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DH and DDs would like a dog but...(79 Posts)
...I’m not sure I do, and I wouldn’t even know where to start!
DD(13) has wanted a dog for as long as I can remember and I’ve always said no - mainly because I was working as was DH and I didn’t see the point in having a dog to leave it at home alone all day.
DD had cancer / major surgery a couple of years ago and her recovery has been helped by PAT dogs. This will be coming to an end soon and she’s already saying how much she’ll miss them, and is building anxiety about the dog not being around any more.
We also have a DD with SEN who isn’t great with any animal tbh. However, we’ve just spent the weekend with a friend and her dog (spaniel) and I’ve seen how both of my girls have relaxed and enjoyed the dog. He’s a super calm, quiet boy though.
I find myself coming around to the idea but wouldn’t commit without research and understanding of breed etc - which is where I could do with some guidance please!
I am now at home full time so dog would always have company. I am very active so walks / exercise aren’t a bother and I’d be happy to train, play and mentally exercise a dog. I also run so it would be nice to have a dog that could join me on the shorter runs. I wouldn’t expect a dog to run with me over 5kms.
My must haves are calm, non-barky, likes a cuddle and being handled. If we could train as a PAT dog that would be great and I’d be happy to do that - especially for the benefits I’ve seen with my girls. We have 2 cats so would need to fit in with them. I’m also happy to groom but would prefer a dog that doesn’t moult loads.
I wouldn’t discount a rescue (cats are rescues and not an issue) but everything I’ve looked at so far online needs an adult only home with no cats... I thought a puppy would be easier to train into our home but happy to be corrected.
Apologies for a huge essay but any advice or suggestions are welcome!
First are you happy for a 15 year commitment if you get a puppy (obviously this varies by breed but assume they live to a good old age).
Have you factored in the costs. There are a lot of threads on here which list costs but the main ones being insurance (expect to rise each year and good insurance isn't cheap but with costs that can easily run into thousands it's a must), flea/worming, vaccinations, food, grooming, boarding for holidays. Then you have additional costs such as training, walking gear, beds, toys, leads, collars, harness to name a few.
For a puppy have a look at the puppy survival threads on here to see lots of things people have struggled with (the bitey phase) then look at the adolescence ones where they develop selective deafness for months and you wonder where all the training you did went.
Are you happy with the ties of a dog. A puppy can't be left alone at first and can take many weeks to build up to that. My adult dog gets anxious after around 3 ish hours on his own. We are no longer spontaneous about going out or wandering around shops for hours. A rescue may or may not be happy to be left depending on the background.
If that hasn't put you off then I think the KC does a quiz to give you an idea of breeds that might suit your household. However, always look at the cons of each breed and decide whether they would be something you could live with, for example my cocker is lovely but he is a hunter and thus off lead if I don't 'hunt' with him he will find his own scent and run off.
You will also find lots of threads on here about how to go and look for a good breeder and things to watch out for. If you go down the rescue route a good rescue should match a dog to your family and provide support.
Sorry forgot to mention have a look for some of the threads about introducing puppies and dogs to cats. I don't have cats but it looks like for some cats it can take a long time for them to tolerate a dog.
Chihuahua all the way. Mine is bonkers and so clever and has great recall
Plays wildly and can walk for an hour or
More if we want but is as happy to
A fellow dog walker recently mentioned to me their dog was a reassigned guide dog i.e. they weren't right for guiding but had still been through the training. Afraid I wouldn't know where to start looking for that but it may be an option for you. Good luck, a pooch has really enhanced our lives.
An adult rescue could be ideal - house trained, over their adolescence, and you'll have a good idea of their personality. As a previous poster mentioned a 'failed' service dog would work, but you might have to wait quite a while for one to become available . Or there are often retired greyhounds who are cat tested, and who fit the rest of your criteria.
tinkletwat has beaten me to it, failed guide dogs can be amazing family pets, and have generally been socialised within and inch of their lives and make excellent pets.
Some don't make the grade to go into training and would be 14-16 months, some fail training and would be under two, and some can be retired early, the first one we walked retired at 7 due to knee issues, had both knees sorted at great expense to GuideDogs and was rehomed!
usual breeds would be lab/Gret/GSD or some sort of cross. (ocassional poodles/labradoodles too)
Borders will need to be hand stripped at least once a year if you don't want dog hairs - preferably twice - because they get rufty tufty - but honestly - if a decent border from a decent breeder they will be a lovely member of the family. My two just go and sit with DS under his feet when he is revising . Also ( a bit left field ) Dyson do an attachment for their hoovers which can hoover dogs ( I realise Dyson won't appreciate "hoover" )
So - my advice is a border terrier. PM if you want any more advice
I'd go for an adult rescue dog rather than a puppy as puppies are incredibly hard work & if you get the basics wrong you could be in for a very had time. An adult dog will have been assessed and you should have a good idea if what you are getting yourself in to.
Would you consider a retired Greyhound? They are very placid dogs & don't actually take up much room. The greyhound rescues will assess them for suitability with cats so that shouldn't be an issue, infact lots never make it to racing as they just aren't interested in chasing
Great advice, thank you.
Lifetime commitment isn’t a problem. I don’t know a house without a pet of some description and would prefer to have animals forever.
Cost is a consideration, but obviously having always had animals we are used to this outgoing - it wouldn’t be new. We’d obviously look at insurance etc. A good friend of mine is a dog walker / provides boarding so will have a chat with her about her costs, although we are a family who camps for holidays so a dog would join us on adventures... would need to look at a passport for going to France etc. Hadn’t thought of that.
The guide dog thing is a great idea, I’ll have a look into that. I’ll start making contact with local rescues and see what they’ve had recently and their opinion on our set up / family needs.
I definitely don’t want to stress the cats out long term. They’re very precious
Oh also Borders are such hardy creatures. Whenever we take our two to the vets for injections or whatever ( which you do need factor in to cost ) he / she always says - it's a Border - they won't fuss. They are not ( generally) prone to any sort of disease or disability , so they will keep going. I would like a retired greyhound because I think they are such gentle and lovely dogs but quite literally our house is very small so we shall see for Dog number 3 - in truth I could not recommend a dog more than a Border Terrier.
Golden retrievers imho are the gentlest friendliest dogs but she's a lot of hair!
DD would love a retriever! They are big though... and very hairy!
Based on looks and friends’ dogs, I’d have a Dalmatian (scatty but beautiful and very lovable girl), a Cavalier King Charles (gosh he was adorable and so easy going) or a Heinz 57 type (played ball for hours up and down, up and down). Hardly an educated choice though!
Ds has a friend whose family have two dalmatians. Lovely - really lovely but very "lively"
Golden retrievers. Manic as pups though but a well trained golden is delightful! They do have lots of hair though. My older girl is very sweet and loves to 'help' around the house, carrying things for me. So easy to train. Young boy is a work in progress but incredibly friendly.
Puppies are hard work. They nip and chase and can be hard for children to cope with, of course they grow up but you need to put the time and effort to get that calm and sensible adult dog.
Whatever breeds you look at, check which health conditions they're prone to and how prevalent they are in the breed . Cavalier KCS are very prone to heart problems, for example.
Don't have a Dalmation - they are not for the first time owner!
Cavalier King Charles - lovely, but I wouldn't have one because of the health problems in the breed; they definitely won't be running with you.
Heinz 57 is our choice and if you could clone her she would be your perfect dog - calm, cuddly, only barks at squirrels! But she was a rescue and we lucked out really. We investigated the Guide Dogs option too - I think that would be great. Do talk to your local rescues, they could be just the thing for matching you if you get to know them well.
Lots of suggestions here, but can anyone recommend a breed that gets on with cats? I don't think Terriers do in my experience.
The ex guide dog option sounds like a good one.
The Spaniel we were with today had a heart murmur but that doesn’t seem to be a problem now. My friend was talking about lots of things they have to be careful with for him - it was a lot to think about. But he does have the very cutest sad face!
I wouldn’t get a Dalmatian, my friend’s girl is completely bonkers - definitely fits the lively description! You can’t help but love the daft thing though... I’m sure she thinks she’s a human but just doesn’t quite get it!!
Will do some reading on health problems.
@Jaxhog - So I do realise I am somewhat the poster girl for Border Terriers here. Borders are not like Jack Russells etc. If introduced well & Cat is part of the family - I think they can get on. They will chase e.g. squirrels , but they are very much family dogs so if cat is part of the family - ( it will take care ) but they are not like other terriers in that respect.
How do I make sure I don’t buy from a backyard breeder? I’m guessing a puppy farm is easier to spot but I want to make sure I buy responsibly if I do go down the puppy route.
There seems to be a lot of people out there happy to breed poodle crosses / ‘fashionable’ breeds and charge over a thousand pounds for a puppy.
Interesting article on breeds of dogs that get on with cats:
Another article that includes breeds to avoid.
@BasiliskStare all the experience I have (and reading online) suggests that Border Terriers are ok (just ok) with cats they've been raised with or if they have very strong training. But are not recommended as they like to chase small animals. I think they are lovely dogs, but I wouldn't introduce one to my cats. There are better choices if you already have established cats.
Thanks for the link @Jaxhog
I was surprised to see Beagle listed there - reminded me of my favourite childhood book which was about a Beagle! I guess that’s not a reason to look at a breed though and I would’ve thought Beagles were a lot of work.
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