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Real talk, how much work is it

(33 Posts)
Livelikejackandsally Wed 09-Oct-19 19:47:54

Were looking at getting a dog
(Looking at both puppies and rescues..and rescue puppies)

We can make it work (financially and someone's generally home)
But committing to something for 10-15 years is a big decision
Im scared were just thinking about all the positive parts
And not realising how hard the other parts may be ...like the 5am walks in the rain...
Or having to work schedules around a new family member now

Tell me how you found getting your dog and the change to your life

OP’s posts: |
Fucksandflowers Wed 09-Oct-19 20:15:25

My dog overall has been very easy.

Bought as a puppy, toilet trained quickly, no real separation anxiety, minimal chewing damage, not a bitey puppy at all.

As an adult she sleeps pretty much the entire time she is in the house, she can go for however long I want her to but doesn't care about missing a walk at all, very obedient and eager to please, friendly, never showed any aggression to people whatsoever - you can take anything off her, she's happy for children to sit in her bed with her etc.

She has one massive issue that makes me regret getting her though:

She is extremely uncomfortable to the point of aggression around other dogs.

It started from one bad attack then smaller, multiple, unprovoked aggressive incidents from other dogs.

She will try to avoid dogs but if they are too close to comfortably avoid she attempts a greeting then freaks out with lip curls, growling, air snaps, she has nipped before.

I have spent years trying to fix it - CARE, treats, toys, corrections, I've tried it all.

Officially given up trying to get her comfortable and now I don't ever allow her near other dogs at all.

She is a border collie (working type).

Depends what sort of dog your after but if your thinking about a collie I would say that based on mine they are a 'specialist' breed but I think they are quite misunderstood.

They don't need masses of exercise and training, they need instead ample time to be 'bored' and training how to settle down.
They are very prone to overstimulation and too much excitement and not enough down time makes for hyper, unpleasant collies Imo.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Wed 09-Oct-19 20:46:51

The negatives?
Clearing up after a puppy (usually over by the time the dog is 4 months or so old)
Having to walk the dog every day, no matter what else you have to fit in, how bad your cold is, what the weather is doing, or if its dark - this can lead to schedules being replanned
Muddy footprints on your freshly-washed kitchen floor
Dog fur on clothes and carpets
Dribble of undrunk water from the bowl across the floor
The state of your garden
Picking up shit/clearing up vomit/wiping off drool
The expense
The final one-way trip to the vet, which is horrible

But the pros are massive, as you seem to know.

StillMedusa Wed 09-Oct-19 20:55:17

We have had our first dog for nearly 3 months... a puppy.
We researched and researched for the right breed for us, visited breeders, did Discover dogs at Crufts, and went on a list. Brought her home in July aged 9 weeks.

Life changing!

First the bad stuff:
Sleeping downstairs on the sofa with new puppy, up several times a night..couldn't even go to the loo without her crying. After 10 days I moved upstairs and she's been fine downstairs since . (no crate, she hated it)

Wee and poo. We have been exceptionally lucky in that we haven't had a single poo in the house, and just 3 wees in the first week. Having said that we have hard floors downstairs (she isn't allowed upstairs due to our cats) and the only time she peed it was on carpet when she snuck up behind me, so I wouldn't say she was trustworthy yet!

Worrying: has she eaten enough/wee'd pooed, OMG what's that in her mouth?
Socialisation.. have we done enough? Too much? IS she happy?

Life changes... can't go anwhere without thinking, who can look after the puppy (I have a family with 6 adults in total at home so we can cover most things between us). Even work..I dropped a day as I couldn't cover Mondays..my DS2 works evenings most days and I work school hours so we cover tues to fri between us. We are now leaving her for very short periods (pop to the shop) but at nearly 5 months that is it. She wants to be with one of us at all times.

So spontanaeous trips to the cinema are out, ..on the plus side we now know dog friendly pubs and places!

The 6.15 am walk is grim , damp and cold and getting worse!

BUT..huge but...
She has brought SO much to our lives already. I never used to like walking for walking's sake..now I drive home thinking 'where shall we go today?' and I love watching her bound in front of me (off lead in safe places) bouncing with happiness, sniffing and exploring.
I get home and she is ecstatic to see me! I take out the bins and ... she is ecstatic to see me grin Nothing cheers me up more after a tough day to see that happy face and waggy tail coming to me, that soft nose pushing into my face, or the ridiculous 'rub my belly' flop.

Her love is pure, unconditional and she doesn't care if I look like crap, am grumpy or ill, she just loves me. I have a lovely husband, 4 great adult kids two cats, and no one has ever made me feel as loved as our puppy does smile

So, worth it? Yes definitely.

BUT I'd say you have to plan for the least fun times... you might get a puppy who is a nightmare to toilet train (or train at all). One who CANNOT be left. I knew we wouldn't be able to leave ours as they are a breed that need human company, and I was happy to work that out in advance, but some people think their puppy will be fine to be left, and then it isn't...

If you go for it, join the FB 'Dog traning and advice' group ... they have units on everything you could need to know.. it's brilliant.

That was long, sorry!

Livelikejackandsally Wed 09-Oct-19 21:13:43

Thank you! You're reassuring me!
We really do want this - I'm just scared!

StillMedusa not too long! Very helpful! Can I ask what breed you have?

Fucksandflowers we really wanted a collie, but my DH talked me down saying it would just be too much of an exercise need and we assumed we wouldn't be able to leave them at all (and he really doesn't seem to be phased by this at all, so that was a lot from him) - obviously every dog is different, but in general yours doesn't seem at all like I'd expect from a collie! She sounds lovely though - worth the one problem?!
Do you have a massive house that she can bound around in all the time? - our house isn't huge, which was our other concern with a dog like a collie!

OP’s posts: |
Livelikejackandsally Wed 09-Oct-19 21:15:03

grumpy I'm currently using 'potential incoming dog so there's no point making it gorgeous' as the excuse when my mum comes round and gasps in horror at the state of our garden..

OP’s posts: |
StillMedusa Wed 09-Oct-19 21:32:06

We have a Eurasier.
Not a well known breed here but bred in Germany originally as companion and therapy dogs. We wanted a family orientated dog who would be calm, and not too small, as DS2 has autism, and while very kind and gentle is also clumsy and didn't want to risk him tripping and squashing a little dog.
As tiny pups they look like this...
Orla is now 5 months and looks like this...
As an adult she will be like this!

Come in a variety of colours (and change as they grow) and are rough collie sized. Orla has a dark muzzle and red to gold back currently but was dark brown to start with!

nevernotstruggling Wed 09-Oct-19 21:43:07

I've got a nearly 5 year old cocker spaniel. The puppy stage was the least enjoyable. I seriously considered my decision during the first 9 months.
I'm a single patent so my entire life is inconvenient and the opposite of spontaneous so having to consider the dog hasn't been a huge leap.

You need to seriously consider the whole family enjoyment of dog walks in all weathers. My kids adapted well and generally enjoy the walks in nt places and on the beach. Pottering in random wildernesses suits their personalities quite well. The beach on Xmas daY? Yay let's take barbies and they like the one to one mummy time too they get on walks.

The unexpected bonus of the all weather walks in our family is health. After the first winter my dds simply stopped getting ill. I mean not a cough or cold at all for dd1 (10) and one cold last summer for dd2 (6). No exaggeration their constitutions are amazing now!!

adaline Wed 09-Oct-19 22:00:21

We have a beagle - he's 20 months.

Positives:

The company - he's amazing and my best friend.
He's improved my mental health tenfold.
The unconditional love.
The cuddles, love and kisses.
It's incredibly rewarding.
The bond you have.

The negatives:

The puppy months
The teenage years (harder than the puppy
months by far)
The walks in the freezing cold wind and rain
Having to go out every single day no matter how tired or shit you feel
Picking up dog poo
The frustration when the training doesn't seem to work
The hair and dribble on everything
For us, separation anxiety

However, the positives far outweigh the negatives (especially now he's older) and the bond we have is amazing 🥰

Fucksandflowers Wed 09-Oct-19 23:00:34

*fucksandflowers we really wanted a collie, but my DH talked me down saying it would just be too much of an exercise need and we assumed we wouldn't be able to leave them at all (and he really doesn't seem to be phased by this at all, so that was a lot from him) - obviously every dog is different, but in general yours doesn't seem at all like I'd expect from a collie! She sounds lovely though - worth the one problem?!
Do you have a massive house that she can bound around in all the time? - our house isn't huge, which was our other concern with a dog like a collie!*

They definately don't need huge amounts of exercise.

Up until 1 year it's only 5 minutes of walking per month of age because they can be prone to hip dysplasia (like all larger breeds).

Give them too much exercise and brain work and one of two things will happen; either they will become super fit and need that amount of exercise all the time or they will become hyperactive and overstimulated (this is how mine gets).

It is important to teach them how to settle down and relax and do nothing.
Some of the collies if not taught how to settle and relax will just go go go.

My collie gets between 1 and 3 hours walking most days, I don't walk her at the weekend and she is not bothered one little bit about missing a walk, she will just sleep.

On leaving, they tend to be one person dogs and bond closely but my collie doesn't seem to mind being left, we started from puppyhood getting her used to being left for a few minutes and working up.

It is worth it now because I just avoid other dogs so no stress but when I was trying hard to fix it it was unbelievably stressful because nothing worked and I was in constant fear of her getting worse or other owners attacking me etc.

We live in a two bed terrace!
She honestly sleeps pretty much all day!
That said she is untireable, you could run her for hours and after a little break if you asked her to she'd be happy to go again but she isn't demanding about exercise at all.

She is a 'proper' working line.

An honest assessment of the 'proper' border collie, as in one bred for working like mine, I would say:

- Herding instinct is present from 8 weeks and it can be hard to handle.
As a young puppy mine terrified my in laws dogs by trying to herd them (stalky pose, giving 'eye'), she was fine with one bike but would try and herd groups, same for cars. She couldn't be walked near a busy road until past a year old because she would literally hunker down, stare, try and run in front of them etc and the more cars the worse she was!
- herding behaviour towards people has to be discouraged straight away because it can be dangerous; if the stalk and stare doesn't work they start escalating to cutting in front, gripping, biting so herding behaviour on people is a big no no.
- they are highly sensitive but also manipulative
- although they don't tend to have the instinct to catch and shake they tend to be highly prey driven so care needs to be taken around cats, small furries etc (mine does live with a cat, they play fight a lot and get on well)
- they tend to bond more closely with one person and can be prone to jealousy although mine isn't jealous.
- they are very easy to overstimulate and work up hence the need to teach them how to be calm and settled
- don't play too much fetch, because they are so highly prey driven they can get very obsessive about it and it's bad for the joints. Keep it as an occasional treat.
- not particularly noisy, mine never really barks
- not particularly territorial
- very soft and gentle temperament, mine loves children and seeks them out
- they do shed although you can get short coated ones.

Fucksandflowers Wed 09-Oct-19 23:04:13

Here she is 😍

Girliefriendlikescake Wed 09-Oct-19 23:34:26

We got a puppy this summer, he is now 17 weeks old.

I would say pick the breed and the individual puppy very carefully. I went for a mix breed terrier because I wanted a robust (but small) energetic, friendly dog that would be easy/fun to train. I picked the quietest pup from the litter deliberately as I didn't want a yappy/over excitable dog.

Pluses: he is exactly the puppy I hoped to get from the above list, he's been easy to house train, he loves kids, people and other dogs, he is also very funny and has a really cheeky character.

Cons: feeling guilty every time I leave him either for short periods in his crate or with someone else. It's just like leaving a baby at nursery! The first few weeks were really hard as he woke in the night needing the loo plus you're really stuck until they've had all the injections. The loss of freedom to just pop out or go somewhere (dog unfriendly) for the day.

Overall I have absolutely no regrets, I have actually been quite shocked at how much I love my little chap. I didn't really get how people got so obsessed with their dogs until now 😁 My dog is the best dog 😉

I personally would stay clear of working dogs such as collies, spaniels etc there are so many more easy going yet fun dogs to own.

Also hang out on the new puppy thread for a bit as you'll see the good, the bad and the ugly there!!

Pic of my gorgeous boy.

Fucksandflowers Wed 09-Oct-19 23:49:52

I personally would stay clear of working dogs such as collies, spaniels etc there are so many more easy going yet fun dogs to own

When it comes to collies, if you don't do the research I think I would agree.

They are somewhat 'specialist', the herding instinct if strong can be difficult to handle and being very sensitive but clever and therefore manipulative and high strung/quick to overstimulate I can definately see how you could get into trouble with one.

I definately made a lot of mistakes with my collie that I wouldn't repeat.
My collie was my first proper dog (DH had had a dog before) though and overall she is a very easy dog.

My three of my neighbours have collies too

Girlintheframe Thu 10-Oct-19 03:55:28

Our pup is 15 months old now. Our youngest is 19 and when our lab died last January we seriously thought our doggy owning days were over. After 6 months we realised we were much happier with a dog in the house.

Cons
Expensive! Our pup goes to day care so for us expenses included daycare, food,insurance, tick/flea treatment, training classes, visits to the vets that aren't worth claiming on the insurance (but soon mount up!), toys/treats etc.

Having to walk in terrible weather, regardless of wether you are in the mood or not!

Worry! - if he has gone off his food it seems under the weather I really do worry about him like I would my child.

Separation - pup hated being separated from us. It's taken till a month or two ago for him to feel happy on this own. We can now leave him for 3/4 hours but I was seriously worried at one point that I would never be able to leave his side!

Pros

Love - just so so so much love. He absolutely adores us. He is overjoyed to see us. No matter what kind of day I've had the minute I see him he plasters a smile on my face.

Training / he has been a pleasure to train. We've had no issues during the puppy/teen phase. He is incredibly biddable .

Companionship - I'm often on my own during the week with him. We will go for long walks together, snuggle,play etc.

Pup fits our lifestyle really well. We did a lot of research before getting him. He has been a dream. He adores other dogs. He has brought us much joy.

adaline Thu 10-Oct-19 06:32:06

The one thing I would to add to my above post is how much training you need to do in the early months - everything is a training exercise! From how to cross roads, to where you want them to sleep, to where you want them to go when you cook dinner. And there are so many decisions to make and things you need to think of before you get a puppy, all the while remembering that the reality can be very different to your plans!

Are you going to crate train, for example? Is the dog allowed on furniture or upstairs or on the bed? What are you going to do if your dog is destructive or anxious or continuously toilets in the house? What if he's a loud barker? Or fearful? Or scared of dogs? Or reactive? Or has no recall? What are some behaviours you absolutely don't want your dog to display and how will you fix them if he does? What about classes? How will you socialise them? What are you going to do if you want a day out that's not dog friendly? Who will watch the dog and let it out and walk it?

Not meaning to overwhelm you - there's just a lot you need to think about and we didn't think about most of it until we were there!

PinkFluff2 Thu 10-Oct-19 09:00:00

I have got two dogs. One thing I wish I had thought more about is that all dogs have different personalities. Never assume the dog will be the perfect dog you imagine. Before I got my first dog I thought about how nice it would be going on walks and all the places I could take him.

Turns out he doesn't like being around other dogs at all and so I have to avoid being around them. I could never take him on a walk where there are lots of other people and dogs, and I definitely can't let him off the lead.

My other dog who we got a few years later definitely wouldn't be like that, however he has now started to copy him.

Another bit of advice is to get very good insurance. Get more cover than you ever expect to need. I've just had to pay out over £3k just for my dog to have a scan! I insured him for £2k thinking that would be enough per condition. Prices of vet bills are insane so make sure you have got lots of cover should you ever need it.

It is hard when they are puppies doing all the house training but it's so worth it in the end. I love my two dogs so much and couldn't imagine life without them. They are a huge commitment as you can't go anywhere without making sure something is in place for them, however if you have family who can help it makes it a lot easier.

imclaustrophobicdarren Thu 10-Oct-19 09:55:18

@Livelikejackandsally I was in the same boat but my god it was SO much easier then I thought. I think someone up thread mentioned a lot will depend on breed. What are you thinking OP?

raspberryk Thu 10-Oct-19 10:24:36

The only con for us so far is booking tickets for a day out and then scratting round for puppy care when you've been let down.
I suppose in future it will be dog friendly UK holidays or kennels/dog sitter.

Livelikejackandsally Thu 10-Oct-19 18:42:50

Were looking at various terriers @imclaustrophobicdarren - which from experience, can be total nightmares haha

OP’s posts: |
Fucksandflowers Thu 10-Oct-19 20:04:09

Were looking at various terriers *@imclaustrophobicdarren - which from experience, can be total nightmares haha*

My personal opinion.
The often lovely but potentially most troublesome dog breeds/types:

1. Livestock guardians
2. Border Collies
3. Terriers; jack Russell and Patterdale especially

I'm not a terrier fan myself, I'm very much for the herding breeds.
I find terriers tend to be extremely barky and like the collies reactive and easily over stimulated/amped up.

My in laws have jacks and I don't like them very much; they are insanely territorial, bark at everything, very jealous, possessive, they aren't very biddable and one of them is bad around children.

i have bitten by a different jack as well.

Tibetan spaniels are nice, they don't have the long list of health problems the cavaliers do, have you thought about them?

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 10-Oct-19 21:15:55

@PinkFluff2, it might be worth walking your second dog separately from the first until he's matured, if you have the time and the willpower. Having a reactive barky dog is stressful, and you don't want two of them if you can help it.

isayhitocats Thu 10-Oct-19 21:28:23

I've got a Labrador. She's so easy and we're so lucky. Loves sleeping and not always desperate to have a walk. Gentle with the kids and kind be gentle to other animals. She's a gem. Puppy stage was hard work but so worth it.

raspberryk Thu 10-Oct-19 21:44:48

We have a spaniel, would have a Labrador or a staffie in my top 2 other choices. Borders terrier have a good rep with kids. My in laws yorkie is surprisingly good with the kids.

Fucksandflowers Thu 10-Oct-19 22:00:11

❤️ Love Staffies.
My DH had one when I met him.

raspberryk Thu 10-Oct-19 22:43:56

We were looking at Staffies before we got our Sprocker.
To add, I would never get a Collie, only ones I've known have been neurotic. I've had mixed experiences with Jack Russels.
Our working spaniel is not nuts as we thought she might be... yet.

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