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Tell me everything I need to know please!(82 Posts)
So after a 10 year campaign my dh and ds have finally convinced me and we are getting a dog. My only 2 requirements seen that it is small and doesn't shed. Ds1/2 Are both bad with heavy shedding dogs. We aren't getting one next week but want to do plenty of research over the next few months to be as ready as possible.
I work evenings so am home all day. Dh does shifts and should be home 3 days a week so always adults at home. We have 3 smaller dc from 1 to 7 Quite a big house/garden and dog could possibly have it's own bedroom/space if needed. (Is this needed?)
My ds1 was very badly attacked by a dog many years ago as a baby and I'm just getting over my fear in recent years. I have been spending lots of time with dogs and have had my bosses dog to stay for long weekends 3 times now and have surprised myself how much I and the dc enjoyed it.
What is the actual reality like though? Does 1 person need to be in charge of it? Is it like having a new born? How do i find the breed to match us? Or will I just know when I see it? I'm in Ireland and not even sure where you buy a dog (ie a proper breeder and not gumtree) Any help or advice is much appreciated.
My dh has always had a dog. I was so traumatised after my son was attacked that it was only about 2 years ago that I was able to even pet a dog but I have really come on and have worked so hard not to pass any fears over to the dc.
Puppies are hard. On par with newborns. It will be the worst 6 months with toilet training, biting, chewing, clingyness. You will break down and regret it! But it was also be the best thing you've ever done and MN will be here to support when the puppy blues hit.
Doesn't need one person to be in charge, everyone should be involved with helping out. But adults need to take the responsibility.
Breed wise, schnauzers and yorkies are usually good for allergy sufferers as they are low shedding. Obviously cockapoos/*mini labradoodles* etc are usually low shedding but remember that they will require lots of exercise and stimulation.
I would research online lots of breeds and see which one you think would fit in. Look at the amount of exercise you can offer, what sort of grooming you are willing to pay for - low shedding breeds will need more regular grooming. Schnauzers are 'alarm' dogs so tend to be more barky. Do you think you could cope with a terrier breed? Or a more docile shih tzu or lhasa apso?
Once you've decided on a breed, then research online for responsible breeders, make sure you can see the mother dog, generally the more questions the breeder asks you, the more responsible. Is the breeder licensed by the council, or Kennel Club? Can you make multiple visits to see the litter? Are you given a contract? Are you given insurance. Are the puppies vet checked, is there proof? The puppies should be wormed, vaccinated and microchipped prior to you taking him/her home.
Other small low shedding breeds: Maltese, westie, border terrier, poodles, basenji, wire fox terrier
There's also less common low-shedding breeds like Coton de Tulear and Havanese. You should go via Irish Kennel Club breeders to find a reputable breeder of any puppy - small sized dogs are notoriously puppy farmed and Ireland has a LOT of puppy farms!
Would echo what others have said about puppies. They are HARD work, you'll need to plan your year of puppy carefully, especially with things like holidays, work trips etc. I think everyone gets the puppy blues.
I think a Yorkshire terrier might go nicely.
They are small and cute and good for allergies.
Chihuahuas don’t shed much either.
Toy poodles don’t shed at all but do need to see a professional groomer regularly else they develop painful mats.
Things I would say:
- Treat it like a DOG and not a baby.
If it’s behaviour you wouldn’t accept from a bigger dog like a Rottweiler do not allow it in a little dog.
- Don’t use puppy pads, straight outside on waking, after every nap, after every play session, after every meal, before bedtime.
- Socialise really well, go to the ‘puppy parties’ most vets offer, get it meeting friendly, vaccinated adult dogs, take it on the bus, train, on the school run etc.
- No collars for teeny dogs.
They can be prone to collapsed trachea, harnesses only.
- Puppies bite, be aware of this.
It’s not vicious, it’s how they play.
Every time they bite you need to be getting up straight away and completely ignoring them for a few minutes.
They need to learn that bite = isolation/end of interaction.
Our youngest (now 3.5) was a nightmare puppy - honestly we cried everyday for about the first 6 months as he was a bitey arsehole of a dog. He’s now the sweetest, most loving dog who likes nothing more than to sprawl on the sofa next to us, or rub against our legs like a cat.
It’s so worth it though, so if you get an arsehole of a puppy don’t give up hope and remember - it does get better.
Excellent, thank you all so much. I knew there would be so many things I would have no idea about! The dog we have been looking after is a cavapoo but my boss rescued her and told me it is quite hard to get one that isn't puppy farmed as people think they are quite fashionable. Is this true? Never considered it might be an arehole for a while
In terms of exercise, just whatever it needs. Would always be someone here and good walks about. I've found myself almost following the local dog walkers to see where they go and what they do
So I really need to be mindful that the 1st 6 months minimum will be a testing time? Now sorry for a silly question. Is there a puppy manual, rule book? What to teach them and in what order? Something I can buy online to ready/study.
All the designer poodle crosses are likely to be puppy farmed or at least "hobby" bred for the sole purpose of selling for a profit and zero on the health of the actual animals.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in particular, while being great family dogs, have an absolute mountain of health problems. The ones used for fashionable crossbreeds are likely to not be the best quality dogs and can easily pass on those very expensive and life-limiting health issues.
I recommend having a read of these:
things to think about long term.
In some ways it is like having an extra child.
But on the plus side, you can go out and leave the dog at home for an hour or two.
On the down side, when you go away, even for a long day out, and don't take the dog, you need to arrange dog care. This can be difficult, especially over Christmas, or for a longer summer holiday.
Most dogs have a weak point. Ours is that he is a food theif. This has meant some changes both in our behaviour and in things like the bin is no longer in the kitchen (which relaly annoys me). I have had to accept that I am not going to be able to train him to stop completely.
Don't discount rescues. (although your kids may be too young for a rescue to consider you) We fostered dogs from our local rescue, and 2 of them were really nice dogs, who were there to be rehomed. Both would have made lovely family pets, both as soft as butter with the kids, in fact the second one was so nice we kept him......
The advantage is that you don't have to go through the puppy stage.
In terms of exercise, just whatever it needs
Do have a bit more of think about this because some breeds really do need a lot. Even the most sedate benefit from 30-45mins twice a day. For most of the working types you are looking at 2-3 hours, split into a couple of walks. For the high energy breeds you could be looking at 4+ hours.
It's also worth thinking about what they really means in terms of your day. Whilst the long, leisurely summer walks through meadows are blissful, much of dog walking involves wrapping up in warm, dry gear and going out in the cold rain. Getting muddy. The dog getting muddy. Bringing all that mud back into the house and/or car. Perhaps having to bath the dog. Wash clothes etc. Every day.
Not trying to put you off. I just think sometimes people can be over optimistic about thinking "oh, I'll walk him loads, no problem" but the reality is much trickier to maintain.
Much better to be totally honest with yourself about how much walking you would LIKE to do and find a dog to suit.
“Does 1 person need to be in charge of it?”
Hmm, it’s a bit like having children - the main carer is mostly in charge, but you want general agreement about behaviour and training.
But they also adapt to knowing what they can get away with with each person.
“ Is it like having a new born?”
Having a puppy is more like a toddler tbh.
“How do i find the breed to match us?”
The best way is to work out what you want in terms of exercise, playfulness, trainability, things like grooming and size. (There was no particular order to that list) that’ll narrow it down to a few that you can then meet.
To find a decent breeder you want to start with the breed club and go from there.
Oh yes, the walking.
It is a bit relentless.
I HAVE to go out, every single day, come rain or shine, whether I am ill, kids are ill, however busy I am with work (work from home) I still have to go out and do a walk of at least one hour.
When we decided to keep our dog, one of the things was that I took on the responsibility of waking. I think you have to be clear - who will do most of the walking? And is that person really serious about how much it entails?
making that commitment as a family doesn't work, one person needs to be sure they can do it if needed.
As it happens, dh take him out for an evening walk as well if he can, and dh walks him most saturdays and sundays, but the bulk is down to me.
So, looking at your family situation, work out who would walk him, and if that is you, will the kids come too? What if the toddler is sick?
What if it is the muddiest, longest winter on record and the walk you do has places where the water in the muddy puddles is up to the top of your wellies, and you can't take a buggy (that was us last winter, fortunately my kids are older)
All things to think about
Don't be fooled into thinking adequate exercise = hours of walking.
In my experience most dog have an optimum walking time and anything over that is not really beneficial to them. Mine copes best on about 50 minutes twice a day - anything more than that and he's too overstimulated and can't settle down.
You also need to think about the weather - are you happy to go out for say, 50 minutes, twice a day in the pissing rain and driving wind? When you have a streaming cold and feel like total shit? Because young dogs especially cannot cope with not going for a walk because you can't be bothered/don't feel upto it.
Mine needs at least one walk a day, ideally two. If he doesn't get that he gets bored and he gets destructive - so he'll find his own entertainment, which normally involves chewing blankets/the sofa/pillows, tormenting the cat, trying to open doors/steal food, digging in the garden etc. He's eleven months old now.
BUT, walk him properly in the morning and he's amazing all day. I took him to the beach for a run around today - off-lead and he was out for about an hour. He's been chilled ever since. With the right work and dedication they're amazing pets, but you have to put that work in every single day for their entire lives.
The one bit of advice I’d give you OP is think really really hard about it.
We got our golden retriever puppy at the end of August and despite doing endless research and planning, NOTHING really prepared us for the overwhelming reality of life with a dog. And our pup has been a really good boy on the whole, so god knows how people cope with naughty ones who don’t sleep through the night, don’t get toilet training etc.
I found it far more difficult than babies. I’m also a foster career and again, none of our placements have been as hard as looking after the dog.
I can’t even explain why OP. We’ve never had dogs before so getting a dog for us was a whole new way of life and a new way of thinking.
Our pup is coming up for seven months now. He’s currently an adolescent git face . His new thing is throwing himself at me and trying to bite my arms really hard. Just for a laugh.
I’ve cried more this last couple of months than I have in a long long time. I weep for my old carefree dog free life. Everyone tells me it’s just the Puppy Blues and I’ll get over it. Doesn’t help at the moment.
Oh yes and then the people who tell you it’ll get easier - AFTER THREE OR FOUR YEARS
I still don’t know whether we can make it with ours. We had a discussion just last week about whether we’d be better rehoming.
Then he’ll do something really cute and I’m all torn again.
Oh yes, and no matter what your kids say, they WILL get bored of the dog - and you’ll be left to do all the work.
Honestly OP, take a step back and think about it more first. And then think some more. Good luck.
What is the actual reality like though?
I only started to like my dog when he started to show his adult side. The puppy and teenage phase was bloody hard and I honestly thought 'what have I done' most days.
Wouldn't be without him now but at the time it was awful.
Have a look on some of the old puppy and adolescent survival threads on here for an idea of some of the challenges people have faced.
I think you need to go into it preparing yourself for the worst.
What are you going to do, for example, if your dog has any of the following traits:
- has separation anxiety and cannot be left alone.
- is very difficult to toilet train and pees/poos in the house.
- has any kind of resource-guarding or food-aggression issues.
- is lead aggressive.
- pulls on the lead (normal for most dogs as pups, but how will you cope when you're out with a toddler and a buggy)
What will you do when the puppy goes through the bitey phase? Contrary to what most people say on here lots of puppies nip and mouthe until they're well over a year old and yes, it can be painful and it can be frustrating.
The other thing to bear in mind is how you'll cope with the teenage phase. All dogs are gits as teenagers. Mine just ignored me completely most of the time, his training went COMPLETELY out of the window and he became really gobby as well. His recall also vanished completely.
To get the dream of a wonderful, biddable adult dogs, you have lots of work to put in when they're puppies.
Hmm, there are some very grim puppy related posts here!
I can honestly say I didn’t find having a puppy that bad..
I would rather have another pup than more kids (I have 3) who I have found unbelievably difficult!
My puppy was fairly quick to toilet train, easy to distract with suitable toys when she went to chew something inappropriate and as a result, has never destroyed anything in my house.
She did bite, she was more into grabbing clothes than skin though.
There was a time I didn’t have a single item of clothing without a hole in it!
She favoured the leap up, bite and hold when anyone moved.
But that phase didn’t last too long.
Depends on the dog really, for all those nightmare pups there will be many more than really weren’t so bad!
Depends on the dog really, for all those nightmare pups there will be many more than really weren’t so bad!
Of course, but people need to go into it knowing how bad it can be. Lots of us on here have dealt with aggression, separation anxiety, poor toilet training, sleepless nights, destruction - new owners need to see the good and the bad parts of dog ownership in my opinion.
But then again I LOVE my dog and I can't imagine my life without him, but there have been days that it's been impossibly difficult - I'm not going to sugarcoat it.
If you are looking for a cavapoo (great choice) then Many Tears Rescue often has young ones. They are based in Wales but should adopt nationally.
I have a chihuahua and honestly he's been a doddle.
From day 1 I crate trained him and didn't do puppy pads just straight outside. Of course there were accidents but not many and a lot easier to deal with considering he could fit in a mug.
He's walked x2 a day for about 20 mins each (sometimes more if nice weather/weekend). If horrific weather he won't go for a walk, he'll run in the garden do his business and straight back in.
He's well socialised and likes dogs and other people. Great with my now 4yo. They are best buds.
He's long haired but and goes to be groomed every 8 weeks. Mostly to get rid of dead hairs so doesn't moult a lot as kept on top of.
No chihuahua picture here fasionista ☹️
Instead of low-shedding why not look at no shedding? We have a Spanish Water Dog (SWD) called Lucy. She's amazing and is a little bigger than a Beagle. Not a very well known breed but pure so you know what you're getting, which you don't with cross breeds.
She is fantastic around our 3 and 5 year old DC's
Right people, you've got to STOP posting cute pictures of your dogs. My 'wish list' is now 20 breeds long!!!