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help me with the very basics of getting a dog

(27 Posts)
TinfoilHattie Sat 22-Apr-17 15:12:34

We have been thinking about getting a dog for years. My kids are getting older and the youngest is almost 9, so they are old enough to get involved with looking after and walking and it wouldn't all be down to me. We have space, a back garden and I'm around most of the day so the dog wouldn't be on its own. The one problem is that my middle child is terrified of dogs so care needs to be taken over the breed and type of dog.

So. We're looking for medium-ish sized dog. DH not a fan of very small breeds, I'm not up for anything larger than a Labrador. We need a breed which is great with kids and not jumpy/nervous. DH had a Border Collie growing up but this has been ruled out as I just think they're too high maintenance. Also not a fan of things like bulldogs and staffies.

I know not to look on Gumtree or Preloved for a dog, but where DO you look?

Earlybird Sat 22-Apr-17 15:18:46

Might be worth checking with local veterinarians and pet groomers. We did this and were able to adopt a lovely dog whose owner was too sick to care for him any longer. The positive side of this was he was house-trained, and had not come from a traumatic situation where he had been mistreated. That is what stopped me in the past from adopting - you simply didn't know about their past and how they would behave.

The pet-sitter 'knew' our dog's temperament, and so I felt comfortable adopting him into a home with children. He's been great for our family, btw.

CarlottosWay Sat 22-Apr-17 15:19:04

The Kennel Club has a questionnaire which helps narrow down breeds that will fit your lifestyle etc.

From that I would then read up on each of the suggested breeds and make a shortlist.

We also got quotes from petplan for the breeds we were considering. One of them was double the cost of the other breeds, so we ruled that one out.

Good luck in your search!

Vegansnake Sat 22-Apr-17 15:20:37 won't regret it

Vegansnake Sat 22-Apr-17 15:22:42

When my whippet was 2. I had dc number 4 ..they grew up problems.solid sound dog

Wolfiefan Sat 22-Apr-17 15:24:17

Don't rely on the kids. They may do the odd walk. But January? When it is sleeting and dark and cold? It'll be you!
Your kids are old enough that you could consider a rescue.
Try a breed selector quiz as a starter. How much grooming and walking are you prepared to do.
With kids I would rather go for a rescue that fosters their dogs out. Like Black Retriever x. They offer behavioural support too.
Puppies are bloody hard work. We got ours early December. We just had a lunch out without the dog for the first time since November. And took the kids to have their feet measured! shock

Earlybird Sat 22-Apr-17 15:25:56

By the way, I knew I didn't want a tiny dog but also didn't want anything large (ours is about 18 lbs). Minimal shedding was also a bonus.

The dog we got is a poodle mix (known for their intelligence), and shedding is not an issue. He is happy to go for walks, but equally happy to simply go out in the garden. Friends with larger dogs find they must walk them for 30 mins or so a few times a day to get rid of excess energy.

Wolfiefan Sat 22-Apr-17 15:27:32

Not all big dogs need hours of exercise. My giant dog can't walk too far but my friend's terrier would go forever.
Be careful of mixes. No guarantee what coat you will end up with if that's important.

TinfoilHattie Sat 22-Apr-17 15:31:03

I do suffer with allergies so would prefer something which doesn't shed too much hair. We have hard floors throghout the downstairs and (at the moment) I am saying that the dog will not be allowed upstairs, ever. Friends visited with a retriever overnight though and I didn't seem to react to that at all.

I have thought about something like Borrow My Doggy and having a dog for a day or two to see if the kids are up for it before making the committment.

Wolfiefan Sat 22-Apr-17 15:34:53

Please don't expect the kids to make any commitment. They may help out but it will not be their ultimate responsibility.
My dog can't do hard floors! She needs rugs. She never goes upstairs. Cats do. Dogs don't.
Whippets are sounding like a better and better option.
I know a lovely Golden but I am fairly certain I'm allergic to it!
Register with the cinnamon trust? Walk a dog and help a charity? Volunteer to dog walk for a shelter?
Blue Cross do talks for kids including nervous kids. Took my little one. Very helpful.

thatdearoctopus Sat 22-Apr-17 15:37:46

I'm allergic to lots of dog breeds (including my sister's lab) but have been absolutely fine with our Cockapoo. Our wish list was similar to yours by the sounds of it and he ticks every box. Fabulous family dog, not too big, not too small, likes big walks, happy with quickies, loves company, happy to be left for a few hours.

LumelaMme Sat 22-Apr-17 16:40:04

The absolute basics are health and temperament.

Take a very close look at the health of any breed or known cross you opt for. For example, dogs with short noses (French bulldogs, for example) have all sorts of issues, as do dogs with narrow nostrils (who are often the dogs with the short noses). Some breeds are prone to eye problems, for example, or have high rates of hip dysplasia.

If you go for a purebred, it might be a good idea to check the coefficient of inbreeding (COI) of the litter on the Kennel Club website. The lower the COI, the less likely the dog is to have health problems connected to recessive genes. A low COI is not a guarantee of good health, but it ups your odds of a healthy dog. Personally, I would not consider a dog with a COI over 5%.

On the plus side, most dogs - especially those which are not an extreme shape - are healthy and happy. Our dogs add a huge amount to our lives.

CornflakeHomunculus Sat 22-Apr-17 16:53:42

I would be extremely wary of getting a puppy if you have a child who is terrified of dogs. Puppies bite. A lot. And that bitey phase can last quite a while. As a puppy one of mine used to launch himself directly at our faces biting and snapping if he became over excited. He's lovely and gentle now but would your middle child be able to cope with that sort of behaviour?

In your position I think a reputable rescue who uses foster homes rather than kennels would be the best route to go down. As the dogs are living with people (often families) they have a much better idea of how they'd fit into family life. An adult dog, past the puppy and adolescent stages, who has been living in a foster home situation is much easier to slot into your lives than a puppy. You also don't need to get too hung up on breeds as you'd be evaluating dogs by their individual qualities.

Wolfiefan Sat 22-Apr-17 17:15:05

Seconding the bloody awful biting phase. My dog is 7 months and will still grab me. We are working on it.
If you are getting a dog there's a great FB group. Dog Training Advice and Support. Free advice and fact files on all sorts of things. Run by experts. All positive and force free. Has been a lifeline for me.

BiteyShark Sat 22-Apr-17 17:22:11

Also not advocating a puppy if your DC is scared of dogs. The biting stage is bloody awful hence my MN name.

For allergies I reacted to my puppy for a few weeks but now it doesn't seem to be a problem but for those week my hands and arms were blotchy and itchy.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sat 22-Apr-17 17:41:38

Don't go for any poodle mix on the assumption that it won't shed. The current fad is for labradoodles but there's no guarantee which bit of the breed you'll get. If you like a fluffy lab then fine but labs coats shed like buggery and it's a recessive gene so there's no guarantee of selectively breeding for it.

A good book about all the practicalities of dog ownership right from puppyhood is The Happy Puppy Handbook by Pippa Mattinson. Really useful read.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

BagelGoesWalking Sat 22-Apr-17 17:51:48

A lot of men don't seem to want smaller dogs as they don't think they're manly. It's bullshit and stupid, a dog is not a penis extension.

A smaller dog can be so much easier to cope with. Even as puppies, larger dogs will be too strong for your children to walk, especially as they can pull/get boisterous when they're young.

Kids will lose interest once the novelty factor is over. It will be you doing 95% of the work, especially when it's cold and rainy.

Do think about the impact - no long days out unless it's dog friendly or you pay someone to look after the dog. A few hours shopping, then going to the cinema or a meal has to be planned, not spontaneous anymore

Costs can mount up - food, annual vaccine and boosters, dog walkers or sitters, kennels etc., insurance - people spend surprising amounts on their dog!

Floralnomad Sat 22-Apr-17 17:54:49

Don't get a dog unless you / your OH actually want one and I wouldn't get a dog at all until your middle child has met lots and actually wants one in the house . Worse scenario is getting one and then having to rehome it because the child cannot cope .

TinfoilHattie Sat 22-Apr-17 20:20:18

My middle child is almost 12 - and is old enough to know that the best way of conquering her fears is to deal with them and face them. Point taken about the biting stage though.

When I said "small dog" I meant the pomeranian, chihuahua or yorkie types which seem so fashionable at the moment We'd be up for having something like a West Hihgland terrier or Border terrier.

I've also heard via a friend that Guide Dogs rehome puppies at a year old - the ones who have been through basic traning and are socialised, but which just don't make the grade as a guide dog. Anyone with any experience of this?

CornflakeHomunculus Sat 22-Apr-17 20:33:18

Whereabouts are you Tinfoil?

There are some dog training clubs that run special classes for children who are scared of dogs. Unfortunately the ones I know of are all down south (Essex, Sussex and Kent) but if you're in or near those areas it's really worth looking into.

There's an FAQ about rehoming withdrawn guide dogs here.

TinfoilHattie Sat 22-Apr-17 20:54:16

We're in Glasgow. I approached a club a while ago which has pet therapy dogs, they go into hospitals and nursing homes. But they won't see us without an NHS referral, and the NHS is so stretched that they won't see her to help. Catch 22. She's a lot better than she was, she used to run into the road rather than pass a dog on the street. She's usually OK now and past the running in the road stage, but hates dogs which are jumpy, particularly spaniels and collies.

We have spoken to her about the possbility of getting a dog and she's positive about it. Having read through the stuff about guide dogs I don't think it's for us after all - I am not an experienced dog owner although DH is and I don't think I'd do a good job with a dog with behavioural issues or health issues.

Floralnomad Sat 22-Apr-17 20:56:40

What about a retired greyhound , no mess , easy to maintain exercise wise and most places are very open for people to go and have a look and a cuddle . They are also pretty placid so should suit your daughter .

Booboostwo Sat 22-Apr-17 21:04:44

Some dog clubs run courses for people who are scared of dogs or those who don't have dogs but want to know more about them. They use very well trained adult dogs who have,, for example, a reliable down-stay. This way the dog remains quiet and the person can decide when and how to initiate contact on their own terms. They also discuss dog body language and how to read the difference between an excitable dog and an aggressive dog. Maybe your DD would benefit from something like that before you made a choice about a breed?

LardLizard Mon 24-Apr-17 22:20:19

Oh thanks for your helpful replies
I'm calling them tomorrow
We are all keen as a family to do this

My biggest worries are letting. It go when the time comes and how my youngest will cope when it goes as he will only be ablit five so hard for him to understand
My eldest will understand more

Good to have these questions answered esp the more basic stuff so I don't have to ask the puppy supervisors the most most basic things like how often to bath

I thought it might be once a week or something

You've all given me loads of things to research and find about about

At Brighton I think that will be for the guide dog people to decide
I think they will be bmvapavke of deciding if we are fit for the job

Rtkanga we have been to lemington spa twice now
Once for the breeding centre tour and once on the training center tour and have spoken to other puppy walkers and trainers
And seen the training. Books they use
Which is v helpful

How long is the wait normally for a puppy ?

How long do you think I'll need to get up until the night for

It seems to be it will be a bit like having another child
Mind you they slept through from six weeks and potty trained great
In days
Mind you left it till quite late 2 and a half lol

I know they are not allowed to play with balls

Are they allow to sit if sofas or is that a no no ?

LardLizard Mon 24-Apr-17 22:21:02

Oops sorry wrong thread

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