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Non-doggy person, but considering getting a dog. Talk to me doggy people!

(21 Posts)
juneau Tue 16-Dec-14 11:53:01

We're considering getting a dog. My DH loves dogs and grew up with them. We also had a dog, but I'm much more of a cat person and the Westie we had when I was a kid was a grumpy sod who I never warmed to. However, looking back I think he would've benefited massively from some dog-training classes and us from better knowledge of how to treat him like a dog and give him what he needed. So, I would definitely do things differently, get educated first and take the dog for training.

We have two boys aged seven and 3.5, a decent sized house and garden, and lots of parks nearby. I'm a SAHM so the dog would have plenty of company and walks. We're thinking of getting something small-medium sized, calm and family-friendly. I definitely don't want a big dog (my dad and brother both have Retrievers and they're too big to have in the house IMO). DH suggested a border terrier, but I have no experience of this breed. Any advice gratefully received.

Chandon Tue 16-Dec-14 11:59:05

Well, we felt we could not cope with a small dog in the house (as much more jumpy and barmy IMO), LOL.

We wanted a dog that is calm in the house, doesn't bark much, has a gentle nature (with kids) and we could offer decent walks and lots of love.

So for us, a lurcher made sense, she is big but folds up small and you would not notice she is in the house for most of the day, as longs as she has somewhere warm and soft to lounge.

I think it is a misconception to thing small/medium dog is "easier".

But how about you? Have you thought of cockapoo's? They are lively and fun and cuddly. And not too big. And kids love them.

Floralnomad Tue 16-Dec-14 12:05:37

Your DH is probably spot on with a Border terrier , big dogs with big personalities in a small package !

juneau Tue 16-Dec-14 12:07:41

TBH my experience of small dogs and terriers, in particular, has not been positive. Not only the grumpy (and snappy), Westie I grew up with, but yappy little dogs that nip or bite are not my style (and not compatible with small DC). I also definitely don't want anything high energy that belts around the house barking and savaging cushions.

I hadn't considered a cockapoo, mainly because I don't particularly like Spaniels (my MIL had a vile Spaniel that bit everyone and had to be muzzled in company!), but I met a very calm and nice labradoodle outside a shop recently and thought 'Oh, now that's a nice dog', and my aunt and uncle have always had miniature poodles and they were rather sweet - and not hairy - another plus.

mrslaughan Tue 16-Dec-14 12:25:43

I would have thought you would be looking for a low energy dog, that is not from working stock that is happy, with one walk a day......I don't know much about border terriers, but I wouldn't think they fit that category? I have a friend who has a border terrier - not inexperienced with dogs - her lab is the best trained lab I know, but she has really struggled with her Border could just be the lines its from.......

What about something like a whippet? I remember someone describing them as the closest you get to a cat, thats a dog....

mrslaughan Tue 16-Dec-14 12:26:48

Cockapoos - from two high energy working breed.....all that I have meet are mad as a box of frogs.........

EasyToEatTiger Tue 16-Dec-14 12:27:24

Before you consider further, you may find it helpful to go to some training classes and see what happens. Talk to the people about what they like and don't like so much about their dogs... If you are not welcome as a bystander, the class is not worth going to. Also, you could discuss with a rescue home. They are good at working out your options. I never thought we'd end up with border collies. Not in a blue fit. Now we have 3 and they're fabulous. My mum always said, Don't get a dog as they're such hard work and such a massive commitment. Also, things like Discover Dogs is well worth a visit, or any of the county doggy goings on!

crapcrapcrapcrap Tue 16-Dec-14 12:28:20

Lurcher, no contest. A sighthound fits all your requirements.

Taz1212 Tue 16-Dec-14 13:19:15

We have a 6 month old cockapoo (though I hate that name and always refer to him as a cocker spaniel/poodle mix grin). He's absolutely lovely. He sleeps loads and loves nothing more than to give lots of cuddles to people. When he's awake he is full of energy but if you are a SAHM a Cockapoo would be happy as could be in your house. I'm home all day- though I do make a point of leaving him once a day so he doesn't get separation anxiety. I do lots of short bursts of playing with him in the back yard throughout the day- 5 minutes here and there- and that keeps him nice and calm the rest of the time... Except for evenings- he's completely barmy in the evening!

CMOTDibbler Tue 16-Dec-14 13:28:53

I think its important to think about why you want a dog, and how your lifestyle would be affected by having one - do you go away at weekends, days out at things, going to peoples houses for more than a few hours etc. Also, are your weekend activities dog friendly? And how will things be different in 2 or 5 years?

In school holidays, what will you do about dog walking? Will you be able to take both boys and the dog out at least twice a day? And is your 3.5 year old able to leave a dog alone and understand the rules?

OTOH, my lurchers have been such an addition to our family. They are very loving and quiet, but happy to go for long walks or runs when its on offer.

basildonbond Tue 16-Dec-14 14:53:53

My dog is a Toller and would tick all your boxes

He's medium-sized but still big enough to be a 'proper' dog, has the loveliest temperament you could imagine, has been a dream to train, full of energy on walks but chilled in the house, fab with children and other dogs and looks gorgeous too

The one downside is they're still quite rare so you'd have to wait for one

TheKitchenWitch Tue 16-Dec-14 15:05:44

I have a border terrier cross, as well as a parson russell terrier. I'd normally advise not to go for a terrier as they really can be a lot of work and you have to be prepared to take them on!
However, our bt cross is the most chilled out, superb, relaxed, happy, friendly dog that I have ever met, and I'm wondering now whether that is the border terrier genes in her.

bilbodog Tue 16-Dec-14 15:38:10

we have a border collie/cross with something and he doesn't look disimmilar to the Toller above. We got him at 8 months from the local dog rescue place. If you don't know what to get try going to your local dog rescue and ours, here in Buckinghamshire, allows people (you do have to register) to take their dogs out for short walks as a volunteer - that way you could get to meet some different dogs and see how you feel? Although puppies are gorgeous (of course) if you get a slightly older dog they may have stopped chewing everything in sight and already be house trained? Good luck.

Chandon Tue 16-Dec-14 17:16:05

That toller is a beauty!

basildonbond Tue 16-Dec-14 17:25:01

isn't he just grin

I know I'm biased but he is the most perfect dog - I'm a bit embarrassed to say just how much I love him blush

But the most perfect thing about him is his personality - he is a joy to have around - the looks are a bonus wink

TooMuchRain Tue 16-Dec-14 17:49:18

If you are worried about nipping/biting with your children, then you might want to think about not getting a puppy - I'm sure there are exceptions but my experience has been that it is phase they all go through. I have also found that with confident children it's not a problem, but maybe if you are nervous, they will be and then it becomes an issue.

Dancingyogi Tue 16-Dec-14 18:14:41

My whippet is very cat like. He's independent even find him frustrating because he's not like an ever adoring retriever. He'd mostly rather sit by himself, will offer occasional cuddles, is tricky to train, his recall is dodgy. On the plus side...he doesn't bark, he's clean, doesn't shed, doesn't smell and doesn't need enormous amounts of exercise, he likes sleeping...a lot! He's a great pub dog, just settles down under my chair and sleeps, he's very sociable with new people and dogs.

juneau Tue 16-Dec-14 18:30:24

Thank you for all your responses. The Toller looks gorgeous! I'd never even heard of the breed before, but he looks sort of like a small Retriever.

In answer to some of the questions:

- Do you go away at weekends?
Sometimes, but not regularly and my DH often stays here if I take the boys to my parents.
- Days out at things?
In the holidays, yes. In term-time, not so much, although I am in and out going to the gym or shopping.
- Going to peoples houses for more than a few hours etc?
- Also, are your weekend activities dog friendly?
Yes, we go for walks, garden, older DS plays rugby on Sunday mornings.
- And how will things be different in 2 or 5 years?
Not much, I would say, as DS2 is starting school in Sept, so I see us being in a fairly settled period of our life.
- In school holidays, what will you do about dog walking?
Take the boys with me.
- Will you be able to take both boys and the dog out at least twice a day?
Yes, should be able to - particularly if we wait six months until DS2 is walking a bit better.
- And is your 3.5 year old able to leave a dog alone and understand the rules?
I think so, he doesn't mess with my dad's dogs when we're over there.

We just missed Discover Dogs - damn!

Florin Tue 16-Dec-14 19:48:20

We have just got our first family dog-a working cocker spaniel, we also have a 2.5 year old. She is wonderful and at 6 months has settled down a lot but as my brother in law says (who has a 2 year old labradoodle and 9 month old cockapoo) puppies are shit. They are seriously hard work. The house training however consistent you are takes a while, they go completely bonkers at certain times and are just generally full on all the time. We had ours instead of another baby and up to now I think another baby may have been easier! Puppy's bite and they jump up and scratch our 2.5 year old went through a stage of always having a scratch on his face. Ours is easier to manage now and we love her to bits and it is worth the effort even if there were moment when we were ready to hand her back! We have a great person when we need her takes her off from around 11-2 for £12 some time is spent in the car collecting another dog or two but she is happy as long as she has company and then she gets to run around with the other dogs playing. We can arrange this quite last minute and it has been a saviour as so useful when you want to go out or to be honest when you just need a break. Definitely worth finding someone who offers a dog walking service.
People on here always recommend lurchers followed by rescue however I would recommend doing your own research and meet as many breeds as you can to help you make your decision. Certainly a lurcher wasn't the dog for us as we are a big fan of spaniels so have ended up with a working cocker who has definitely been the right decision for us. However everyone has different criteria and different dogs that fit with them. I would also recommend waiting until the spring to get a dog. Potty training in the coldest months will be miserable. It will be much more successful in the spring.
Oh and really read up about crate training it had been the best thing we have ever done especially when you are dealing with small children at the same time.

sooperdooper Tue 16-Dec-14 20:59:19

I wouldn't assume a smaller dog means an easier dog, for a calm, family friendly, chilled dog think about a Greyhound smile Yes, probably bigger than you'd been thinking of, but they're very quiet, calm, loving dogs

Ours is great with kids (well, with anyone really who wants to give him a fuss), but isn't noisy, has never ever barked in the house, happily snoozes if left alone, doesn't shed, not great on recall but also doesn't need huge amounts of exercise and is actually pretty lazy

QueenInTheNorth Tue 16-Dec-14 22:10:32

I would recommend an english cocker spaniel, we have one (I say we...I mean my parents) since I was little and I adored her then, and I adore her now, she's a sweet little thing and she's quite chilled out, we did do some obedience classes with her (all of us!) and she's still kicking, 15 years later!

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