Getting a dog

(30 Posts)
Cappucinoextrachocolate Thu 25-Jun-20 12:40:29

I am considering getting a dog. My son is 9 and absolutely loves dogs, and I would really love to have one, and not just because they are cute. However my son has several allergies and he might be allergic to dogs as well, although we don't know for sure and he seems fine with other dogs. So what I would really like is to try having one for a few weeks before I commit - I know this sounds awful and I don't doubt it would be loved and well cared for, but I don't want to cause discomfort to my son or return the dog - it would break our hearts not to mention the poor dog.
Also, due to the size of our house, we can't have a big dog, think Cockapoo size. I would really like one from a rescue, not a breeder, and for many reasons I don't have the energy to commit to having a puppy, but an older dog. However, I didn't have dogs growing up and I know nothing about what having one actually means in practical terms. Also, unfortunately we don't have anyone to care for the dog when we are on holiday abroad, so we would have to use a kennel or dog sitter. And if we go away for a long day and can't take the dog (this would be about 3 times a year) would this be cruel to the dog? I don't want to neglect or distress it. Any useful words of advice or experiences worth sharing?

OP’s posts: |
midsummermeadows Thu 25-Jun-20 12:48:46

Lots of people will say otherwise but to be totally honest I think you would really struggle to get a rescue.

Many don’t rehome to families with children at all and the majority of breeds are bull breeds

A cockerpoo would be snapped up I’m afraid. Just being realistic.

Floralnomad Thu 25-Jun-20 12:53:20

It sounds to me like your son wants this dog more than you do so I would say don’t get one as it will be you doing all the care , walking , picking up poo etc . You may have an issue with obtaining a rescue dog with a child in the house although greyhound rescues are more likely to consider you and might actually be ideal for you if you do decide to go ahead . Perhaps contact a few rescues and volunteer as a foster carer to see how you get on with less actual commitment .

frostedviolets Thu 25-Jun-20 13:09:12

I also think you’d struggle to find a rescue and for me personally, I wouldn’t have a rescue with children anyway.

I would go for a breeder of dogs that are known to be typically less allergenic than other dogs, like Yorkshire terriers, whippets, poodles, bichons, Maltese etc.

There is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog.
Just ones that are typically less allergenic than most.

I personally wouldn’t go for a cockerpoo partly because they may not inherit the poodle coat, the cocker is a high shedding breed and the pup may inherit that coat instead and also because cockerpoo are incredibly popular which brings out the ‘breeders’ who only want the money with no attention paid to the temperament of the dogs.

Anecdotally, poodle mixes are really popular where I live and I wouldn’t touch one.
At best, I find the majority of them hyperactive and ‘wild’ and at worst nervous and snappy.

Chilledchablis Thu 25-Jun-20 13:11:21

It's a lovely idea to want to take on rescue dog but the reality is that any dog is a huge commitment. Aside from the daily walks in ALL weather, you need to consider the expense, not just food, bed, and all the other bits and pieces but the important ones like the vet which can be eye watering. Insurance isn't cheap either but can be literally a life saver. Kennels ditto, the good ones get booked solid months ahead and no you certainly can't disappear for a long day and leave the poor creature alone. You would probably return to a scene of destruction and it would be no fault of the dog. Don't you have any doggie friends you could discuss with? I hate to be so negative, but giving a dog a home is just the start. Good luck, imho they're worth it and I would never be without them.smile

tattychicken Thu 25-Jun-20 13:12:27

You could try borrowmydoggy.com, where you walk other people's dogs and maybe have them during the day or occasional weekends.

frostedviolets Thu 25-Jun-20 13:12:43

Just to add; the better breeders usually insist on the dog being returned to them if it doesn’t work out so I’d talk to them about your sons allergies, explain your fears, spend a lot of time with them (to see if your son reacts) and if it doesn’t work out with puppy you should be able to return him/her

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BeKindOrBeQuiet Thu 25-Jun-20 13:23:19

I have a dog and 3 dc. I absolutely love her, she's a fantastic dog. But I won't be getting another after her and I'll give you the reasons why...

It's limiting to what you can do on a day. If I was to go to a theme park for example (pre lockdown) is have to get the dog sitter in to walk the dog and sit with her for a few hours because she gets stressed if she's on her own too long and starts to pull her fur out

Same above if we go on holiday. She doesn't do well in kennels so we have to get a dog/house sitter

You have to take the dog out at least once a day in ALL weathers. There's breeds that need more walking than others but they still have to go out everyday

My dog only has one issue (the stress issue) but I know dogs who have behavioural and social problems and they require a lot of training and work. I know dogs that don't like other dogs. Dogs that won't recall. One dog I know doesn't like men so goes for their ankles if they pass by! I know dogs who bark like crazy if someone walks passed the window, dogs who dig holes in the garden.

The grooming... daily grooming on nearly all dogs to some extent. I don't mean a quick two minute brush, some need a lot of work on their coats.

Coming in from a walk in the rain, you need to dry the dog off before you do anything else. If doggo goes in mud you need to wash the dog when you get home.

Then if there's any skin or dietary issues, that's an expense.

If the dog gets fleas you have to treat the whole house plus treat monthly regardless of whether they have fleas or not.

A puppy needs hours upon hours of training.

I alive my dog, she is fantastic with my dc, I've never had one aggressive incident with her (she's a cocker), she'd spend all day outside with the dc running around with them and following them up and down sand dunes, in and out the sea etc. But it is definitely like having another child. You need to think of worse case scenario imo

Not meaning to put you off just an honest opinion of how it is to have a dog

SaintWilfred Thu 25-Jun-20 13:25:26

frostedviolets

Just to add; the better breeders usually insist on the dog being returned to them if it doesn’t work out so I’d talk to them about your sons allergies, explain your fears, spend a lot of time with them (to see if your son reacts) and if it doesn’t work out with puppy you should be able to return him/her

In most cases you won't get your money back (just worth calling out) but you may be able to come to a different arrangement about refunds if you are upfront with the breeder.

Cappucinoextrachocolate Thu 25-Jun-20 13:33:23

Thank you everyone. I am aware it is a huge commitment, I have thought about the expenses and walking it in all weather, I am ready to do this, but it is our occasional absences I worry about. It would be very unfair to the poor dog and I would hate to distress it. It is definitely not a toy for me, and if we need to adapt our way of life then I want to know as much as possible beforehand if something essential to us would actually be unfair

I said cockapoo size, I don't necessarily want this breed. And I said rescue because there are so many dogs who need a home, but it seems like it's not the best idea for our family. Does this mean my only choice,if I decide to go ahead, would be a breeder? So if I want a dog it can only be a puppy?

Sorry, many questions, but it's so helpful to read your replies. I can't mention you individually as I'm on my phone.

OP’s posts: |
DogInATent Thu 25-Jun-20 13:33:53

Speak to your local rescues.

Don't accept dismissive comments saying you haven't a chance getting a dog from one, every rescue is different and they will look at your individual circumstances.

Cappucinoextrachocolate Thu 25-Jun-20 13:36:26

@BeKindOrBeQuiet, definitely food for thought

OP’s posts: |
Yeahyeah9 Thu 25-Jun-20 13:44:07

@Cappucinoextrachocolate you can go out but you would need to arrange dog care, so thats an extra £20-30 every time you want to be out the house more than a few hours.
Whilst i can afford to have a dog its certainly cost me a lot more than i could ever have imagined before getting one. After food, vets, insurance, daycare etc its over £300 a month for us. and hundreds extra when we go on holiday.
your child will be an adult and probably out the home while you still have the dog as they live 12-15 years, so do consider that it will be untimately just yours to look after and not for his benefit.

frostedviolets Thu 25-Jun-20 13:50:06

walking it in all weather
I don’t walk my dog in torrential rain or severe ice or extreme heat and she’s fine.
I don’t walk her if I’m ill either, she’s perfectly happy to skip a walk.
Many dogs are.

but it is our occasional absences I worry about. It would be very unfair to the poor dog and I would hate to distress it
That is indeed a massive problem.
You’d need to take the dog with you or get a dog walker/relative in

And I said rescue because there are so many dogs who need a home, but it seems like it's not the best idea for our family
Does this mean my only choice,if I decide to go ahead, would be a breeder? So if I want a dog it can only be a puppy?
Mumsnet always really presses for rescue, and greyhounds, but there are many many threads on here detailing rescue going wrong where the dogs have been entirely different to what the new owners were told they were and new, often inexperienced owners have had to deal with unexpected issues like dog aggression, separation anxiety, people aggression etc.

Personally, and it’s only my personal view, there will be lots of people with rescue dogs who have had a really positive experience and ended up with a lovely family pet, I don’t trust rescue centres to properly assess the dogs and be truthful.

I have heard too many stories of rescue dogs who weren’t what they were said to be.

Indeed, my parents got a rescue dog when I was a child.
He was billed as gentle and friendly, good with children.
In actual fact he intensely disliked young children.
I remember my young brother and me being absolutely terrified as he lunged and snarled at my brother (unprovoked) in the car.
He had a very severe resource guarding issue on top.
He was with us less than 24 hours, dad took him back immediately.

For me, I would only ever go for a home ‘amateur’ bred puppy or a puppy from a ‘proper’ small breeder where I had seen the parents and been satisfied they had nice stable temperaments.

midsummermeadows Thu 25-Jun-20 13:54:56

Doginatent it is worth trying a rescue, but realistically, the OP wants a small dog.

They aren’t in abundance in rescues. The ones that are often go very quickly. We hear so much about so many dogs needing loving homes it’s easy to think you can wander down to your local shelter and come out with a lovely dog and in fact this isn’t the case.

SionnachGlic Thu 25-Jun-20 13:57:28

I wd not be inclined to take a rescue with a child unless it was a v young puppy & it was confirmed it had no behavioural problems. We got a glen of imaal (irish
breed) puppy from a friend when DC were late primary & he was a best friend & family member for 14+yrs. We looked after him like a member of the family, training, discipline, praise, walks, vets, treats, tablets.... he enriched our lives immeasurably, taught the kids, gentleness, responsibility & selflessness & gave us all so much laughter. Kids are mid-late 20s now & each of them long for the time when they will have a dog for their own children... but it is work & at the end, utter heartbreak. A friend of mine's young DD was pestering for a puppy & they were really thinking about it....then asked to dog mind over holidays & DD got bored with the walking by day 2/3...didn't do any of it by day 7 & no more requests since for a dog.... so gauge it up against what time you are willing to give.

SaintWilfred Thu 25-Jun-20 14:03:54

Yep, "all weather" will depend on the specific dog and what he/she gets used to.

I walk one of ours twice a day in almost all weathers (except heat) because he enjoys it and I need the exercise. He is a young and energetic working breed and his behaviour is far better on two walks a day or one BIG walk (over 5 miles) - but probably because that's all he's ever known. However, walking in all weathers is MUCH easier if you genuinly enjoy walking rather than it being a chore.

However, the other two are left at home in all but the most mild weather because they hate cold, wet or heat.

vanillandhoney Thu 25-Jun-20 14:11:05

Hi OP.

You don't mention your work situation - how long are you out of the house for on a normal day, including commute, after-school activities etc? Puppies can't really be left for long at all as they need the toilet all the time - and even older dogs shouldn't be left longer than four hours. If you're going to be out longer than that you'll need to pay for care - either a walker, a sitter or daycare depending on what your dog can cope with.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with using paid care though - I would speak to local walkers or sitters in your area and see what they'd charge and how far in advance you'd need to book them. Keep in mind a lot will charge a premium for weekend walks. Some walkers are more flexible than others so it's worth asking around before you commit to getting the dog.

In terms of breed - there are plenty of low-shedding, smaller breeds that could suit your situation - Maltese, Yorkshire terrier, Bichon, poodle and mini schnauzer all come to mind. They all have different personalities and "interests" though so it's worth doing some research. For example, schnauzers can be quite vocal so if you live in close quarters to your neighbours they might not be ideal!

The other thing to think is when the weather is like this (ie. a sauna) you may need to be prepared to get up at stupid o'clock to walk the dog, or go out really late at night. Would this be manageable with a young child in the house? I was out at 6am today and the nature reserve was packed with walkers trying to exercise their dogs before it got too much! Similarly in winter you may not want to be walking in the pitch black and driving rain with a young child.

I know some PP's will say their dogs can happily skip walks and yes, some dogs are fine without a daily walk, but others absolutely need to get out everyday or else they'll become destructive through boredom - just something to consider!

Good luck smile

Cappucinoextrachocolate Thu 25-Jun-20 14:45:34

I will definitely look into dog sitters in my area. Relatives all live abroad and we don't have close friends who can help. I didn't mention work because I work from home, so it wouldn't be a problem most days. On the days I go to the office though, I will be out of the house for more than 4 hours, sometimes all day. This is rather rare though, so I didn't think it can be a problem because it's so rare and I could still walk the dog when I come back. I will also look into house sitters for when we go on holiday and couldn't take the dog, again this is only a couple of times a year.

I have no doubt I would love and care for it, but I want to be sure I can meet all its needs. One thing I hadn't thought about is fleas and keeping them in check.

Walking is fine most of the time, although I can see how the last thing I want at the end of a busy day is a walk. Not a deal breaker though.

OP’s posts: |
frostedviolets Thu 25-Jun-20 14:54:56

One thing I hadn't thought about is fleas and keeping them in check
I have found ‘billy no mates’ fantastic for this, it’s a powder or liquid you put in their food.
Made by CSJ.

My dog is flea allergic so I know if she gets them, the Billy no mates does work for her.,

I can’t use the spot ons on my dog as she gets weird, seizure type symptoms after.

vanillandhoney Thu 25-Jun-20 15:02:22

Cappucinoextrachocolate

I will definitely look into dog sitters in my area. Relatives all live abroad and we don't have close friends who can help. I didn't mention work because I work from home, so it wouldn't be a problem most days. On the days I go to the office though, I will be out of the house for more than 4 hours, sometimes all day. This is rather rare though, so I didn't think it can be a problem because it's so rare and I could still walk the dog when I come back. I will also look into house sitters for when we go on holiday and couldn't take the dog, again this is only a couple of times a year.

I have no doubt I would love and care for it, but I want to be sure I can meet all its needs. One thing I hadn't thought about is fleas and keeping them in check.

Walking is fine most of the time, although I can see how the last thing I want at the end of a busy day is a walk. Not a deal breaker though.

If you're out of the house all day then yes, you'll need to at least pay for a walker to come in and take the dog out. However if you're going to be out for a full-working day I would probably recommend a sitter or daycare as that's a long time to expect a dog to be left, especially one that isn't left very often at all otherwise.

Flea and tick treatment will be available through your vet as part of a monthly package.

Sk1nnyB1tch Thu 25-Jun-20 15:13:53

I'm in Ireland so the situation may be different but rescues here often have older Jack Russells available. These might be ideal for your situation as past the puppy stage and toilet trained etc.
Energetic so will play with your son but small enough not to need to take up half your kitchen with a bed. Minimal grooming requirements.
Usually a fairly good life expectancy so a five year old dog will probably live another 8-10 years.
I would recommend if at all possible to borrow or foster a dog for a few weeks first to see if you and your son are ready for the commitment.
Good luck 🍀

Medievalist Sat 27-Jun-20 18:04:49

OP - we adopted a dog from the Dogs Trust when our youngest dc was 11. So not that much older than yours. My cousin got a rescue dog when her dcs were 7 and 10.
We also have one from Labrador Rescue. Both organisations wanted assurance that the dogs would never be left for more than 4 hours. Sounds like that would be a problem for you?

Paranoidmarvin Sat 27-Jun-20 18:52:16

I’m going to put my experience in here as well. Something to think about.

I got a springer. After a year it became apparent to me and the very expensive behaviourist that had been helping me that this dog had massive anxiety issues and was turning aggressive.

I did everything right. I did all the training. All the socialising everything I was supposed to do. Every trainer and behaviourist said I didn’t do anything wrong.
One day he went for the back of my sons neck and I knew the time had come.
He was so bad I couldn’t even leave him in another room.
Most dogs have issues. So only take on a dog knowing that there will be things to work on. Not all dogs can be left not all them will walk nicely on a lead or have good recall regardless.

Not sure I know of a dog out there that doesn’t have some form of problem.

This lead to him never being left. Never going on holiday. Never going out.

Don’t say ‘well this won’t happen to me ‘ because it can and does.
So make sure that if u take on a dog even a brand new puppy like I did. That ur prepared for it to go wrong.
I miss my dog every day. But. It was the worst year of my life.

cherrypiepie Sat 27-Jun-20 22:14:31

You can put them in kennels for the long days you will be out either as a day board or overnight. Ours is £10 a night I think but it has been ages since we old ddog in kennels. They also do day boarding.

We were taking about this the other day. It almost seems like it is only unemployed or retired people that can have a dog or people that already have them who tell people not to get them grin.

But people do work and have dogs you just have to get system! We just got our second rescue dog last week. We were very lucky as we have lots of breed experience and we got an 8th month old pup from a breed rescue. Maybe join some breed rescue groups on face book. My college has also just got an 8 year old rescue. He sounds good too.

Ddog is brilliant and we deserved some good karma after much sadness last year. I can't advise on breed. Ours is massive and energetic but also sleeps a lot. We start 121 training next Saturday with him. He will go to kennels for holidays and be looked after by me on my day off, dh on his wfh day, PIL and my dm. Failing that my friend (who I met at fat club of all places) two door down loves dogs and will help out (But I don't trust new ddog Atm)!

I think you should go and stay with someone who has a dog to learn the routines and to see if your sons allergies kick in. Think about crate training etc and days out are a pain as really can only be left max 4 hours and some dogs not at all but if you have someone mainly at home you will be great! It does ground you a bit and my world has shrunk again after 9 dog free months and always an eye on the clock!

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