thinking about a dog but totally new to it and also have a cat...(18 Posts)
Hello! I'm looking for a bit of help. We have been thinking about getting a dog for years now. I always said I wanted to wait until DD was old enough to walk into school from the gates so that we could combine walking the dog with our (rather long) walk to school (obviously we would walk it at weekends too). We live between the countryside and the beach so loads of opportunity for lovely walks.
Well, she could do that now, so technically we could get one. Which is pretty exciting! But I'm nervous too. I have never owned a dog before. We have a cat who has never lived with dogs. We have a 7 year old who has never lived with dogs. I am not sure where to start to try and work out the best option for everyone. I like the idea of a rescue dog but I'm wondering if, for our first dog, we would be better off finding a reputable breeder?
Also any thoughts on solid, friendly breeds? I would love a labrador but am keeping an open mind as I don't know a lot about dogs (in case you hadn't guessed from my clueless post).
The last thing, and if i'm honest this has put me off in the past, is the smell. I was dead keen on getting a dog about a year ago and then our friends visited with theirs and my god, the whiff. I could barely stand to be in my own kitchen. Be honest, do all dogs smell and it's just something you get used to?
They are a bit smelly, but you do get used to it. We got our first dog two years ago. He's a pointer and is a lovely family dog. He gets on pretty well with our cat, who is 13. But she is a very chilled out cat. The main thing to consider is how a dog will fit into your life on a practical level, especially if you get a puppy. But I presume you've thought all that over if you've been considering a dog for a while.
Thank you, Eolian! Yes we have thought about practicalities. I am self employed and work from home every day, my husband also works from home most of the week. We have a decent sized house and garden and we all enjoy walking. The only problem would be if we went away, we would have to use kennels/boarding, but we live in an exceptionally dog friendly town and there are loads of places here so I hope that we could find somewhere nice for the dog for when we are on holiday.
With regards to the smell, my mum helps me out and gives my house the smell test.
As we live here I get paranoid we get used to the smell. Dpup is 5 months and so far we have passed mums smell test every time.
I do bath the dog a lot. She is a working cocker and lives running in mud. Sometimes it's a rinse down, sometimes it's a full bath. We also change the blankets in her bed every couple of days. Our pup loves clean bedding. You can't get her out of the bed when you change it.
We also Hoover everyday and have to sweep the kitchen floor 2-3 times a day. She brings in twigs and shreds them. I have the feeling she may be part hamster .
She does, however, fart like a trooper on a night time.
I am a huge spaniel fan, dpup is my third. They are great family dogs. Ours have all been great with the kids. Dd is now 12, we had one when she was born and the dog adored her. They do need plenty of exercise, but totally worth it. All our spaniels have loved having people at home all day.
The dpup we have now has been great with her and our five year old boy.
The first few weeks were a bit difficult due to typical puppy nipping/buying behaviour. But we taught our son that if she is playing and starts getting too rough he stands up and ignores her. It worked she has nipped or bitten in weeks. It can take a while though. It's important to train the kids before getting a dog or puppy.
We opted for a pup because most rescues (even the spaniel ones) wouldn't consider us until Ds is 8. The ones that would, said they rarely get dogs that can be housed with young children.
We will rescue another spaniel, when Ds is 8. We always wanted two dogs and dpup will be three by that time.
The first few months are hard work. Toilet training should start as soon as you get home. Once that's cracked it's a lot less stressful. I would also recommend doing lots of other training. So things like sit and recall in the house from the start. Dpup recalls to the whistle now as well, which makes off lead walks much more enjoyable.
Getting a puppy takes a lot of research. I would start with the breed club.
Sorry for the long post.
I got my now 5 year old dog as an 8 week old puppy. At the time I had two 17 year old cats - sadly over the years they have both had to be pts - but I had no trouble introducing them to the puppy.
Take it slowly, give the cat plenty of space to take itself to and don't let the dog get in the cat's face and it can work out fine.
One of my cats, the female, was never particularly bothered one way or the other by the dog, but the male (a lovely soft natured ginger) loved her (the dog) and they would curl up to sleep together.
If you were to get an older rescue dog you should be told if the dog is able to live with cats or has been tested for cat tolerance.
Good luck. You sound as if you've given it a lot of thought. My dog is my first ever dog and getting her is one of the best things I've ever done.
Hi - we thought about it like you for years and years - DD is now 13!! However we just adopted a 6 year old border terrier and she's lovely. I have to be honest and say that we are glad to have skipped the puppy stage, she's just slipped right into our family routine and wants nothing but love.
I wish we'd done it sooner so I say go for it!! There are loads of kennels, dog boarders and dog walkers around these days so holidays shouldn't be a problem. You may not be able to be spontaneous any take off whenever you choose at a moments notice - but we never did that anyway!!
I got a an ex racing greyhound after reading so much praise about them here. He's very lazy (stretched out on the bed right now) though always happy for a walk. I live 10 minutes drive from the beach so he gets taken for a run and a sniff there most days. Mine came from the Retired Greyhound Trust and I asked for a cat trainable dog (had 2 cats at the time, now down to one) and it was more of a problem for the cats at first, having barely had a dog in the house before.
I don't think he smells (though maybe I'm immune now) apart from occasional noxious farts and there's a bit of shedding which gave me an excuse to get a cordless dyson (another MN recommendation!). Sending him to kennels is no problem as he spent his whole previous racing life in them, it's no hardship for a greyhound.
Oh, I should have said - he's my first dog, I was a confirmed cat lady but always hankered after a dog. He's so easygoing and no bother at all. I feel very lucky to have him.
We got a puppy a month ago.the first two days were difficult for our cat as he chased her a bit, but now they largely ignore each other.
I was paranoid about the smell too-my mum has a Labrador and it reeks-but we went for a JRT, smallish and short haired and so far not too smelly (I hope)
Toilet training is the worst part.ours just isn't getting it at all despite best and concerted efforts.i knew it would be hard but wasn't prepared for it to be this hard
Sure he will get it in the end however and we are really loving having him. The DD's come and walk him with me (couldn't have got them out of the house with a wrench before) and are being great about helping out with letting him out in the mornings and feeding him etc.
I have a lab he now two and adore him talking to other lab owners i have been lucky as he was not a crocodile or chewer .
Also unlike my neighbours JRT who won't go put when raining mine will out least twice a day for at least 60 mins a time often more
Something to consider is that as get older they like a lot of walking and brain stuff to
Mine is also a magnet for water he loves it so can whiff a bit when wet
But he is most chilled out dog and adores my kids and a goof ball
I echo the retired greyhound suggestion. I fostered one recently (my first dog owning experience) and he was divine. Huge though, and ate an amazing amount of food! You can get little, dainty ones though.
Dogs are dogs whether you get them from a breeder or rspca but I would always encourage anyone to please get one from the rspca. There are so many dogs desperate for a second chance loving home. I can guarantee that when you visit your local centre there will be at least a few that tug at your heart strings.
I've just adopted a 10 year old lab and can not believe how much we love her already after just a couple of days.
She's house trained, gentle, wants endless cuddles, loves any kind of attention including being groomed & bathed! Best thing we ever did!
She's currently snoring in her bed!
Thank you for your helpful replies everyone! Really liked the greyhound suggestion after looking into it but our local greyhound rescue place will not rehome to families that have children and cats. And now am having second thoughts about a lab, so we are back to square one!
We are definitely sold on the rescue suggestion though so no longer looking for breeders.
I guess if we keep looking at rescue centres and keep en open mind, the right dog will turn up eventually - does it work like that?
If you like the idea of a greyhound/lurcher, then EGLR rehome to households with cats and children if the dog is suitable. Both mine came from them and we have three cats.
Dogs who are cat friendly tend to get rehomed quickly, so its worth following them on FB as the dogs go on there first
"I guess if we keep looking at rescue centres and keep en open mind, the right dog will turn up eventually - does it work like that?"
The bonus you have when looking for a rescue dog is that you're not having to pick a breed because the dog is already a known quantity, you're not having pick from breed traits and hoping it grows up like that.
So you can work out what suits you in terms of grooming, exercise and training needs and then just look for any dog that fits that.
Make sure you get a cat friendly dog!
I just got mine this week and she's driving me crazy tbh but I love her lol. They need walking every single day no matter how tired or bored you are and in any weather (rain, snow, summer etc). I walk mine twice a day at least and give her lots of outside trips so she can potty. They poop 2-3 times a day and peeing varies depending on water intake and activity. Every dog comes with it's baggage so be prepared to deal with it and know that the first few weeks are the hardest.
Don't rush into it and hopefully you will find the one dog that will fit in your family.
Please research and keep in mind the practility of it. Walking every single day, waking up early and training a dog is completely different in real life.
I work part time and am a single parent with two dog-mad teenagers. I couldn't have a dog without leaving it alone for too long in the day. I just have a friend's dog every Thursday, while she and her husband are at work and I'm not. I walk him, bring him home for the day and the kids get to pet him. Works really well for us.
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