Getting a dog

(13 Posts)
LisaMed Mon 12-May-14 16:20:11

We are planning on possibly getting a dog within the next six months, though willing to accept advice.

I am nervous about dogs but would never, ever hurt one. Father (82, lives with us) wants a dog, DH wants a dog and ds (7) wants a dog though he is a bit tentative with my brother's dog atm. He is a gentle child and has always been careful with animals and I have always supervised.

I would be doing the majority of the walks.

We have a smallish yard in front with low walls, nothing behind. We are ten minutes away from a park with lots of dog walkers and less than five minutes away from a public field. The house is a tall, thin terrace with three flights of stairs and smallish rooms.

Should we get a dog, and if so, are there any animal charities that would accept us? I know how good it could be for ds but I am only willing to consider getting a dog if the dog would be okay.

SpicyPear Mon 12-May-14 16:36:21

Some dogs would be completely happy in that kind of home set up, but I would advise not taking on a dog until you have spent some more time around them.

Having a dog is wonderful but also a massive chore. If you are going to be mainly responsible, I'd advise getting more of an idea of what is really involved and how you feel about it. It may be that you get a dog, get used to them and love it. Equally, you could find you don't take to it and find it tiresome and stressful. Unless you live in the back of beyond getting your dog will also mean dealing with other people's dogs on walks etc. Have you thought about how you will manage those interactions when you are already anxious around dogs?

Do you have a friend or family member with a dog that you can get a bit involved with for a while before taking on the responsibility yourself?

LisaMed Mon 12-May-14 16:46:03

SpicyPear you are bringing up stuff that I am worried about. My utter condition for getting a dog is that I go to dog training classes - to train me! I am really worried. I've occasionally gone with my brother when he takes his dog for a walk, and I suppose doing that more often would be a help.

Everyone else is pining for a dog. I think I know where I can fit in one long walk each day, and I know that any dog will not be short of love here. Father will overfeed it, ds will tell it everything and DH will adore it.

The reason I am nervous about dogs is that I was bitten on the face as a child. The dog had a lot of previous and I was nowhere near the dog - it came over to bite me. Of course any animal I was responsible for would be treated as well as I possibly could and loved to bits.

SpicyPear Mon 12-May-14 17:13:13

Definitely spend more time with your brother's dog. What about a sleepover, would that be possible? Training is a good idea as a well qualified positive trainer will be able to help you understand and handle your dog. Also, just spending some time in parks etc with dogs, seeing how they interact.

From a dog welfare perspective there are two things that are a worry when their main handler is anxious:
1) Whether you will fair to the dog for being a dog. For example, I have an extremely calm and balanced dog who gets on well with people and other dogs. She had a bad bout of gastroenteritis and due to being in pain became growly and miserable. Hate to be harsh but there are literally dogs in rescue centres who are there because they growled in completely understandable circumstances (e.g. ill like my girl or being trod on) and the owners overreacted and "got rid".
2) Interactions with other dogs. Dogs are adept at picking up on owner's feeling so if you are anxious when your dog interacts with other dogs, it can easily teach them that other dogs are something to be feared.

If you can get more comfortable around dogs before bringing one into the home it will help make sure these things don't become an issue.

Floralnomad Mon 12-May-14 17:19:11

From a practical POV could you make your front garden more secure than it sounds as it doesn't sound ideal ,although that said people do manage without any outdoor space . I think your garden may put off some rescues though.

LisaMed Mon 12-May-14 17:53:16

Floralnomad It would be hard to change the yard, but if I did leave the front door open there is always someone in the street and it is not a main road. I would prefer not to just leave a dog out anyway.

SpicyPear I am worried that my irrational nerves would be bad for the dog. I think spending some time with my brother's dog (rescue, sometimes aggressive with other dogs) will be a real help.

I don't want to get a dog unless that dog will be happy, secure and loved. The 'loved' bit is easy. I think, though, that it is important to look at the whole. I really appreciate all advice.

BabeRuthless Mon 12-May-14 18:18:48

If you're adopting from a rescue they might question the garden situation. The rescues that we spoke to all mentioned six foot fences. Also from a practical point of view a secure garden makes housetraining a lot easier. Do you think you'd get a pup or an adult dog?

BabeRuthless Mon 12-May-14 18:22:46

But don't let that put you off. It's always worth talking to the smaller rescues and explaining your situation.

ggirl Mon 12-May-14 18:31:33

you may be able to borrow a dog from this site

SpicyPear Mon 12-May-14 18:40:26

I have two rescue dogs and my fencing is 4ft is some places. It depends on the dog to some extent and how low you mean. Ideally your dog would have access to a secure area for toileting but I do know rescues that will rehome the right dog to people with no garden if they are convinced they are committed walking and taking them out.

LisaMed Mon 12-May-14 19:50:54

Our wall is @ 3ft high, with a gate on the latch. There have been talks about getting railings attached, but it's got a bit complicated. tbh I think it isn't the height that helps - former neighbours had a staffie that leapt four foot walls effortlessly and stole a bath panel from the bathroom place down the road. I think it is keeping an eye on the dog and the dog feeling that it was okay to stay in the garden - though obviously I will not be hovering over it all the time, and I could be proved wrong.

I would prefer an older dog - I think they need a home more anyway, but DH would like a puppy. I suspect that deep down we both want a dog that needs a home and a bit of love. We are not hung up on breed too much, although I think I would prefer a cross. I suspect that most terriers would win a battle of wills with me, which wouldn't be healthy.

I have only recently talked more seriously about it, as father is getting frailer and would love the company, ds at 7 is getting old enough though I am not ruling out waiting a little for him, and I have worked out where I can fit long walks into my routine. I am also visiting elderly uncle in a residential home and an older dog would be great to take for a long play in the park before visiting - the home welcomes well behaved dogs and uncle is a softie.

tbh I am not thinking entirely of ticking boxes with a rescue, I am also concerned that long term the dog would be happy.

LisaMed Mon 12-May-14 19:52:22

ggirl that site looks amazing!

47greenbottleshanging Mon 12-May-14 21:22:47

Spend more time with a dog before deciding as others have said.

I wish I had read Spicyapple's post and done the above. We did tons of research and talking and I let myself be persuaded by dh, ds and others around me that it was the right thing.

I am not a dog person though (strangely was also bitten on the face as a child albeit only the tip of my nose slightly but I was scared) and am finding it very hard. I struggle with the dirt and grossness and the commitment. Dog is looked after and safe but if it is you doing all the work think very carefully. Dh is out at work and ds at school so the buck stops with me.

Mine is only little and so hopefully it will get easier after the puppy/ housetraining. Don't do this just for the others, you need to really want to do it for yourself.

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