Complete novice thinking of becoming a dog owner

(23 Posts)
insanityscratching Wed 27-Nov-13 11:20:43

Dd is almost 11 and has wanted a dog for years. I have never owned a dog but dh's family always had one or two whilst he lived at home.
I'm a SAHM, dd's siblings are young adults who will be leaving home in the next couple of years I expect and so think a dog might well help to soften the blow as she will effectively go from being one of five to an only(ish) child.
We have a small enclosed garden, look out onto a park and live within 500 yards of the trail and country park so plenty of places to walk a dog.
Dh's family had cavalier KC and whilst they were lovely the shedding would drive me mad.
We would want a small dog, non shedding, one that would be happy with three smallish strolls over the course of the day rather than long tramps over fields for miles although it would also be nice if it was happy to walk a few miles in the Peaks at weekends too.
So any suggestions on breeds, how do I find a dog although not immediately we were thinking late summer next year after our holiday, what else do I need to know?
Thanks for the help

Floralnomad Wed 27-Nov-13 11:25:55

Get a whippet or whippet x from a rescue .

mrslaughan Wed 27-Nov-13 19:14:54

I second a whippet - Scruples rescue is often recommended.

DeathByLaundry Wed 27-Nov-13 19:45:42

LOL read this thinking "whippet" but i was beaten to it! smile

kitsmummy Wed 27-Nov-13 20:42:30

Miniature or toy poodle. Without the Pom Pom cuts they can look like this cute

Whippet or small greyhound would fit your requirements perfectly.

insanityscratching Wed 27-Nov-13 20:52:23

I think dd would prefer a poodle tbh because of the aww factor but I like whippets and they'd need a coat (or two) wouldn't they which would appeal to dd?
Can I ask would a rescue take into account that as a family we aren't experienced dog owners and suggest perhaps more straightforward dogs or would a puppy be better? I think I'd prefer an adult dog if I'm honest but maybe a puppy would be more straightforward with less history.
I'll probably drive you mad with questions before we take the plunge as well.

stleger Wed 27-Nov-13 20:58:34

Yes whippets and greyhounds need a wide variety of clothes and collars grin. Mine is whippet crossed with a collie, so sadly has plenty of fur and doesn't need clothes.

DeathByLaundry Wed 27-Nov-13 21:04:29

Whippets are super aaaaaaaaaawtastic. Google whippet puppies. Do it smile

LadyTurmoil Wed 27-Nov-13 23:01:13

NO! A slightly older dog would be much easier. Look for a rescue which has dogs in foster homes. Then they can be assessed in a home environment, with children, often other dogs and/or cats. They will hopefully be housetrained, have some basic commands etc.

Puppies are gorgeous and practically irrestible but they are a hell of a lot of work. Read the other Puppy Mummies thread and see what issues come up!

Poodles are great dogs. If you go for a puppy, try to make sure you're not getting from someone who's just breeding for money and not doing health checks on parent dogs.

You have said in your OP that you are a novice so I will take that as read! Puppies, of any breed, are REALLY hard work. I haven't met anyone yet who hasn't agreed with the statement, "a puppy is as hard as a newborn". It ISN'T an embellishment. They are.

An older dog, from a rescue, would be matched to your family as closely as possible. So any issues will have been discussed first and solutions then offered. I freely admit to being biased to greyhounds grin, BUT, a cleaner lazier non-shedding versatile and loving dog you won't find.

Whippets are OK I s'pose wink

basildonbond Thu 28-Nov-13 00:02:58

As a novice I think a poodle would be a better bet than a whippet - I know whippets are lovely but the ones I know are a bit stubborn (and squirrel-obsessed) plus the only dog to have drawn blood (twice) while playing with our pup is his whippet friend - poodles ime are easier to train and they definitely don't have to have silly haircuts

LadyTurmoil Thu 28-Nov-13 19:12:59

Dd is almost 11 and has wanted a dog for years.

But, do YOU want a dog?

Yes, DD will be over the moon for the first few weeks (unless it's a landshark, biting, nipping, jumping, barking puppy then she may think otherwise). The novelty wears off and they just become part of the furniture.

She won't want to be responsible for feeding, worming, defleaing, sorting out vaccinations, boosters and spaying/neutering, or walking especially when it's dark and peeing with rain.

Logically, will you want to do this every single day, the walking I mean? You might be SAHM but you're still very busy, I bet. It does take a chunk out of your day, and it takes your time/attention ALL day, every day if you have a puppy because you need to housetrain, train otherwise, amuse, clean up after... very labour intensive for the first year

And you have to think about times when you need to take your DD to/from school, after school clubs, swimming, days out - nothing can't be arranged but you have to think and plan these things rather than just doing them.

Dogs are expensive, all the above-mentioned treatments, pet insurance, kennels if you go on hols, or dog sitter fees, etc etc.

Really not trying to put you off but I truly think people don't always think through stuff - I apologise if you have.

Such a good post ladyturmoil I work 9-12 term time I wanted the dog knew there would be times I'd regret it and there definitely are. You don't realise the afterschool activity pick up, the nip outs to shops etc how they all add up you don't have nearly as much free time to look after a puppy than u think you do, so you live a life of guilt every time you throw a kong and have to nip out for a hour to do things that are necessary.

it goes without saying that gym , clothes shopping and lunches don't even come into the equation unless it's the weekend and oh is home

And yes my 2 are 8 & 10 and they're already starting to lose interest not that its a problem as she's mine but I'm still surprised

EasyToEatTiger Thu 28-Nov-13 20:43:35

If you have any doubts whatsoever, don't get a dog. They will change the way you live, the way you keep your house, the way you spend your money and your holidays. We have 4 dogs at the moment. The 4th is a visitor, but it's still a massive upheaval. If you really want to get a dog, start going to training classes before you get one and research it really well.

pigsDOfly Thu 28-Nov-13 22:45:20

Nothing to stop you getting a dog just because you're a novice. My dog is my first ever dog and she's happy, sociable and well trained.

Lady Turmoil is right. Forget what DD wants, it's irrelevant. You are the one who's life will be completely changed. You are the one who will need to do all the research on the breed, how to feed and how to care for your new family member. You will be the one to train, clean up, train, walk, train, pay out a small fortune in vet fees and insurance and train, train, train.

And a puppy will take over your life for the first months in a way you never thought possible.

But oh the fun and joy to be had from having a well trained, wonderful, happy, fun loving dog in your life.

insanityscratching Fri 29-Nov-13 06:21:52

It's fair to say dh and I want a dog as well. We disagree in so far as dh would want a puppy and I would want an adult dog but tend to think that when we begin to look the right dog will become apparent. Dh says that his family planned a cairn terrier puppy but in fact ended up with a year old cavalier who happened to be the perfect dog for them.
We have always planned a dog eventually but wanted our brood to be quite grown up. In fact the last time we were thinking I found myself pregnant with dd and so all thoughts were shelved.
We wouldn't be buying for dd as such although she would claim it was her dog. I think I'm feeling an impending empty nest and looking for company and companionship to fill the space.
We've looked at cost and insurance and made sure it won't be a problem, we've looked at practicalities as to how the dog's routine will fit into our lives dh would say that I have done a lot of thinking but that's because to him having a dog or two is the norm but new to me.
I can see a dog shaped hole in our lives I think, in fact thoughts and plans in the future seem to include me dh dd and dog.I really want to get it right though so want to make sure that if and when we do get our dog there won't be any nasty surprises

Wordsmith Fri 29-Nov-13 08:39:15

This thread brings back memories of our family a year ago - we went through all these questions and all I can say to the OP is - go for it, you won't regret it. We got a fabulous cairn terrier puppy in February and he enriched out lives so much. We are devastated because he died in the night unexpectedly this week and we have a huge dog shaped hole in our life. We don't know how or why he died and here was no warning, but we are just so grateful for the time we had with him. We will definitely be getting another one.

We didn't go for a rescue dog because I was concerned about not knowing the dog's background. Like you we hadn't had a dog before but with a few tips from friends we managed fine. I think the more you can work the dog into your lives, the better. He came on the school run with me (so automatically had 2 walks a day) and we always had a lovely long walk at weekends. He made us get out more as a family, and he LOVED going on holiday - we took him to Devon in the summer and he adored the beach.

Of course having a dog restricts you, but so does having kids, to be fair. Your life does change but for the better - the benefits of having a dog who loves you unconditionally and is ALWAYS pleased to see you when you come in the house cannot be overstated. The only one who wasn't overjoyed with the dog was the cat! But she came to the conclusion quite early on to avoid him as much as possible.

You can leave a dog alone for short periods although I wouldn't leave one for the full working day. I work from home and often left him to go to meetings for up to 4 hours at a time. Once they are toilet trained they are quite happy to be left at home.

I would recommend getting a dog cage into which you can put his/her basket, blanket etc. It's somewhere the dog feels is his own den and also has the advantage that they can be contained there when necessary.

The other thing, which we have painfully discovered this week, is that pets help teach children about death and losing loved ones - although if your DD is already 11 hopefully she would be grown up before having to face this.

As for a breed I cannot recommend cairns highly enough. They are quite small and non-shedding, and although need their coat clipping/stripping a couple of times a year and regular baths (especially after long muddy walks) they are a doddle to look after. What happened to our lovely boy was nothing to do with his breed - they are generally very healthy and hardy pups.

Go for it and good luck!

minkersmum Fri 29-Nov-13 10:58:08

wordsmith i am so sorry for your loss. You must feel heartbroken. Sending you a big ((((hug))))

OP I think you sound very sensible and you have obviously thought this through. Have you considered a minature schnauzer? I think they are a good size, low shedding and apparently very trainable.

happygardening Fri 29-Nov-13 11:12:51

We have a miniature poodle we've had lots of dogs in the past usually big bouncy gun dogs but he is the best dog we've ever owned. The are truly non shedding (which is bloody marvellous and I'm not house proud) but you do have to take them to the groomer every 6 weeks although you can do it yourself. You can literally make then look anyway you like. They are funny, devoted, easy to train as they want to please you all the time, full of joivre du vivre (unlike some whippets IMO), they like to walk but you don't need to go for miles or you can of you like or even every day, non yapping, light enough to effortlessly pick up, cheerful little clowns. They are also one of the longest living breeds of dog 18 is not uncommon and if health screened by a respected breeder healthiest dogs around. Nearly forget they come in a selection of colours black of course being the best. Two coloured ones which are fashionable are not recognised by the KC so be careful the breeder may not be respectable and doing all the health checks.
Jackie Kitchener of the Miniature Poodle Club UK (or something similar) is the expert and knows of puppies from respectable breeders and also any adult dogs looking for a home.

Wordsmith Fri 29-Nov-13 11:49:52

minkersmum thanks for your kind words. I never thought it was possible to be so attached to a non-human soul sad. We are going to look at some more pups this weekend who will be ready in January so perhaps some happy times up ahead. Will never forget our little lad, though.

minkersmum Fri 29-Nov-13 12:32:50

wordsmith although your wee lad will never be replaced I personally have always found a new dog helps heal a broken heart. Good luck with your puppy search.

basildonbond Fri 29-Nov-13 15:52:49

Oh your poor pup, wordsmith, and poor you - that must have been unbelievably shocking

Good luck in your puppy search

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