Need advise... am I mad??(34 Posts)
We have always wanted a dog in the family, 2 big Dd's have left or vitually left home, youngest Dd is 11 and either heading for Secondary school or Home Ed in September.
Dp works shifts and I work part time at the moment.
We are very active and spend lots of time outdoors and camping.
I think we are at the right time to bring a dog into the family and we have been to Dogs Trust to have a mooch. It seems that we all prefer bigger dogs and I particularly like lurchers although Dp likes german shepherds.
Do you wise dog owners think we are insane? Should we go for something smaller ? We have a large ish house and a medium sized garden and an amazing park 5 minutes drive away?
I wouldn't get a lurcher as a first dog tbh - they can be v unpredictable off lead.you would want something calmer imo.
Yeah we had been told that furlined. The lady at dogs trust said we would have to keep it on a long lead.
I guess letting a dog off the lead would be important but the park near us is so massive I would be worried about losing any dog TBH.
It is so hard to know what breed or mix would be best for us. We definitely dont want a puppy!!
Hmm, I grew up around labs, they are great and easy to train I suppose. Dont know where we would find a slightly older lab though! Do you?
Rescue greyhounds! They make lovely first dogs and don't need as much exercise as you'd think, total couch potatoes!
Not sure where you are in the country, but Guide Dogs rehome all sorts.
Labs, Grets, GSDs, all manner of crosses from the three.
Some can be little more than a year/18 months, failing to make it through basic or advanced training. These dogs will have been socialised within an inch of their lives so are usually very well balanced, some can be a tad hyper/immature and are withdrawn as it's difficult to say if it's worth continuing the training to see IF they do settle, some just decide the life of a working dog is not for them....one I know of passed all training with flying colours,got matched up with a new owner, but within 6 months had decided it was not for him and refused to work.
Others can be retired...maybe 8, 9, 10 and some are retired earlier....the first one we puppywalked is having knee issues, and is off on the sick :D getting fixed up, but his GDO (guide dog owner) will probably be ready for a new dog by the time M is better so they may well retire him instead. And he is just 7.
We have two labs, both yellow (NOT called golden Labradors - they are yellow, chocolate, black or red) and adore them.
One thing though that we didn't expect is the moulting. We have to Hoover 5 times a day!!! Don't underestimate the amount of fur they lose a day!!
If you can cope with that and the 1-2 hours exercise a day, then do it and you won't regret it!!! [Smile]
We have a lurcher and he is totally lovely, and goes off lead fine, in the park, on hills and in the woods.
He's happy to walk for miles and miles (ran 14km with me the other day on lead, runs free when we walk for 4 hours), but equally is happy with two short 10 min outings a day then snoring the rest of the day on the sofa.
EGLR often have young lurchers looking for new homes - ours was 6 months and a failed hare courser. They put dogs as they come in on their FB page, and all are fostered so they really know their dogs
If you are getting an older dog and want to take it camping its best to try and get one that has been crate trained ,as I assume that that's what campers keep their dogs in overnight .
I don't know much of the other breeds but I do have two gsds so may be able to help a little.
As a breed they are pretty fantastic. Very loyal, loving and easily trainable. Mine are loving and cuddly- nothing like the media would portray. They are great with the kids and cats and I have taken mine everywhere with me, they even come to work on occasion. They very rarely leave my side. I got my biggest dog (50kg) as my first dog and managed fine with help although it was a huge learning curve and with hindsight something easier like a lab may have been better as a first dog!
They do have a protective instinct and will most definitely want to protect your home and family. I found it hard to train this out of them but it can be done. Mine would not bite but do bark/look intimidating until I tell them it's ok and then they go back to being normal. They are generally aloof with strangers and prefer the company of the family to people on a walk etc...with the children they are lovely and are devoted to them- they will try and herd them back if they go to far!
Mine could walk for hours! However are equally as happy with a 30min ball throwing session. They spend the majority of the day asleep in front of the fire until there is a job to be done. They love camping but be prepared for the inevitable public hating if this is the breed you decide on. People seem to be terrified of mine and will cross a main road to get away despite my dogs not caring a jot about anyone else but me. There mere presence is enough to stop people visiting.
If you are antisocial like me though this could be a positive ;)
I would say they are not a breed for the faint hearted. They shed ALOT of hair. Everything I own is covered.
Common problems are things like separation anxiety (they do not like to be separated from the family!) and under socialised nervous dogs. 40kg is a lot of dog to be out of control hence I would say you would need to be quite dog savvy to manage.
The breed also has a number of health issues including CDRM, hip and elbow dysplasia and spinal problems.
Sorry...not really selling the breed but I have seen so many in rescue that people underestimate the needs of and it's such a shame! I wouldn't have anything else though!
German shepherd rescue is fab at placing the right dog with the right family but I would go meet a few if you are seriously considering it just to get an idea of the sheer size/strength of dog you are taking. You could always borrow mine if you are up north!
Hopefully this has helped a little and I hope you find the perfect breed for you!
Thanks so much for all the ideas. We will do some more research over the weekend
Have a look at Labrador rescues in your area....my sister lives in kent and very easily found one that I think is local-ish to her.
I don't think size is an issue....I grew up with Labs, but our first family dog we have got with our kids is a giant (but a small giant).....we did a huge amount of research, breed temperament, exercise needs, mental stimulation.......though are the things you need to be looking at. Harder with a rescue dog, but a rescue should have assessed the dog and be able to answer many of those questions.
Weetabix looks lovely. Many Tears have loads of dogs, many are ex-breeding dogs who need to be homed with other dogs in the family.
google to find your local rescues, go and have a chat with them and then, hopefully, they'll contact you if a suitable dog comes in. It might take a while but it'll be worth it. Many smaller rescues have their dogs in foster homes so are used to a home environment and can be assessed as regards other dogs/cats/children etc.
Just to add that not all lurchers are nutty - I'm seeing a friend on Saturday who has two. They are whippet crosses and utterly adorable, with good recall, excellent manners and two of the most delightful dogs you will ever meet. My friend works in a residential home, and her two dogs go to work with her, and are very much loved by the residents. She also fosters and has a gorgeous collie x lurcher in at the moment - he is a young dog who is responding to training brilliantly and will be able to come off the lead when he goes to his forever home, and has polished his recall with his new owner. He is good with DC, and we'll be taking him to the pub with us on Saturday, where he'll get on brilliantly with our dogs and be good as gold lying under the table waiting for a spare chip to come his way.
You can see him here. EGLR are an excellent rescue - I would recommend them wholeheartedly.
Just to add that while finding a good rescue is an important first step, everyone I know with a good, well behaved adult dog is that way because they have gone to classes and practiced the basic skills such as recall, loose lead walking, controlled greeting etc.
Labs are lovely but I can think of nothing more hellish quite frankly than a great big cannonball of Lab enthusiasm that hasn't been channelled via training. You also don't want to be one of those dog owners that other people write AIBU posts about!!
Every area will have training classes where you can do basics like KC Good Citizen Bronze Award - it's really good fun, lots of classes encourage DC to come as well if you like, and it strengthens the bond between you and your dog amazingly.
A well behaved dog is simply much, much nicer to live with, less stressful, safer and easier for your wider friends/family to interact with.
Yeah, we are definitely up for training. We would have lots of time to spend with whatever dog we end up with.
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