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Ok. Assuming that I agree to increasing family clamour to get a dog- and I am NOT saying I will mind- what us the best option for a household with 2 cats already in situ? Puppy? Older dog?

(90 Posts)
Ormirian Sun 01-May-11 22:17:28

Any advice please.

I'd prefer to take on a rescue dog but would an older dog be set in it's ways re persecuting cats? Would a puppy learn better by being boxed around the ears a few times?

bustersmummy Sun 01-May-11 22:18:35

Orm - you know you're only kidding yourself.

You are getting a dog grin

silentcatastrophe Sun 01-May-11 22:33:08

If you get a puppy, you will be responsible for all the training and behaviour from scratch. You will be able to nip any problems in the bud, and you will end up with an adult dog entirely of your making. If you get an adult dog, you will have to put up with someone else's ideas of dog ownership, and still have to start training all over again to suit your needs.
It's rather 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. Our 2 older dogs came to live with us when they were about 1'ish. ONe dog was a doddle to train, the second not so. Our 3rd dog came to us at 6 months on the brink of puberty. Totally different set of things to sort out. It might have been easier to have started from scratch with him. Who knows.
Dogs can get used to other animals in the house. One of ours nearly killed a chicken, but these days is relatively safe around the chickens and the ducks. The chicken he got is still alive and well and takes no notice of him. Our dogs have been attacked by cats and are wary of them.

If you are looking out for a dog, one will come your way. So many rescue centres are bursting at the seams and they have a huge variety of dogs. It is a good place to start, and they are good at asking the right questions. All our dogs are second hand, so maybe I'm biased. Before you get a dog, if you are serious, it can be very helpful to go and watch what happens at a local dog training club and talk to the people who go there. And find out who is the local vet. They should have helpful infomation.

I hope you find what you want!!

nervousbride Sun 01-May-11 22:50:01

I tried to adopt rescue dogs but found, from only a couple of days with them, that the story we'd been given about them was wrong - they'd clearly been badly traumatised and were not at all safe around children.

So we decided we had to get a puppy and raise her ourselves.

My only regret is that I kept her apart from our mature cat, because someone scared me by telling me the cat might hurt the puppy's eyes. I kept a stair gate between them for a long time - too long. It meant the dog never learnt proper respect for the cat.

I wish I'd let the cat give her a couple of slaps when she was an impressionable puppy. She was easily quick enough to protect her eyes.

As it is, the dog is only now getting the message (at 3) that the cat doesn't like her. She's wasted hours pestering the cat to play with her, trying to win her over with bones, smelly blankets, chew toys and similar enticements.

The cat just avoided her, so stopped watching telly with us or coming in the same room. We missed her so much we had to start letting her go upstairs (which I never wanted) to be in a dog-free zone.

Next puppy is going to be right in there with the cat from the day she arrives (which I hop will be soon)

Scuttlebutter Mon 02-May-11 00:10:20

Orm, I hope you consider a rescue dog - they come in all shapes and sizes, and ages and colours! And you can get cat/other animal friendly ones too. A reputable rescue will carefully assess the dog before homing it - they will make sure the dog is vet checked, neutered, chipped and wormed, and will provide behavioural support if needed, advice as well as a permanent place of safety should you at any time change your mind/your circumstances change. Many rescue dogs are family pets who are rehomed through no fault of their own - common reasons are divorce, family breakup, emigration, house move, change in working arrangements which are nothing to do with the dog and everything to do with the owners circumstances.

Silent has made some very good points about checking out a local vet (you will be a regular customer, so it makes sense to find one who is close by), and also finding out about training classes - these are a must whether you have a pup or an adult dog. Depending on the type of dog you get, you might also want to think about other dog related activities - there's flyball, obedience, CaniX and lots of others. Have a think about where you will be walking the dog - it makes it very much easier if you've got good parks/open spaces near you. Other things to do in preparation - make sure garden is secure and think about arrangements for when you are not at home/have a day out/go on holiday - check out local dog walkers/kennels etc.

For anyone getting a dog, I'd also recommend a serious think about the finances - you need to budget for food, insurance ( a must, in my view) annual vaccinations, worming, minor vet visits/ailments, grooming/clipping for some breeds, holiday arrangements (good kennels cost a fortune at peak times), bed, leads, collars blush and possibly coats. Depending on travel arrangements, your car will need to be dog proofed - possibly a crate, dog guard or seat belt arrangement/harness depending on size.

It's also essential that every ADULT in the household is signed up and committed to the idea. Although children can be keen/nag interminably - it is not them who pay the vets bill, or generally them who walk the dog on cold, dark February mornings. And if an adult is living in the house and not keen on the idea, there is a very much greater likelihood of the situation breaking down. To be fair, it's important to consider the downsides. They can be very messy, smelly, expensive, will be a tie for up to fifteen years, long after your kids have left home, may well trash your furniture/decor, leave hair everywhere, be a terrible tie, and finally will break your heart into a million pieces when they die.

Knowing all this though, I'm completely addicted/besotted, but just thought it would be fair to mention this. grin

Ormirian Mon 02-May-11 07:31:53

Thanks all.

Scuttle- we have a good vet already for the cats. Re costs, that is something that puts me off a little tbh. One of the cats cost me best part of £60 for her boosters, worming and a pack of frontline! And a cattery when we moved house was bad enough! I am under no illusions when it comes to cost <mutters> but it's not a show stopper.

Kids are all on board but I know that means little in terms of commitment. DH is the main instigator which is ok as he is always good to his word and I know he will take responsibility if I make it clear it will be HIS dog. I am the party pooper currently so in will sit DH down and make clear all the cost implications.

So in conclusion if I explain to the rescue centre they will try to come up with the right dog for us? I have seen the most beautiful White patterdale terrier bitch on one website- 2 yrs old- but I guess temperament is more important than anything else.

DH wants a pup. I need to convince him otherwise...

higgle Mon 02-May-11 08:22:05

Don't forget that there are lots of rescue dogs that no one wants just because they are on the large side and are black - apparently it is the bog standard looking black cross breeds that are finding it difficult to get homes in some places. Although most of us have high aspirations with our dog training skills I can honestly say that our old rescue Staffie has far better manners than either of the 2 that I trained from scratch. Although puppies are lovely if you buy one you are only encouraging the over breeding that is so prevelant. You can get a rescue puppy in some places ( certainly many Tears have them) would that be a possibility?

silentcatastrophe Mon 02-May-11 09:43:05

If temerament is the most important thing, it may be worthwhile going to a rescue centre and talking to the people there. I have mentioned here so many times about our experience with rescue. I had long anticipated that we would come home with a familiar kind of gundoggy dog. But no, they said a perfect match was a collie bitch. I was terrified at the time. That was over 10 years ago and now we have 3 collies and still no gundogs! Rescue centres often have puppies and if you are after a particular breed, they often oblige.

follyfoot Mon 02-May-11 09:51:31

Going with reputable rescue might be the way forward as others have said. The rescue we got our Lab from carefully assesses all its dogs and where possible, has a full history of the dog, including how they are with cats. Potential owners are very carefully matched to appropriate dogs. There is ongoing support once you bring a dog home too.

Just as an aside, when my SiL died, we took on her dog. He was a bugger with cats and chased them all the time. I was petrified of bringing him into her house as we had three elderly cats at the time. We trained him (even though he was 14) not to chase the cats and it worked! There's a great photo of him sitting in his bed snuggled up to one of the cats grin

Scuttlebutter Mon 02-May-11 09:56:48

Just as another point when considering a puppy. Have a look here from today's BBC at the casualties - these are the lucky ones that got out. Notice how the breeds concerned are the popular ones like CKC, Bichon etc. Every time I see a thread raving about getting a pup I feel like putting up some pics of the horrors of puppy farming. And yes, I know there are some reputable breeders out there, but for most families a rescue dog can provide everything you want in a family dog and more, and you won't be contributing to the ongoing and very real problems of puppy farming.

Vallhala Mon 02-May-11 16:02:05

"I tried to adopt rescue dogs but found, from only a couple of days with them, that the story we'd been given about them was wrong - they'd clearly been badly traumatised and were not at all safe around children."

nOT A TYPICAL EXPERIENCE AND NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF MOST RESCUES. i WOULD EXPECT ANY DECENT ONE TO ASSESS, HOMECHECK ETC AND THUS THE PROBLEMS DESCRIBED ABOVE WOULD BE VERY UNLIKELY - CERTAINLY TO HAVE HAPPENED MORE THAN ONCE SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL RESCUE USED AND TBH MAYBE ABOUT THE ADOPTIVE FAMILY BUT NOT ABOUT RESCUE AS A WHILE.

Vallhala Mon 02-May-11 16:08:26

Sorry about cap lock. smile

I completey support all that ScuttleButter's said, particularly that ALL adults must be in favour of having a dog.

Ormirian Mon 02-May-11 18:09:28

LOL! I just thought you MEANT IT VERY SERIOUSLY! grin

We are both keen on having a dog. But I am being a bit more hard-headed than DH.

Scuttlebutter Mon 02-May-11 18:23:37

Orm, if you are (quite rightly, in my view) in the least ambivalent about full time dog ownership there are a number of other options. For instance there's fostering for a rescue - many rescues are glad to find foster homes with cats and children. Fostering can be incredibly rewarding, and deeply satisfying, knowing you are helping a dog find its way to its permanent home. A dog that's been in a foster home is almost always much easier to home than a dog that's stuck in a kennel. Another option is to become a volunteer for the wonderful Cinnamon Trust - they will match you up with an elderly/ill person in your neighbourhood who has a dog, and you walk the dog or sometimes provide foster care for them while owner is in hospital, say. This would be a great thing to do as you form a nice bond with the person concerned and your children can learn about helping others too, as well as enjoying the dog walks. It doesn't have to be a daily commitment (although that is often welcome smile) but is a great way of getting your "dog dose" without ownership.

Oh, and i forgot to mention, when you foster, the charity will pay for your vets bills, etc and will usually provide you with any kit/reimburse if necessary, as well as providing back up and support.

Scuttlebutter Mon 02-May-11 18:25:02

Val, those caps locks are because those hairy trucker hands of yours keep slipping on the keyboard... wink grin

Ormirian Tue 03-May-11 11:00:24

Thanks scuttle. Fostering sounds like a good option but I am not sure DH will go for it. We are still at early days anyway, talking it through.

Can anyone recommend some good rescue orgs in the south-west, specifically Somerset please? I have had a search on the internet but it's very confusing.

SparklyCloud Tue 03-May-11 12:48:03

Look here and search different rescues, by county/dog type etc in drop down menu on right.
Consider your breed thoughtfully.
For example you mention Patterdale terrier...can you commit to at least 1-2 hours off lead exercise per day, as this breed is a working dog and requires that. I have one and let me tell you they go out of their mind if they don't get it.

Look here. Click on a breed you like and it will tell you what threy require ie how much exercise, grooming,lifespan of each. Obviously this only covers pedigrees so your cross breeds and unrecognised breeds (like patterdale!) will not be there but it gives you an idea.

So, say you could not commit to a hyper dog who climbs the walls if it does not get the exercise it needs, choose say, a Pug, which needs less exercise.

I know I keep going on about exercise but let me tell you its one of the biggest thing that upsets me about some dog owners- the lack of understanding of just how important this is. Also leaving dogs alone for too long, thats the other thing. Dogs are pack animals and need company. And a lot of behaviour problems such as barking, chewing, destruction of items in the home, soiling, peeing, scratching can be eliminated by exercising a dog to the level it needs including off lead running, and not leaving the dog for longer than 4 hours by itself.

off my high horse now, good luck!

Elibean Tue 03-May-11 13:21:13

Orm, I've just come back from Somerset - was visiting my cat-mad uncle, who seems to end up re-homing innumerable 'feral' cats and turning them into human-loving kits.

He has had to pass on a litter of kittens to a rescue called 'Happy Landings' at Shepton Mallet, which he praised highly. I think they must be as animal-loving as he is grin They don't have many dogs at the moment, though (I checked!).

There is a rescue in Dorset with a good website too, they have a lot of gorgeous rescue pups atm...think they are 'Dorset Dogs Rescue'.

Good luck!

thegirlwiththemouseyhair Tue 03-May-11 13:37:11

All breeds will have a rescue association - quite often, as with the smooth fox terrier I got as a rescue it's just someone who cares who has a network of breed owners. I was offered two, one 7 year old bitch whose owner had died and a two year old male who had been a show dog but had developed a bone problem that meant he could no longer be shown.
I think it's worth thinking about the reasons why a dog has been put for rescue but it is a lovely thing to bring a dog that needs a home to your home.

PS I went for the male and he was divine.

chickchickchicken Tue 03-May-11 14:20:52

agree all family has to agree to having a dog. its a big commitment. in addition to exercise and training think about the impact on finances and all the extra hoovering daily <purple sofa with white haired dog emoticon> as well as always having to consider another living being when planning days out, holidays etc. wouldnt be without my dogs though smile

second the post re exercise. i have jrts and collie x and commit a lot of time to exercise and training. this is a lifetime commitment and great fun if its what you want to do

my youngest jrt i have had since he was a puppy and he is by far the worse with cats. i disagree that everyone can mould a pup into the adult dog they want. this can mostly be the case but not exclusively. if its something important to you, such as cat friendly, then i would only rehome an adult dog from rescue that has been cat assessed.

of course you get all the benefits from a good rescue - ongoing support, dog properly assessed, neutered, vaccinated, health checked and you are giving a dog a home as well as freeing up a place in rescue. if you go to rescue be honest about what you want so that they can match you with the most suitable dog

good luck

chickchickchicken Tue 03-May-11 14:22:40

sorry cannot recommend any rescues in somerset. hopefully someone will be along later who can recommend a good rescue

Scuttlebutter Tue 03-May-11 16:29:04

Orm try looking up Greyhound Rescue West of England and also South West Sighthounds - both in your area. smile

chickchickchicken Tue 03-May-11 16:50:46

<i will not, i repeat not be tempted to look at scuttle's greyhound rescue west of england tip as last time i did that i wanted another dog/s>

Scuttlebutter Tue 03-May-11 18:13:33

Chick, go on, you know you want to. I am doing the ironing between MNing and all I can see is three upside down greyhounds basking on various beds looking adorable. Definitely one of those "Awwww" moments that make dog ownership worthwhile, and even make up for the tripe I found on our bed last week, thoughtfully placed there as an ornamental "save the date" for a future snack. grin

Actually, I can't look at the Black Beauties website - I either sit there in floods of tears (am still completely soppy after years of doing animal related voluntary stuff - no hope for me) at the oldies or immediately want to bring at least three home. So I do sympathise.

chickchickchicken Tue 03-May-11 21:43:57

i used to work in child protection and saw some harrowing things that will stay with me forever but show me a dog, especially an old/black/injured one, and i fall apart. i cry too blush looking at their pics and actually feel i am being unfair to them if i dont read their stories. cue more crying

grin clever dogs leaving food deposits around the house to rot save for later

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