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Help for a potential dog owner

(29 Posts)
TheAntiBoop Sat 08-Oct-16 21:17:35

We have finally reached a point in our lives where we feel ready for a dog - kids are old enough, we have a garden and a bit more time. Dh has had big dogs growing up but as we live in a city we will likely look at smaller dogs. We haven't decided on that yet as I am forward planning! All we know is that it would have to be reasonably small and not require loads of exercise.

We would like a puppy and I have heard they are extremely hard work!! Before committing to a dog I want to make sure I know what I'm doing and that we are 100% committed. Are there any books or websites you could recommend that could give advice? I'm thinking along the lines of the things I read pre baby tbh.

phillipp Sat 08-Oct-16 21:36:00

I read the happy puppy and total recall by Pippa Mattison. I liked them. We are also doing puppy training at the local RSPCA centre.

Having a puppy is hard work. I work for myself, from home and still took 3 weeks off when we got ours in July.

Toilet training is intense. Our every hour, after every play, every meal, every nap.

Dpup was crate trained when we got her which made life easier. She slept in a crate on the landing outside our bedroom. Which is where she is now. She was happy with that. She can see all the bedroom doors from there. Again at night we got up every hour to take her out. But we had no accidents in her crate after the first night. Over about 2 weeks we lengthened the time between getting up until she went all night.

When we took her out at night we didn't talk to her or fuss her. Just our and back to bed.

We also put a cuddly toy that smelt of the kids in her bed, that was about the same size as her and she cuddled up with it like she would litter mates.

All puppies chew and bite. So have plenty of chew toys of different textures. I recommend a kong. I fill ours with dog safe peanut butter (no added salt or sweetener) and freeze it. Frozen carrots are good.

The nipping takes a while to sort. We tried yelping when she nipped us (that just made her more excited) etc. The only thing that worked was ignoring her and stopping play when she did it. But it's a really frustrating stage. Especially when it comes to the kids.

Shevhas never chewed anything in the house she shouldn't have so can't advise there. But she does have lots of toys.

You can't leave puppies for prolonged periods either, so I got a bit cabin fever-y until after she had her second jabs and we could walk her.

Also socialising is really important early on. I didn't know at the time, but you can get bags to carry unvaccinated dogs round in, which helps with that. And mixing with dog that you know are vaccinated is a good idea too.

Also we got our pup at almost 12 weeks. I prefer that age to 8 weeks. We should have been picking her up at 10 weeks but My grandfather unexpectedly passed away so the breeder kept her for 10 extra days.

Not sure I can recommend a breed as I adore spaniels. Dpup is a working cocker so walks a lot. I have had a springer and a show cocker. The show cocker needed less walking. All were great family dogs and amazing with the kids. Even dpup knows ds (5) needs more gentle play that with dh.

A show cocker could be a possibility. What age are your kids? Could consider a rescue?

Also when dogs are older they shouldn't be left for prolonged periods on a regular basis. So you need to learn to plan your day around your dog to a large extent.

Also train the kids. Not sure how old they are, but they need to understand dogs and puppies too. Ideally before the puppy comes to your house.

Sorry it's so long but hope it's helpful

TheAntiBoop Sat 08-Oct-16 21:50:05

That's really helpful. Thank you.

Kids will be 7 and 10 by the time we get round to it. They are both gentle kids and they are exposed to dogs

We are not averse to getting an older dog and I had heard it was better to leave them with mum until 12 weeks. I assume if you get a dog that is 3-9m they are harder to train though?

I assumed we wouldn't be a fit for a rescue dog with the kids tbh

It sounds very intense! Dh is super keen so will need to make sure he gets the work as well. He's probably a bit rose tinted and remembering the good bits!!

Littlebee76 Sat 08-Oct-16 21:58:41

Just poking my nose in to say you would be suitable for a rescue dog.
I've just rescued one and she is the gentlest dog I've ever had, amazing.

Also rescue centres have dogs of all ages, id definitely recommend trying there first as there are so many beautiful loving perfect dogs desperately needing a home!

Good luck for your search for your new addition, a home with a dog is most certainly a very happy one in my experience smile

Littlebee76 Sat 08-Oct-16 21:59:21

Just poking my nose in to say you would be suitable for a rescue dog.
I've just rescued one and she is the gentlest dog I've ever had, amazing.

Also rescue centres have dogs of all ages, id definitely recommend trying there first as there are so many beautiful loving perfect dogs desperately needing a home!

Good luck for your search for your new addition, a home with a dog is most certainly a very happy one in my experience smile

TheAntiBoop Sat 08-Oct-16 22:03:36

Thanks. thats good to know and I will look once the time comes. Who did you go through.

Littlebee76 Sat 08-Oct-16 22:12:54

I got my lovely dog from RSPCA, I used to always get my dogs from breeders as pups but seeing how things are these days with so many dogs being dumped for no fault of their own.. I knew I had to rescue.

Never knew it would be as rewarding as it is though. I've never known a dog so loving, gentle and perfect for our family.

phillipp Sat 08-Oct-16 22:21:07

Rescuing dogs with younger children can be difficult and take a while.

Some rescues say a flat no to kids under a certain age and the age can vary. But some will consider you with kids, depending on the dog.

Older puppies and dogs are still trainable. But a rescue is likely to come with issues you will need to take into account when doing it.

Our dpup has been easy to train. But our springer was a rescue. She was in a terrible state when we got her. Her recovery was long. And something, she never recovered from. However we worked round it.

We are waiting until dpup is a little older then looking at another rescue. Ds will be older and dpup won't be in puppy mode. Although I keep seeing ones I want to bring home. If it wasn't for dh I would be the spaniel lady with a house full. grin

phillipp Sat 08-Oct-16 22:23:41

Oh and some people give up perfectly lovely dogs for no reason at all.

There is currently a cocker up for adoption, with spaniel assist, that nipped his owner when the owner tried to remove its food. It didn't break the skin but the owner took it to the vets and tried to have him put to sleep.

Quite honestly I would go mad if someone tried to take my dinner off me. grin

Littlebee76 Sat 08-Oct-16 22:26:41

For the record, my ddog has zero issues, no bad background. A perfect family dog that could be matched with a family of all ages and we were the lucky ones.

Good luck.

TheAntiBoop Mon 10-Oct-16 12:12:36

So the follow up question and currently the thing that is stopping us going forward - holidays!

We probably go abroad 4 weeks a year (Dh family mainly). Not somewhere we can drive to. Max time away is 3 weeks.

We don't really have anyone who could dogsit. My parents might for a weekend and my sister might for a week. But the assumption should be that we wouldn't have that help.

Would it be really cruel to get a dog and then have it in kennels for 3 weeks at a go? Is there another option that is kinder?

Whilst we are very keen to have a dog we are very conscious of the fact we need to give him or her a good home for the whole year. We can't not visit the family hence it being the current deal breaker!!

MiddleClassProblem Mon 10-Oct-16 12:19:39

We have a dog sitter previously home boarded in their home but now they come to us so it is a house sitter/dog sitter. I couldn't put mine in kennels as one has separation anxiety.

You could get a rescue as long as they are not left all day or you have looked into a walker/doggy day care, they also have puppies all year and tend to flux in puppies around February when the Christmas gift novelty has warn off.

TheAntiBoop Mon 10-Oct-16 12:22:43

is it expensive to have the dog sitter? I guess the advantage is that they also offer a little security to the house as well!

mycatstares Mon 10-Oct-16 12:23:39

I'd get a rescue dog if I was in your position. Not all rescue dogs have had a bad life, most of them lived with families until they got too much hard work. Which means most of them would love a home with children in.

I also think you'll get so much more back from a rescue dog once they have settled in and know they are there to stay.

TheAntiBoop Mon 10-Oct-16 12:27:58

I'm not averse to a rescue dog but my friend is on a list at a few centres round here and gets bumped down because she has kids. She, like me, would only consider a smaller breed as well which also seems to restrict the numbers that come up. i will have a look at local shelters though and see what their criteria are

MiddleClassProblem Mon 10-Oct-16 12:34:07

Just have a Google, most will have their prices up. Tbh they're not that different to kennel prices and your dog gets one on one attention. Vets also might be able to recommend places.

With rescue they take many different things into account so it's unlike that you and your friend have identical circumstances. It doesn't hurt to register and be on the list even if you end up finding a dog elsewhere.

I worked at a very well know rescue centre and we would often rehome to families. The reason some dogs wouldn't be would be for the safety of the children or the dog's comfort levels in a house 24/7 with children mainly.

TheAntiBoop Mon 10-Oct-16 12:38:53

Yes I'll have a look around but won't register until we are certain!


BabyGanoush Mon 10-Oct-16 12:39:06

Just wanted to say small dogs are not easier than big ones!

A terrier would be more work, for example, than a greyhound.

IMO lits of bigger dogs are actually calmer....and they don't yappediyappediyap grin

CMOTDibbler Mon 10-Oct-16 12:46:08

I agree BabyGanoush. My lazy lurchers walk quietly on the lead and then snore, unlike my neighbours spaniel who pulls like a train and is constantly looking for stimulation. Plus mine don't bark/yap

TheAntiBoop Mon 10-Oct-16 12:50:03

It's more the amount of exercise the dog would need than whether it is easier or not. So far we have been looking at small poodles, mini schnauzers etc and have ruled out other breeds as they are not suitable for our living circumstances.

However our first step is to make sure we are ready for a dog!!

MiddleClassProblem Mon 10-Oct-16 12:51:29

Greyhounds tend to need less exercise than terriers

TheAntiBoop Mon 10-Oct-16 12:55:11

I don't think we are considering terriers

Dh had big dogs growing up (including Great Danes) so he is open to any dog but in reality I can't guarantee I will be able to exercise the dog for more than an hour a day on a few days of the week. We also have a small garden which a big dog may find a bit tight

PetraStrorm Mon 10-Oct-16 12:56:57

Yep, my greyhound hardly ever barks and is very gentle and laid-back, but friendly. DD was 5 when we got the dog and it's been fine - no different from a smaller dog and, for DD, much easier as she doesn't like jumpy/yappy dogs (nor do I - hence the greyhound).

Because most rescue greyhounds haven't lived in a home before, but have been trained to be clean, quiet, and walk well on the lead, they can slot right in to your house rules/routines quite easily. They might not be right for you, but you really should check them out as a possible option. Sadly, there are limitless numbers of them looking for homes.

TheAntiBoop Mon 10-Oct-16 12:58:39

How old are greyhounds when they normally go up for adoption? I am not averse to a rescue greyhound but assumed they would need big runs!! Are they ok being left alone?

MiddleClassProblem Mon 10-Oct-16 13:00:12

There are so many small breeds that you have mentioned considered from dachunds to papillons, Bulldogs to shih tzus. Do the quizzes, look at breed books or just see what comes up at rescues

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