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First time getting a dog - what do I need to know?

(11 Posts)
Rollondownthehighway Fri 03-Feb-17 17:52:45

So, after several years of saying no to our dog-crazed children we've finally decided the time is right to get a dog. Weirdly me and DH decided this independently of each other on the same day. Our kids are now 9 and 6 which we think is a good age. We have a reasonable sized house that we're not planning to move from. We only have a small-ish garden (3x4m) which is completely decked however the decking is ancient so we're not precious about keeping it nice and if necessary it could come up so we can put down a more suitable surface. We holiday in Devon and are happy to not go abroad for the foreseeable future. DH works all day, I work mornings so need to be out of the house 8-12.15. We've spoken about this to the various rescue places and they're happy to look for a dog that would cope with this. But if it does present a problem we are able to pay for someone to come in and help out. This would be term time only btw.

This board has been brilliant, I've been lurking for ages. So can I tap into your knowledge please?! What do I need to know and/or consider? What eventualities do I need to be prepared for? What are your top tips? We don't want to get this wrong so need all the advice we can get! Thanks in advance.

Stuffedshirt Fri 03-Feb-17 18:00:50

If you're going to get a rescue dog, be very, very careful. We rescued a dog and they didn't tell us the truth about her. She was a lovely dog but was a rescue dog for a reason. She was a nightmare and she had to go back. I cried my eyes out but there was no other way. She needed so much training and we weren't experienced enough to do it.

We got a puppy after that and it was the best thing we ever did.

I'm sure many rescue dogs will make lovely pets and I think it's a brilliant thing to do.

When you get your dog, she will have to go for lots of walks, every single day. You'll need a space in your garden for her toilet. Be prepared with bags whenever you go for a walk. Picking up dog poo isn't great but you get used to it.

When you get her take her to your local vets for a check up. She will need yearly immunisations and worming and tick and flea treatment every three months. It's not cheap.

She will need regular grooming. We use Dial a Dog wash but also brush her regularly as well.

LaGattaNera Fri 03-Feb-17 18:20:16

Grooming depends on the dog I have had greyhounds and staffies all minimal grooming and no washing, just wiped paws if necessary.

Decking can be very slippery for dogs especially if icy or wet and they may not want to wee or poo on it, especially if male as they may look for a post or tree or similar.

Many independent rescues will let you try a dog at home for a week before you decide - large national rescues usually won't but with all of mine, I was able to. All of mine were rescues and they were all fantastic!

I use a piece of kitchen paper as well as a poo bag - I invert them with the kitchen paper nearest the poo so I am not troubled by the warmth (!) and if poo bag tears I have some protection! What you feed the dog has a massive impact on the consistency of their poo and you will get to know what works!

My greyhounds slept on a duvet in the lounge long and spread out, my staffie-cross had a duvet but he liked his crate under the stairs too and used to get in by himself quite often.


Rollondownthehighway Fri 03-Feb-17 18:31:34

Thank you. This is really helpful (esp the kitchen roll tip!) I am a little nervous about getting a rescue dog but the place we're most in touch with has found us 2 potential matches and both are with foster families. I'm hoping that when we visit we'll be able to get a good idea of their character in a home environment and ask lots of questions of the foster family so should be able to get a good idea of temperament/personality. Not looking forward to pre-work walks but will have to get on with it! I can then do a walk straight after work, take dog on afternoonschool run and then DH can do an evening walk too.

Fizzyknickers Fri 03-Feb-17 18:38:26

We have two dogs, - standard Schnauzer dog 13months and springer spaniel bitch (14weeks). We adore them and so do the kids. However. Sometimes the kids are just not in the mood for the long walks they need and it causes a fuss. This is the main issue we've come across. Now we have them both, they do tire each other out chasing around like loons, but still need lots of exercise. Often I find myself bribing the kids!

LaGattaNera Fri 03-Feb-17 18:40:18

oh that's so good if you can get a dog that has been fostered - the fosterers will generally be experienced and give you a really clear idea of the dog and many will have worked on aspects of training if needed. Rescue dogs desperately need homes you are doing such a great thing. What breed or cross are they? You get used to the walks and especially in spring & summer the early ones are great - I lost my dog 4 weeks ago and feel the whole structure of my life has gone on top of losing my beloved best friend.

stickytoffeeloving Fri 03-Feb-17 18:42:34

I've just got a puppy and whereas, I've had a dog before, I was a child and so I didn't have to do any of the hard stuff! smile Just the fun, play, running around and cuddles stuff. This time round, it's......different grin

We're still in our first week and it's hard, mainly with toilet training. It really does feel like you've got a new baby in the house to an extent, but then I know you're thinking about getting a rescue. From what I've heard, even if they're previously toilet trained, they can go back a bit with that, so you'll need to be around for most of the time initially.

Can you take any time off work in those first few settling in days?

Rollondownthehighway Fri 03-Feb-17 19:02:51

Oh LaGattaNera I'm so sorry for your loss. It must be very hard for you.

The dog we are drawn to is a lab cross and they think he has some lurcher in him. He's small and slight. He's with a very experienced foster carer so I know he's getting good care at the minute.

Thanks for the tip-off on the toilet training stickytoffeeloving. It's definitely possible to either try and time it so a new dog arrives during school holidays while I'm around or for DH to work from home for a bit.

SparklingRaspberry Sun 05-Feb-17 19:28:20

OP I strongly advice to not rely on puppy pads. They just string out the toilet training. My best advice would be to set your alarm for every 2 hours during the night to let her out for a pee. It may even wake you up before your alarm. You will be absolutely shattered but trust me, it will help. During the day, let it out every single time it wakes up, soon as it finishes play time, and after it has a drink. Massive praise every time she does something in the garden!
I did all this and within a week she was house trained letting me know when she wanted to be out. We still have the occasional accident, I think she's pee'd in the house once in the last 5 days, but for a 10 week puppy who we've only had 2 weeks that's amazing!

Rescue dogs will still have toilet problems due to the stress of rehoming.

Please please research diet. I can't recommend feeding your dog raw enough. Absolutely the best thing for every dog regardless of illness or allergy etc.

I would also suggest taking time off from work to begin with to help it settle in. It's not fair to take the puppy from its mother and litter to be then left alone. If it's a result, it's not fair to bring it into a new environment with people it doesn't know to then be left.

Do not let it cry all alone. Letting the dog cry itself to sleep is very outdated.

If you're on facebook search the 'dog training and support' group. It's fantastic!

Positive reinforcement. Ignore the bad behaviour, as bad attention is better than no attention.

Research 100% into what breed you want before even getting it.

Good luck! smile

OreoHeaven Sun 05-Feb-17 19:52:15

If you're term time I would aim for getting a dog in the summer hols so you have six weeks together and then you can figure out the dog walker or whatever for the hours you work.

Rescues also have puppies. We have a dog who we got from a breeder as a pup and a dog we hot from a rescue aged 3. Personally I would take an older dog with a known history and basic training over a pup every time. I appreciate we've been extremely well matched with our second dog and in hundreds of ways is easier than the dog we've had since a pup.

In terms of breed as we have young children we needed dog(s) who didn't need hours and hours of exercise but would be ok on regular walks but also enjoy the occasional longer 3hrs plus type. We also wanted a dog we could let off lead and one that could switch off at home. For example a collie wouldn't suit us. They need equal measure of brain stimulation as well as physical to have their needs met and with small kids and school runs etc that's just not something we can offer.

Ensure the dog has space to retreat to away from the kids and secondly somewhere to put the dog if you have visitors over who don't like dogs or are nervous esp play dates.

Best of luck!

Wolfiefan Sun 05-Feb-17 19:58:23

The FB group sparkling mentions is great.
Think about if you want to crate train or where you could create a safe space for your dog whilst you are not around. (Bear in mind my pup has chewed wall, dishwasher, fridge, skirting board. Oh and me!)
Definitely take time off work. You can't bring a dog home Saturday morning and then go off to work for the whole of Monday morning.
Remember to factor in the cost of insurance.
And find a decent dog trainer to help you.

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