Dog novice: what breed should I get? (affectionate but ok on its own)

(13 Posts)
spotthedog21 Wed 05-Mar-14 11:39:05

I've never had a dog before but have decided that I would like to get DC (4 years old) and I a puppy. I'm currently a single SAHM but that is likely to change around Autumn of this year when I will be returning to full or part time work.

I am wanting an affectionate dog but one which can cope with being on its own at times. My parents and aunt live nearby and they are all very active and willing to help, and even have the dog at theirs during the day. My concern though is how able will they be able to help in say 5-10 years time when they are older and potentially have health problems. I don't want to get a dog and they have to give it up in 5 years time.

Would maybe getting an older dog work? E.g a cocker spaniel which is 8 years old or so, which would have passed on by the time that my parents become more elderly.

Or what about doggy day care? Presume that it is expensive (?) and then there is the logistics of taking both DC to school and the dog to doggy day care.

All dogs are affectionate, if they have the right home and training. And no dog likes being left alone for long periods.

All puppies are cute - but they are a lot of hard work, and only stay as puppies for a few months.

To be honest, I'd be asking why you want a dog at all?

Amandine29 Wed 05-Mar-14 11:48:31

Dogs are a lot of work and no dog likes to be left alone. The idea that you even consider you might 'have to give it up in 5 years time' means you need to have a good long think before getting a dog.

Also, why a cocker spaniel?

spotthedog21 Wed 05-Mar-14 12:03:19

Well I would never want to give up a dog if I got one. I would not get a dog if I thought that that would be likely. That was why I was wondering about an older dog, so if something did happen to my parents the dog (bless it) would probably have passed on too by that time.

Realise that I need to think hard before getting a dog. It may not be practical but I would at least like to explore the idea.

Costacoffeeplease Wed 05-Mar-14 12:03:45

I would really question why you want a dog at all - they're not toys, they need company, affection, training, stimulation - you seem to be starting on a negative which is really worrying

Well, nobody can see the future.

How old are you parents? How well? How busy will your work be?

IMO< getting a dog is great, and you have to make sure she gets enough attention, walks, and you can afford vets bills (insurance).

If you want to work things out, you usually can, IMO, so even if your parents become frail, you might find a nice dog walker, or negotiate working from home.

A determination from the onset to deal with whatever gets thrown at you and to make it work should be enough.

If I were to become very ill, I don't know how DH would cope with work and dog, but he somehow would. We can't know the future.

maybe a dog in a dogs home whose owner has passed away would be an idea? Ie an affectionate, trained older dog with a known history? Could you visit some dog rescues?

sergeantmajor Wed 05-Mar-14 14:54:24

Shih tzus. Affectionate, ok by themselves for about 5 hours or so, easy for older relatives to look after (not needing energetic runs). Whoever picks your dc up from school could collect the dog as well, or just have a dog walker take your dog out for company and exercise halfway through the day. Adorable cuteness is an added bonus.

spotthedog21 Wed 05-Mar-14 14:58:43

Thanks fiscal. My parents are early 70s and in pretty good health. However, I just wouldn't want to say what the situation might be in 5-10 years time. Work / hours is likely to be ok but its possible that there may be a reasonable commute. Its possible that I may be able to negotiate part-time or working partly from home.

Am thinking that maybe an older dog might be the best option. If worst comes to worst I could get a dog walker.

My slight concern though with an older dog is that it may have behavioral problems if it has been badly treated (I don't mind dealing with that, but I wouldn't want a dog which might snap at DC). as you say though if could get one with a known history that would be great.

Does anyone have any idea on what insurance would be for an older dog? How does it typically work - would the insurance be fully comprehensive, do you still have to pay part of the bill?

There's usualy an excess on pet insurance - you can alter that up or down to change the premiums a bit. A dog's previous medical history will have a big impact on the cost of insurance.

ItsAllAboutSheldon Wed 05-Mar-14 16:12:53

I think some people are being a bit harsh here. OP is considering the future and how it'll impact a dog. Isn't that what we want potential dog owners to do?

An older dog sounds like the best way forward but you will need to be prepared for the implications of old age sooner. A visit to a good shelter for a chat would be a good start.

Hoppinggreen Wed 05-Mar-14 17:23:18

Is your son 4? Most rescues won't allow you to rehome a dog with a child under 8.
Not dog willbe happy on its own all day and I would be concerned about taking in a dog with a "history" that you might not be fully aware of with a small child in the house.

ADishBestEatenCold Thu 06-Mar-14 00:02:39

One possible way of exploring your suitability, desire and commitment to a dog, is to help someone else with their's.

I used to have a neighbour whose situation was very similar to yours, OP. She was a lone parents, working, two DCs in her case, limited family help, and she thought she might like a dog, but had no real experience.

She started by helping out another set of neighbours, a retired couple, with their dog. She very regularly shared dog walking duties with them, had it with her if they went away for the day and, over time, started to look after it for longer periods, such as family visits, holidays and also when the husband of the couple was ill, in and out of hospital.
In this case it worked out well. Her home became the dog's 'second home' and, in turn, the dog's owners taught her a lot about keeping a dog.

It was a good way to learn and I think she got a dog of her own a few years later (if it hadn't worked out, I can imagine it would also be an equally good way of finding out that dog ownership wasn't the right thing).

LadyTurmoil Thu 06-Mar-14 11:46:04

I would second that idea, it's a great way of seeing what dog ownership is all about. It's great having a dog (I've looked after my brother's dog and fostered for a couple of months but hesitate about getting my own) but it is restricting in some ways, you worry about them as if it's another child. You have to make arrangements if you're going to be out of the house for a long time.

As a single parent, I would imagine that you're juggling lots of things already - you may prefer part-ownership to full-time. But, on the other hand, if you do walk your neighbour's dog for a while, perhaps you could talk to them about helping you out at times you might need it (although if they work full-time might be difficult).

An older dog, well vetted by a rescue does sound a much better solution than a puppy which is really hard work. Your kids will naturally lose interest once the dog's been at home for a few months (however much they've mad about it at the beginning). and the responsibility will be all yours.

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