New dog owners - how did you find adjusting to having a dog?

(15 Posts)
Dancergirl Mon 24-Mar-14 12:48:09

I've never had a dog before and wasn't brought up with them so have no experience at all. But I really love dogs and have seen the wonderful relationship between my friends and their dogs. Getting a dog is something I'd like to start thinking about but I want to consider everything carefully and not rush into it.

So the first question - if you're a new dog owner, how have you found it so far? Is the work and commitment involved more or less than you'd thought? How did you decide what breed to get and how much walking does your dog need?

We live in a quiet road with a large garden and plenty of parks nearby. I'm a SAHM at the moment so around for a lot of the day. I'd like a smallish dog that wouldn't need hours and hours of walking. Some of our friends have Cavalier King Charles spaniels which are gorgeous dogs although I know they can have heart problems.

Any tips or advice most welcome!

Aylish1993 Mon 24-Mar-14 12:55:54

I was a first time dog owner as we always had cats growing up and I was shocked how much time and effort they need, they are like children we now have 3 dogs and I love them to pieces wouldn't change them for the world but you need to be ready to put the effort in.
We decided to get 3 small breeds so not a lot of walking needed they go on one walk a day everyday before bed so around 10ish but on a weekend we do tend to drive somewhere where they can go for a long run and walk then they all have a bath ever weekend.
You need to get a dog that suits your needs as well as you suiting theirs. Make sure you research the breed you like to make sure it's the right dog for you. smile hope that's slightly helpful. I've added a picture so you can see what I class as a small breed haha :D

Dancergirl Mon 24-Mar-14 13:03:51

Thanks, v cute picture!

With the walking - is there a reason you walk them at night? What do you do when they need the toilet during the day?

Floralnomad Mon 24-Mar-14 13:12:26

I got my first dog 3.5 yrs ago ,he was a 15 week old rescue terrier ( not house trained) . I've never found him hard work because I had wanted a dog for so long it was like a dream come true . He gets walked 2/3 times a day depending on the weather . In a way I'm glad we didn't have a dog when my children were small as we did go on lots of days out to theme parks etc ,weekends away and short notice breaks which I would not be able to do now .

Dancergirl Mon 24-Mar-14 13:14:12

flora was he hard to house train?

Floralnomad Mon 24-Mar-14 13:20:50

No not really ,it's just being around and being consistent . I used a command word and he was reliably clean by about 20 weeks and overnight within a couple of weeks . His main issue is that he has no idea about doggy etiquette and prefers to keep himself to himself ,I did take him to classes but it was all delayed due to him coming from Battersea with quite severe Kennel Cough . He is definitely an only dog but that does seem to be quite common with Patterdales which is what he is a cross of.

Aylish1993 Mon 24-Mar-14 13:56:11

With regards to walking on a night it's so they will all do a poo before bed so we don't wake up with accidents. I'm at home all day so they go play in the garden, if it's nice the back door is always open so they can just come in and out when they want.

We got our first family dog four weeks ago. He's 12 weeks and he's a poodle shih tzu cross. I actually wanted a pure poodle but dh and the rest weren't so keen and then we heard about Eric and it was love at first sight.
We had been thinking, looking, researching for years so I don't think it was a surprise how much work is involved. I was surprised at how quickly he picked things up and how quickly I learned to spot when he needed to be let out or when he needed a nap.
It's definitely easier now than in the beginning but we have a strict routine and that seems to help. He has three ten minute walks around the park next to the house mid morning, after lunch and about 10pm. It was initially 2x 15min but he seems to prefer three shorter ones.
It's definitely added to my to do list but there is nothing nicer than being greeted by a waggy dog when you have only been out of sight for ten minutes.

Dancergirl Mon 24-Mar-14 14:02:10

How long can you leave a dog in the house alone for? Couple of hours ok? What about weekend days out? Is it hard to find places to go where you can bring your dog?

Marne Mon 24-Mar-14 14:06:47

I found it much harder work than I imagined, I got my first dog when I was 18, didn't realise how much hard work it would be, was like having a baby but you can not take it everywhere with you ( at least you can take a baby into a shop or to your friends house ), toilet training was hard work. I have had 2 other dogs since, you kind of forget how much hard work it was having a puppy. If I ever got another dog it would be a older rescue dog that already house trained and gone through the 'bouncy stage'.

As long as you are prepared for having a dog peeing, pooping and eating your furniture than all is ok smile.

I know I've often said this before, but dogs don't have to be a binary I have a dog/I have no dogs in my life split.

There are lots and lots of ways you can build up your exposure to dogs and get a feel for some of the lifestyle changes, as well as getting your doggy fix.

Firstly, do any of your friends have dogs? Would they be willing for you to "dog-sit" while they have a night or a weekend away? Being an honorary dog auntie is actually lovely as you can build up a great relationship with the dog, have lots of fun, but not the expense. grin

Secondly, volunteering. Most areas have rescues that are desperate for more volunteers. This can range from walking dogs in kennels, to helping out at events, cleaning kennels, baking cakes, stewarding at shows, even updating the website! Get involved and you can get lots and lots of hands on exposure to dogs and be around them.

You can also volunteer to do things like homechecking and transporting dogs. Dogs often need to be moved to a place of safety away from the area they have come from, or to a new adopter/foster home. Transport networks exist that move dogs between rescues and safe homes. For longer journeys you can usually claim mileage/toll fees.

Thirdly, Cinnamon Trust. This wonderful charity matches up dog walkers with dog owners who are either elderly, frail or terminally ill. By going in and walking the dog, you are helping the dog to stay with their owners. It's a great idea and you can commit to as little or as much as you like. You also have the great satisfaction of helping an older person.

Fourthly, fostering. This is great, as you have a dog in your home for a short time while it gets assessed and then adopted into its forever home. One of the hardest foster homes to find for most rescues is homes where there is no other dog, yet these are often needed - for example, where a dog might be recovering from an illness or is nervous around other dogs. If you get in touch with local rescues, they will often have information about fostering on their websites, and most are only too delighted to welcome you, answer your questions and show you the ropes.

Any of the above will help you decide if the joys of dog ownership are for you. I think that if you really love dogs, you'll find yourself gravitating towards them anyway. If not, you've done some good and found out before taking an irrevocable step.

Good luck! smile

Dancergirl Mon 24-Mar-14 14:57:20

Really good point scuttle Have you also heard of borrowmydoggy.com?

Floralnomad Mon 24-Mar-14 16:20:03

There are lots of things you can do with a dog ,lots of national trust and English heritage places allow them in ( not in buildings though) . It would not have fitted with my family when they were smaller though because mine were more theme park lovers not big walkers.

There have been quite a few threads on here about dog friendly days out.

Bowlersarm Mon 24-Mar-14 18:28:59

I found it a bit of a shock to start with.

Very cute and gorgeous, but such hard work - and very messy. It took a good 6 months or so until I really got over the shock factor tbh, and felt that he was a part of the family, and started to love him properly rather than resenting him a bit.

Love him to bits, he's 6 now, and got another one as well. I adore her, and found it much easier second time round, knowing what to expect, although she took bloody ages to house train.

Clearing up vomit, mud, hair, regular walks in this long wet winter, the nuisance of organising our holidays around our dog sitters availablilty, vets bills-all worth it smile.

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