my dogs, never had to worry about childcare for my dogs, get a babysitter for a simple night out, never had to worry about what school the dog goes to, clothing the dog, listening to the dogs woes and worries. Its just not the same.

Dogs are an important member of the family but they FIT IN with the family not the other way around. If a dog has turned your life upside down in a negative way, you are doing something wrong!

poachedeggs Thu 27-Jun-13 11:56:06

Lots of people get pregnant when in their teens and totally unprepared but they raise happy healthy children and go on to have successful careers. That doesn't mean it's wrong to caution teenagers about early parenthood, surely? They may still decide it's right for them, but better to be fully forewarned I think.

Confusedandfedup Thu 27-Jun-13 10:33:02

Yeah I know. Who'd have thought it.

LEMisdisappointed Thu 27-Jun-13 10:06:57

On the other hand there are millions of ordinary folk who have dogs and don't have these problems

^^That! really

Confusedandfedup Thu 27-Jun-13 09:04:51

on the other hand there are millions of ordinary folk who have dogs and don't have these problems

Booboostoo Wed 26-Jun-13 23:20:52

Puppies are very much like babies, some are easy going and fit in with your ideas of parenthood and some are more challenging. Unfortunately we don't tend to share the same bond with our puppies as we do with our babies so most people find it much more difficult to deal with a challenging puppy, especially after the first 6 months to a year when they are well past the cute stage.

For these reasons I think MNeters are right to caution others about getting puppies. Potential dog owners should consider the worst case scenarios. Even though we all hope they get the best case scenarios from their puppies, they should be prepared for the worst case scenarios.

Here are some examples of challenging behaviour different pups have put me through:
- I had one pup who did not need a lot of sleep and never slept more than 5 hours in the first year of his life
- I had one pup that was incredibly difficult to house trained and soiled in the house for the first year of her life. I ended up having to remove the carpets, install wooden floors and literally tie her to me all day long to break the habit.
- I had one pup that pooped and peeded on sofas and beds out of stress for the first 8 months of her life. We literally had to wrap the sofa in plastic.
- The same pup was food aggressive with other dogs and wouldn't stay in her crate so she chewed the entire house, she ruined pieces of furniture, walls, skirtings, etc. thousands of pounds worth of damage.

littlewhitebag Wed 26-Jun-13 22:00:35

We got our lab pup a year ago this weekend. Our life has changed so much over the course of this year but for the better not for the worse. It is a bit like having a new baby; you just don't know what they will be like and how things will go. We certainly don't go away quite so much now and everything fits round the dog. We love her so much, but the early days were hard. You really do reap what you sew. I would not be without her despite the early mornings, the hair everywhere and the inability to go anywhere without making sure she will be cared for. I luffs her, that is for sure.

WTFwasthat Wed 26-Jun-13 21:34:59

not sure this will help at all but we got a rescue puppy last Oct (thanks to a tip off on MN smile. i was absolutely terrified leading up to puppy ownership. Anxious, overwhelmed, insomniac, I thought i was making a massive mistake etc. but the reality was far less dramatic! He was 11 weeks when we got him, a skinny, quivering wreck of a lab pup. it took a while to bond and things were very difficult at first with crate training etc. I ditched the crate after about a month and just winged it. He is rarely left for more than a couple of hours but once or twice has had to be left for 4 hours. I give him a juicy bone from the butchers when i go out and make sure he has had a substantial walk. he is a happy, beautiful boy and fits in perfectly wtih our family dynamic. Sometimes I feel tied and ti is a pain having to organise dog care every time I want to see friends for the day etc. but I just do it! I have a fab puppy minder who he goes to stay with for the day (has done overnights there too twice). it is all do-able and I am a widowed mum of two with no one to help out. don;t overthink it.. Overthinking is the ENEMY!! Good luck smile

lainiekazan Wed 26-Jun-13 13:03:55

yes, my dd is main target of puppy biting. Yesterday he took a chunk out of her school dress. For children who have been looking forward to getting a puppy the biting and nipping can be a real shock and - in the case of dd - make them wary and tearful around the dog.

binger Tue 25-Jun-13 23:13:55

Just a little addition to my post, please be aware that your youngest may be bitten by needle sharp teeth very often. My boy was 5 when we got our cocker and the poor boy would come in the door and immediately jump up on the couch. Every time his feet hit the floor they were ripped to shreds. We were all bitten but my youngest seemed to be the main target, he was under constant attack.

Thankfully this did pass after around 4 months and we never looked back from around the age of 6 months but I had just about reached breaking point, wouldn't have it any other way though grin

Of course, but and we already have, but what I meant by that is not as we did before.

We used to go out at 10 or 11 am and might not roll back up till 8 or 9 pm. We only had ourselves to please.
Everything now is broken in to 2 - 4 hour chunks. And I don't like to do 4 hours regularly either. I am not saying we have no life, but there is no point trying to pretend that what and how we do things had to change. The little puppy stage more so.

The changes are all worth it and we enjoy it, it is just something that you have to bear in mind unless you are comfortable leaving a dog alone hours on end. I'm not so we did have to change the things we did to incorporate the dog. Cinema and pizza has been traded for English Heritage membership and picnics more often then not. We still do the other things at times, just notin the carefree way we did. And my first posts I am referring to the first few months with a tiny puppy. It isn:t along period in a dogs life but the reality is that a lot of people do underestimate how intensive it is as you can't just be leaving weeks old puppies for 2 or 3 hours.

Confusedandfedup Tue 25-Jun-13 07:31:00

We love our pup but our 'old' family life of shopping, cinema and meals out and theme parks is long gone.

When your puppy is an adult dog, will you go back to these things? Surely having a dog should not stop you doing normal things such as meals out?

I think anxiety is a normal response and to be honest I'd see it as a sign you are thinking about it properly. I was the same.

I am laid back and relaxed about mess and hassle which is why I think we survived. I don't lose sleep over the fact that he rolls in fox shit at any opportunity and all ds's pjs are full of holes from the savage pup stage.

We love our pup but our 'old' family life of shopping, cinema and meals out and theme parks is long gone. We are now knee deep in mud building dens instead. I wouldn't go back though and we do love it but it just doesn't hurt for people to know what they are getting in to. smile

ladythatlunches Mon 24-Jun-13 20:49:11

I wouldn't leave the puppy alone in the room woth kids so wouldnt have to worry about that. Even if I have to pee he will be going in the play pen that we have where his bed will be. More for safety of the dog than kids as until they are used to handling him there will be no leaving him alone.

To ne honest I don't gonout much unless to shops etc and if I will be goinf anywhere then it will be when little fella will be settled in well and again in play pen with bed.

As for biting etc again puppy will never be left alone with kids for both there sakes.

When we do go out we are always out wirh our friends who bring there puppys/dogs so nothing will change there.

The thread got busy!

I have been awake in the night, not one thing just general anxiety. I am feeling the guilt of how long is too long to leave a dog.
I turned to DH bleary eyed this morning and knew he had the same.

But it isn't why am I doing this anxiety, it's will I be any good at this and will I get the dog I think I can train. Etc. I spoke to colleagues and they reassured me they went through the same feelings.

I am beginning to sort through it all in my mind, hopefully no more sleepless nights (till Scruff arrives!)

Fanoftheinvisible I was never that sort of parent, so with a bit of luck, I will be a relaxed puppy owner. We want to be together as a family outdoors. Most places we go have dogs there as I am forever chiding DS to ask the owner before touching their dog!

No one is saying she shouldn't do or that she doesn't already know all this. Fair doos if she does and like me she may love it. But if risking someone thinking I am being partronising by pointing out the reality of it all then I'll risk it. I have known lots of prople first hand who have done lots and lots of research, spent time with breeders and owners forked out thousands and still given their puppies up before a year is out.

Sadder still is that some of them are serial puppy purchasers.

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