Total beginner in dog ownership: advice please(162 Posts)
DH and I are starting to research about getting a dog. We have a DS aged 7. We want to do proper research before starting the actual process of looking for a dog. So far I've asked a few people who seem to have all sorts of different views so I'm confused! By the way, I've never owned a dog but DH always had dogs while growing up.
Both DH and I work but I am about to finish (in 3 months) a demanding job and will move to a more flexible job where I aim to be working long hours 3 days a week & the rest more flexibly. DH has lots of flexibility too.
Instead of asking specific questions, can I just throw this at you so that you can advise me about what to consider as first issues?
Main issue is being around for dog, they can be left no longer than 4 hours...if they will let you! Sociable dogs like the bichon, pug etc probably wouldn't let you do this as they love company so much. All depends on the dog though.
What sort of breed are you looking at? Puppy or rescue?
Puppy or rescue is my first question. I have heard that having a puppy means you can train it and have more control over his/her behaviour but I've also heard that rescue dogs are easier so I have no idea which view is correct!
We are definitely not home all the time as we work but we were thinking (if we get a puppy) to dedicate August to house train etc.
However we will get a dog walker for the hours we are not home. I expect to be home 2 days a week during morning and DH is home 1 day a week currently.
I have a vague idea of a middle sized dog that is not massively energetic and that requires up to 1.5 hours walk per day. (I might be unrealistic in any of this so please tell me if I am).
Puppies need a LOT of training and socialising for up to 18 months depending on breed, it's not just a quick house training and then you can leave them. I'd go for a rescue maybe 2 years plus, by then they've settled down a bit and you can see their personality. Lurcher/whippet/greyhounds are a good option, or a staffy?
Costacoffee: thanks! When you say a lot of training and socialising what do you have in mind?
I'm thinking of much smaller dogs, size of cocker spaniel if that makes sense but calmer than spaniels
I've had dogs most of my life and that's the first time anyone has ever told me they can't be left for more than four hours. Is that a new thing?
How would I ever go anywhere?
Sure all dogs are different and puppies different again. You can't say if a puppy or rescue would be easier/harder - personally I have always preferred to get adult deposit already housetrained but it's up to you!
Puppies are really hard work that's true, but they're also very rewarding when you actually get somewhere with them. Can you cope with everything (and I really do mean everything) being chewed? If you don't want energetic I wouldn't get a puppy.
An older dog would be a lot calmer. You can be picky and wait for one that meets your needs, doesn't have a known problem of seperation anxiety. I don't think 1.5 hours of walking is unrealistic in the right dog.
I suppose the plus of a puppy would be that he/she would grow up with us (& particularly with DS) and we would know the training is done properly. Am I deluded in thinking this?
It's the general rule purple as after 4 hours they'd need feeding and let out. All dogs are different, some may go longer.
You are not deluded but a puppy is much more of an unknown quantity. it might turn out to have more exercise/training needs than you feel happy with
A bit older, their personalities are a bit more apparent and a routine established, so you can select a dog for you a little easier.
I don't mind energetic as in playful, I mind energetic as in requiring hours and hours of dog walking.
I would never leave a dog more than 4 hours, never have
Pups need constant training in everything - around the house, around people, on the lead, recall - it's a huge commitment. I've had dogs my whole life, and have had 3 pups in the last 6 years, and every time I forget just how hard it is - just look at all the threads on this board from people wondering if their pup will ever stop biting, jumping up, pulling on the lead and wanting to send them back after just a few weeks or months.
I think there's a puppy support thread that might be interesting reading for you (I haven't read it though!)
A little bit if you are really dedicated then yes you can spend a lot of time training. They are just mental for a good 18 months and it's a lot to adjust to.
4 hours sounds a bit scary to me too given that DH and I both work. But as I said I would consider dog walker / neighbour with dog (to do dog walking exchange) or other options.
we would know the training is done properly
What experience do you have in dog training?
You can't leave a pup even 4 hours really
I don't have experience in dog training but my DH does and I'm a quick learner . I am just quoting what I've been told, that puppies are easier eventually as they are definitely well trained by you. This is not my own opinion. Just what I was told. I've been told the opposite too by a dog owner friend, that rescue dogs are easier and more doable.
My 6 month old pup can be left a max of 2.5 hours until he needs attention and he is a pretty robust pup.
I think from what you've said an older dog would be better for you. They don't necessarily need to be a rescue, if you want a pure breed then show people get rid of the ones that don't cut the mustard. My dad got a gorgeous 2 year old cocker for £50 cos she wasn't up to show standard. Really well trained though, all they had to do was house train her.
Roseberry that sounds a great idea, thanks for the advice. I do think puppies are super cute so I'm tempted but I can see everyone's points...
I went online to a rescue called something like no tears and was a bit intimidated to be honest by all the rules eg they call your job to check how many hours you work etc
A 2 year old dog that wasn't house trained?
I'm sorry but unless you're really into dog training and behaviour, it is TOUGH - you say your husband had dogs growing up, did he have full responsibility for training and looking after them? How long ago are we talking? As I said, I've had lots of dogs, 3 pups in the last 6 years, and it's still hard, every time, and I've got a pretty good idea of what I'm doing, and I work from home every day
Although my family has always had lovely rescue dogs, we have always had to be mindful that they are an unknown entity to a certain extent... Eg we got Jessie when I was 5 and she used to attempt to bite my ankles...(we hadn't been informed that the daughter in the previous family had broken Jessie's leg?!). We dealt with it, built up trust etc and all was well...other dogs have been a little nervy (but totally fine) and yet others have never shown any particular issues. Generally speaking though rescue centres are pretty good at assessing a dog for suitability with dogs, kids etc and your DS being 7 it's a good age to have a dog.
I grew up with dogs in the house and all adults working full time, most of my friends and family members had a similar set up, so that is what is normal to me. The dogs always seemed fine and well cared for, I know ours were.
We last adopted a dog in 2005 when both of us were working full time, no one including the dog seemed to mind. We have had various job patterns since then as you do but never had any issue with the dog.
But then I have never had a proper puppy only rescue dogs from 2-4 years old
I hope they do do thorough checks - a dog is a serious commitment, hopefully they don't give them out like smarties
Size doesn't equate to energy levels (or moulting, or trainability) so don't automatically assume that a small dog is easier to own than a larger one.
As well as daytime, midweek arrangements, do some research into what you would do if you went on holiday, or have a weekend away for a wedding, or fell very ill, or had major building work. Some people have reciprocal agreements with friends to take each others dogs, some dog walkers will do overnight boarding, some people use kennels. Keep in mind that the cost for the latter will be anything up to £45 per day, so add that to the cost of your holiday!
How houseproud are you? Are you prepared for hair, scratched floors, pawprints and a muddy lawn?
Are you all on the same page for picking up poo, whether the dog will be allowed upstairs/on the sofa? Do you have the same expectations about training and how trained your dog will be?
Yep costa, she'd lived in kennels so never needed to be trained.
Seriously though, puppy regret is real. They're very cute but I honestly thought we'd brought Cujo home.
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