Considering a dog - where to start?

(12 Posts)
SinkGirl Wed 06-Mar-19 13:43:44

I have been thinking about possibly adopting a dog recently - not something I’m going to rush into because honestly I’ve never had a dog before and would want to ensure it was right for all of us. My DH had dogs his whole childhood so he’s a lot more familiar than I am.

We have twin toddlers (2.5) with ASD and two cats who are 9 this year - they mainly keep to themselves, and the boys pay them no attention whatsoever. I thought a dog might be a nice addition to the family, the boys may enjoy (obviously strictly supervised!) time with an animal that wants to interact with them and would enjoy getting out for walks etc as they get bigger. My twins aren’t aggressive at all and rarely even notice the cats are near them.

None of my friends have dogs so really I would need to try and find a way for them to spend some time with dogs first and see how they react, and then consider what sort of breed would be best for our situation.

What’s the best way to start? I want to take every possible precaution to make sure we do this completely responsibly for everyone involved, including the dog and if it’s not right then we won’t do it.

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Easterbunnyiscomingsoon Wed 06-Mar-19 13:46:13

Imo you need to wait until you don't need a hand each for your dc to hold a lead!
First ddogs are more of a learning curve than a first dc!

WeeMadArthur Wed 06-Mar-19 13:52:15

I think that your cats are likely to be the most put out about a dog on their turf! You will probably find that most shelters won’t rehome dogs to homes with primary school aged children. It frustrates a lot of people with young families who would love to rehome rather than buy a puppy from a breeder but I have to assume that they have experience on their side when they make that call. How big a dog are you considering? I know that Guide Dogs for the Blind rehome dogs which have failed their rigorous training but would be lovely ( and still extremely well trained) pets.

SinkGirl Wed 06-Mar-19 14:06:38

I’m honestly not sure the cats will care - when they were younger they would have, but they’re pretty placid these days and just want to sit on a windowsill above a radiator. Of course it would depend on the dog and I would need to try them around similar dogs first I guess.

A guide dog who’d failed would be fantastic but I suspect they have a long waiting list as who wouldn’t want one! One of my boys does have a visual impairment but it doesn’t seem to be severe.

That’s a shame about shelters, most definitely.

I would initially not take the boys when walking - DH works from home so that possible.

I’d ideally like a small/medium sized dog - not a tiny dog or a massive dog, and ideally something not too terrier-like, although I adore Jack Russells I don’t think they’d be happy in this environment. I would love a beagle because they’re gorgeous but will definitely choose based on the right attributes rather than how they look!

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GeraldineFangedVagine Wed 06-Mar-19 14:10:05

I’ve just adopted a retired racing greyhound and have three kids age 4-9 and an elderly hostile cat. She is absolutely perfect, housetrained, good on the lead, super friendly and very calm but playful too. The rescue have been so supportive and did home visits as well. They offer life long support and we waited till the perfect dog came up. Worth looking in to smile

ItsalwaysLTB Wed 06-Mar-19 14:21:13

We got a puppy when ds was a similar age to your twins, we went with a puppy due to the shelter issues a pp mentioned above. With hindsight ds was too young, he has no special needs but it required constant supervision of both puppy and child. Ddog is a much loved member of the family now but it was hard work for a good couple of years and she'll still give ds the odd nip if he doesn't listen to her warnings. I'd wait a couple of years until they are older.

SinkGirl Wed 06-Mar-19 14:45:38

Yes I think it’s probably best to wait until they are at least in nursery more often or possibly reception, so the dog has some respite from the chaos (they’re actually quite quiet boys and no meltdowns at present but who knows how that will change). Trying to weigh up the potential positives for them of having that interaction and the challenges of dog ownership. Greyhound rescue is a good idea. I really don’t think I could handle a puppy at least not at the moment - an older dog would definitely be better, but I realise that may be a challenge if shelters won’t adopt to us.

If only I had a friend I could dogsit for in short bursts but sadly I don’t!

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MultipleMum5 Wed 06-Mar-19 20:34:18

Hi, I have twins smile

Wait till they’re at school, honestly. I could never have done it when they were that age!

CMOTDibbler Wed 06-Mar-19 20:39:54

Not all rescues have a blanket ban on children. I foster for a lurcher rescue, and we take all families and dogs as they come - just matching the right ones together.
But wait till the boys are at school so that you aren't trying to deal with them and a new dog.

florentina1 Wed 06-Mar-19 21:08:13

Lots of dogs go into Shelter because of issues that their families cannot cope with. I would start your research now and look at the Oldies dog sites. Be prepared for it to take a couple of years, by which time you will be familiar with the rules of different Shelters. An older dog quite often comes into a shelter because the owner becomes ill or dies. Generally an older dog is much calmer, is used to home life, and more amenable to children and cats.

I am a first time owner and have had my Rescue 18 months. She has just turned 9. In your circumstances I would go for An 8, 9 or 10 year old dog. Mine is still very energetic, in that she loves to play and go for long walks. Once back home she takes to her bed or lays on the sofa. She never mithers but is great for games and a bit of fuss.

SinkGirl Wed 06-Mar-19 21:32:37

I would love to adopt an older dog and give them a lovely retirement! I think you’re all right and we should wait a while, I need to make sure it’s right, i would hate to cause an animal any distress.

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