I've always been a bit frightened of dogs but I'm thinking of getting one

(35 Posts)
TerracottaPies Sat 13-Apr-19 19:58:35

First time in the Doghouse so please be gentle.

I had a labrador as a child. He was incredibly gentle but knocked me over a lot (in excitement) as he wasn't well trained. My dad was very cruel to him so my mum gave him away for his own safety (then LTB).

Since then, I've never really warmed to dogs. Although I've tried to not pass this on to my children, I know I purposefully avoid them interacting with dogs. We'll talk about a nice dog we see, wave at it etc but I wouldn't encourage them to pat one.

I'm moving house soon and I'm thinking of getting a dog. I have the time, money and a general love of animals so s/he would never be treated badly, but I'm just not 100% sure I'll be OK with being around a dog full time.

Do you just love your own dog, even if you don't necessarily love other people's? A bit like your own children can do no wrong but other people's kids can be really, really irritating?

I know it's a huge commitment and I want to do things properly.

OP’s posts: |
Doggydoggydoggy Sat 13-Apr-19 20:03:20

I think if your not 100% sure you want one it’s probably best not to get one!

It’ll be alive at least 10 or so years, a lot longer potentially if it’s a small breed and sometimes they can really test patience.

Aquamarine1029 Sat 13-Apr-19 20:03:29

You really need to think this through. Dogs are pack animals and depend on a strong alpha presence to guide them. Dogs instinctively know who is the weak link, and given that YOU are the parent and adult, that could make for a very dysfunctional dynamic. I highly suggest you speak to a very highly respected dog trainer about getting a dog before you make the leap. If you are unable to properly train and control a dog it will make for a very unhappy experiences.

BettyBooJustDoinTheDoo Sat 13-Apr-19 20:10:59

You are scared of dogs yet you want one? I’m scared of spiders that’s why I don’t have a pet tarantula. Until you have a dog you have no idea of the huge life changing commitment it is, a dog should be very much wanted, and as for you not sure about being around a dog 100% of the time, your life will have to revolve around the dog 100% of the time, they are entirely reliant on you for their every single need, you can’t dip in and out when you feel like it. Don’t get one.

Ginger1982 Sat 13-Apr-19 20:20:56

Why don't you join something like borrow my doggy and try that our first?

myidentitymycrisis Sat 13-Apr-19 20:20:58

There is a site called borrowmydoggy it looks like basically free dog minding. You might want to have a look.
I’m not scared of dogs but when my dc were pestering me to get one I looked after one when a friend went away for two nights. Made sure dc did everything with me - home straight after school, last walk at night etc. To show what it involves.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Sat 13-Apr-19 20:26:13

I'd suggest trying out Borrow My Doggy, or perhaps volunteer dog walking at your local shelter (or even fostering as a second step).

Ignore anything about pack leadership and alpha dog theory. It's outdated science and comes with a lot of frankly dangerous advice attached. Positive reinforcement is the way to go. positively.com/dog-training/myths-truths/the-truth-about-dominance/


Morticiaismymumgoal Sat 13-Apr-19 20:39:07

I'm not afraid of dogs but I don't usually particularly like other people's. I'm a bit wary of dogs I don't know well. But both the dogs I have had have been my babies (treated as dogs of course but I care/d for them as well as my children who came after and alongside my first dog and our latest joined the family when my youngest was a baby). I wouldn't go and get a dog without being 100% sure but my first dog was a bit of an 'accident' and brought me such happiness, and I her after a very difficult start to life for her.
So to bluntly answer your question yes, you can have a dog even if you are wary of dogs but no, you shouldn't get one if you're not sure.

OverFedStanley Sat 13-Apr-19 20:46:08

This is why borrow my doggy is such a bad idea - all of you recommending it - would you want a nervous non dog experienced person trying out dog ownership on your dog?

No do not get a dog if you are nervous of dogs. Having your own dog tends to mean you met other dogs (like having children you tend to met other children)

There are loads of other animals you could have do not put a dog into this situation it is not fair on them

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Sat 13-Apr-19 21:36:43

@Stanley - current dog no, but then he's a bit of a tricky dog that requires careful management and doesn't bond easily to new people. Second nature to me now, but get it wrong and he'll turn around and sink his teeth in because he's seen a motorbike. Previous dog, on the other hand, would have been perfect for someone inexperienced and nervous as he was unfailingly friendly and really very easy.

You do, however, make a good point - having a dog with you does mean you come into contact with other dogs, partly because most dogs want to socialise with each other, and partly because other dog owners will (understandably) presume that if you have a dog with you, you like dogs. Most dog owners will let their dog ask for fuss from another dog owner in a way that they wouldn't with someone else.

longearedbat Sat 13-Apr-19 21:37:10

If you really wanted a dog you would know it. You would pore over dog sites/books/mags. You would stop and talk to random dogs and their owners and ask to pet their dog. You would ask what breed it was and how and why they chose it. You would day dream about puppies and cuddles, about long countryside walks or craziness on a beach. You would visualise snuggling up with your dog in front of the fire on a cold winters night.
A bit extreme? No.
A dog is not an accessory you purchase just because you have the time and money for one, so, what the heck, you might as well have one as everybody else seems to. As you say, a dog is a commitment. Unless you love dogs and really, really want one in your life, why on earth would you consider getting one?

UnusualBluePenguin Sat 13-Apr-19 21:46:14

If you have a dog you will find yourself around dogs a lot, whether walking in the park or whatever and you need to be fairly confident. Dogs can sense you're nervous or anxious and react less positively, both your own dog and others.

Cottonwood Sat 13-Apr-19 21:49:20

I so wouldn't get a dog unless you passionately want one. Really, it could be 16 years of your life you will be sharing with any potential dog and that should never just be undertaken on a whim. Why do you think you want one?

Unmumsyme Sat 13-Apr-19 22:51:15

I like longearedbat’s reply. If you really wanted a dog you would have a yearning only comparable to a broodiness for babies!

Please don’t do it unless you are 100% sure. Alpha/dominance theory is outdated, but the time and effort involved in building a successful relationship is huge (and totally worth every second, but I can imagine it would be awful if your heart wasn’t in it). You will almost definitely be exposed to many other dogs of all kinds once you have one of your own!

Maybe see if a local shelter is looking for volunteers to help walk. They would only let you take out the dogs that suited your experience.

Doggydoggydoggy Sat 13-Apr-19 23:00:56

Alpha/dominance theory is outdated, but the time and effort involved in building a successful relationship is huge

It is outdated and inaccurate yes, dogs aren’t constantly competing to overthrow one another and be boss, they don’t form ‘packs’ BUT they do have a definite social structure when living in a group just as we do and they do thrive on structure and boundaries and you do get dogs, just like people who have easy going, ‘follower’ personalities and others who are more forceful in their opinions and not so content to do as they are told and dare I say, for those more forceful, overbearing dogs ‘alpha based’ principles tend to work quite well.

drspouse Sat 13-Apr-19 23:10:13

@longearedbat That's kind of what I was like with cats (I finally persuaded DH), but I'm closer to the OP with dogs (no fear, really dislike big ones jumping up, small ones I can take or leave).
DS is pet mad and would love a dog too, so I've considered borrowmydoggy, I wouldn't be nervous though and it's not "trying one on".

FingersXssd83 Sat 13-Apr-19 23:12:23

Don't get a dog. Borrow someone else's or volunteer to take old people's dogs out. You're not 100%, so it isn't fair to the dog if things don't work out.

BettyBooJustDoinTheDoo Sat 13-Apr-19 23:34:03

You can’t take an old persons dog out or anybody’s dog out if you are frightened or wary of dogs, you are in charge of somebody’s devoted companion, what would happen if the OP got scared when a dog or 3 came bounding over to either play or possibly be aggressive to the old persons dog? Having a dog either your own or someone else’s is a massive responsibility and if you don’t want one in the way long has outlined then don’t consider getting one, completely unfair on the dog. I really don’t understand why anyone would consider getting a dog if they don’t like them, this post is baffling.

cushellekoala Sat 13-Apr-19 23:45:41

I'm fairly nervous about dogs but what has helped me is spending time with 2 friends with dogs who both have fairly big dogs but well trained so they don't jump up at you and are fairly calm. Seeing how they are with them and knowing the dog isn't going to growl etc has made me less nervous. That said I wouldn't offer to walk their dog as I wouldn't be sure I could control it or have authority over it if it ran away or chased another dog, for example.

Dragongirl10 Sun 14-Apr-19 00:00:02

Op please don't get a dog, you will need to be confident enough to deal with lots of other dogs on walks and be confident to deal with dogs approaching yours.........anxious owners create nervous and sometimes snappy anxious dogs!

If you really want to persue this find friends with dogs and get confident through them, really confident..

Unless you feel able to calmly deal with barking dogs, jumping dogs, pushing and shoving boisterous dogs, and even a growling dog don't get your own as these are all potential scenarios that you will probably face over the 12 plus years you will be out and about with your dog...........

BiteyShark Sun 14-Apr-19 06:45:35

And for this reason alone shown on this thread, I wouldn't never use anything like borrowmydoggy because you could get someone like the OP trying to get over their 'fears' rather than putting my dog first.

As others have said it doesn't sound like you actually want a dog. It takes more than time and money. You need a big commitment to them especially when they are being 'naughty', rolling in mud/poo or demanding a walk in really shit weather.

Why not pick an animal you do want and desire?

adaline Sun 14-Apr-19 08:04:34

No. No. No.

Dogs are a huge commitment and take up a lot of your time, energy and money for a good 10+ years. If you're not 100% committed - don't do it. Dogs are hard, hard work and need owners who are willing to put that work in every single day.

lljkk Sun 14-Apr-19 08:18:30

MN Dog house is pretty harsh place, OP.
Yeah of course you love YOUR dog & others are inferior, merely to be tolerated.
Dogs are great. I hope you find a way to get your own & will be happy with it.

florentina1 Sun 14-Apr-19 08:23:13

I do understand how you feel. For many years we ‘quite liked the idea of getting a dog’. There was always a reason for not getting one. Then, a long time into retirement, we took the plunge.

She has been with us 18 months and we loved her to bits right from the start . She has changed our lives so much for the better. There is a very big BUT here. On a practical level, we really had no idea what we were taking on. Although we did lots of research, there were so many things that took us by surprise. The expense, the mess, the total commitment, a few behaviour and training problems. Even knowing what we know now, I would still get a dog because she has filled a longing. In your case I would wait until you cannot bear to be without a dog before you get one.

UnusualBluePenguin Sun 14-Apr-19 08:45:27

I do agree about borrowmydoggy being a bad idea in the OP case. It sounds like she would be fine with her own dog in her home or secure areas but not confident around strange dogs. So borrowmydoggy means you are looking after a dog you don't know well and walking it where you may encounter unknown dogs, the worst things for her.
Having said that it's understandable that someone might overcome their irrational childhood fear of dogs, realise dogs are nice but still lack confidence around dogs. Having a dog is a big commitment so if you are willing to put the work into overcoming that confidence issue by walking with friends who have a dog on a regular basis until you get used to it and feel you are happy around dogs and have that understanding of them. Get your friends to explain training and you can also get some great online videos on the subject. This would be an excellent sign for your ability to cope with all the amount of training and exercise you must commit to your own dog if you want a happy well behaved pup.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in