getting a rescue puppy or dog, advice please

(43 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Sun 28-Jun-20 21:53:46

Hi all, after many years of carefully considering getting a dog we are finally ready to take the plunge!

We have a cat, and two kids, one almost out of primary (one more year) and one almost out of secondary.

I think with a cat we are better off getting a puppy and hoping they will get along. Cat is pretty savvy and has been around dogs but not a dog fan. A big dog may overwhelm him. My husband wondered if it was true a puppy would grow up with the cat and be better than an older dog. Any advice, please?

Also any rescue centres to avoid, please?

We are home counties but could go as far as Birmingham, or Kent etc.

Nervous about being told dog is child-friendly, cat-friendly etc and then finding they are not.

Not keen to go to a breeder, our cat was a rescue cat and took a while to settle in but is now lovely.

I've not owned a dog before but we have been walking neighbors dogs for years to get us used to dogs and both kids very keen and respectful with dogs etc.

Mumsnet has always been brilliant for tailored advice so I hope the doghouse will be able to help me, please

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GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sun 28-Jun-20 22:32:25

Be aware that some/ many dogs in rescue will have issues, and that puppies can be hard to find. That said, I know some real rescue success stories. Also, rescue organisations often have requirements about the age of your children, how many hours a week you work outside the home etc etc. We didn't get a rescue when we first looked for a dog as our DC were deemed too young.

As a first time dog owner it might help you to go to the sort of rescues that fosters the dogs with people before they rehome them, to get an idea of their foibles, good points and level of obedience. Some of these are breed or type (e.g. spaniels) specific. so it might widen your field if you know what kind of dog you're looking for - large or small, fluffy or smooth-coated, gundog/terrier/toy dog/etc, energetic or idle.

Re puppies and cats, both our dogs grew up when the now-ancient cat was already installed. The cat is king. The younger dog will cry that the cat is horrid when he's sitting in the middle of her bed: she is much, much bigger than he is, but she doesn't dare to try and move him. Any other cat would be chased. Both dogs know that our cat is different and treat him with appropriate respect.

frostedviolets Sun 28-Jun-20 22:36:18

I would go to a breeder.
Not a popular mumsnet view but I would.

Heard too many stories; both on here and in real life where dogs are just not what prospective owners are told they are.

You hear all the time that a dog is what you make it, but I disagree.
Obviously training and socialisation does play a role.
But I think a lot of a dog’s temperament is ultimately inherited.
I wouldn’t buy a puppy without seeing its parents and liking their temperament.

Italiangreyhound Sun 28-Jun-20 22:39:45

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman excellent, fabulous advice. Thank you. Yes, I ahve come up against the age thing a few times. Lovely dogs who seem ideal and it says only teens or over 14 or whatever. We know that is for a reason and respect it, another reason a puppy may work even if we have to wait for them!

Re "large or small, fluffy or smooth-coated, gundog/terrier/toy dog/etc, energetic or idle."

Ideally, medium or small-medium, not worried fluffy or smooth- but most likely smooth-coated, probably not gundog/terrier/ or toy dog/etc,a cross breed or collie cross etc, and yes, energetic or idle. We shall see!!

thanks

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Lollypop4 Sun 28-Jun-20 22:40:53

I rescued our 1st dog aged 1.
A collie.
She was beautiful ,energetic& loved our family (DD4 & Ds 9mth)and my parents...and that was it.
She was nervous of new people,but anyone could throw her a ball and she would play fetch ,over and over again...But still never liked anyone else, Adults or children.
She was rehomed as the owners were moving abroad ( They had another 3 dogs all with medical needsbut all rescued

Our 2nd rescue, a 7 yr old Jack Rusell.
Loving, loyal, escape artist, loves EVERYONE!! Hates cats and other dogs though, has also gone for a massive horse with rider before ( I was heavily pregnant and she slipped hee lead, I genuinely believe she was warning them off me!)
She hadnever been round children before mine, rehomed because her owners of 7yrs, got pregnant!!!!! The irony is our dog loves children!!!
Shes 14 now, isnt as feisty but loyal and loving !
Good luck

Italiangreyhound Sun 28-Jun-20 22:41:11

frostedviolets thank you, I just feel bad with so many dogs in rescue centres. I'm really not sure where to get a reputable breeder. We really want a regular dog, nothing fancy etc.

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Lollypop4 Sun 28-Jun-20 22:41:52

To add, both our rescues we picked up direct from the previous owners.

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midnightstar66 Sun 28-Jun-20 22:44:38

I know of people who got dogs from rescues that were meant to be good with cats but were not. You'll probably find it hard to be accepted and find a match with kids and cats too. As with another pp you'd probably be better getting a pup from a breeder in your circumstances. I know rescue is great but it doesn't suit everyone's circumstances and many dogs only accept cats if they've grown up with them

Girliefriendlikespuppies Sun 28-Jun-20 23:02:33

I think it's quite hard to find exactly the right dog in a rescue, we looked for a while but all of the dogs had issues or couldn't be homes with a cat/child.

We found a local accidental litter breeder and got the perfect dog. It's helped having him from a puppy as we've been able to socialise him really well, do all the training/puppy classes and he's grown up with the cat so no issues there.

hiredandsqueak Sun 28-Jun-20 23:04:39

I think it's worth approaching rescues that have their dogs in foster as they will be well paced to find a dog that meets your family's needs. We adopted Bella, she's a Lhasa Apso and a really lovely dog, very gentle and calm which was important because my children have autism. She had no behaviour problems, was unhappy around other dogs but in time we sorted that and now she can play with other dogs or ignore them if she doesn't like the look of them. We don't have cats but she ignores the ones she sees. She does chase squirrels and pigeons though.

Italiangreyhound Sun 28-Jun-20 23:16:53

Lollypop thank you. I've never heard of picking up a rescue dog from the previous owner.

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frostedviolets Sun 28-Jun-20 23:17:34

Reputable breeder.
For me, that would be a breeder whose dogs are kept in the house as family pets, not in outside kennels and I would expect all the dogs to have stable temperaments.

I’m okay with an ‘aloof’ personality (I have a border collie and Border collies are typically fairly aloof with strangers) but they must be confident.
Confident, happy dogs with no hint of nervousness or aggression.

I would look for someone who didn’t have lots of dogs and only had occasional litters.

I would google phone numbers and names to try and make sure they don’t have multiple adverts and are ‘genuine’, not puppy farmers/dealers.

If purebred, ideally, I would want the parents health tested but frustratingly I find an awful lot of breeders, included Kennel Club accredited ones, don’t health test or if they do they don’t utilise the full range of tests available.

Where a division between working and show/pet exists, eg, in the border collie (what I have), I would go for working as I believe they are more likely to be bred with good temperament and health in mind.

You’ll find that rescues generally tend to be purebreds, true mongrels are getting rarer and rarer.

Italiangreyhound Sun 28-Jun-20 23:20:41

Girliefriendlikespuppies the number of dogs egixh are good with cats and kids is very low. I know. I wonder about puppies through rescue centre. Any ideas?

hiredandsqueak one of my children has autism (Aspergers) as well.

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Italiangreyhound Sun 28-Jun-20 23:23:54

Thank you all so much. All advice very much wanted. smile

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frostedviolets Sun 28-Jun-20 23:33:47

I don’t know much about Aspergers, but should mention that puppies tend to bite quite a lot and high pitched/excitable behaviour tends to make them bite worse.
I don’t know if that may be an issue for your child?

Ellabella222 Mon 29-Jun-20 07:20:33

Currently it’s almost impossible to find a rescue. Many rescues are still closed and haven’t been taking dogs in. They are very in demand. Then, your pool of availability is reduced as many rescues are not child friendly.

I’ve been trying for months to find a suitable rescue. The centres are inundated.

We’re now considering a puppy.
Good luck!

EmmaGrundyForPM Mon 29-Jun-20 07:26:48

Ellabella222

Currently it’s almost impossible to find a rescue. Many rescues are still closed and haven’t been taking dogs in. They are very in demand. Then, your pool of availability is reduced as many rescues are not child friendly.

I’ve been trying for months to find a suitable rescue. The centres are inundated.

We’re now considering a puppy.
Good luck!

Us too. We have cats and just can't find a rescue dog that is ok with cats.

We have now bought a puppy from a breeder.

Roselilly36 Mon 29-Jun-20 07:34:33

My cats adored the dog we had, the cats were very much the boss, but they had a lovely relationship and slept in his bed with him.

Puppies take up a lot of time to get them settled in & trained, also they can’t be left otherwise they stress & destroy things. Puppies can be bitey and have bad manners.

Fostering could be a good plan to see how a dog would fit into your family, before you commit to full time ownership.

Dogs are so lovely, but also a tie. We adored our dog, we had him from a pup till he was PTS at 13, hearbreaking. We decided against getting another.

SkeletonSkins Mon 29-Jun-20 07:38:24

Please do not go for the ‘working’ line of a dog with a show/working split unless you want to actually work the dog. I’d completely, completely disagree that they place a greater value on temperament and health - I know of very few working sheepdog breeders that do the appropriate health tests for collies, and know several who regularly breed dogs that are nervous or aren’t good with strangers, but are good on sheep. Getting a working cocker spaniel for example, is likely to lead to a highly energetic dog being very frustrated in a day to day family home.

@Italiangreyhound if you’d like a puppy, I’d think carefully about the breed you are after, research the health tests recommended for that breed (note this goes way beyond a ‘vet check up says they’re healthy and involves various tests depending on the breed) then do some research - speak to existing owners, contact breeders and decide on your own requirements eg what sort of temperament you’re after. Beware breeders targeting unusual colours or coat types - these will not be a good choice.

midnightstar66 Mon 29-Jun-20 07:39:33

You won't find many puppies in rescues tough. People tend to tough it out and hand them over when they get a bit bigger, less cute and more problematic. Abandoned lifters are rare these days as puppies are worth quite a bit of money and of course are far easier to rehome in the first olace. Having said that puppies are in high demand now too and there will be less currently as we are getting to the time where dogs won't have been able to leave to visit the stud. This is pushing prices up massively. If you can't find one it might be worth waiting as there may shortly be lots of teenage dogs that people are realising are harder work than they think outside of lockdown when they need to a go out to work etc.

frostedviolets Mon 29-Jun-20 09:36:50

Please do not go for the ‘working’ line of a dog with a show/working split unless you want to actually work the dog
I have a working collie, she was the only one of her litter to go to a pet home.
She’s a very lovely pet.
I know quite a few people with working line collies, including an elderly lady, they are all unworked pets.
I wouldn’t recommend them for loud family homes with young children, but they are by no means bad pets.

I know quite a few working line cockers who are unworked pets and also lovely.

I also know a lot of show type cockers who are utterly vile.

Id completely, completely disagree that they place a greater value on temperament and health - I know of very few working sheepdog breeders that do the appropriate health tests for collies, and know several who regularly breed dogs that are nervous or aren’t good with strangers, but are good on sheep
I agree re health tests.
My girls parents weren’t tested and we were advised to vaccinate for Parvo and nothing else.
But then, our choice of second dog isn’t a working breed and it’s maddening that not a single breeder I have found fully health tests.
The health testing issue is most definitely not a purely working breeder thing.
It’s a problem all round.

I did say very clearly the importance of checking the parents temperaments.
My girls parents were calm and placid.
My girl is also calm and placid.

If the parents had been hyperactive and bouncing about everywhere or if I had seen a sniff of nervousness or aggression no way would I have bought her.

The parents temperament is absolutely key.

Getting a working cocker spaniel for example, is likely to lead to a highly energetic dog being very frustrated in a day to day family home
I have met quite a few working line cockers, I am yet to meet a nasty one.
The same absolutely cannot be said for show cockers who I have found are largely absolutely horrid.
The working type cockers I know are all similar to my collie.
Calm and placid house dogs who are lively outside and happy to go all day if wanted.

frostedviolets Mon 29-Jun-20 09:50:05

Also, just to be clear, I was in no way recommending border collies for the OP incase it came across that way.

The traits associated with the herding instinct are difficult with young children, I merely mentioned them because that is the breed I have.

But I do still stand by the view that working lines tend to be both healthier and better tempered.

SkeletonSkins Mon 29-Jun-20 14:57:23

Okay, you’re basing your recommendations then entirely on dogs you’ve met. The problem is you’ll find lots of people who have different experiments eg I’ve met plenty of lovely show cockers, I’ve met lots of working lines collies in pet homes with behaviour issues eg car chasing, nervous, nipping etc.

My show lines (fully health tested) collie is happy, friendly, active outdoors and calm and peaceful inside. I just don’t think your generalisations are accurate and I can’t think of any working lines dog I’d recommend as a family pet. But obviously we have different experiences.

SkeletonSkins Mon 29-Jun-20 14:58:14

To clarify, I’m not saying that working lines can’t be good pets, I’m saying I wouldn’t actively recommend them as one as I think there’s much more likely to be issues.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Mon 29-Jun-20 18:08:16

I know many working line dogs who are very happy pets. It can work if the dog gets enough exercise and appropriate stimulation - exercise alone won't usually cut it. Its also depends on the dog's drive, since not all working-bred dogs are equal. A high-drive dog in an unprepared home can be a disaster (stressful for both owner and dog). A lower-drive dog can work out brilliantly.

IME, health testing is becoming more and more common amongst breeders of working dogs. I know gundog breeders who won't lift a breeding endorsement unless the dog has adequate health test results.

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