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Getting a dog

(56 Posts)
ILikeToClean Tue 15-Jan-13 21:24:27

I've been stalking the doghouse for over a yr, after reading all the pros and cons we've decided to get a dog. Our set up is me, dh, 2 dd's (10 and 8 yo), have the space for a medium size dog, I work 2 days a wk but PILs come over to look after dd's so dog would be left for maybe 5 hours, so have looked into a dog walker to perhaps come in on those 2 days around lunchtime, depending on dog and their needs. Dh would walk dog before and after work on those days. Main issue is we have a 15 yo cat who is v chilled out but has only ever met one dog (a dachsund who was the same size!), she was curious but not fussed. I have figured out where dog and cat will go in the house, got my head around the extra cleaning and work involved, basically thought of nothing else for ages, and think I've got everything covered! We're looking at a rescue dog rather than puppy, i'll take time off once we get dog, so will dh, just wondering if we need to think about anything else? I know it's a big decision so I guess I just some reassurance we are doing the right thing! Sorry for long post! Any more advice?

ILikeToClean Wed 16-Jan-13 16:48:36

I ring but they just don't pick up. Not to worry, once the time comes I will really focus all my efforts on to it. Do you think I should just focus on one rescue or lots of different ones?

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 16:58:42

I think it depends what type of breed you want. I know the experts on here say that if you know what type of breed you want it's usually best to contact a breed specific rescue as they have home checkers all over the country usually, but it depends whether you know or not what you want.

ILikeToClean Wed 16-Jan-13 18:07:06

Therein lies the next search! Thanks for all your advice, much appreciated.

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 18:09:29

Just have a good think about what you want, what you have time for, what you do as a family etc without looking at breeds and what they look like. Just write a list of what you do now and how a dog could fit into that and how you envisage, after training and being loved, a dog will compliment your life and how you will enrich theirs (god that sounds soppy) but it's best to do that first and then after the hard work of training, or ongoing training, everyone including the dog is happy

sookiesucksvamps Mon 21-Jan-13 11:15:37

How are getting on with your search? Don't let your cat be a deciding factor, we put off getting a dog for years for this reason. In the end a lovely lady I was caring for sadly died leaving behind a 3 year old morkie. The family were going to take it to the local animal shelter but I had got to know her so well I decided to adopt her instead. I was so worried about our cat but needn't have because as I type this they are lay next to each other curled up on my bed. I really can work sometimes. I just wanted you to hear a positive outcome to balance it out. Good luck x.

ILikeToClean Mon 21-Jan-13 14:21:29

Hi Sookie, thanks for the reassurance re the cat/dog situation. My cat saw my friend's dog again this weekend and was fine again, just curious rather than stressed, so hopefully it will work. I haven't done any more searching as I cannot get a dog until the end of February, due to dh travelling a lot in January so am resisting looking at sites for the moment. Dh has thrown a spanner in the works though, saying the only type of dog he would really love is a labradoodle, you don't tend to get many of those as rescues! I know there are a lot of strong opinions on here about them too, although I have done some research and they are lovely! We'll see....

LadyTurmoil Mon 21-Jan-13 14:55:15

Re DH and a Labradoodle, there's no denying that they are lovely, however you will pay about £600-750 for one if you get from a breeder, then you'll have to have a puppy, which you didn't want. It's rather a myth that they are non-shedding etc, it depends on which parent they take after etc (others will know more than me). There are lots of lovely "mutts" in rescue who will suit you down to the ground. But I would start looking now and register your interest with a few shelters. Also, it seems that a lot of men want a "macho" dog and won't go for anything smaller because (I reckon) they don't seem "manly" enough. Well, a friend of mine now has a very boisterous Golden Retriever. She is a lovely dog but very strong and chunky. DH is at work all day (although he does take out dog in evenings and weekends). They've only done a short course of training, dog pulls strongly on lead so children can't take her out alone, my friend had to let go of the lead on a recent occasion because dog pulled her so strongly, dog ran out to road, cue screeching of brakes etc etc. Luckily, no-one was hurt and dog was OK but I would really think about a suitable size/type for your family, especially if you and your children are going to be doing the lion's share of the work with the dog. Smaller dogs can be easier just because their size makes it less likely that the above scenarios will happen (obviously my friend should be doing a lot more training than she is but, as she didn't really want a dog and was bullied into it by DH and kids, she isn't really interested in investing the time unfortunately). I worry that this dog will get to be a real handful when it's in the teenage phase and something nasty will happen. SORRY FOR LENGTH!

ILikeToClean Mon 21-Jan-13 16:44:21

LadyT - thanks for your post. I wasn't totally against a puppy, just think I am a bit terrified that I won't know what I am doing (although I am the kind of person who will research it 100% as you can imagine!) and I KNOW they are a lot of work, but again if I do something I commit to it 100% and not give up. DH's reasons are he wants his "own" dog that he has chosen, that we can bring up in the way we want, it would be better for the cat and I believe he would be more willing to put in the work with a puppy that he actually chose rather than a rescue, iyswim. I am sure that makes him sound really bad but his attitude is, if that is the breed I want, then why can't I have that? He mentioned wanting labradoodles on our first date - 12 years ago! He would be happy to get a rescue, he is willing to go to training classes and do his share, and seems far more enthusiastic when I talk about them rather than any other dogs. Problem is I have contacted the Labradoodle Trust several times and heard nothing back. I think we would go for a miniature one rather than a full size labradonkey! Tbh, it is driving me crazy constantly thinking about it all, rescue or puppy, which breed, etc etc!! Think I need to step away from the Doghouse for a while and take a deep breath, sure I will get flamed in any case for even mentioning buying a puppy!!

ILikeToClean Mon 21-Jan-13 16:46:22

Oh, and I don't think it's a macho thing, he also likes tiny pugs and always says if we got one he would call it "ugli pugli" - it is me too that prefers bigger dogs in general.

LadyTurmoil Mon 21-Jan-13 18:03:04

It's all a bit mind-boggling, isn't it? You may want to take a break from thinking about and then return with perhaps a clearer view. Of course, you DO find puppies in rescues too, either they've been dumped or the mother has come in pregnant. I don't think you have to be embarrassed about wanting to buy, it's just that there are so many bad breeders, or people that pretend to be a "nice" family with a litter of dogs to sell, when in fact the puppies been shipped in the day before from a puppy farm, and the family pretend to have raised them from birth. I also don't think it's wrong to want a certain breed, we all have our particular preferences but you WILL pay so much more for this kind of "designer" breed, when other less popular combinations will be just as lovely and not nearly so expensive. Which part of the country are you in? People might know of good rescues/breeders near to you that they can recommend...

LadyTurmoil Mon 21-Jan-13 18:09:58

What about Charles? Not a pug or labradoodle but rather sweet!

ILikeToClean Mon 21-Jan-13 23:12:06

OMG Lady, he is gorgeous! Showed him to dh who just said yeah, he looks nice, just get what you want then, I don't mind whatever we do" - his way of saying I'm getting bored of these conversations now! I'm boring myself tbh so probably boring everyone else! Totally confused. I do feel guilty not getting a rescue dog as there are so many lovely ones out there, even puppies, I know. There are pros and cons to both aren't there? My friend has a puppy who is now 10 months and the most well behaved placid dog ever, they really haven't had to work too hard on it all, she is left and fine, not destructive and well trained (luck probably!), another friend drove to a rescue 400 miles away and picked up a 2 yo golden retriever who was being relentlessly bred from. She has been really good and placid with them and their youngsters but they really don't know her history and what she has been through and whenever they have any young children around who aren't in the family she wees everywhere and gets stressed, she hasn't been aggressive but you just don't know what might happen. Not that my dds are really young but dh is worried that we might not get the whole history or might be fobbed off. Think dh and I need to have a good chat about exactly what we both want and his reasons. I really don't mind whatever we do, I accept that I will be the one doing most of the work (which is fine) and most of the research (fine too), whichever way we decide, but I just cannot decide! Aarrrgh! I should rename myself TotallyBoringaboutDogs, shouldn't I! Thanks for your help though - in Essex btw.

Paddlinglikehell Tue 22-Jan-13 08:57:16


I have been following your thread and firstly would like to say how brilliant it is that you have really thought about the reality of getting a dog. Any dog you have will be with you a long time and have a big impact on your lifestyle, a lot of people don't think about that.

However, I think you can also 'over think' things too much too, you have managed to bring up two children, a dog is not dissimilar and from what I have read here, you will be fine, so stop stressing!

Don't discount a younger dog, or even a puppy from rescue ( please don't go and buy one specifically from a breeder, there are too many unwanted ones out there that need you!). A puppy is hard work initially, but if you invest time and effort in the first 6 months, you will get a great result, and puppy doesn't mean 8 weeks old, lots come into rescue 16 week - 6 month period, because they are not being clean, still nipping and no longer cute, these dogs are ideal, because with the right input, a dog this age is extremely trainable and you are half way through the worst of it!

Do keep in touch with the Dogs Trust, they literally have dogs in day by day and the younger, good with kids and cats go very quickly. It sounds great to take on an older dog, but your otherhalf is right in that you don't know what you are getting. Most people when handing an older dog into rescue, do not give the full truth. I say 'most' because there are some genuine ones. Your lack of experience and the fact you have younger children around, would make me cautious of placing an older dog with unknown history.

If you are not sure what size or breed, can I suggest you take a visit to and wander around Discover Dogs, see the size of some of the breeds, chat to the owners, most of whom will be involved with breed rescue, find out what these dogs are like to live with and then you will get an idea of the sort of traits that may come through in any cross that you are thinking of.

Can I also suggest that you invest in Perfect Puppy or Puppy School by Gwen Bailey, both books have a lot of common sense and advice for anyone taking on a young dog.

P.S. personally I think taking some time off and settling a dog in is a brilliant idea, makes sure that you do teach the dog it can be left alone in that time and before you return to work you get your dog used to the hours it will be left - but that is common sense and you seem to have that anyway!

Best of luck, it is fun and hard work [she says with 13 wk old puppy flaked out in his bed beside her]. But I don't regret it one minute!

Marne Tue 22-Jan-13 14:05:11

We got our rescue pup last week. We have a cat and another dog who were best friends so thought introducing another dog would not be a problem. I was wrong sad, the cat will not come down from upstairs, i have to go and get it and put him outside, when he comes back in he goes straight upstairs to hide, i didn't expect him to be like this at all as he would happily curl up and sleep next to my other dog so now i feel a little guilty.

ILikeToClean Tue 22-Jan-13 14:59:54

Paddling - thanks for your comments, you are totally right, I do over think, it's part of my OCD tendencies - lol! I will be fine, when I was pregnant I had never even held a baby before and thought it was going to be the hardest thing ever, and actually, found it a lot easier than I thought. I am looking forward to owning and training a dog, even though I know it will be life changing and hard work. But thanks for saying it! I have seen so many recommendations for the Gwen Bailey book so that will be a must!

Update is had a long chat with dh last night, he really does want a puppy, a labradoodle and that is that. Makes me feel guilty about all the dogs in rescue but it is his decision too (!) and I have to consider him in this (! again!). So I guess now I have to look for a responsible breeder! I know I know what people will say about this, but I know we are responsible people and will be good owners as long as we take the time to find a good breeder. Had a look this morning but a minefield, lots of swanky websites but seems a bit iffy to me to ask for a £300 deposit to just go on a waiting list, non refundable too! So the search continues...if anyone knows a good miniature doodle breeder not too far from me shout! I might put that on another post actually, although might get flamed.

Paddling - just seen a pic of your puppy, absolutely gorgeous! How is it all going?

Marne - do you think the cat has just got the hump that not only did you bring one dog into the house, but you had the nerve to then bring another? Perhaps he is just showing off and will calm down, I am sure that is the case if he is fine with the other dog. Hope it sorts itself out, it's early days.

Thanks all.

needastrongone Tue 22-Jan-13 16:39:09

Iliketoclean - just wanted to offer my support, I am similar to you, dc's are 13 and 11, first time dog owners and I over think everything too (I also like to clean, this snow is a blessed relief from muddy paws!)

We had the same decisions you did re puppy and rescue and thought hard and long before we chose. We chose a Springer puppy from 'A Breeder' (after reams and reams of careful research, waiting lists, 'interviews', knowledge of hip scores etc, but still a breeder, albeit who breeds only once from their dogs and only when they wish to keep a puppy).

Harry is 13 weeks now and has brought us so much joy and happiness! He has been nowhere near as nippy and bonkers as I thought, he's easy to train, sleeps through and prety much always has done, clean from 10 weeks etc, fine in his crate. DH has mental health issues and is a workaholic who runs his own business, it has transformed him. He just switches off when he gets home, is home at a reasonable hour and loves every minute he spends with the dog.

All that aside, I wouldn't want NOT to tell you that it's hard work too, even given all this above and I am glad to see the DC when they get in from school so they can play a bit too. In fact, DS who is shy and quiet is totally transformed too I might mention. Even though he's not insane (!), he's still energetic and needs a lot of stimulation, training and even now two good off leash walks a day plus garden play and more training. However, we are trying to get out what we put in, so to speak, as Paddling mentions. he would probably be fine with less love and attention!

It's a bit like having the DC as young children again - you love them to pieces, but you are still glad when the are in bed!!

You might start a debate about a responsible breeder of Labradoodles though, the first question I got asked when I posted that we were getting a Springer puppy was why hadn't I got a rescue? I did answer the question but, actually, I KNOW we will love this dog to death and give him all that he needs and much more so perhaps I shouldn't have justified where I got him from.

I have a list of books from my kindle that I have picked up from tips here in The Doghouse, Gwen Bailey is a great read but I have loads of clicker training and other positive training books recommended on here that I can post?

needastrongone Tue 22-Jan-13 16:49:03

I did have a lot of people who didn't question our choice though and have received tons of wonderful support and advice, plus I lurk and get tips too!!!

LadyTurmoil Tue 22-Jan-13 18:43:23

needastrongone it's so wonderful to read about the positives that having a dog has brought your family. I love that your DH can "switch off" and enjoy the time with dog/family now, that's really great grin

Iliketoclean As I said in an earlier post, I don't think you should feel bad about getting dog from a breeder - just that you find a good, responsible one. You and DH have to be happy with your decision - someone on here might be able to give you some leads about breeders if you ask. Very good luck in your search.

ILikeToClean Tue 22-Jan-13 21:39:24

Needastrong one - It warmed my heart to read your story, what a positive thing the puppy has been, especially for your dh. Seems like it has brought you all together, which is lovely. I definitely agree that putting a lot in in the early days will reap benefits later on, bit like having children though, teach them what you want from them at a young age and it pays off! Heard great things about clicker training (for the puppy, not dds, although maybe for dh as well?!), so would love some recommendations on what you read. Looked at your pic, he is adorable!

LadyTurmoil - thanks for your support. We are definitely looking into breeders now, have emailed one and she has come back to me already, but has concerns about my working 2 days. As I told her, I have already emailed a dog walker to see if she would come in and play/stimulate a puppy at lunchtime and then graduate to walking once the puppy needed more exercise (bit premature to ask but you know I like to be organised!), dog walker said it would work and she would love to help us "bring up" our puppy, but this did not seem good enough for the breeder! Have emailed her again reiterating the fact and that Dh and I are planning on being around for the first 8 weeks that we got a puppy, me taking a couple of weeks off and him taking the 2 days per week I work for a few weeks, so puppy would be 16+ weeks then, with us gradually getting him used to being alone, and then dog walker would step in so realistically pup would be left for about 2.5 hours max, just 2 days per week! I don't think that is too bad, not all dog owners are at home all the time! Lets see what she says and if she will let us have one - they are due in March. As I said, it is good she is asking questions but I think I have it covered already, as is me!!

LadyTurmoil Tue 22-Jan-13 22:52:06

ILikeToLean You're amazingly organised and you like to clean - what a combination!! It's great that you've already found a breeder and dog walker options, you could also contact the Labradoodle Rescue again (or were they the ones that never phoned back?) and ask them if they can recommend some reputable breeders. March would be a good time, by the time they're 8 weeks old, it would be good (well, maybe) weather so you won't be standing out in the freezing cold when you're housetraining the pup. Good luck and keep being organised - it's obviously working smile

ILikeToClean Wed 23-Jan-13 17:45:31

Thanks Lady, you describe me in a kind way, I would call myself an obsessive control freak!! I looked on the Labradoodle Trust website and found another breeder who is a lot nearer to us, emailed her and amazingly, her bitch was mated at the weekend and she has asked us if we would like to come and meet her and her family and the 3 dogs she has, even though there are no pups or anything as yet, so I thought that seemed like a good sign that her dogs are reared at home and she has nothing to hide! We are going at the weekend, will give us an idea of the size and temperament of the mum-to-be and get to know the breeder a bit more, this is her first litter. The other breeder I mentioned seems very thorough but think it is more of a "business" as she seems to have lots of dogs and "viewing days" - and the pups are £1200!! Even dh baulked at that price! So think we will decide at the weekend, either way I think we should have a pup by May, both litters born in March so will be a lovely time to get them, as you say.

Thanks to you and everyone else again for all your help and suggestions, and for putting up with my veering between options! Sure I will be back for more tips!

LadyTurmoil Wed 23-Jan-13 23:55:12

Bloody hell £1200!!!! That's a lot of money, that would go a way towards a nice holiday! Sounds good that the breeder you talked to invited you to meet her even though she hasn't got anything to sell at the moment and you will see the dogs. Convenient that it's closer too. The first breeder does sound a lot more of a business which would turn me off a little, but I suppose, cynically, the first breeder could look more touchy feely but it's still a business... you'll have to see what sort of vibe you get when you visit. Wonder how much she charges? Good luck smile

ILikeToClean Thu 24-Jan-13 13:55:53

It's an obscene amount of money, yes! But I guess we would not be going on a holiday this year if we got one anyway! Think I am going to have to go on my gut instinct after the weekend. Thanks, will keep you updated.

Paddlinglikehell Thu 24-Jan-13 16:08:28

Try Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. They have quite a lot of Poodle crosses for training and if they don't make it for various reasons, they are rehomed to the public, they could be younger dogs rather than puppies too.

I wouldn't pay that much for what effectively is a cross breed - no wonder people are breeding dogs sad.

ILikeToClean Thu 24-Jan-13 17:13:56

At work at the moment (so should not be on mn!) but will check out their website, presume they have one. Thanks.

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