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Getting a dog

(8 Posts)
boffin9207 Mon 28-May-18 08:18:45

DP and I have recently bought a house in a small town with a garden, having moved from a flat in a city. Before moving, we discussed getting a dog and are looking to adopt from a rescue rather than a puppy. We have both been around dogs but never had our own and think that at this stage rehoming a dog would be the right thing to do both because of our experience and because of the time we have available.

We both work full time. DP works from home 1-2 days a week. We have looked into doggy care locally and this is affordable for us. DPs parents also live locally and have said they are willing to help and have pre-committed to one regular day a week.

We are both young and quite active (mid to late twenties). We also fully appreciate that we have to find the right dog for us and vice versa, not just anyone that we like the look of. That being the case, I am hoping that I can get some advice on what to expect, are there any breeds we should / shouldn’t be looking at etc. We have both done quite a lot of reading on this over the last few months but now the time is here, I am keen for some advice from knowledgable people!

OP’s posts: |
Benji13 Mon 28-May-18 08:29:18

Bless you for considering a rescue. The best ones!
Do some research into local rescues. Smaller ones will have dogs in foster homes who can give you more of an idea of how the dog will behave at home. Energy requirements etc. Don't get fixated on a particular breed, size etc just go with the best fit for your circumstances and life.
There will generally be a home check where they will discuss working hours etc. Given that you both work an older dog and not a pup will be a better bet.
Good luck. You won't regret it. Our rescue Ben who came from Dogs Trust is the best decision we made! He's a gentle, kind boy who loves everyone

TimeToDash Mon 28-May-18 09:02:16

If you work full time then I wouldn't go for something that needs a huge amount of long walks and attention like a Labrador or border collie. How about a retired greyhound?

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Mon 28-May-18 09:07:23

Your set up sounds entirely plausible. I'm going to make a few points you need to consider in advance.

However, do consider what commitments you have on weekday evenings, and how this will impact DDog; I'm of a similar age but single and that was probably the biggest impact on my lifestyle when I accidentally acquired PestDog. You won't be as badly affected as I was as your circumstances give you a lot more leeway, but think about anywhere you go outside of the home (days out, pub, nights out, sports clubs etc etc), whether or not the dog can come with you, and what your plans will be for DDog. While I have been incredibly lucky in having a dog that will cope with a full day alone (I put a dog activity tracker on him.... It recorded 5 minutes of movement in the entire day) many others will find that their dog has a degree of separation anxiety; at the extreme end they can't cope with 5 minutes alone and will be destructive if left alone.

Consider if you are happy with lots of grooming; if not get a short haired breed.

Consider how much exercise you can give the dog each day - this is another major time sink for me as mine needs a minimum of 2 hours brisk walkies per day or his behaviour suffers and I'll regret it the following day - admittedly that's unusually high for most breeds, but it's par for the course with a Jack Russell X. Equally, how much exercise can your parents manage? A tired dog is a good dog...

Are you likely to have children in future? How will your child fit in with the lifestyle that your dog needs? I ask it in that way because the dog was there first and its needs will still need to be met; rehoming a dog because you've got a new baby is pretty low. It's a good job I never really planned to have children as my dog's exercise needs, combined with FT work, being single and no family locally mean I would really struggle to manage a child too. DDog's fear of motorbikes (he's reactive to that one trigger) means I couldn't safely manage a toddler and DDog when he sees a motorbike; it's a work in progress but he will lunge and snap, and on a bad day he'll redirect onto my lower legs - I'm currently sporting a substantial bruise and a few teeth marks on my knee because I misjudged it / didn't hear it approaching in time. For a reactive dog, he's very, very much at the mild end of the spectrum, and if it wasn't for that he'd be perfect!

Find good quality training classes, and go pronto once you get DDog. I grew up with dogs and thought I knew something about dogs. It turned out it was a massive learning curve, but I found training classes invaluable. Quality varies enormously, so look for someone APDT or IMDT accredited, Dogs Trust Dog School etc

How old are your DPs, and how old will they be in 10 years? Would they be able to cope with something big and bouncy? What if it pulls on the lead in the early days? DF is lovely and PestDog adores him when he goes for boarding, but it has taken months to get him on board with even the most basic of training stuff, like taking a packet of treats out with him on a walk for recall purposes. Consistency will make everyone's lives much easier. You may have DPs who are willing to listen and don't always assume that they know best despite never having owned a dog themselves.

Get good quality pet insurance - PetPlan lifetime is frequently recommended on here. It can be pricey because the cheap ones offer insufficient cover. As I'm in London, mine is an eye watering £48 per month for a 2 year old cross with no pre existing conditions.

The Kennel Club breed finder is a great way to get you thinking about what factors you need to consider, and the sorts of breeds that might work; of course it does not tell you about individual quirks or that perfect mutt at your local rescue!

Izzywigs Mon 28-May-18 10:24:56

6months ago we got an 8year old rescue. She came from a loving home, where the owner had died. We are retired and are at home with her all the time. Even though, she has really only settled down and become confident in the last month.

With so many different carers, parents, daycare etc, be prepared for the dog to take a good while to settle . I love my dog to bits, but she makes a lot of work, hair, paw prints, dribble, leaving her toys everywhere. Even though I had a dog as a child, it is different having full time reonsibility. Everything we do now and everywhere we go has to be planned around her.

I am not saying any of this to put you off. Only that these were the things that took me by surprise. My life now is so much happier since she arrived.

drearydeardre Mon 28-May-18 13:03:25

I would reiterate what izzywig said
2 months ago I acquired a 7 year old rescue dog who needed a new home. I am retired and home all day and it is only in the last week or so she is starting to settle. (and I am beginning to bond with her. )
She is my third consecutive 'rescue dog' and not at all like any on the previous rescues. !

boffin9207 Sat 02-Jun-18 11:10:11

Thanks very much for all of your replies. They’ve been really useful and given food for thought. Sorry I haven’t responded until now - we don’t have any internet at home yet and trying to conserve my mobile data!

I have done the kennel club quiz for dog breeds before but am happy with any suggestions you might have. I appreciate that each dog is different and we would probably be happy with a cross. DP really wants a lab or a beagle. Although when we are at work we would ensure that they are walked etc I am still concerned - would that be enough? And because of this would a rescue not select us?

Weekday evenings we don’t tend to have many commitments and if we do they are ad hoc eg the odd meal out, someone’s birthday etc. Weekends are the same. Locally to us there are a fair few dog friendly places so if we were to go out we could take the dog along.

In terms of kids - they are on the cards but probably not for about 5 years or so. We’ve just bought our first house and being realistic with work and getting married that’s probably a realistic time frame. I also agree with the whole rehoming a dog because you have a baby thing is poor and I wouldn’t want to do that at all. I also have young-ish cousins and older cousins with kids and would like a dog that could be around children. I don’t know if this is wishful thinking with a rescue dog.

DParents-in-law are semi retired and in their sixties. I am very aware that they won’t be able to do care forever and if they go on holiday etc then we need to find alternative care and take the view that it is kind of them to offer 1 or 2 days a week.

With the rescues - is it better to go to one / find a dog online we are interested in? I have looked on so many websites that I am not really sure what would be best. I also imagine that there are many dogs that don’t even end up on their website. We are in the south east, with close links to London and there are a few rescues nearby.

OP’s posts: |
GrannyGarden Sat 02-Jun-18 12:23:41

We got our dog from RescueRemedies at Gatwick. We wanted a Terrier and so googled Terrier Rescue and that was the first to come up We were able to look at all their dogs, learn about them and watch videos. Each rescue have their own rules. This one will not let you apply until 7days before you are ready to rehome. It is not one where you visit for months until you make up your mind. They do take the dog back if it is not suitable,

Our dog was the first one I saw and from then on their was no other dog for me. She was just perfect. That was at the beginning of November, but I could not apply until the week before Christmas as we were away for two days. My son took me on Boxing Day to collect her. We walked around the grounds with her, sat with her in a little secluded area and chatted to the staff about her. Then we were taken in a car to a local park and we walked her around meeting other people and dogs. Altogether we were thee hours at the Rescue Centre.

Things to think about are the age. If you are working you will have more success if you are happy with a more mature dog. Also about grooming and maintenance. She is wire haired so does not moult as much as some, but still fills the vacuum with hair. Long haired dogs get very muddy so if you have a new home you need to either not mind the muck, or have a place to clean the dog outside. Costs were much more than we anticipated. Toy, equipment, regular worm, flea treatment and yearly injections plus food.

It took 5 months for her to settle with us and be fully confident. She was not neglected and had been with the same family for all her life.

Research size, and breed and background, then start to look. I don’t know if the big Battersea type places are better, I think we were extremely lucky with ours.

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