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Considering becoming a dog owner, advice pls...

(18 Posts)
Doggonecrazy Tue 18-Feb-14 20:08:55

We are considering getting a small dog, preferable one that would be on the low shedding list and that would be suited to sharing a house with a 6 year old DC. We are only in the early stages of research but I have a couple of questions.
I don't work and plan on walking the dog up to an hour early morning around 8am. If I then want to be out for 2 or 3 hours, would this be a reasonable amount of time to leave the dog alone? Would I be able to leave it outside in a kennel (heated maybe)?
I have heard of people putting the dogs bed in a crate, would that be acceptable say overnight?
Any suggestion on breed would be welcome too. Thks

Varya Tue 18-Feb-14 20:10:19


Blistory Tue 18-Feb-14 20:17:00

2 to 3 hours probably ok but depends on dog.

No to kennel in general, even heated. Dogs get stolen, they escape, so much better inside and safer for all.

Crating highly recommended by many - it's important that the dog sees it as it's den and not as a cage.

Do you have particular concerns about having a dog inside on it's own ? This can be resolved with use of stair gates, crates etc.

Breed less important than individual personality so impossible to recommend. Rescue dog might be better as a decent rescue will 'know' the dog and could give you a better idea as to suitability.

What do you want from a dog, other than the practical issues of small, low shedding and capable of being left ? What can you offer a dog other than food and shelter ? The answers to those questions will dictate the nature of the dog best suited to you.

Doggonecrazy Tue 18-Feb-14 20:28:40

There are a few reasons we want a dog. My DC loves animals and is very keen on having a dog. I'm keen to nuture DC interest as as a young adult it is likely they will need an assistance dog.
I'm also keen to encourage us to spend more time outside and have more exercise. I really need to get fitter for medical reasons and I feel a walking companion would help with this.
My DH has had lots of dogs over the years and is very keen although as he works i will be the main carer.
It's unlikely a dog could be stolen where we live, would it be cruel to leave a dog outside for 3 hours?
We did for a couple of years have a very large, chewing everything in site, hairy dog which I would like to avoid if possible. Although we loved him the constant hair over everything was a pain!

moosemama Tue 18-Feb-14 20:47:48

If you are considering getting a puppy, it's worth bearing in mind that you won't be able to walk it for an hour or leave it for very long at first. Even a rescued adult will need to be gradually introduced to being left at home alone for periods of time.

I do think crate training, if done properly (and there's a lot of advice on how to do this online) would be preferable to kennelling.

Obviously I don't know where you live, but dogs are stolen from all over the place every day and small, appealing, easy-to-carry dogs are often favoured.

If your dc is likely to need an assistance dog later, depending on what sort of assistance dog, have you considered contacting Dogs for the Disabled and asking their advice? I believe they run a programme where they will help to train up the family dog, as long as it's suitable, so it may be worth getting their advice/perspective.

Blistory Tue 18-Feb-14 20:54:30

Family companion and being left outside alone for 3 hours aren't really compatible. Most dogs tend to prefer one or the other.

I have a big hairy beast who loves to be outside as indoors is too warm for her but she'd hate it if the door was shut or I just left her there. Smaller dogs might struggle even with a heated kennel.

One of the problems is if someone comes on to your property, even with a legitimate reason - can you guarantee they would be safe or that they wouldn't let the dog out by mistake ?

If it's a dog suitable for being trained as an assistance dog, have you thought about speaking to the relevant charities and asking them about why they choose the breeds they do ? I appreciate that you don't necessarily need an assistance dog at the moment but they probably have better insight into what you could be looking at to get DC used to dog ownership .

How about visiting Discover Dogs to speak to breeders and get an idea for what you'd like. If I were you, I think I'd seriously consider a poodle as they come in different sizes, are intelligent, low shedding but they might be too high energy and I know the grooming can put some off. I met one at the beach and was amazed by how wonderful it was with its autistic owner and yet wouldn't have considered one myself.

And given that you've posted in the Doghouse, I'll throw in the idea of a greyhound - I know they are large but they tend to be clean, curl up small, and could cope with your walks without being on the go constantly. Not hairy. They would be better off inside however.

Doggonecrazy Tue 18-Feb-14 20:57:56

Thank you for your advice. Will rethink the kennel, maybe just could have one for summer when we are all in the garden etc.
Thank you for the info on Dogs for the Disabled, this is something very much for the future and I would want my DC to make their own decision on whether this would be what they need etc.
I understand the dedication I would need to take on a puppy and won't do it lightly!
Anyone got any suggestion on breed? Miniature Poodle, Mini Shnauzer, bichon frise?

nuttymutty1 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:01:21

You can train your own dog to be an assistance dog with the help of Dog aid link here Although their books are full at the moment but many of the trainers involved in Dog aid can also help your privately.

Just thinking that the dog you get know could be used to help your son and also be a pet - would that effect your choice of dog?

I would never leave a dog kennelled in the garden.

Doggonecrazy Tue 18-Feb-14 21:07:40

I really appreciate all your honest advice. I'm really looking for a family dog rather than an assistance dog at the moment. Would be wonderful though if my DC and dog became good friends!
My DC may decide on a guide dog in the future although a cane is likely to be adequate for their needs. Have a feeling if their complete and utter love for animals continues, a guide dog may be sort even if not needed! If not my DH will be pushing for one!!!

Doggonecrazy Tue 18-Feb-14 21:10:14

Nutty, I didn't know you could train your own dog as an assistance dog. Yes, could be an excellent idea. Will have a good read. Thanks. I'm thinking poodle, although my DH looked horrified when I mentioned poodles!! Ha

nuttymutty1 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:11:34

now sorry!

nuttymutty1 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:13:38

Poodles are fab bright clever intelligent dogs and would be good for some kinds of assistant work. It would of course depend on the disability.
But poodles come in many sizes smile

Blistory Tue 18-Feb-14 21:13:47

Poodles are underrated IMO, especially by men. The extreme poodle cuts aren't necessary and they tend to be more robust than they look.

Super intelligent as well in my experience.

nuttymutty1 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:18:53

I blame a poodle for my love of dogs - it was a neighbours dog and she had two called Rene and Pierre. I loved Rene and dreamed of running away to join the circus with her as she let me teach her so many tricks, she was fantastic and I owe it to her to be in the profession I am now

Sorry got sidetracked grin

Poodles don't have to have pink collarssmile They do need quite a bit of exercise though and some mental stimulation.

moosemama Tue 18-Feb-14 21:19:49

I think a Poodle would be perfect, all the Poodles I've ever met have been real bright sparks, so quick to learn and really enjoy working.

Doggonecrazy Tue 18-Feb-14 21:25:54

Rene and Pierre!!! On my word, my DH would faint with shock! What size, thinking a miniature rather than a toy? My DH likes minature schaunzers?

nuttymutty1 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:30:00

I've got it. Get a puppy poodle tell DH its a schaunzer then get it cut into a schaunzer cut - he will never knowgrin. You can even call him Bonzio smile the puppy that is not DH shock

Doggonecrazy Tue 18-Feb-14 21:41:01

Nutty, I could probably get away with that! Thank you Mama and Blist, will start researching Poodles :-) Hope it works out, it could make a big difference to us.

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