New to dogs (please be gentle with me)

(9 Posts)

Or rather I have never owned one myself, though grew up adoring my Gran's Husky and my Dad's Lhaso Apso.

I've had cats for years and am a very responsible owner (my cats are chipped insured and pay for the vets retirement fund!), but am finding myself broody for a dog of my own. Ditto my DS2 (18 not a little kid) who is home most of the time as he has ASD and mild learning difficulties and adores all animals.. he is very conscientious about caring for ours and will be a great dog walker!

I am totally aware that I know next to nothing about training a puppy and perhaps would like to offer a home to a rescue dog, but am unsure about how 'damaged' a rescue dog might be. Alternately I could have a puppy at the beginning of the school holidays (I work in school) so that I would have 6 straight weeks in the house to hopefully settle a puppy and get toilet training half way established . DS2 is perfectly capable and willing to deal with pees and poos while I am at school and the puppy would rarely be left for any length of time.

How do first time owners go about it? I want to get it right.. I want a dog to become an adored but well trained family member (who won't eat the cats preferably..my cats are young and tolerant and I suspect won't be half as bothered as if I brought another cat home)

My knowledge of breeds is limited, but I want a dog that fits our home.. a decent enough 3 bed place with a larger downstairs but not a very big garden. I'm wondering about a minature schnuazer , or Lhaso Apso size .I would love a greyhound but suspect a rescue greyhound and a cat might not be a good combo!

Any advice welcome please.

Humansatnav Mon 01-Jun-15 22:39:33

Go for it. Stay on this topic for great advice, Speak to dog owners, read anything you can. A puppy is like a baby and needs a lot of care - did you get your cat's as kittens ?

SweetAndFullOfGrace Mon 01-Jun-15 22:44:57

We have a mini schnauzer. Similar situation to you, both DH and I grew up with dogs but had never raised one ourselves.

Minis are quite strong willed and very smart, so you do need to be consistent and persistent - puppy class and then further training classes were really helpful for us, we also did agility with him for a while. We also got "the perfect puppy" by gwen bailey which is great.

He's not perfectly obedient but he is a well-behaved family pet, and his groomer who also breeds minis and does Discover Dogs rates them as a first dog breed for people who take it seriously.

As a breed they hate hate hate to be left by themselves so there needs to be someone at home a lot now and in the future. And they do need a lot of grooming but the no shedding thing is brilliant for not having to constantly vacuum, and I have pet allergies but can tolerate him.

We love him to bits, and he has a very amusing personality. He's also been amazing with DD (now 17 months, DDog was 4 when she was born), very patient. Definitely a breed to consider, just be very wary of puppy farms as it's such a popular breed.

Yes my cats came as 12 week old kittens ..they are Maine Coons, so spectacularly large cats ( my boy is 20 pounds of solid muscle) and we were very strict when they arrived.. kept visitors away and the kittens started in one room (ok I might have slept there so they didn't get lonely :D) for a week and then gradually introduced to the rest of the house. Of course, they came litter trained so I didn't have to teach them.

I think I would be inclined to have a crate.. for a 'safe space' as much as anything, and one of my closest friends has three dogs which she trained (and one does obedience type competitions) who I know will help me if I'm floundering.

I'm just very anxious to get it right..for us as a family (four of us living here, my sons are 18 and 22) and more importantly for the dog!

pigsDOfly Tue 02-Jun-15 00:05:44

If you're anxious to get it right then you probably will. Just because you've never done it before doesn't mean you can't do it and get it right.

I got my first ever dog 4 years ago and she is generally well behaved and, I think, pretty well trained; obviously she's not perfect but few dogs are.

I did a lot of reading before I got her and went to training classes with her, which helped me enormously.

As pp said you'll get a lot of good advice on here as there are some very experienced owners and even a few vets.

I also had two cats, both 17 when I got her, and they adapted very well, the male especially, was very fond of her and they'd cuddle up together to sleep. Introductions have to be done carefully and slowly, of course.

Definitely recommend crate training for the first months at least; I think my girl stopped using hers when she was about 6 months old, but she was very quickly house trained and was never a chewer so was given the run of the house at night and when I went out at quite an early age.

It's lovely having a dog in the house. Cats are lovely but there's something about a dog that's just that extra bit special.

BagelwithButter Tue 02-Jun-15 00:19:34

I wouldn't discount a rescue dog. Lots are surrendered to rescues as a result of marriage breakup, moving into rented accommodation that won't accept pets, moving abroad, owner moving into a care home or giving up animals because of ill health - all kinds of reasons. They are not all damaged, by any means.

They will also have puppies/young dogs, as some arrive at rescues pregnant and so their pups are brought up in kennels or foster homes.

A reputable rescue (often smaller ones) often have their dogs in foster homes (no funds for big kennel premises). The dogs can be honestly assessed in a family environment, with children/other dogs/cats etc.

Just by way of an example, I fostered two ex-street dogs from Romania/Bulgaria and they were the sweetest things, never had a moment's worry with them and they didn't have the greatest start in life.

Do some research, contact some rescues - Facebook groups are often more up to date than websites - join their groups, be patient (staffed by volunteers who have job/families etc), keep in touch with them, especially if you're thinking of a puppy as they probably won't even get to the point of being on any website, they'll be snapped up before.

Good luck! smile

BagelwithButter Tue 02-Jun-15 01:15:26

For example, Ruby

CMOTDibbler Tue 02-Jun-15 20:43:39

If you like the idea of a greyhound, then a lurcher would be a good fit (they are sighthounds crossed with other breeds, main difference being they haven't been trained to chase furries).
My two came from EGLR and live very happily with our three cats

insanityscatching Wed 03-Jun-15 10:13:55

We have Eric who is a poodle shih tzu cross so probably lhasa apso sized. We have ds and dd with autism and he is much loved by them both. Eric's positives are he doesn't moult, he is clever and knew from small that ds and dd needed a different approach so for ds he'd sit by his feet and wait for him to stroke him but with dd he'd jump on her knee and chase round after her and he picks up new tricks and commands in no time which entertains ds and dd a lot. He'll happily walk for miles, will chase balls, play football and perform for an audience but equally he'll lay by your feet or share the sofa for an extended session of tummy rubbing. He is everyone's friend and pretty bomb proof he doesn't react to storms, cats, chickens,horses, sheep, bikes anything really.
He's our first ever dog, ds was 19 and dd 11 and although the nippy stage was a pain it was shortlived and now he's 18 months old he is on the whole a delight and we forgive the occasional roll in something disgusting and his penchant for snaffling horse poo.
I was never a dog lover but I'm absolutely smitten by Eric and he's been a great addition to our family.

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