Possible first time owners, autistic son. Advice?

(19 Posts)
Abstractedobstructed Fri 30-Aug-19 18:26:12

Our son is autistic, an older teen and academically able but in many ways like a younger person. He has had a terrible school year and has been (diagnosed) depressed. He has been improving and much better. He had a special relationship with a relative's ddog - the sweetest, gentlest cav - but this poor dog just died very unexpectedly and it has set him right back. Ds is not aggressive at all but very withdrawn when depressed.

We have been reluctant to get a dog ourselves as we have been busy people but dh is about to go on gardening leave, following which he will usually or often wfh. I work 3 days and am in and out of home those days and sometimes wfh all day, but prob once a week out all day.

We think with this new situation and how devastated he has been with death of beloved ddog we are now considering getting a pup for him. A cav would be lovely but the health problems seem so pervasive. A non shedding dog would be useful who can be a companion but also get taken out and about a couple of times a day, who will let Ds adore it (cav would be cuddled), but won't mind as an adult the odd day alone from 9-3 (older ds get home from school at 3).

I was thinking of a Havanese? A Greyhound another possibility though we do have a cat so probably not such a good idea? Or is there a way to get a cavalier with no health issues (previous beloved dog died from sudden onset paralysis of back legs, pts) Anyone got better advice? I know we would need puppy classes and possibly a daily walker....not owned a dog as an adult though both dh and I grew up with dogs.

Grateful for any advice.

OP’s posts: |
HeadintheiClouds Fri 30-Aug-19 18:28:41

I was going to say greyhound until I saw you have a cat. Some of them are ok with cats, though, and they’d fit the bill in all other respects?

Abstractedobstructed Fri 30-Aug-19 18:42:02

Dcat is not much of a lap cat and prone to be anxious - I thought she might adapt better to puppy than adult dog? Ddog needs to be uninterested in cats.

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firsttimekat Fri 30-Aug-19 18:48:44

This will go against general MN advice but have you considered a cockapoo? I know a couple that live with cats and aren't interested at all. Tend to be great companion dogs and form strong attachments. Know one that is very cuddly! Lives with a child on the spectrum and they have found dog to be great for anxiety. Also non shedding.

Correct parental health screening will help with the health conditions.

Blueskyandsmiles Fri 30-Aug-19 19:04:16

Shih tzu are lovely and quite a good dog for novice owners

tabulahrasa Fri 30-Aug-19 19:16:04

I wouldn’t get a puppy if being cuddled is important tbh...

Puppies are not sweet and gentle, they’re manic and bitey...

adaline Fri 30-Aug-19 19:26:16

Puppies aren't especially cuddly for the first year or so - they're manic, bitey and exhausting!


Abstractedobstructed Fri 30-Aug-19 19:35:02

Ds is old and sensible enough to understand that a puppy is a baby who will need space and time.

OP’s posts: |
Abstractedobstructed Fri 30-Aug-19 19:36:20

Long term aim will be for a companion type dog tho.

OP’s posts: |
purpleboy Fri 30-Aug-19 19:39:12

We have a havanese. He is utterly amazing. He loves to be cuddled and all he wants is to be touching you. They usually have very good health and live for approx 16 years. He was very easy to train, very tolerant of children, low maintenance can happily have a 30 minute walk but also loves long forest walks, but he suffers badly from separation anxiety, so although we leave him, he whines every time for about 10 minutes and then gets ridiculously excited as soon as we come home/back in the room (even if we have only been upstairs)
Everyone stops to ask what breed he is as they are so rare and he loves all the attention. Really are beautiful dogs.

DogInATent Fri 30-Aug-19 19:51:05

You mentioned a cavalier would be good, but I agree with you about the heath issues - next to impossible to find a healthy bloodline these days. The Kennel Club rate them highly for suitability with children, but also list Labrador, Boxer and Staffie and I think you should consider these as well.

For an emotional support companion, I doubt you could do better than either a Cavalier or Staffie.

HeadintheiClouds Fri 30-Aug-19 19:58:51

Oh, of course - a staffie. How could I have forgotten? These fellas can’t be beaten, I love them!

sandycloud Fri 30-Aug-19 20:09:59

We have just got a 7 month cavalier puppy. We had one previously who died this year aged 11. We bought from a family who breed once a year from their dog and they have lots of health checks done. They are great dogs. He loves cuddles. Loves a walk but doesn't mind minimal walk if you are busy or it's raining!!!! He's so friendly. He hardly sheds any hair.

theconstantinoplegardener Fri 30-Aug-19 20:26:38

There is a lady in Devon who is trying to breed a healthier type of Cavalier. She does lots of health checks and really seems to know what she's doing. It might be worth considering one of her pups: Google "pound lane spaniel" to find out more. I don't have one of her dogs myself, but I was impressed when I looked at what she's doing.

Hiredandsqueak Fri 30-Aug-19 20:29:07

I have two dc with autism, both are very much like your ds (teen and older) we have a Lhasa Apso, small, non shedding, pretty hardy, calm, a lap dog but also happy to walk miles in the Peak District but also content with a quick stroll round the block when time is short.

StillMedusa Fri 30-Aug-19 21:08:38

My youngest DS2 is 22 with autism.. moderately able in some ways but will never be independent. We got our first dog on July the 13th, and we have two resident cats.

The cats have moved upstairs...we expected that as both are somewhat diva like and moody! However they haven't left home, and we just run to them with food and dreamies and beg forgiveness.

We got a Eurasier, as having read up and visited Discover Dogs at Crufts, they are bred as therapy and companion dogs and are supposed to be very calm.
Everyone who has met Orla, now 15 weeks has commented on what a chilled puppy she is... she's brilliant.
Ok she has her mad moments and zoomies but is no where near as bitey as we expected.
My son is over the moon with her... she is so HAPPY to see him every time she walks in the room, she loves everyone so much. No trouble toilet training at all, and she is a delight.
It is without doubt the best thing we have ever done for him!

My brother has (also his first dog) a Havanese, now 7 months old. He is adorable too and small enough to be portable smile We wanted a bigger breed as DS2 is severely dyspraxic and might accidentally trip over or squash a little dog!

Go for it ... !

Ylvamoon Fri 30-Aug-19 22:07:03

Chinese Crested Powderpuff? Lovely dogs, small, non shedding and very easy going. We bought one for DD when she was 7. She did all puppy class up to "silver level" - and now 8 years later is a lovely couch potato & loves everyone!

Not to be mixed up with their hairless brothers & sisters!!


Alwaysgrey Fri 30-Aug-19 23:23:40

Poodle. We have two dc with autism. One ignores the dog. The other is obsessed with the dog and he’s really really good. He was a cry chilled puppy.

funkystars123 Sat 31-Aug-19 19:31:45

My DD is on the spectrum and we have a Bichon, lovely boy.. calm, non shedding and loves the kids. One of the best things we ever did.

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