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Advice for first timers getting a dog (once lockdown is over.)(24 Posts)
I had a dog growing up whom I adored. He died when I was 17. As an adult, I've always known I'd like to have a dog as part of our family. My youngest child is now 3.5 and my husband WFH, we have a decent sized house, back garden and live in a semi-rural area that has plenty of dog walks on our door step. Once the world 'reopens', the time will be right for us to get a dog. As I have never chosen a dog, I'm not quite sure where to start in terms of where to get the dog from. I'm not set on a particular breed (my childhood dog was the product of my nana's dog getting next doors dog pregnant - we saw him born, chose him and my parents paid a nominal amount to cover the cost of the pup being born and fed. He was a beautiful mongrel through and through.) My SIL has a cockerpoo and, in terms of size, that sort of size seems right for us, but I'm open to any breed really (which I recognise also shows my naivety as I do not know much about breeds. I think all dogs are gorgeous.) I'm open to buying a puppy, or rehoming from a rescue centre. I feel very confident in knowing how to look after a dog - I did all of the socialising and training with my childhood dog. My best friend is a vet nurse since already consulted her about which insurance policies are the best. However, when it comes to finding and choosing a dog, I dont know where for start. Any tips or suggestions? Do you think there is a chance that, post lockdown, rescue centres will be inundated with unwanted dogs bought to pass the time in lockdown? If so, would it be best to wait for a rescue? Will rescuse centres even consider us with two children under 10? I also have a cat too - so wondering if we'd be best with a puppy rather than an older dog? Looking for opinions, suggestions and recommendations. I need to research this thoroughly before actually doing anything.
I would start by narrowing down your choices. How much walking are you prepared to do? How much space do you have? How much grooming are you prepared to contend with?
Puppies are bitey little bastards and bloody hard work. I wouldn’t have one with a pre schooler. Though if you’re only just looking into it then you won’t be getting a pup for a while.
Rescues may consider younger children or cats if they think a dog would cope with that. Rescues that foster will have a better idea than those that use kennels.
Also worth thinking of what you can’t tolerate. Barking, being wary of strangers or slow to house train? Very hairy or dog reactive?
Walks will be once/twice per day. Short walk before work most mornings, longer walk/run down to the dog park every evening. I'd also like to be able to take the dog to my parents at the weekend, as well as a longer walk on weekend days.
I expect a dog to bark - but interested to know if there are excessively barky breeds? I can cope with the grooming sil does for her cockerpoo. Not sure I'd wasnt a really hairy dog. I think we are realistically looking at the end of the year/early next year when youngest dd will be 4. Thanks!
It's good that you're giving this some thought ahead of time. If you scout about on this board, you'll find a few discussions about breeders - the good, the bad and the ugly. If you opt for a puppy, be very careful that the 'breeder' isn't a front for a puppy farm. There are plenty of decent breeders out there, you just need to find them.
As for breed, try and meet dogs of various breeds to give you an idea, and chat to the owners about training, barking, energy levels, health, the lot.
IME experience terriers bark. And bark. And bark a bit more just in case no one hears them. I would think you can train them out of it but I wouldn't like to try. We had a terrier who fine so long as she couldn't see out of the window. Give her a window to watch from and she never shut up.
If you're open to rehoming then do that. Maybe contact a local shelter to see what they have needing homes soon?
Many poo crosses need to go to the groomers. I would avoid them TBH. Puppy farmer’s dream.
Size of dog?
Why no try out this little questionnaire from the Kennel Club to get you started?
Medium sized would be best- the size of a cockerpoo. I'm not looking for a cockerpoo in particular, just mentioned for size ideas. Will take that quiz - thanks!
Us too. We’re definitely looking at a rescue dog. We thought as first time owners, a slightly older dog would be a good idea. Plus the rescue centre has a good idea of temperament and what the dog will tolerate. We have a 3 year old DD too, she loves dogs. My cousin has a lab and a weinerama. Both beautiful dogs and good with kids but the weinerama is bonkers - so much energy.
So we’ll be looking for a mid size rescue dog with a gentle temperament.
Following this too - my work has now changed to full time wfh so we can finally do the dog thing. I’m looking specifically at rescue Lurchers and greyhounds at the moment because of the minimal grooming needed. My main worry is that so many of the rescue places say no to kids with the dogs (which I totally understand). Good luck with your search!!
I think you need to be a bit more specific.
Eg. Are you looking for a stereotypically friendly, happy go lucky love everyone temperament or something more aloof that loves you but is somewhat indifferent to strangers?
Are you looking for high trainability/desperate to please and work for you or a more stubborn laid back personality?
What about energy levels? Guarding/watchdog instinct?
It is possible to find a good rescue that is happy to home with younger kids, just may take a bit long & not be local. Lots of lovely dogs & pups end up in rescues, personally I prefer dogs once mature & calmed a little at 2yrs+ so rescue suits me.
There are breed specific rescues although sometimes it can be better to be open minded ,but having a look through various breeds is good place to start as gives you idea about what traits, grooming, exercise needs you're OK with.
Many of Greyhound Trust rescues will home to families, the branches are run individually so how they operate/ homing polices will vary. Many do home out of local area if can home check.
Lurcher link are quite flexible & consider each individuals situation rather than having blanket homing policies, it often depends on what dogs needs they have in. They've some in foster & some kennels.
Greyhound Gap, ELGR are also good rescues that home all over mainland UK .
I personally would never go to a breeder, their are so many unwanted dogs out there already that need loving homes. Plus puppies are an awful lot of work and couldn't be left while you are at work all that time.
We got our rescue greyhound when my daughter was only just 4. Took us a while to find rescues that would rehome to a home with small children but there are some about. Especially for greyhounds and other sight hound breeds as they are very docile and great with small children. Ours has been an absolute dream from day one. She never barks, house trained instantly, doesn't need lots of grooming, doesn't require a lot of walking, never gets nervous or boisterous and has the loveliest, gentle nature. SheBecause of her my best friend then got a rescue greyhound and he's the same although slightly nervous in some situations but never badly behaved. They really are the best family dogs but I'm biased.
personally would never go to a breeder, their are so many unwanted dogs out there already that need loving homes. Plus puppies are an awful lot of work and couldn't be left while you are at work all that time
In theory perhaps but in practice rescues are often far too choosy about where their dogs go refusing vast numbers of perfectly good homes because the prospective adopters don’t have a garden or work part time or don’t have experience with a particular breed etc
We got our rescue greyhound when my daughter was only just 4
Especially for greyhounds and other sight hound breeds as they are very docile and great with small children
They really are the best family dogs but I'm biased
I think it is unwise to make blanket statements like this about whole breeds of dog tbh.
Greyhounds are not always the gentle, easy, child tolerant dogs they are made out to be on here.
There was a very recent thread on this board about a rescue grey the new owners are seriously struggling with and I definitely remember seeing similar threads before (been here years under different names).
Frosted I was only offering my opinion based on my experience of greyhounds- I did make that clear and even said "I'm biased". I am sure not all greyhounds are as easy as ours was from the start, ours is absolutely perfect but again just my opinion.
I also found it difficult to find a rescue that would rehome because of small child, working arrangements etc and I had almost lost hope. But there are rescues out there and we eventually found a few within about an hour of where we live that would rehome despite these things.
Do you think there is a chance that, post lockdown, rescue centres will be inundated with unwanted dogs bought to pass the time in lockdown?
Yes. Everyone involved in rescue absolutely believes this and is dreading it.
@fivedogstofeed People will have paid over the odds for these puppies, literally dogs that were priced at £500 before lockdown being sold for £2000. The whole thing makes me sick. Firstly at the profiteering and secondly at people who would buy an animal just to get rid of it and prevent it from finding a loving home.
literally dogs that were priced at £500 before lockdown being sold for £2000
The whole thing makes me sick
I have noticed this too, it is disgusting.
secondly at people who would buy an animal just to get rid of it and prevent it from finding a loving home
I don’t think this is the intention of most people, I think most are naive and buying with the intention of keeping the dog but at the moment they are home all day, when ‘normal’ life resumes these dogs suddenly may not be able to cope and if they start getting neighbours complaints from constant barking/howling, chewed houses, piss and shit everywhere from stress etc then they will be getting rid because they won’t be able to cope.
Absolutely. A quick look on my local Scumtree and the going rate for pups is now £1k for a breed that would have been £250-300 before. The most desirable breeds are now £2-3k ( bulldogs, frenchies)
Agree not everyone is buying with the intention of dumping the pup after lockdown, but then most people don't buy for Christmas knowing they'll want rid by mid January.
I would say a greyhound could be a good choice for you, but I would avoid any beagle types as once they find a scent they're gone, no matter how much you train them! A family member used to have one and she would do an hours walk basically on her own as the dog followed scents all round the woods, then sit in the car and wait for it to finally come back!
personally would never go to a breeder, their are so many unwanted dogs out there already that need loving homes.
It's worth remembering that the vast majority of dogs in rescue were not bred by responsible breeders, who often insist that if one of their dogs ever needs rehoming it should come back to them. The puppies I worry about are the ones imported from puppy farms. They are more likely to be bought on whim from someone who doesn't bother to ask how the puppy will be cared for in its new home. They are also more likely to have behavioural issues due to their rough start in life.
I think I'm right to wait then. Allow things to get back to normal before even looking. My friend who is a vet nurse has advised caution with rescues because she sees so many rescue dogs with behavioural issues. I might look into foster then rescue if they will consider a family with young kids. I'm going to wait, though. Probably until after Christmas. Ideally it would be sooner than that, but I dont want to risk getting caught up in the animals being farmed for Christmas presents either.
If you're thinking of rescues, look for ones who foster the dogs in family homes, as they tend to have a clearer idea of the dog's quirks and habits, and, what it's like with cats, children, recall, digging up the garden etc.
If you find a breed you like, breed-specific rescues seem to be more inclined to foster dogs for a while and get a good sense of whether a dog is good with children and cats and what its possible issues are. But they may not think small children are ideal. The general rescues near us wouldn’t consider anyone with children under 8 or 10, but the breed-specific ones did. I don’t have kids and my issue was working - the rescues wouldn’t rehome to us because I worked part-time even though I could take a dog to work with me. The breed rescue passed us after a questionnaire but we found we weren’t their ideal candidate so we kept getting passed over for families where someone didn’t work at all. In the end we got a puppy. He is very welcome at work but I used daycare when he was small on my office days and DM had him once a week too, and now we’re both home all the time anyway and goodness knows what will happen by the time restrictions are lifted.
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