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Some doggie questions...

(26 Posts)
GrownUpNow Thu 29-Sep-11 19:57:06

Is there an age that you would say your youngest should be before getting a dog? My DS is nearly six, my DD is four on her next birthday. DP would like a (completely unsuitable, so still up for negotiation) dog and I feel the same though less specific about breed. What I want to make sure is that I get the right dog to bring into our family. It will be me doing the majority of care and training, so I want to learn as much as possible before I even start looking at which dog to get.

Would my having physical disabilities affect the kind of dog we get? I can walk forever at a slow steady pace, but sometimes my strength is not great and I couldn't move particularly fast either. I feel big dogs and those requiring loads of exercise to be out of my league, so was thinking something smaller with moderate exercise needs.

We have a relatively big garden and plenty of space downstairs. Looking for an animal which sheds less, just because DD has some allergies and can get quite snotty and weepy around cats and potentially dogs (controlled by cleanliness and antihistamines).

Is it best to get a rescue dog? I don't mind either way, a puppy is cute but I understand a lot of work and commitment, and I know there are many dogs out there needing homes. Can you be breed specific when you follow the rescue dog route?

Where do I go to get even half a clue? Thank you. x

OldBagWantsNewBag Thu 29-Sep-11 20:36:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrownUpNow Thu 29-Sep-11 20:38:19

Oh, he wants a Siberian Husky... which I feel is totally unsuitable for us. So I'm working on persuading him otherwise, which requires info.

toboldlygo Thu 29-Sep-11 20:56:10

No idea about the first bit as I don't have kids, sorry.

As for the rest - I also wouldn't rule out the larger breeds, many of them are slow and lazy don't need much exercise. Greyhounds are, IMHO, the best pet dog for this kind of situation. Many would be content with a 20 minute walk morning and evening (unless it's raining, in which case good luck to you in trying to force them out into the garden for a wee) and will then spend the next 23 hours asleep in bizarre positions on the sofa. Whippets and Italian greyhounds provide a more compact alternative. grin

As well as all the other stuff on the Siberian husky thread having a physical disability would completely rule them out and I'd also not have one around such young children - not because they would ever intentionally harm a child, they are usually very good with kids, but because they would inevitably send them flying completely by accident in one of their manic moments.

I would always recommend rescue over a puppy, even discounting all the ethical issues of breeding puppies when there are dogs in rescue, un-health tested overpriced crossbreed pups, puppy farms etc. it remains that a pup is really hard work, at least partly comparable to having another human baby. Why go through toilet training if you don't have to?!

The majority of pedigree dog breeds will have a rescue association if you have a specific breed in mind (I know there are several greyhound ones all over the country) and places like Many Tears often have pedigree dogs, pups and young dogs. Be prepared for some resistance from the big names (Dogs Trust, RSPCA) as they are very wary of rehoming to families with young children but local independent rescues are often much better in this regard (and tend to have fostered and assessed dogs in the home, rather than in kennels, which I think is vastly preferable).

Vallhala Thu 29-Sep-11 21:01:07

I was just going to say a Greyhound!

Past the puppy stage so no chewing DCs toys, no DC walking through pup poo, little or no training to undertake, most, by nature of their working lives, walk beautifully to heel on a lead and don't require hours of exercise and they are short-coated too.

toboldlygo has put all I wanted to say but was too slow to, perfectly.

DooinMeCleanin Thu 29-Sep-11 21:06:36

The first bit depends very much on the individual child, the dog and the adults. I have never not had a dog and I have had a puppy and a new baby and later a puppy and two small children, but I am slightly mad when it comes to dogs and can cope with pretty much anything they throw at me.

The second one depends very much on the dog, some large dogs would be happy with a gentle, slow stroll, some wouldn't. Same goes for small breed dogs, some would be happy, some not.

And yes rescue is best because they will make sure you are matched with a dog that suits you and your children and will be there to offer full back up and support for the years afterwards.

Siberian Huskies require an experienced, firm handed owner. They need an inoridinate amount of exercise, they can never be let off their lead, they shed like their is no tommorrow and over all are not your average, every-day family pet. They are certainly not a dog I'd reccomend for first time owners with disabilities and a young family, sorry sad They are lovely dogs, but you need to be a husky person. I'd love to be a husky person but have neither the time not the space to accomodate one.

toboldlygo Thu 29-Sep-11 21:12:33

-fistbumps Val-

I'll let you take the next one. wink

That's me, the husky person. You can tell us by the way we casually disregard fashion in our hair-strewn wolef fleeces and walk very forcefully, with a stoop, on account of usually being attached at the waist to a pair of pulling dogs. grin

BehindLockNumberNine Thu 29-Sep-11 21:24:56

Retired greyhound, or something along those lines. I have lying beside me, snoring and farting contentedly, an 18 month old whippet cross. He came from a local small-ish independent Greyhound rescue and he is the nicest, kindest, sweetest, gentlest, even tempered little soul imaginable. He does not pull on the lead, is calm and quiet in the house and in the car, can go off lead happily as has great recall (amazing what training with hotdog sausages can do wink) and is amazing with children. We will have had him 6 weeks on Saturday and I cannot imagine ever being without him. We are all completely smitten.

Rescue dog definately. We told the rescue all about our family, our hobbies, activity levels (not high) our working hours etc and we talked through all the options.

My bil has a Siberian Husky / Northern Innuit cross. Coming up for one year old. A rescue. That dog, whilst lovely, is deranged. It gets lots and lots of exercise (bil even has a special bike harness rig thing) but dog cannot go off lead. It gets lots of training and mental stimulation. But dog still destroys the house, sheds everywhere and is very very demanding. Not a dog for a family with young children imo (bil and sil's dc are 18 and 17 and thus able to cope with this giant bouncy polar bear)

GrownUpNow Thu 29-Sep-11 22:40:52

You know, I didn't mention that I had been researching whippets, but there you all are bringing them up. Not the first people to recommend them to me either. Will need to work on DP for a while to convince him he's backing the wrong breed.

Any good resources for learning the basics about the dogs and their care?

DooinMeCleanin Fri 30-Sep-11 00:03:46

Here I learnt a lot from this forum when I suddenly accquired a Whippet puppy and realised that sighthounds aren't like any other breed of dog and I had no clue how to care for one.

We were meant to hand her over to a rescue once we found a suitaable place <eyes Whippy sleeping on a mountain of pillows and blankets>, that was a year ago grin

They really are wonderfull dogs, the only thing is hounds are addictive, you can't stop at one, you will end up with a sofa full. I had to be talked out of taking in a third (hound, fourth dog) at the weekend blush

LeBOF Fri 30-Sep-11 00:19:04

I have to recommend Cavalier King Charles now- they can enjoy as much exercise as you give them, but are happy to be lazy too, and are just amazing with children and very affectionate.

LeBOF Fri 30-Sep-11 00:21:06

What's not to love? grin

Flamingredhead Fri 30-Sep-11 05:57:22

May I suggest borrowing a dog first . I have my mums 6 month old for the weekend . Ge is often here for the day ,He is lovely and for such youngdog very good kids and him adore each other

But I know and this reminds me why a dog full time is not for us . 5 am wanting to play so I'm up that does not wake anyone else but he keeps looking for the kids

Elibean Fri 30-Sep-11 08:27:23

Re the first bit, I would just say (what I was told!) a rescue dog that is already in foster care with young children is ideal - that way you have specific feedback from the foster carer.

Also, lots of preparation of kids is good - my two are nearly 8 and nearly 5, and I have done a lot of explaining a few rules to them (not to disturb dog EVER when in his crate/bed, or eating, to call dog to them when they want to play with him, etc).

That said, I am about to re-home a 5 month old who is not fostered with children - but my nervous 4 yr old has met him, and he is soppy to the core, and recommended as a family dog by the rescue. If you ask a good rescue for feedback re kids, they will gladly give it.

Good luck, and good for you for getting lots of info ahead of time - very exciting!

MartyrStewart Fri 30-Sep-11 21:58:01

I was going to come and suggest a rescue greyhound - I see I am too late grin

chickchickchicken Fri 30-Sep-11 22:54:40

i have some physical disabilites and have 3 dogs. you do have to bear this in mind when deciding whether to rehome a dog and also with regard to breed/temperament/age. as you say you would be mainly responsible for caring for dog i do think your needs have to be the first consideration and not your dh's preference on breed. for example, if you are having a bad day health wise you need to have a dog that can cope with not doing much until other family members are around to walk dog

i would normally say approach a reputable rescue and go with their advice and not be breed specific. you could still do that but as you also want non shedding i would agree that a rescue greyhound seems ideal

GrownUpNow Sun 02-Oct-11 23:10:10

What is the general consensus on boxers as a breed? DP and I are having trouble agreeing on what would make a good pet for all of us. Whereas I have fallen in love with whippets. However, if we agree on a breed I may be able to get my whippet in there some day so that we have no lonely doggies. I helped a lady out in my teenage years with two boxers and they were big old personalities, really loveable lunatics.

OhMyGolly Mon 03-Oct-11 00:35:30

I do think whippet/greyhounds would be ideal, I have zero experience grin but I really really want a greyhound/whippet/cross of some description, sadly my children are too mental young atm, youngest is nearly 2. OMG that 14 week old greyhound cross, on dogs blog that has been mistreated <shoves fist in mouth> I want it so much, poor little scrap.

OldBagWantsNewBag Mon 03-Oct-11 01:07:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rhinestone Mon 03-Oct-11 01:49:38

For dog's sake, please do not get a husky. They're not a dog, they're a lifestyle. They require AT LEAST 2 hours of exercise a day and it must be brisk long walks and runs too. Preferably you should work them too - dog sledding or ski-joring.

(Also a husky person with the shoulder problems to prove it! toboldlygo will know what I mean!!)

GrownUpNow Mon 03-Oct-11 14:15:59

Don't worry. This is part of my quest to persuade my DP we cannot have a husky, I know we couldn't care for one properly.

HazleNutt Mon 03-Oct-11 14:31:12

google "husky damage", you'll get some more material grin

Ticklemonster2 Mon 03-Oct-11 15:00:26

I had a dog before my little boy, so am used to the daily demands for walks. It's just life for us. We have a collie and live in the country. My dog runs free with us (my son and I) on walks so does twice the distance (runs through woodland along side local lanes). We walk her about 2 hours a day even on work days. She also runs with me cycling.
It's great for our son as he has learned to love outdoor pursuits and sees our dog as part of our family. There are many plus points of having a dog.
I too am disabled. I have a false hip and another which is deformed, but it does not stop me filling my responsibilities to my dog. Infact, the exercise helps. Plus she is great company when I am laid up (rarely).
All I will say is collies shed and shed and shed and shed their coats all over the kitchen floor! Had spaniels before and never had that problem. It is annoying but I just Hoover and sweep and sweep a bit more. She is also the muckiest, dirtiest dog I know. If there is muck or fox shit to find, it's on her (never had that with spaniels either) .
Husky and malamuit breeds shed worse and strictly speaking can not be let off a harness. I looked into having one before my collie. I seriously wanted one as I cycle lots and could easily exercise one. However, all the owners I spoke to said they had severe problems letting theirs off a harness. They are pack dogs and trained to run and run in a striaght line. once off the lead they could, and probably will run off and can run without rest for hours! They are best kept by those who really know the breed and train/compete in appropriate trials ie snow free sledding. They really are a one man dog and not the best family breed.
Our dog costs about £60 per month and rarely needs the vets attention. She guards our house and our son and we wouldn't be without her. The one down side, the thing I dread, is consoling my son when she eventually goes.....
On breeds. Well, collies are unpredictable. Not mine, by I have seen some that are nuts. Boxers can destroy your house and can be nasty. I have great experience of spaniels, both working and domestic. They don't shed too much and you can't keep them clipped. Crossing poodle with spaniel is popular (called a spoodle I think) as they don't shed and are more hardy health wise than the, sometimes, overbred spaniel.
All I can advise is to make sure that come rain, shine, ice and snow, good health, bad health, and overtime at work you have at least an hour a day to walk your dog. If you can't be sure of that, give it a little more though. Good luck x

GrownUpNow Mon 03-Oct-11 16:06:27

I would definitely have in excess of an hours walking a day as I do school runs and then walk for pleasure and to maintain my fitness already, plus we are near a big field for playing ball and learning recall and the like, and we have several local woodland walks on our backdoor for SQUIRRELS. Sorry, grin... I can't help that... lol.

I spoke to DP last night, just saying to him... how about we go to rescue centre and have a look for an adult dog that has experience in a home with children and just see who we fall in love with... and he agreed that could be an option. He's slowly coming around now... I know we won't have the dog for at least six months, so there's plenty of time for me to work on him.

I'm getting quite excited about the idea of having a dog, already researching ways to introduce the dog to the family, what sort of things we'll need to look after one, where I can go for training and walks. We used to look after dogs when I was a teen for the single soldiers sent away on active duty... we had a delightful loony springer spaniel, a personality and a half rhodesian ridgeback (with a massive belly and who used to smile at you and sneeze with excitement when you came in the door) and two boxers who just bounced always.

Ticklemonster2 Wed 05-Oct-11 09:56:00

Excellent. Sounds like you would make a great family for a dog. I took my dog to agility classes in the first to years which really focused her training and great exercise for you too. We were surprised at how fantastic at it she was. Definitely something to look into as your children would find it great fun and really rewarding.
We planned having a dog for a year before we bought her (form a farm in north Devon). It was hard work at first as she was only 8 weeks but such fun. However, as a child we also had a rescue dog who was equally fun.
Sounds like you are ideally situated too. Those squirrels give endless hours of fun. My dog chases them for a passed time, but never follows them up the right tree! Good luck x

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