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Is lockdown the right time to get a puppy?

(57 Posts)
Annaotherginplease Tue 28-Apr-20 18:34:02

So, I think I have just agreed to take my very first puppy (currently only 3wks old) and am so excited I can hardly contain myself. She is a border collie. However, already people are p***ing on my bonfire and telling me how much work it will be and how much I will regret it and don't get a collie. I am prepared for hard work but I also think it will be so great. We're a camping family (under normal circumstances) and I have visions of sharing our adventures with our 4 legged friend, I don't have all of the answers about training and don't know how the introduction with a fairly shy cat will go, but I am sure these things can be worked through... although I can't help but worry a little.
OH is going along with it and onboard, although wouldn't choose to get a dog himself. He is a pessimist (he says realist) and given the current Covid situation doesn't think this is a great time to get a dog. I however feel it could be something wonderful to distract us from the reality of what's going on in the world. My two boys (8 and 5) are struggling without school and friends around. My youngest is finding it the hardest... he is missing his reception year. It's a big change for him. They are spending more and more time addicted to computer games and losing the ability to play. I can see the puppy being great for them.
I see my OH's point a little...puppy socialisation will be harder, as will getting injections which may ultimately delay being able to take her outside. I don't know whether I will need to cancel my summer cottage holiday in Cornwall 2 months after getting her? Will that be cancelled anyway? There are uncertainties, but I am confident that I will adore this puppy and will be able to offer a happy, active and loving home... but I do wonder whether I am a bit puppy blind.
This is a subject that we have revisited as a family many times in the past, so it's not come out of the blue. When life returns to normal, my husband and I work from home on alternate days so there will be no need to leave her at home all day (hoping we still have jobs at the end of all of this). We (usually) live very busy active lives, but I see no reason why a dog cannot be part of that. Do I need a reality check do you think?

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Tue 28-Apr-20 18:40:47

Depends. With my first puppy it would have been a disaster. I hadn’t had a pup before and we had lots of issues. She was also very fearful and needed a lot of socialisation.
We got pup2 just after Christmas. She’s a confident little thing. And I have a bit more of an idea now.
That breed is too active for me! So I can’t comment on that.
I would be reluctant if DH isn’t really on board. Puppies are bloody hard work. They bite and destroy stuff. It’s exhausting.
And if you can’t get vaccinations etc. Then that’s going to keep you stuck at home.

Monkeytapper Tue 28-Apr-20 18:43:42

You can still get first and 2nd injections where we live (Leeds) Vet collect puppy from car and takes into practice and you won’t outside.

We got a puppy 3 weeks ago, it was planned beforehand and we already have an adult dog same breed so we knew what we were letting ourselves in for,it’s been a great time to house train as we have all been at home virtually 24 hours a day.

Puppies are hard-work to start with, but with time get easier.
I have kids aged 11 & 9 and the novelty of dog walking wears off, but they do love having them. As long as you k ow all the hard work will be down to you if OH isn’t enthusiastic. Sleepless nights for a while and wiping piss and poop up.

MrsRobinsonsHandprints Tue 28-Apr-20 18:44:41

Why a collie, they are amazing but extremely clever and energetic and this results in a difficult house dog, they are the second most common dog to go into rehoming centre's.
No socialization will be difficult and what happens after lockdown, if one of you will have the dog with you all the time it might be doable, but if you are all going back to work and school then it's a very bad idea.

Monkeytapper Tue 28-Apr-20 18:44:46

*first sentence meant to say ‘you don’t go inside the practice’

Monkeytapper Tue 28-Apr-20 18:45:45

@MrsRobinsonsHandprints....op said her and her husband both work from home.

Wolfiefan Tue 28-Apr-20 18:47:12

Not with a puppy collie around they won’t. grin

BiteyShark Tue 28-Apr-20 18:49:21

I took a few weeks off work when I first got my puppy. Working from home was very hard having a puppy about and I ended up having to work late at night to catch up as you need to keep an eye on them for toileting and making sure they don't eat or destroy anything.

I would worry about your DH not being fully onboard if you expect him to do that as well as working.

MyView2 Tue 28-Apr-20 18:53:05

I have a border collie aged 18 months. I don’t think it’s a terrible time to get a puppy as presumably you’ll be home and be able to spend time getting early training done. Socialisation is as much about getting your puppy used to everyday life and you will be able to do lots of that even just holding your puppy, this link gives some ideas and I think you’d be able to do most of them during lockdown. The only part you might miss out on is being able to have your pup meet other dogs but I’m sure the breeder and vet will have some advice on that. Great breed of dog, mine is not at all crazy and is quite chilled out and loves games and being around the family.

MrsRobinsonsHandprints Tue 28-Apr-20 18:53:06

Sorry I can't read! But as it's alternative days you need your husband on board.

RedRed9 Tue 28-Apr-20 18:59:21

For the fact you can’t socialise it I would say now is not an ideal time.

I’d also be asking myself: why this puppy? Is this the right dog for you or does it just happen to be here at the moment and you’re caught up in the excitement? People spend months, sometimes years, looking for the right dog for them. Be very, very careful not to let your heart rule your head.

Annaotherginplease Tue 28-Apr-20 19:03:33

Thanks... I think...? . He's telling people about the puppy and sending photos around so I don't know whether the reluctance is a bit of a show for my benefit. It's his idea to get a collie. He's a runner and would like to go running with it (eventually). He won't entertain other dog breeds and is not interested in a cross breed.
Having got this close, I don't know how I could just back track and cancel it though. It's been something that I have only dared dream about before. It would be such a major disappointment. Life is flat enough right now. I know others are struggling as well and I am well aware how lucky I am and deeply grateful for what I have. This just seemed like a bit of positivity and excitement to focus on in a world of otherwise unknowns.

OP’s posts: |
heatseeker14 Tue 28-Apr-20 19:04:53

TBH I wouldn’t have got our puppy if DH wasn’t fully onboard. Our pup was hard work initially lots of biting and toilet trips during the night. Whilst I dealt with the majority of this it is still highly disruptive. DH would have a bitey puppy attached to his leg the minute he walked through the front door! Our boys love the dog but would still rather play the PS4 than walk him. 🙄 They did get involved with training him though.
I would show your OH the puppy support threads on here before making your decision. Then at least he can’t say you didn’t warn him!😂

RedRed9 Tue 28-Apr-20 19:05:42

My youngest is finding it the hardest

Your children are going to find elements of having a puppy hard as well. Your children are going to get nibbled and scratched (and puppy teeth really, really hurt), they’re going to be jumped up at, they’re going to have to be careful with their toys, they’re going to have to put up with you leaving them halfway through a game to deal with the puppy.

Not to put you off if it’s something you really want. But just in case you hadn’t considered any of that.

Cabinfever10 Tue 28-Apr-20 19:07:51

Also you can't let your DC be alone with the puppy and will have to carefully supervise them playing with the puppy especially your 5year old otherwise you will end up with an injured puppy.
I don't mean that they would purposely hurt the puppy but children need to be taught how to interact with puppies/dogs safely

Barbie222 Tue 28-Apr-20 19:09:39

I'll be honest, I wouldn't get a puppy during lockdown, and I wouldn't get a collie as a first dog, gorgeous though they are. They need lots of outdoors and they need to work.

JKScot4 Tue 28-Apr-20 19:13:49

You won’t get the pup for another 6/7 weeks, do you always work from home?
Collies are high energy breeds who need lots of physical and mental stimulation.
They are also a breed found in large numbers in rescue, if I was you I’d look there, there are several wonderful collie rescues.

frostedviolets Tue 28-Apr-20 19:15:52

She is a border collie. However, already people are p***ing on my bonfire and telling me how much work it will be and how much I will regret it and don't get a collie

As the owner of a border collie I regret to tell you you had better get used to this!

I was surprised how negative the general perception of this breed is and how misinformed most people are on them.

Believe me, you’ll get some variation of ‘gosh I bet you really have your hands full/bet that needs a lot of exercise/that dog shouldn’t be a pet really it’s a working dog’ from almost everyone you meet who strikes up conversation about your dog

carly2803 Tue 28-Apr-20 19:28:16

what happens in 5 weeks when/if you go back to work? the time you get the dog?

colliesare fab, but they are not a first dog for the faint hearted.

frostedviolets Tue 28-Apr-20 19:39:00

I’ll also take this opportunity to say my piece also about this breed given how much misunderstanding there is.
I know that statement comes across a bit arrogant perhaps, but I say it because my collie is my first dog and by god I made so many mistakes with her by following generally accepted advice and try my best to avoid other owners falling into the same traps I did.

You will constantly hear how important it is to really really exercise and stimulate these dogs.
Not true!
These are dogs bred for stamina yes, these are dogs that if required can go all day yes, but this is a breed that is typically high strung, they need calm and peace and quiet and thrive with calm activities that work their brain.

If given huge quantities of high adrenaline exercise like ball throwing or agility, particularly if there’s a load of mental stimulation on top they can get anxious and neurotic.
Regular ball throwing is very bad for their joints as well.
The reality is there is no substitute for sheep herding.
It just doesn’t exist.
You can’t replace work with agility or flyball or whatever.
If I could give you one piece of advice it would be to give your dog calm walks/runs and loads and loads of chill out time.

Be really careful with other dogs.
Higher drive collies especially have a very predatory stance about them and other dogs don’t like it.
You need to be very careful to firstly watch out for ‘herdy’ behaviour like staring at other dogs, crouching etc and redirect immediately and train your pup to be calm and happy in the presence of other dogs but I wouldn’t allow actual interactions personally unless you know the other dog.

I think I read in your OP you have a cat?
Be warned this is typically a high prey drive breed.
Very, very stimulated by sudden movement.
Most collies don’t follow through (herding is hunting behaviour) and bite and kill but some do and different animals can solicit different levels of prey drive.
My collie wanted to kill my kitten and I think she would kill a squirrel if she caught one but she’s fine with adult cats and was fine with our chickens.

You have a 5 year old and 8 year old.
Be aware that collies and young children aren’t always a good match.
I have three children and my collie was here before the birth of the younger two.
Collies are a bossy breed generally, they like peace and quiet and order.
Some collies are intensely stressed out by normal child behaviour like squealing or running about.

Do not under any circumstances allow herding behaviour towards people, especially children.
It’s not funny or cute, it’s a bite waiting to happen.

There are lovely dogs, sweet, sensitive, kind and gentle.
And a wonderful running companion.
But they are imo ‘specialist’

Pugdoglife Tue 28-Apr-20 19:43:37

As long as you are going into this understanding that puppies are hard work and the kids will lose interest and you will be left looking after its needs, then now is as good a time as any I suppose.

I don't mean that to sound negative, I have children and they love our dog, but the looking after, feeding, walking, vets and groomers trips fall to me and dh, if your DH isn't as on board it might all fall to you. But saying that I think dogs add a great deal to a family.

We put off getting a puppy just yet, because we wouldn't be able to have visited the puppy and it's mother due to lockdown and we are in no hurry, we want the right dog at the right time for us. This may well be the right time for you.

I also wouldn't want a border collie, but I know other people who wouldn't want any other breed, largely a dog will become what you make it, any breed can be a perfect family pet if it is raised correctly.

jinxpixie Tue 28-Apr-20 19:48:12

I am also a border collie owner who is constantly being told collies are high energy dogs and why have I got one (I actually have 3).

They are amazing dogs. They need a lot of stimulation some exercise, they need attention. A long run each day with your husband will not be enough for most collies.They will need a "mental activity" as well. However that is the fun side of owning collies (if you have the time).

As an experienced owner lock down is a perfect time to get a puppy. Social distancing is the best way to introduce puppies to new situations,looking at life from a distance is a fantastic way to socialise them. It may be harder for a first time owner who will not have the support of a trainer in rl.

Collies do have their own "ways" and do make sure you have a good trainer on a zoom call to help with things that will arise.

Collies do need careful training, they can be reactive, they can chase/herd cars,kids anything that moves. They can herd and nip children,they will chase their balls - they may not be the best dogs to take to watch the kids play football. They can bark at anything, they are bossy, they can be fearful,they are clever (so that makes them easy to train - no it means will learn what they want to learn but are very clever at not doing what you want them to do)

They are not the most sociable of dogs. You dont tend to see collies willingly joining in dog play in the park,herding and bossing the other dogs to stop yes but not enjoying the other dogs company. They can find new situations hard, they can worry a lot before they do things. You never see collies as assistance dogs for example as this would be way too stressful for them.

Collies are not for people who leave them alone for long periods of time -they will go self employed.

I will always have collies but dogs are my life and that is what I like however they are full on dogs who will not blend into the background - you will know you have a collie in the house.

If you are happy to give a large (and I mean large) percentage of your time to a dog collies are fab - if not you may just not have enough time to enjoy the life of a collie.

If your husband wants a dog to run with as no 1 criteria there may be a better fit. (and I will go and pick up this pup instead-grin

jinxpixie Tue 28-Apr-20 19:53:57

Sorry went on a bit there!

Our mental activities are sheep work and scent work. However he is too worried to work near a bird scarer that goes off near our farm. You have to be prepared to alter your criteria with a collie.

One of the three collies does agility it is way too much stimulation for the other two.

One is fantastic at obedience but the stress of competition is too much for him.

Dont assume that getting a collie means you can guarantee dog sports and all activities as each collie will have their own specialism.

frostedviolets Tue 28-Apr-20 20:00:25

Sorry went on a bit there!
Nothing wrong with that!
There was another border collie thread months ago where I did too grin

I agree with nearly all of what jinxpixie said btw, the only bit I personally disagree with is the lots of exercise and mental stimulation/one run not being enough.

I have done that, the lots of exercise and stimulation I mean, and boy does it make mine unpleasant to be around.
She becomes anxious, whiny, pacing, can’t relax.

Give her a nice long (or short, she doesn’t actually care) calm walk and she happily sleeps the rest of the day.

Agree about the football.
Mine would sit and watch kids play but she’d be shaking and whining the whole time.

On balls, i would advise severely limiting their use.
Not only is repetitive twisting and turning for balls bad for joints but they can get obsessive about balls.

jinxpixie Tue 28-Apr-20 20:05:52

I agree Frosted what I meant was that mine have an hour and half exercise a day not mad running off lead but time filled with searches and sniffing. They do have to have more than that though of mental stimulation , so scatter feeding, scent work, sheep work, training etc

They do not run with my DH the working cocker does that grin

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