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Seriously considering getting a dog, have a pro and con list, advice on the cons please

(60 Posts)
Mercythompson Mon 11-Aug-14 19:04:15

Dh has wanted a dog for a long time, the boys (4 and 6) would love one, I have been the holdout.

We went on holiday and met a lovely west highland terrier and are now seriously considering it. I have a con list and I was wondering if you could tell me if those cons are deal breakers and what I haven't thought of.

Pros first:
We have a big house (relatively)
100ft garden, totally enclosed
I am a SAHM who has a small business that I run from home, that takes 2/3 hours a day.
I walk the boys to school and back, so about 2 hours walk a day.
The boys would absolutely love it
DS1 has high functioning ASD and it might help him socialize, with his emotions etc, I think, (I do know that its a MIGHT)


I have never had a dog before - DH had one as a child, and I don't really know what I am getting myself into.
Its a HUGE commitment, and its not like we can change our minds later - this is seriously long term
I would have the dog at home with me all day - so it would be mostly on me
Impact on days out and places we can't take the dog - i,e, (rare days out to a theme park - no idea if you can take a dog) - or me taking rare days out on my own, when the kids are in school
holidays - we usually just get a holiday cottage, how easy is that with a dog
cost - both of getting one (ouch) and upkeep - food, vets, insurance
Mess in the house - how much extra cleaning?
I am seriously looking at starting a second business teaching nannies how to cook basic meals - could I do that if I owned a dog?

Teddybeau1988 Mon 11-Aug-14 19:14:50

Although obviously buying a dog is not something would do on a whim, but a good breeder will have in their contract that they should have first refusal to take back the puppy if it needs rehoming.

Re cleaning costs - we invested in a vaxx carpet cleaner. That was £300 well spent IMO.

Lots of places are not dog friendly, ie beaches in high season. Dogfriendlybritain is a good website for ideas of where to go.

If you go out for a long day, you need someone to drop in, a dog walker or doggy daycare. Kennels for holidays are very expensive at £20ish a day.

Vets bills can be ridiculously expensive. My springers leg has cost £5000 so far

HotPinkWeaselWearingLederhosen Mon 11-Aug-14 19:16:48

pros: you could call it Samuel

Cons: it might eat you grin


*Not really grin

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 11-Aug-14 19:18:48

Con: You are going to have to pick up an awful lot of dog shit

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 11-Aug-14 19:19:24

Con: your DC will grow up with dog, and then dog will die.

Teddybeau1988 Mon 11-Aug-14 19:22:26

What breeds do you have in mind OP?

Becca1818 Mon 11-Aug-14 19:23:49

Pro: when you've had a horrible day or the kids have played up or whatever the dog will still be so happy to see you unlike any person will be

luluskiptotheloo Mon 11-Aug-14 19:26:20

I would say think very carefully about the breed of dog you get.
I had a westie and didn't read up on the breed until we already had him, they are very prone to allergies which can mean costly vets bills.

CMOTDibbler Mon 11-Aug-14 19:28:27

Con: they are a tie. Holidays are not so bad as planned in advance, but yesterday for example, the weather was awful. We went out and had lunch, then cinema. It seemed like we would have then fancied a pizza, but had to get back for the dog. That sort of thing, as well as full days out at not dog friendly things like theme parks.

Ours doesn't cause too much extra cleaning - very short haired, non slobbery type.

You need to choose carefully if they are going to hang out with you at home - you don't want a high energy dog who wants constant attention when trying to work. Mine sleeps on the sofa till I pick up my running shoes or do something else exciting

Teddybeau1988 Mon 11-Aug-14 19:31:37

DC need to be careful before running off into the garden. Or they will get covered in crap. Poop patrols are needed multiple times daily

Mercythompson Mon 11-Aug-14 19:33:12

Teddie looking at a west highland terrier

Lulu, there seem to be issues with most dog breeds, are westies more prone to issues than others?

joanofarchitrave Mon 11-Aug-14 19:38:22

Con: you are talking minimum 2 walks a day with a terrier (with most dogs, really? not all, I know) and 3 would be even better, in order to prevent the dog climbing the walls
Con: (some) terriers chase things, like vehicles, and bikes, and runners and children and people they don't like the look of and cats and other dogs, especially dogs on the lead
Con: (some) terriers bark at anything going past the door; depends how near the street/road your front door is
Con: you need to be able to shut the dog away in a space in the house with unexpected visitors, children's friends with small siblings, delivery people, postmen, etc etc
Con: a 4 year old may not be completely reliable for a while in how to handle the dog; that will be your department; farewell to relaxing completely when dog and child are anywhere within reach of each other; see other thread on here where a parent rehomed a dog who bit her 4 year old and a lot of hmm about her not separating them carefully enough
Con: they might bark in the night
Con: lie ins are a thing of the past with (some) (most) dogs, just as your children reach the age when you don't have to be up at the crack
Con: going abroad becomes a whole other palaver - again you're just reaching the age when that might be fun with your children
Con: camping can be really difficult - depends on the dog and how it reacts to other people/dogs going by; remember that other people's children may not know how to deal with dogs and if they don't it will be your fault
Con: terriers live a really long time

Mercythompson Mon 11-Aug-14 19:38:46

CMOT what kind of dog do you have?

JennyOnTheBlocks Mon 11-Aug-14 19:39:07

Pro: DD has ASD and says getting her dog is still her best day ever, as he's her friend that will never argue with her

Con: he's so much like her in personality it's like having a replica!

Like PPs have suggested though, day care is great for days out. Or at least have someone who will drop by and spend some time with your dog. We swap DGS for our pooch - DGS gets a day out, DS and his DP have pooch. Win win

luluskiptotheloo Mon 11-Aug-14 19:40:01

Yes westies are very prone to skin disorders. Mine had itchy, sore skin constantly and smelt most of the time, he needed bathing frequently and had to have an expensive dog food.
He was a lovely dog but quite high maintenance.

BeerTricksPotter Mon 11-Aug-14 19:41:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Springcleanish Mon 11-Aug-14 19:45:20

Pro's: Just had a weeks camping with our dog, we enjoyed the outdoors more with him. The dog spent a day in on site kennels for us to go out, he was fine.
The children have a sense of responsibility, even though I am ultimately responsible they know they have to play a part in walking, poop scooping, feeding etc.

Con: tore up our carpet when I went away with work.
Pro: I hated the carpet anyway!

CastilianHhhhidalgo Mon 11-Aug-14 19:48:17

The problem with the skin issues that westies can be prone to is that there is no health test for them so you really need to find a great breeder who really knows their stuff regarding the health of the lines they breed from.

Finding a good breeder of most breeds is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack and being small, fluffy and white westies are popular with BYBs and puppy farms. You may need to be prepared to travel to the right breeder and wait for a litter.

It's worth doing as much research into a breed as you can, especially if you're basing your opinion of them on a very small number of individuals. Breed clubs are a good place to start and breed specific rescues can often be a bit more open about the potential negatives of owning a particular breed.

Teddybeau1988 Mon 11-Aug-14 19:53:19


I think having a dog helps DC to build up a good immune system. Dd1 is going into year4 and has only ever had 3 days off school ill (1 of which included a cracked head) dd2 is also very rarely ill. They get lots of fresh air and exercise on dog walks. tbh I don't think they would spend as much time outside if we didnt have doglet

CMOTDibbler Mon 11-Aug-14 19:56:15

I have a lurcher (nearly 2, we pick up our new puppy on Sunday) they are both rescue, but puppy has been born in rescue.

I know its a bit of a joke on MN that people always suggest lurchers, but they truly are extremely gentle, lovely family dogs who don't need huge amounts of exercise. Today for instance, he has largely snored on the mat next to cat1, and ignored the rain pointedly. We went for a run together, and then he slept upside down till his dinner, and has gone to bed with ds. Not yappy/ noisy which might be a consideration for you as well

soddinghormones Mon 11-Aug-14 21:28:22

Most of my pros and cons have already been covered but just wanted to give our experience of ds2 (ASD/dyspraxia) and our puppy

Ds really wasn't keen on getting a dog but as he never likes changing the current status quo and everyone else was on board with the idea we decided to go ahead

He found the first 3 months or so v tricky - he likes walking around the house in bare feet and has very long, thin, hyper mobile toes which dpup found irresistible. However once ds got used to the change in routine and dpup started getting a bit calmer, ds began to enjoy him much more and now really loves him. He's trying to teach him some simple tricks and going on dog walks gets him away from the computer for a while so although it took time getting the puppy has definitely improved ds' life

Mercythompson Mon 11-Aug-14 21:46:55

Thanks soddinghormones, that's really helpful.

Logarhythm Mon 11-Aug-14 22:10:56

Pros- ds is an aspie, moods are frustrating, one mention of the dog and his face lights up, the dog reaches him in a way we can't, it lifts his mood without us having to give in. That is worth everything - the dog makes him happy on the inside and he hasn't even arrived yet! And I know that feeling, isolated angry teen, my dog was my biggest fan and my best friend when I felt the world was against's such a special thing, I want that for ds.

Cons - we'd just got over the tricky infant stage and now we have to enter into the tricky dog stage but we will embrace it, change keeps you young and we'll discover new dog friendly places and new friends along the way.

Mercythompson Mon 11-Aug-14 22:17:18

Thank you logarhythm, that's great to hear, it's exactly what we are hoping for.

EvenBetter Tue 12-Aug-14 00:27:30

If you're thinking of getting a puppy bear in mind they are pure hell. Remember teething, tantrumming, incontinence and newborn? That. All at once. From a species that doesn't understand you or your language. You have to teach them everything from getting out of the way of doors to what is ok to chew and bite. To come back. To drop that. Jump up, get down, stay still, go, get used to cars, harness, get off the table, and on and on, and that's just one that doesn't have any fear issues or inbred drives.

Cons: tonight my husband had to pull a foot long blade of grass out of our puppy's anus, for example.
When they die they take a part of you, too.

Pros: the smell of a sleepy dog
Cuddles. No one will ever love you as much or be as happy to see you as your dog
Seeing the pure joy they eke out of every minute of their lives.
They're comedians.
Public humiliation.
But it's not for everyone.

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