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Please can dog people give me their thoughts about this ?

(18 Posts)
oregonianabroad Mon 05-Jan-09 21:09:23


I am a dog person (I love cats also and we have 2 lovely mogs), but haven't had one for years, initially due to instability (I was moving around a lot). Then I got stability, but 2 kids came along, so it seemed sensible to wait until the right time.

I have been thinking about a dog for a while now, but sort of waiting for the right situation to come along. I didn't want to buy a dog, since I think there are plenty that need love and affection that need adopting. However, I didn't want to necessarily get a rescue dog, since you don't always have a clear idea of temperament and ability to socialise with other dogs/ kids. I have always loved labs and had them when I was a kid. I was also kind of against getting a puppy because I worried that, at this point in my life, trying to train a dog and going through all the weeing/ chewing/ tugging phases would just be too much for us to cope with (I have managed it several times in the past tho).

Now, an aquaintance who runs a kennel and has a lot of dogs as pets has offered me a 2 year old black lab (female). She was a rescue dog and was mistreated (don't know all the details), but has lived in the household with other dogs and with children the same ages as mine (ds1 is almost 4, ds2 is almost 2). We have seen her and I think she is very well behaved from what I have seen, she is also very friendly and the boys got on well with her (and vice versa).

It would be perfect except for the fact that dh is not very keen, and in our relationship I am always the one that is convincing him to do stuff he doesn't want to do. We have discussed it at length and have agreed to proceed slowly (we are taking the dog for a 'date' at the park at the weekend to see how we all get along, no commitment yet tho, poor girl). he says he doesn't like her (she is 'too big'), and would prefer to wait until the boys are older and get a puppy (or not at all, most likely). I am making him sound like a real kill joy and he isn't, but he is verrrry cautious and hates change, and I want to respect that.

Whew, this is a long one. Any comments?

beautifulgirls Mon 05-Jan-09 22:00:18

Hmmm, hard one that. In theory the dog you are being offered sounds reasonable given what you have said about your situation, but it does need to be a family decision - more adult decision than children....but....once the children have met the dog with a real thought that she might be coming home then they are going to be pretty upset if that does not end up with her actually coming home unless you can explain to them a valid and good reason for her not. For their sakes I think you need to make a choice about whether you are going to make a positive effort to go for this or not before you let them have a "date" (love the idea!!) with the dog again.
I'm not really sure how to advise you and your DH into making this decision. I guess you need to consider how it will impact each of you having her in the household - who will walk her when it is cold and wet, who will feed her, who will have to take her to the vets, who will pay for her, who will clean up after her if she has sickness etc.... Having said all of that there are of course many many positives to having a dog for the family - learning about responsibility, exercise for everyone, a happy waggy tail even on a down day.

I hope you can come to a mutual agreement soon.

beautifulgirls Mon 05-Jan-09 22:00:47

....or tell him you want another baby instead an scare him into having a dog!! grin

mysterymoniker Mon 05-Jan-09 22:03:22

it is important that everyone is happy and committed to the idea of having a dog, let's just hope she wins him over? I hope she does!

WriggleJiggle Mon 05-Jan-09 22:04:19

Having trial sessions with the dog seems like an excellent idea. Start off with a few walks, then 48 hour fostering. You'll know if the dog is the right one for you (and you the right owner for the dog).

Desiderata Mon 05-Jan-09 22:04:22

I wouldn't, at this stage.

Labradors are big dogs that need alot of walking, affection, and care. They're good with children, for sure, but I don't think you need the hassle right now. The romantic ideal of rosy cheeked kids walking a boisterous dog through falling leaves is not so romantic at this time of year, when it's fecking freezing!!!

And they shit tons grin

If you must get a dog right now, get a Maltese terrier or something small, that doesn't need walking every day.

Honestly ... it's a huge commitment. An unwalked labrador is a pain in the arse.

fishie Mon 05-Jan-09 22:06:24

hard to deal with a puppy with young children. so either you go with this dog or what dh wants. depends how you feel about that.

NotBigJustBolshy Mon 05-Jan-09 22:07:55

I used the "another baby or a dog" argument on my dh and he sensibly opted for the dog. Seriously, though, as he didn't really want the dog, I have got complete and utter responsibility for it and, whilst dh is now quite fond of the dog (who we adopted from the Blue Cross and have had for 2 years), he pays him v. little attention and takes no part in looking after him. I can't really complain, as I rather forced dh into agreeing to the dog (old dog had died and I was adamant that we needed another), so just wanted to warn you that you will probably end up holding all the babies, iyswim.

chancelloroftheexCHEQUERS Mon 05-Jan-09 22:08:14

It makes me so sad to tell you our story, as I so strongly believe in giving rescue dogs a loving home. BUT, I feel it's important to make this point.

Two years ago we adopted two springer spaniels. One had lived in a family, we were told was good with other dogs and children, the other was a 7 month old puppy who had been mistreated and never lived in a house.

To cut a long story short - the 'family' dog turned out to have deep-seated aggression issues, she bit the other dog and my parents dog, she chased cats and attacked birds. We were commmitted to her and paid 2 different behaviourists to come and advise us on her.

However, when we brought our newborn DD home from hospital she reacted to her in exactly the same way she did to cats and birds (i.e. she wanted to kill her.) We ended up having to send her back to the rescue, we could not take the risk. It was heartbreaking, we absolutely loved that dog.

Funnily enough the other dog is the most gentle, sweet-natured thing and is absolutely brilliant with DD, despite no socialisation in her early weeks.

I guess what I'm saying is, with children as young as yours, I think your DH is right, and that you should get a puppy.

Believe me you don't ever want to send a dog you love back to a rescue sad

elastamum Mon 05-Jan-09 22:15:44

Dogs are fab for the kids but before you commit try taking the dog and both kids for a walk in the park on your own and see how you get on, its not as easy as it sounds, you cant take a dog into a kiddie park or a cafe. Unless it is very good on the lead and comes to call it can be a bit of a challenge and a lab will need about and hour a day exercise. That said, I love our dogs to bits but my boys are just that bit older, 5 and 7 when we got the first dog

oregonianabroad Tue 06-Jan-09 08:17:32

Thanks all for the comments, much appreciated. Still a lot to consider.

RumMum Wed 07-Jan-09 21:36:02

We, as in me and the kids, really wanted a dog, but H didn't.. eventually he gave in and we got a rescue dog nearly 2 years ago... we agreed to share the walks, and looking after. I think H walked it twice, the first morning he did nothing but moan that the dog pulled and the second time moaned that it was too cold out.. needless to say.. all dog care was taken over by me! I think what I'm trying to say is that if they are not enthusiastic about a dog to start, don't expect it to blossom!

I get up and walk the dog at 6:30 am for 3/4 of an hour then a dog walker comes in and walks it in the afternoon while I'm working. would you be able to fit 2 dog walks in a day... come hell or high water.. or sub zero tempertures with 2 small children?

Don't rule out a rescue dog.. they are very particular about who they let their dogs go too..and will match a dog to your requirements.. we had to have a home check which I think is common practice.

good luck with your decision

Onlyaphase Wed 07-Jan-09 21:43:00

I've 2 big labs and a 2 yr old DD, and the first thing that occurs to me is are you sure you can commit to walking a lab every day with two small children? I have to take my labs out separately most days, which is a real pain in this weather and lack of daylight. I'm sure you've thought this through, but will you be able to manage 2 small children and a 2 year old lab across roads etc? And if something went wrong - a dog attacks yours etc - do you have enough hands?

My dogs didn't calm down until they were 3+ years - pretty common with labs I think.

oregonianabroad Wed 07-Jan-09 22:52:54

Fair points -- I was thinking I would walk her alone in the am everyday (quiet time just for me and the dog), then as a family on weekends (we go out almost every weekend as a family as it is, even in bad weather, though not in extremely wet weather, granted).

Dh has said it is up to me to deal with poo, walking & feeding ... so yeah, if we do this, I have to be able to commit myself.

Good point about othe dogs, hand't thought of that one. Will see how she copes on the lead at the weekend and think about it further.

oregonianabroad Wed 07-Jan-09 22:55:20

chancelloroftheexCHEQUERS , that is a really sad story, and a strong word of caution. Thank you.

MrsTweedy Wed 07-Jan-09 23:07:47

On the other hand, it took me a whole year to persuade my dp into getting a dog and yet now he is besotted with it and adores him. He did insist on a labrador though (I wanted a border terrier) and on getting a puppy so we'd be sure it hadn't been mistreated. He'd never had a dog before & now can't imagine life without one. Only you can judge how your dh will really react to it.

Friends of mine borrowed a dog for a whole week to see how everyone got on. In the end they decided not to get one due to the onus of walking it every day.

Puppies though can be quite scary for small children, even labradors which as a puppy are large, bouncy and very excitable (which I'm not quite sure they ever grow out of!)

Still me that picks up all the poo though, typical!

LucyEllensmummy Wed 07-Jan-09 23:20:08

I wouldn't get a rescue dog with a young family. With the best will in the world, they only have the word of the old owners to go by and most people will paint a prettier picture. Dogs are in rescue centres for reasons, very often because they display behaviour that people can't cope with (often caused by the people of course!). Most rescue centres wont rehome to people with children under five.

We were in a similar situation to chancellor, we had taken on a rescue rotweiller (slightly different i know) and had him just over a year when i had a surprise (bloody great shock) pregnancy. It turned out we couldn't have kept him, but fate intervened and he sadly died. I was just going through the heartbreak of trying to find him a new home - the most heartbreaking thing being that, battersea had told us we were his last chance as he had some serious behaviour issues. It took us a year, lots of heart ache, quite a few bites (usually to me - he just didn't understand that people weren't raggy toys!) and hundreds spent on behaviourists (waste of money)to get him right and he was just the loveliest dog you could hope for, it became apparent that he wouldnt be able to tolerate a toddler. It was almost easier for me to lose him the way i did than to have to let him down by rehoming him, even if that were possible.

Taking a rescue dog is a huge commitment, over and beyond what you take on as a pup. Its a good idea to have the trials with the dogs, but it takes a good few weeks before their personality shows - Yazz was the model dog when we brought him home, only to turn into a psychopath almost on cue in week 2. (the rehab poeople at battersea had warned us about this). Obviously there is no way we would have taken him if i knew there was to be another baby.

You say she was mistreated but you don't know the details, so you don't know what triggers will be in her mind. You couldnt throw a stick for Yazz as he would cower at your feet. You couldnt stare at him, he would become very scary!

I am with your DH im afraid. It might have been slightly different if she was owned by loving owners who had to rehome her for personal reasons (divorce, bereavement, etc) but she is quite an unknown entity imo.

To be blunt, i think you might be doing the dog a disservice by taking her on - she needs a home that can be her permanent home.

You say you dont have the time/commitment for the puppy training, but if there are hidden behavioural issues there, it may well take up even more time to put right. For the same reason as you i was reticent about getting a puppy, but i couldnt live without a dog - i got a small dog (not a maltese terrier!!) and hes no trouble at all. He does all the play with DD and loves her to pieces. House training took about two weeks.

Here is a question - would you have this dog if it were a rotweiller? Because having worked as a vet nurse, ive been bitten by a few labs, never a rottie. Labs are about the size of a small rotweiller and have big teeth too. I personally think that the rottie, is a quieter more even tempered dog. But im a liiiiitle biased I love labs too though.

hercules1 Sat 10-Jan-09 06:53:57

I agree with lucyellen. THere is what is called a 'honeymoon period' with rescue dogs (so I've been told) where it takes a while for them to settle so that you see what their actually personality is like.
We have young children and 3 dogs and I needed to be in control of the dogs experiences from the start. I have known them since they were puppies so know their experiences. I know they're not fussed about men in hoods, groups of teenagers, people with umbrellas, joggers in teh park, kids on bikes etc.
WIth a rescue you have no idea how the dog will react to even a carrier bag fluttering in the park and if you have kids with you in the park you're screwed if the dog gets spooked.

I wouldnt do it. We'll have rescues when our dogs die and kids are teenagers but not in young years.

Not to mention the commitment it takes to walk dogs regardless of weather every day.

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