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Getting a dog(15 Posts)
I'm after some advice about getting a family dog. I have never had a dog but DH grew up on a farm with working and pet dogs. He is very keen to have a family dog.
We are a family of 4. DC are 7 and 5. We live rurally in Perthshire. We own our house and we have a secure back garden. DH works full time as an agronomist and would plan to have the dog with him during the day. We therefore need a dog that can cope with miles of walking, other dogs and travelling in the car.
DD1 is autistic. She has been working with a therapy dog at school and this has been very positive. She would not qualify for her own autistic therapy dog (I have checked).
I wondered if a good option would be a failed guide dog. We do live within range of the Guide Dog training centre at Montrose.
What advice would you give me? Open to any and all ideas.
My friends have a failed guide dog and it's worked out well for them. They have a golden retriever, the plus side was he was already well trained in all the basics and was fairly well socialised.
The down side was, he failed guide dog school because he could be reactive to other dogs and is generally a big goof ball 😁
From your list of requirements I was thinking a Labrador would be good. My dd is on the ASD diagnosis pathway and getting a dog definitely has helped her.
My understanding is that failed guide dogs are hard to come by, but by all means worth a go. In your position, I'd start with them.
By the sounds of it, you want a dog that is even-tempered and can go all day. Personally (but I am biased!) I'd look at working-line gundogs. Labs, golden retrievers, spaniels and the hunt-point-retrieve breeds are usually good with children, but the age of your DC might be a consideration, as the bigger breeds can, when young, send kids flying like skittles. They are all breeds that need a fair bit of training to establish reliable recall, but they are all very trainable - I know spaniels and HPRs that will heel off-lead and leave rabbits etc alone.
Once you've had a think about breeds and narrowed it down a bit, you then need to find a breeder, which is a whole other challenge.
There are hardly any failed guide dogs around these days - they have new assessments at the very early puppy stage which means that they can weed out unsuitable dogs before the training really starts, they then only breed from successful dogs... Dogs that do fail are offered to handlers first and then to ex-handlers - so you could be waiting a really long time. We explored this in detail when we were looking for a dog and we're friends with a trainer (who kept hers who failed because he was terrified of plastic figures, like the ones you sometimes see outside butchers!).
A lab sounds perfect for your needs though. Please don't get a labradoodle, there's a very well known breeder near you who churns them out...
It's very hard to find a failed guide dog - they get snapped up quickly for a reason!
Your set-up sounds great for an adult dog - have you asked around your local rescues? Many aren't rehoming at the moment but you could always ring them and ask if they think they have dog that would be suitable for your circumstances
A breed like a labrador or a spaniel would be ideal I think - energetic, capable of walking for miles, relatively healthy and sturdy but also great family dogs. Good luck!
If you are looking at a failed guide dog, maybe it's also worth getting in contact with breeders or breed rescue for an older dog / puppy as plan B.
There are also some charities that will help you with training your own therapy dog... hopefully someone more knowledgeable comes along!
I think you need a spaniel, out all day with your husband so presumably loads of exercise?
I'm another one pointing out the long failed guide dogs waiting list- I've applied over 2 years ago and still nothing.
But in general, a Labrador sounds like it would meet your needs
Labradors are so easy to train, you don’t really need a failed guide dog you can do it yourself
Our lab pup is 7 months now and has been a dream to train
A retired guide dog might be an option? They are retired quite young so keeping up with your husband should be fine.
I would also recommend an adult rescue. Smaller rescues often have dogs in foster homes so can tell you how they cope with children, other dogs, cats etc. in a home environment.
A calmer and more predictable adult dog would probably also be easier for your DD.
Thank you everyone for responding. I really appreciate it.
I am hesitant about a puppy, tbh. I was hoping for an adult dog. I think this my inexperience with dogs making me feel like this. I wondered if a retired guide dog would cope with walking all day.
DH would prefer a lab or a retriever. There certainly won't be any 'designer dogs'. He was offered a beagle from a friend but, when we met the dog, it was clearly a farm dog and not a pet.
I have no strong feelings about breed. It's more about temperament. The dog will need to be able to cope with other dogs both on farm and out walking around our house. Good with children and, able to get in and out of DH's pick up.
I didn't realise how unlikely a failed guide dog would be.
I haven't spoken to any local dog rescue charities as I was under the impression that both DC had to be over 8. I will get in touch though just to ask.
they system for rehoming guide dogs has changed in that they no longer keep a list as such...
you apply, they look for something to suit, but you do fall off the list pretty quickly so need to keep reapplying
also...it's Forfar, not Montrose!
I puppy walk and generally puppy walkers get first dibs on any failures...but not all PWs have their pups back...part of the charm of the "job" is dog ownership with perks...any holiday kennelling is taken care of by GDs, likewise, vaccinations/worming&flea treatment/ training classes at the centre and you don't have to worry about leaving the dog home alone since you get to take them practically everywhere with you as part of their training
ATM there are no dogs at the centre...dogs in training are with boarders and trainers continuing their training, but obviously there has been a gap in their learning and in the intensity of their training so I really don't know if that will mean more dogs will be withdrawn or not.
Having said that when we are ready to get another dog full time it will be a withdrawn pup...we'll wait! I think the socialisation and temperament of thess dogs is second to none.
If you go for a labrador or retriever I would personally make sure you went for a working-type rather than show. Working dogs are bred to, well, work, and therefore they're typically leaner and less prone to joint problems.
Otherwise I think a spaniel would be a really good choice. I dog walk and spaniels just go and go if you let them. They're excellent family dogs, easy to train and generally pretty amenable but would be fine out working all day too. Cockers are typically smaller but a Springer would be fine too.
Take a look at the Black retriever X rescue OP. They do tend to want semi-rural/no kids for most of their dogs, but we got DDog from there. The right dog is out there!
Have you thought about an older pup or young adult from one of the abroad rescues? If you pick your rescue carefully there are a number of them who fully assess dogs and match them to homes they suit. You can easily get a Labrador/golden retrieved/cross who will suit your needs
Some you can't meet until they're over, which I appreciate isn't for everyone, whilst others are in the UK already