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Puppy....or not puppy...that is the question!

(15 Posts)
willyouwontyou Thu 13-Aug-15 13:18:20

DP and I are gearing up to become dog owners, which is something we've wanted for aaaages. Just need a few things to fall into place workwise so that someone is home pretty much all the time and then we should be good to go. But we can't decide whether to get a puppy or an older dog, and I've read pros and cons for both on here and elsewhere.

Ideally we want a puppy - I really love the idea of having a dog from a baby and watching it grow, develop personality etc. BUT...we will be totally novice dog owners and I wonder whether we would be biting off more than we can chew (or more importantly the puppy would!).

I've read about the crying during the night, the house breaking, the puppy training, socialising etc, and whilst I'm prepared for it to be difficult, I thiiiink (tentatively) we would be ok - a friend of mine now has an 8 month old pup and he is now a joy, but the first couple of months nearly broke him and his wife, pup was a horror!. But very interested to hear of others' experiences / successes / horror stories etc. And also if we did get a pup, are there any particular breeds to avoid (looking for a small dog, dachshund, boston terrier, toy poodle are probably at the top of our list).

Re older dogs, I have been keeping an eye on local dog rescues, but they mostly seem to have larger dogs which we are not so keen on (small house, small garden).

I'm taking this really seriously and want to make sure that whatever we do gives us the best chance of being good dog owners! Thank you smile

ladydepp Thu 13-Aug-15 13:27:02

I have a 2 year old spaniel who is gorgeous and lovely and she was an easy puppy, BUT the only reason I got a puppy was because I had a young dd who was scared of dogs. Even an easy puppy like mine is hard work and I don't plan to have a puppy again. Having a puppy is like having a newborn baby on fast forward....

My next dog(s) will be from a rescue, so much easier and if you choose carefully they will love you just as much! My good friend got a 2 year old Manchester terrier from a rescue and he is the sweetest thing ever. If I could clone him for my next dog I would!

Seriously if you don't have young children, I would go rescue every time.

If you DO get a puppy have a close look at the mum, IME that gives you a good idea of personality.

BlueKarou Thu 13-Aug-15 13:37:28

I got a puppy from rescue. Brought him home 5 weeks ago (he was 11 weeks old when I picked him up) and good grief he's been a right handful. My older dog came to me at 4 months old and traumatised, and so was a lovely, clingy, nervy thing. This new one is confident and playful. We've suffered with 4 1/2 weeks of runny horrid poo, so much chewing and destruction as his teeth come through, and I'm still sleeping on the sofa with him because normally the older dog sleeps upstairs with me, but there's too much in the bedroom that puppy could get his teeth into, and I need a good clear weekend to puppy-proof the place before he comes up.

Originally I went to the rescue to look at something 12-18 months old, and a tiny part of me wishes I'd held out for something older rather than giving my heart to this young, leggy pup. I'm certain he'll grow out of his more frustrating traits, and I do love him, but yeah - puppies are really, really hard work.

Also - it's worth considering that you can get a young pup from rescue if you happen to be there at the right time, so don't rule out a rescue dog if you do decide to go with a youngling.

Booboostwo Thu 13-Aug-15 14:05:28

My top tips are:
- select your breeder wisely. Someone who loves the breed, knows what they are breeding for, has few litters , does all health screening with paperwork and will ask you a lot of questions before approving you for their puppy. If you come across a sick puppy, or poor conditions, or many litters or anything that makes you suspect a puppy farm walk away and report - giving them money just perpetuates the problem.
- select your breed carefully. From what you mention the poodle is the best choice. Terriers are strong characters and can have recall problems as they are quite chase oriented. Dashounds are also bred to scent hunt and you may have similar issues.
- remember that a puppy that is taken away from its mother before 6 weeks is likely to have behavioural issues, as is a puppy which is not thoroughly and extensively socialised before the 14-16 week cut off. Such behavioural problems may be overcome with training but do you want the added hurdles?
- the first few months are a learning curve for everyone. Be prepared to be flexible, don't stress about hair, mud and dirt, make sure you have time to spend with the puppy, walk it and take it training, set money aside for insurance and emergencies like getting a behaviourist out if something goes wrong with the general training.

Puppies are incredibly good fun and adult dogs are friends for life - go for it but be prepared and realistic.

BagelwithButter Thu 13-Aug-15 14:18:28

Lots of dogs don't even get as far as rescue websites. Google all the rescues that are within a reasonable distance and join their FB groups. You'll be up to date with all dogs looking for homes that way, often the smaller, more "attractive" dogs/puppies will be snapped up.

Websites are often not up to date as volunteers simply don't have time

Wolfiefan Thu 13-Aug-15 14:21:20

There are also pedigree rescues. Whereabouts are you? I challenge you to look at Many Tears and not fall in love!

insanityscatching Thu 13-Aug-15 15:37:25

We are first time dog owners and have had Eric from being a puppy. We had a puppy because we didn't feel confident enough to cope with a rescue dog that might have had a tough start.
Eric as a puppy was a PITA although he house trained easily and didn't chew but he was full on constantly. The nipping was a bind,his stealing anything not nailed down was another bind and the need for constant attention grated on my nerves.
But he is 20 months old now and an absolute joy.We might have muddled through but he's turned out to be a clever, friendly and loving dog whatever mistakes we might have made along the way.
I don't think we will ever have another puppy though mostly because I now feel I could take on a rescue dog and there are plenty out there who would like a family.

EasyToEatTiger Thu 13-Aug-15 20:56:09

Our first puppy and 5th dog is now 8 months old. I thought it would be easier or at least the problems we faced would be of our own making. All our rescue dogs have had a lovely temperaments including the puppy farm/pet shop boy who lived with us. The farm dogs we have homed have been in lots of ways much more difficult, as there has been no-one else to assess them and we have been through the mill with behaviour/training/boot camp...
If you get a puppy, I reckon it is really worth developing a relationship with a breeder you like and waiting. If you go for a reputable rescue, a lot of the work will have been done and they don't really want you to bring the dog back. Either way, they should be prepared to listen to you and to take the dog back if it isn't working out.
Our pup has and is difficult. We are on our own with her. We have a lot of doggy support and she is here to stay. We live in

Dieu Thu 13-Aug-15 22:59:52

We have our first ever puppy. He will also be our last!

LokiBuddyBoo1 Fri 14-Aug-15 04:13:45

I love the puppy stage would do it again and again.
My current ddog just turned 2 and was a delightful puppy easy to toilet train, didn't chew anything not his, great with his training really quick at picking things up, I did have to work a bit on the recall but my trainer said that was probably due to his breed he's a Jrt cross chihuahua.
Some pups give you and easier time than others they all can be hard work sometimes as they need almost constant supervision, like having a toddler around but it's definitely worth it to watch them grow each week.

imabusybee Fri 14-Aug-15 07:59:03

I really think it's a common misconception that rescue dogs are more difficult than puppies. In my job I have worked with over a dozen puppies and they are HARD WORK. Even the well behaved ones try your patience as they are only babies and need teaching everything.

On the other hand you get to skip that stage entirely with a rescue dog - & just because they're a rescue doesn't mean they have issues. They may have found their way into a rescue due to relationship breakdown, bereavement - all sorts of reasons that lead to otherwise loved & well trained dogs needing new homes. If you opt for a rescue you can lay out your requirements & let them find a dog that matches you - plus usually you'll get lifetime support from the rescue if you have any issues in the dog's life.

Please, please consider a rescue dog. They do have young dogs too if that's something you'd like to look into. And there are thousands of rescue centres around so don't be put off if you can't see anything you like to start with - keep looking.

We rescued our 3 year old poodle/spaniel/collie cross from many tears and I love him more than anything - he's perfect. I don't think you'll lose out on the bonding experience with an adult dog, especially if it's your first one! Good luck!

holmessweetholmes Fri 14-Aug-15 08:00:16

We have a 10 month-old German Shorthaired Pointer. He is wonderful and is our first family dog.The puppy phase wasn't too bad actually, compared with what I was expecting.

The worst bit was the sleeping at night. Pointers are well known for being 'velcro' dogs. They want to be with you at all times. (He's ok being left in the hpuse, but hates being separated from you if he knows you're in the house!) In the end, we got sick of the lack of sleep and let him sleep on his bed in our room. From that moment on, no problem!

Toilet training went pretty quickly. He was ok about being left for short periods if we went out. He was bouncy of course, but didn't nip much and he never chewed anything other than his toys. He's now very chilled out around the house, is lovely with the kids.

He came from a really good breeder. She said that, as he would be our first dog, and as pointers can be quite... full-on, that she would wait until the puppies were nearly ready to leave their mother before trying to choose us the puppy which seemed calmest. She did a great job. I've had lots if comments from other dog owners and also a GSP breeder, about how calm he is for his age.

I'd really recommend them as a breed if you're considering a biggish dog. They are very strong though, so looking into different lead/collar combinations is a must!

Floralnomad Fri 14-Aug-15 08:10:49

We got our dog from Battersea when he was 15 weeks and he was our first dog ( had dogs as children but not particularly involved) , he wasn't house trained infact I doubt he had been in a house ( docked patterdale x ) ,he also came to us with a severe dose of kennel cough . I found puppy hood a doddle and my baby is 5 now and is an absolute joy .

spamm Fri 14-Aug-15 19:28:16

I would definitely NOT go for another puppy in my case. Our lovely bundle of fun is now 9 months old and lying at my feet. He has been much more work than I ever imagined/remembered from our previous puppy, which we got 11 years ago.

He is a large 80 lb Rhodesian Ridgeback, with tons of energy and a serious case of mouthing which we continue to work on. Not our first Rhodesian Ridgeback, by the way, and we know the breed very well. But it has been very challenging and has had me in tears several times over the last few months. He is a very intelligent dog and has required a lot of entertaining and play work. I am actually considering doggy day care one or two times a week, just for the extra socializing and exercise.

My gut tells me he is going to turn out to be a nice dog, but the journey to get there has been exhausting and demoralizing at times. If it were down to only me next time, i would go for an older rescue dog.

KatharineClifton Sun 16-Aug-15 18:43:22

My pups are just past 6 months now so the work is easing slightly.

If I were to choose again I'd go for another rescue in a heartbeat. Yes, they are also a lot of work, but it's so much easier to adopt an older dog.

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