First time dog owner(7 Posts)
Looking for some advice from experienced dog owners. Would really love to adopt a dog as a new family member, have done lots of research into breeds etc but for every good story there is a bad one. My main concern is I have two house cats and unsure how they'd cope with a dog. I also have a 7 year DS who is great with the cats and other family members dogs.
Exciting! Start by working out what you want in a dog in terms of character. Do you want a working dog that will accompany you on long walks (bearing in mind that most working dogs, including tiny terriers, will probably want a good 2 hours walking minimum a day) or do you want a couch potato that will go on a longer walk if you want it but happily accept a 20 minute walk twice a day if you don't (in which case you probably want a greyhound)? What size can you cope with?
Be realistic also about what you can manage. If you're a first time dog owner, I would be very hesitant about taking on a Rottweiler (lovely dogs but immensely strong and need a very firm hand) or a Belgian Malinois (beautiful, fiercely intelligent working dogs who generally need to do something, e.g. agility, and can be very bossy if not properly trained).
Think also about how much work you want to do. Do you want to raise a puppy? That's brilliant fun but properly training a puppy involves a huge amount of work and is very hard if you're housetrained (there will be accidents and they will chew things, especially when teething). Also, you don't necessarily know what you're getting - Labs tend to be good with children but not all of them are, for example.
If you want a dog who is likely to be clean almost immediately and already know some basic commands, and if you want to know something about their character and history, you probably want to rehome an adult dog; generally speaking (but not always!) the older the dog the calmer it will be.
I would always want a rescue, personally, partly because I don't want to encourage overbreeding, and partly because a good and reputable rescue centre will be honest with you about whether a particular dog is likely to suit your lifestyle. They will know the dog well and will be able to tell you whether it is likely to get on with cats and/or live with children of your DS's age/at all. A good rescue (by which I mean a well established and reputable rescue) will do everything they can to match you with a dog that works for your life and family. I would ask your local vets if they can recommend a trustworthy rescue near to you, or if you have a breed in mind you can look up official rescues for those breeds online.
Look into insurance as well - I've yet to have a dog that did not need treatment at some point that went over the excess and many of our dogs had to have serious operations that would have been over £1000 if we'd had to pay ourselves.
Come back and tell us what you decide! Dogs are brilliant
Thanks for all the great info, will give us lots to look into. We want to make sure we look into it all properly as it's such a big commitment, we also work full time which is not ideal but with dog walkers etc I think we could all be happy
YY to PP- an older dog is much more of a known quantity, and a rescue centre will help you choose. When you bring new dog home, give him/her time to settle in, and realise that you need to build a relationship with him. Don't assume he is 'yours' straight away- he needs to get to know you before trusting you.
It's lovely to have a rescue dog.
We'll definitely go for a rescue as both our cats are rescued
And get in touch with your local dog training club! You should get plenty of support for the rescue centre, but doing a training course is great. Most club's run the good "citizen dog scheme". This will help you to bond with your dog, you are surrounded by people who know about dogs and will be able to help out with any problems you might encounter.
Before you get the dog, get all your ducks in a row with a trainer and walkers or you'll find yourself stuck for a while until you get them organised.
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