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Concerns about getting a dog(18 Posts)
So our specific worries!
- furniture etc being destroyed - we aren’t a show home but we have had rabbits & cats who chewed, scratched etc & it was annoying, don’t want the house chewed up & covered in hair.
- barking every time someone comes, leaves, stands up, sits down etc. My uncle’s dog does this, to the extent you can’t actually hold a conversation for the first 30 mins of meeting each other, because the dog is so loud.
- broken nights. We didn’t cope well with the children getting us up at night (actually they will do), don’t particularly want another round of it.
I can’t think of any other specific concerns. We understand issues in leaving dog alone, holidays etc. DH works part time & probably always will, I am currently a SAHM although that might change, might look for part time work when my youngest starts school in 2020, so we have time for dog training, settling in etc.
What I worry about is maybe our concerns indicate we aren’t really dog lovers enough & that if we aren’t willing to deal with the above maybe we shouldnt have a dog?!
I agree. If you are considering the downsides then a dog is probably not right for you.
I agree with your last comments that you don’t really want a dog enough to overcome all the other issues . With the best will in the world dogs make mess , I have a non moulting dog who has never trashed furniture however he has ruined my lounge carpet by bleeding all over it and he does get muddy , wet and covered in various crap which makes the house temporarily dirty whilst we sort him out .
We look after my daughter’ dog for short periods, it made us realise having a dog is too much of a tie for us.
Yes we’ve looked after dogs for a week or two at a time. But they’ve always been nice dogs 😂
I don’t mind dirt, we live in the country with 3 kids, mud etc is to be expected. It’s really chewing & destruction I fear.
As someone quite elegantly phrased in a recent post here - dogs take up space in your life and so you need the space for them to do that.
By all means there are people who don't want dog hair everywhere that happily have a well looked after dog. They chose the breed to suit that requirement.
Ditto barking (something I am not keen on myself) or chewing.
The challenge comes when you definitely don't want to deal with many natural dog behaviours.
Barking at doors is natural. Shedding is natural. Chewing is natural. Digging. Exuberance. Enjoying muddy walks. Waking up overnight as a puppy and (occasionally) as an adult. Being sick. Doing something wrong. Rolling in fox poo. etc. etc.
You can chose a breed and train a dog to avoid some of those but when you start to be able to cope with many of them it gets much more difficult because you're trying to pin the dog into too small a niche. imo, anyway.
Dogs are wonderful but many of the things of they like to do are things we don't want them to do. To take on a dog is to compromise on some of them.
I always think of it like...
a) what is it I absolutely cannot cope with? For me that is barking at the door. I bloody hate that. I chose a breed unlikely to do it and rewarded him when he was quiet. Result: no barking. It would not have been quite so simple with a more vocal breed.
b) what do I dislike but feel I can train out? Exuberant greetings might be one of them. It's actually pretty simple to train a dog not to jump up to greet everyone (if boring and repetitive and frustrating when the humans don't do as told)
c) what do I dislike but will live with. For me that might be mud around the house and the need to hoover every day.
If you find too much in category A then you are going to be in trouble, I think.
p.s. fwiw battendog is a springer who loves to chew; we managed absolute minimum furniture damage through close supervision. We lost a few shoes, though
My dog is not destructive and doesn't bark. But she has other issues.
Some behaviours can be trained out or managed, but honestly how might you react if your dog is harder work than you're prepared for?
Dogs take much more time to care for properly than cats or rabbits. How would you ensure the dog is happy when you go back to work? (Bored dogs can easily become destructive dogs)
we adopted a rescue 1.5 years ago. He wasn't a puppy (and puppies are a whole other issue)
He doesn't scratch the furniture
He isn't a barker
He doesn't jump up whenever anyone leaves, but he is first to greet people at the door, (somewhat enthusiastically) and it has taken loads of training to stop him swamping visitors.
He never wakes us up, excpet once when he was ill.
We do now have to hoover more often (or live with the dog hair, and boy there is plenty of it, but then he is a fluffy spaniel) and for that reason, he is not allowed on the sofas, or in our bedroom.
On the other hand, I cleaned the kitchen this morning, the wall by the back door was truly disgusting (I hadn't realised just how bad it had become) as he comes in and then shakes, so mud and water etc spray all over the wall. Same with the wall round his food bowl, and the door from kitchen to dining room, and the back door, and the front door, and..... you get the picture.
The walking is the biggest tie, two days this week I have been absolutely soaked to the skin as it was raining, dog needs a walk, and the forecast was for rain all day.
I would say, borrow a dog. Several different dogs if you can. We had 3 different dogs who came on holiday to our house, over a period of about 7 years. For most of that time I loved having them, but was happy to see them go home. It was only in the last year that I said that I was happy to take on the walking (not waiting for my teenagers to do it!)
I would also say, that nice dogs are well trained dogs, and the better you train, the nicer the dog.
My dog is pretty well behaved but he does bark when he hears outside noises at night to 'warn' us of 'intruders'. He also barks if someone approaches the house. Doesn't bother me as he is just doing his job at protecting his house but would that bother you?
He is not really destructive but that's because we supervised him for many many months when he was a puppy so we only really lost a few corners of a couple of mats and some socks. But... dogs chew and chew for a variety of reasons so if this is going to massively upset you then don't get a dog.
Mine has a bowel condition that flares up every now and again. I have spent many nights getting up with him on the hour every hour when he was unwell. I remember the vet taking pity on me because she could see I had had no sleep for days before he was diagnosed. He sometimes also needs to go even when well and given his condition I never say no and just get up. My sleep has been broken so many times I don't think I have a routine anymore. Whilst the majority of dogs sleep through the night how would you feel if you had my dog? Certainly as a puppy owner lots of people end up with broken nights at the beginning.
These are just a few examples but for me I really don't care about the barking/sleeping etc because I really want a dog in my life. If you are seriously worrying about behaviour that can be common in dogs in the nicest possible way I would suggest you don't get one.
furniture etc being destroyed - we aren’t a show home but we have had rabbits & cats who chewed, scratched etc & it was annoying, don’t want the house chewed up & covered in hair
My border collie has never destroyed any furniture.
As a puppy she did destroy one of my favourite shoes but she was only about 12 weeks old, I was tired and forgot to put them away, my DH heard her chewing them but assumed it was a toy and never thought to double check what she was chewing!
But that’s it, we had chew toys handy and every time she went to chew something we interrupted with a stern AH! and gave her the acceptable chewy item.
She does shed a fair bit, I vacuum everyday.
barking every time someone comes, leaves, stands up, sits down etc. My uncle’s dog does this, to the extent you can’t actually hold a conversation for the first 30 mins of meeting each other, because the dog is so loud
I don’t do barking.
From puppyhood bark at doorbell = immediate timeout.
For attention seeking barking like wanting a ball thrown for example I just ignored and only rewarded when quiet.
As an adult, she will let out an occasional bark if startled and she will let out a very low, quiet ‘threat type’ bark/growl if someone knocks the door late at night.
Otherwise she’s silent.
broken nights. We didn’t cope well with the children getting us up at night (actually they will do), don’t particularly want another round of it
I’m afraid a puppy won’t sleep through straightaway.
You’ll definately get broken sleep.
Mine whined ALL.NIGHT.LONG for the first few days.
Teething puppies chew everything, an older dog might not and could be happy with just chew toys rather than your skirting boards (yes we lost the corners of our hall skirting!)
Puppies will whine at night due to being separated from litter mates & mum. An older dog may not.
Dogs shed, slobber and occasionally puke on in your carpet. Dog diarrhoea means a whole new carpet.
Our dog only ever barks when people knock but some dogs will bark at a crisp packet.
Vet bills are expensive, insurance adds up and there are still excess fees to pay if your new family member suddenly develops a condition that needs lifelong medication.
It is good that you are thinking of the negatives but if they all bother you then maybe borrow a dog for a week when someone is going on holiday and see how you would cope.
The furniture being destroyed and the barking aren't guaranteed to happen, but the broken nights will happen occasionally. I'd look at getting a dog as the same as agreeing to have another child come live with you for the next 10-15 years, they need the love, exercise, care etc and you need to be willing to commit 100%.
I found the daily walking in all weathers and always needing to think about how they'd get looked after when you were going out for the day was a pain at times, but the companionship they give you outweighed anything negative.
If you have doubts why not find a dog you can borrow while the owners are away?
All of these things tend to happen when people don't put the time into training a dog and spending time with it. I've had several dogs. All of them have never been left for longer periods until they were mature and happy to be left, so never had any furniture wrecked. Took all of them to puppy classes where you are taught how to deal with unsociable behaviours, and how to turn them into happy pooches that don't annoy other people and dogs.
The problems occur when people have dogs and expect them to just slot in without putting in any time or effort with them.
If you want to avoid the chewing and the barking and the destruction then could you consider a rescue, or rehoming an older dog?
Mine is 14 months now and while he's grown out of most of it, he still chews blankets or bites the sofa when he's bored or looking for attention. We had the broken nights for a good few weeks or so and it was HARD but he's been golden for a good while now and hasn't had an accident in the house since the second week we got him.
However I think the most important thing to consider is - what breed of dog do you want, and how will that breed fit into your life? As in, if you want an active breed like a vizsla or a lab or a spaniel, do you have a good couple of hours a day to dedicate to walks once it's fully grown? If you want a breed like a poodle or a Tibetan, do you have the funds and/or time to groom the dog every 6-8 weeks or so? If you want a chihuahua or a bulldog, are you patient enough to deal with prolonged toilet training?
If you want a puppy, I think you really need to think hard about the puppy stage. It's NOT easy and it takes a lot of work to get a calm adult dog. It's only in the last couple of months that mine has started to calm down - he no longer leaps up at every single person he sees, he only barks for a minute when people come in as opposed to a good five minutes or more. He no longer chews cables or eats shoes or steals things if you turn your back for 30 seconds.
But he still has teenage attitude, he's incredibly stubborn at times and he still pulls on walks. If he was any bigger or stronger, I would struggle to control him. I picked a medium breed for this very reason - I don't want to be pulled around by 30kg of dog!
Just consider the breed. I have four dogs and they have never chewed and aren't excessive barkers. Only if they're in the garden and someone happens to walk past, other than that, they are silent.
They are wonderful and way easier than kids.
OP, do you actually like dogs? It sounds to me that you are ambivalent about them. All puppies mouth and nip, some adult dogs never really grow out of chewing (you just have to make sure they are chewing appropriate things). Some breeds moult like mad, some hardly moult at all. I have never met a dog that doesnt make some mess - muddy wet walks have that effect. You always end up doing more cleaning. But, a dog should be a loved and welcome member of the family, so you forgive their little foibles. Put it this way, I would rather the extra work than no dog.
Generally all puppies cry at night for a while (although my current one, a bit unusually, didn't at all, but I think that was because she was so tiny she spent her nights in a cat carrier at the head of the bed beside me. Perhaps my snoring stunned her into silence.). They are a lot of work when they are tiny, and require almost constant attention, I also used to take her out in the middle of the night - but we never once had any crate accidents, so it was worth it.
Are you garden proud? Even a small dog/puppy can do a lot of damage!
I really dont think it sounds like you want a dog enough to deal with any issues. Mine is fab,, doesn't bark, doesn't wreck the furniture (the cats do that!) but is still hard work. Oh and he has wrecked my garden, its a mess! Totally worth though, but not for everyone