Considering getting a dog but not sure

(55 Posts)
KeepSmiling83 Mon 08-Apr-19 08:34:50


We are a family of 4 with two children (4 and almost 8) and are thinking about getting a dog. I didn't grow up with pets so have no experience and as a result have always said no to a dog because of the responsibility it involves. However my husband had dogs growing up and is desperate for one as is my eldest child.

I work part time (every morning until midday) so would be home in the afternoons while the children are at school. However we have after school clubs and things so would be in and out during the week and Saturday mornings. I would never get a dog and then leave it alone all the time so don't know if our life style would suit having one? My friend is a dog walker and boards them so I know she would have the dog when we go on holiday abroad (1-2 times a year).

I know puppies involve a lot of time and training but don't know how long that period lasts? Do the positives outweigh the negatives? I read so much about how they become part of the family which makes all the hard bits worth it but having never experienced it I'm finding it hard to make a decision. Basically I'm looking for a balanced view about getting a dog!

I am not thinking about doing it immediately - maybe in the next year so have plenty of time to research and think it over.

Any views gratefully received!

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ShabbyAbby Mon 08-Apr-19 08:47:39

I'd love to have a dog but can't be home enough. Your balance sounds better, but are you sure that you want a dog? It sounds like it's you who will be looking after the dog much more. Also, I would look into which breeds need more or less company. Some dogs hate being left at all, some are happier in pairs, while others make great busy family dogs as they don't need much walking, while still others need walking for multiple hours a day.

Would you get a puppy or a rescue?

KeepSmiling83 Mon 08-Apr-19 09:08:42

I'm not sure that I do want a dog but I don't know if that's just because I've never had one and so am worried about the hard parts without knowing what the positives are like. I have just been reading the puppy thread and I have to say it terrifies me!

I have been looking at breeds that don't mind spending some time alone and haven't got extremely high exercise needs but any recommendations would be great. As I said, I am very much just considering it at the moment - no decision has been made!

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longearedbat Mon 08-Apr-19 09:09:25

An older dog would probably be okay with this, but I think you would find it very difficult with a puppy. Puppies require so much attention and interaction when they are small.
As you say, it's not just being at work for mornings, it's all the other things like childrens clubs, having an evening out at the cinema/meal out etc. Dogs are a tie, and anything you do you will have to think 'who is caring for the dog while I do this?'
The other thing is that the bulk of caring will be on you, I have no doubt. So cleaning up, grooming, taking to the vets, walking etc etc, all takes time and effort. Unless you are totally enamoured of having a dog as a pet, you might become resentful of this.

KeepSmiling83 Mon 08-Apr-19 09:12:36

@longearedbat I think that is what I'm worried about. I am sure that DH will do the majority of walks but as I'm at home more then the day to day care will be up to me. But then I feel mean that I am depriving DD of a much wanted dog because I don't want one when her dad is really keen too. It's so hard never having had any experience of pets at all!

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rookiemere Mon 08-Apr-19 09:17:38

I'd recommend that you trial looking after a dog through . We have a dog now and much as he's a loveable mutt, I kind of wish we didn't. Certainly don't get a dog just so your DD isn't deprived of one.

BlueMerchant Mon 08-Apr-19 09:19:49

I had no experience of dogs until we got our puppy. My OH( who is rarely home due to work) had dogs growing up. My two children (8&9) desperately wanted a dog.
In all honesty and despite lots of research and the fact he's rarely alone as I am in the house much of the day it has been a big stress. We love him dearly but he is a huge handful. Luckily he was toilet trained by 12 weeks and we haven't had much chewing but he needs constant stimulation. He cries if we have to pop out and despite having all the kongs etc to keep him entertained for an hour he has demolished 5 beds.


Wolfiefan Mon 08-Apr-19 09:21:13

You can’t leave a puppy all morning. An adult dog the maximum recommended is no more than four hours a day.
Honestly? If you’re not sure then don’t. My dog was sick last night. It’s grim. Walking in all weathers. Training. Can’t have a family day out without thinking of the dog. Etc etc.
I love my dog but it is a responsibility and a tie.

BlueMerchant Mon 08-Apr-19 09:21:47

He is 9 months and just as needy as when we got him at 8 weeks.

Orchardgreen Mon 08-Apr-19 09:24:16

Having a puppy is like being the single mother of a baby. Trust me.

Hoppinggreen Mon 08-Apr-19 09:25:03

Everyone in the house has to really want a dog as it’s such a major lifestyle change.
We all wanted Ddog but it’s been very very hard and although I love him to bits if I could turn the clock back we probably wouldn’t have him
With a 4 year old most reputable rescues won’t rehome to you so it’s probably a rescue from one that will ( and the dog may be unreliable around children) or a puppy - which will be really hard work and can’t be left hardly at all for a while. Ddog is quite easy now but he still really restricts us and we have to plan around him, which we do but it would be easier if we didn’t. When we go on holiday and he is with his lovely dog sitter the fact that we can be spontaneous and don’t have to always rush back for him brings it home to me how much we’ve had to change things since having him. Some dogs can’t ever be left for long ( we do 4 hours max) and juggling work/School/kids/activities/social life as well as Ddog is a pain.
Unless it’s somethimg you all REALLY want I would advise against it

StormcloakNord Mon 08-Apr-19 09:26:56

Please dont get a puppy.

Look into getting a rescue, it'll make your life far easier and it's the easiest way for everyone in your house to be happy. The right rescue dog will need a lot less initial focus than a puppy. Just a few weeks of settling in and getting used to the routine of your life.

There are far too many rescues & it's just senseless to spend hundreds on a puppy.

Happyspud Mon 08-Apr-19 09:28:47

If you really wanted a dog you’d know it! Wait till you’re sure you can’t live without one because they are a serious commitment.

Taneartagam Mon 08-Apr-19 09:30:34

My local rescue will match you with a dog that should best suit your family. Would that be a better option for you? A rescue is a known quantity whereas a puppy is unknown. And as others have said it is a big commitment. You have to consider the dog as part of your family.

KeepSmiling83 Mon 08-Apr-19 09:51:17

Thank you for all the replies. I think you have all confirmed my fears.

I didn't think a rescue would rehome to us because our youngest child is only just about to turn 4. I was also worried about how rescues behave around children? But you're right about puppies - they are unknown too.

Someone suggested BorrowMyDoggy - maybe that would be a good idea as it would give us the chance to spend some time with a dog without the full responsibility. Has anyone used this before or know how it works?

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HeavensToTenby Mon 08-Apr-19 10:10:45

If I had a quid for every (female) friend who ended up saddled with a dog because their husband 'had one growing up' and assumed it was just a case of feeding it twice a day and chucking the odd tennis ball, because their mum did all the walking/poo-picking/housetraining/vet dashes/floor mopping while they were out...

I include myself in that, btw.

Only get a dog if YOU want a dog and all that goes with it. It's like having another very messy child who'll love you unconditionally, but never even so much as empty the dishwasher in return.

kamillaw Mon 08-Apr-19 10:26:03

I have to say that I'm not sure I agree with all the above. We have a trendy crossbreed dog hmm she's about to turn a year. I got her at 14 weeks. Hubby who didn't want a dog loves her to bits and she has just slotted in really well. Maybe I'm lucky but it's much like a child in that it is what you make of it. Does that make sense? Having the dog has made us go out everyday (unless it's tipping it down she doesn't enjoy that) which is better for the family. I have people to mind her when I'm out but she's been left from day one when I had errands to run and has been just fine.

Wolfiefan Mon 08-Apr-19 10:26:39

A rescue in a foster home would be the safer bet.
But ultimately you don’t really want a dog do you? And the husband working full time taking full responsibility for the dog? Erm no.

keeganface Mon 08-Apr-19 10:26:51

We recently rehomed a rescue dog in October. My dd had been asking for a dog for years but we waited until she started secondary school before getting one. Although I was the one who had dogs growing up , it's was me who wasn't sure. However I now wouldn't be without him and he spends most evenings curled up on my lap.

Yes it's a complete lifestyle change and they can be hard work at times but we spend more time outside and walking with him.

We went to a few dog rescue places before making a decision and telling my dd. We talked them through what our lifestyle was like and they told us what type of dogs to look for and what the costs would be.

I agree an older dog would be less work than a puppy.

adaline Mon 08-Apr-19 19:43:44

I am sure that DH will do the majority of walks but as I'm at home more then the day to day care will be up to me.

I'm sorry, but he won't. He works full-time - is he going to want to get up everyday at 6am or earlier to walk the dog before work? And when he gets home, is he going to be happy to go out every night again for an hour? No matter what the weather, no matter how tired he is, no matter how shit he feels? Of course not.

You'll end up doing it because you're home all day and have more time to do it. You'll be the one doing the toilet training (outside every 20 minutes as a pup), the night wakings, the walks, the training, the puppy classes - everything. It's tiring. DH and I split it all 50/50 and it's still exhausting!

Mine is 14 months now and still very needy. He needs a lot of input and I do resent having to walk him on my days off sometimes. I love him to bits and I don't regret him at all, but when you're tired and its raining and you have a stinking cold and you need to walk the dog - and your clothes from the morning walk are damp and covered in mud - it's really not very appealing or enjoyable!

KeepSmiling83 Mon 08-Apr-19 19:52:56

Thanks again for all the replies.

I think you are right and I will get left dealing with everything and I will resent that unless I really want a dog which at the moment I don't. I have to admit looking at pictures of puppies and thinking of them curled up on my knee at night is lovely but obviously that isn't an accurate picture of what it's like!

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KeepSmiling83 Mon 15-Apr-19 11:25:05

I have been thinking non stop about this since I originally posted. We have joined Borrow My Doggy and already been out with one dog and are meeting another today.

I never thought I was a dog person but I can't get the thought of having our own out of my head. I have read all the threads on here and lots of them are very negative. I realise there are lots of hard parts of owning a dog - would most of you not get a dog if you had your time again? Or do you feel there are enough positives to balance the negatives?

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Ellabella989 Mon 15-Apr-19 11:35:45

OP I’m in the same boat as you and trying to decide whether to get a puppy. My DP really wants one as he had dogs growing up. I’ve always been a cat person and have no experience of dogs. Finding it impossible to make my mind up as I love the idea of it but I know the reality will be 100 x harder than I can imagine and I’m scared i’ll regret it if it’s too much of a drastic lifestyle change

Happyspud Mon 15-Apr-19 11:47:58

I’d not get a dog again. But you seem to have done lots to talk yourself out of it and the fact that it’s still front of mind is beginning to say a lot.

KeepSmiling83 Mon 15-Apr-19 12:20:12

@Ellabella989 I could have written that exact post! My DH had dogs growing up whereas I had cats. I have done so much research about types of breeds that would suit our lifestyle, how much pet insurance and vets fees would cost each month and how much food would be. I have spoken to friends who have dogs to ask about their experience of puppies and I have contacted a dog walking service who board dogs to enquire about prices. I think I have put more thought into this than I did when deciding to have children grinI have tried to imagine how difficult it is going to be but without any experience it's hard to know and I'm just so worried about making the wrong decision.

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