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How does one go about becoming a dog owner for the first time?

This topic contains 41 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Birdofparadise 4 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #175245

    doclaguna
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    I need the collected experience of you guys. I’ve never owned a dog. Neither has the wife. The little one and the wife want to get a dog, specifically a small dog, probably a Pom. I told them it’s a huge commitment like having a child. I don’t tend to jump into situations without research and thought. Long story short, any advice on buying a dog and being a first time dog owner? I’m clueless on the process.

  • #271118

    violarose
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    We discovered our Pom wanted attention from me all the time, when we didnt have any other dogs in the house. We got the 2nd pom mostly for the 1st one. It solved the problem, but then I had 2 dogs, twice the cuteness, but also twice the work.
    My poms are barky, I dont like that. but I dont want to be aggressive towards them and make them afraid of me. I am constantly on the dogs to “stop the racket”.
    Dogs are loyal, they are picture hogs. I can usually spot one of our animals in a picture I have taken πŸ™‚
    They bring alot of joy. The give my girls responsibility, such as giving the dogs flea baths, and poop duty.

  • #271100

    doclaguna
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    I need to hit you up on your offer to let my girls hang out with your dogs.

  • #271108

    newmom
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    Good for you for wanting to research it first. Dogs are a big commitment but also bring a lot of fun to the right family. With a pet like a dog, you can’t spontaneously take off for a trip unless you have someone you trust to watch the dog or plan on bringing the dog with you. And unless you have a dog door, remember the dog needs to be able to go outside every few hours or so. Puppies require constant attention for the first several months since they chew everything and need to be house trained. However, it’s great to see your kids love and care for a dog and be responsible for it. I can’t speak to the temperament of a Pom because we have always had larger dogs, but I like Viola’s Poms and they love playing with my son-or at least they play along when my son plays with them. I will say to consider crate training. It’s a fantastic way to train a dog and it is very convenient when you need to crate the dog for anything that the dog is already comfortable and familiar with a crate.

  • #271130

    enags
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    my biggest issue would be who’s gonna take care/walk/clean up after him. i don’t want my backyard a mine field or the hairs all in my carpet and furniture. thus….no pets.

  • #271105

    LC
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    Grew up with dogs, always had them, but when we started traveling somewhat frequently we gave it a break. With your traveling, think twice because either someone has to watch them or they have to be boarded. If you decided to move forward, don’t get a rescue dog, no matter what you hear; I speak from experience. Find a top breeder and pay the tab. There are a ton of internet sites that discuss behavior and personalities. Other than one dachshund, we’ve always had big dogs. I like labs and goldens a lot. Great kid dogs. Little yappy things can be annoying.

  • #271092

    EGL Admin
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    It is like having a kid. We’ve always had dogs but they were outside dogs. Then almost 3 years ago we got our Australian shepherd. He’s an inside dog with access to our backyard so he’s inside most of the time. He’s bigger than what you want. He’s about 75 pounds. We got him at 6 months and he was sort of potty trained. He’s a purebred and we got him from a breeder.

    Do you want a puppy or one that has at least been potty trained? People will tell you to go to a rescue and take a dog at a shelter instead of a puppy. Since you’ve never had a dog and never potty trained one that can be an experience. I would probably get one that is a little older, maybe 6 months +. Another thing to think of is traveling. Where will the dog be? Who takes care of it? Sometimes we take our dog. We’ve done two motor homes trips with him. This summer we went to Huntington Beach for two weeks a rented a house that allowed dogs. Now we almost hate to leave home without him. We feel bad when we do because he loves to travel. My wife takes him everyday to drop the kids off at school. As soon as he sees the boys get on their shoes and backpacks he goes crazy. All we have to say is “do you want to…..” And he knows we are leaving. It was easier for us to leave when my mom was still alive because she would take care of him. So now my sister takes him or my nephew and his wife. They all love dogs and he’s a really good boy.

    He’s now such a part of our family and I think really completed our family. He’s the center of the universe. It is a lot of responsibility but I think it’s worth it. I think it’s good for kids.

  • #271109

    newmom
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    As to what Enags said-we have a dog run on the side of the house because we don’t want the yard to be a mine field. My kids still play in the yard a lot and I didn’t want to have to scan the yard whenever they went to play, or have them do a face plant even where some had been that was cleaned up. Regarding the carpet-yes, a really good vacuum is necessary, and lots of additional vacuuming. But the dog does become the center of the family with the kids showering it with attention. Our lab perks up when he hears the kids’ alarm clocks go off in the morning before school. When my son’s goes off the dog runs out to greet him when he exits his room, sniffing and licking his face (the dog is 105 lbs, my son just turned 7-so the dog it already face level). When my daughter’s alarm goes off, he stands outside our room and watches her. The dog has learned she is NOT a morning person and it is best to let her wake up a while before he makes contact. Yesterday the kids wanted to decorate his crate for Christmas, and last year the dog let them put the most ridiculous reindeer antlers on him and shoot a video. He looked so pathetic, but he loves the kids.

  • #271093

    EGL Admin
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    Yep. Ours is spoiled it’s crazy. My wife was not a dog person at all but now she is. He does shed quite a bit. He sleeps next to my side of the bed but on the floor. But he starts off in our youngest son’s room then goes to the other ones room then comes into our room. We have our dog door closed at night. Twice he got sprayed by skunks in our backyard so that took care of that. He holds it all night. If we leave for a day or two we leave him home alone with enough food and water and my mother in law will come say hi to him or our friends will. If anything happened to that dog our family would be devastated.

  • #271119

    violarose
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    My girls found a muddy mutt one morning on the way to school. It’s been all about “Shaggy” ever since. Oh that mutt of a mutt can do no wrong in their eyes. Oh that dog eats it up so much. He sits on the stairs by our front door and waits for the girls to come home from their actives.

  • #271094

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    When we got our dog my wife and youngest son wants a small dog. I vetoed that idea. I wanted a medium size dog. 35-50 pounds. Most Aussies are. Ours is 75 pounds. I detest the little yapper dogs.

  • #271114

    tomwaltman
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    Fish are nice. They don’t shed much, and clean up is much easier. No dogs for me. I have owned several, and done my duty. No more.

  • #271110

    newmom
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    As for a rescue-each person is different and has to make the decision on their own. Our dog came from a rescue, but we got him at 3 months old because he was born in the rescue. Some dogs are dumped because their owners don’t want them or never really took care of them a variety of other reasons. Some dogs have some kind of legitimate problem like not getting along with kids or being alone during the day, while other dogs have a “problem” that was really an owner problem that isn’t an issue with a different house. A legitimate rescue takes a good amount of time to assess the dogs and to place them in the right home but will gladly take the dog back if it doesn’t work out. Some rescues can be very judgmental though and act as if they are giving you life and make you jump through hoops-which just isn’t worth it. With a reputable breeder you do know the parent health history which is important as many breeds have specific genetic health issues you don’t want to pay for end up paying for down the road.

  • #271124

    Scarlet
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    I recommend getting a puppy so you can train him/her from the very get go and she won’t have any bad habits. I’m not sure if I would ever get an adult dog, I wouldn’t trust the habits they may have already established. I’ve had dogs all my life, some rescue and some not. But we always got the dog as a puppy so that might make a difference in a rescue that LC is talking about. Right now I have one of the best dogs I could ever ask for and she is a rescue, but we have her since she was 5 weeks, she will be 12 in March.

    A lot of work goes into training, but I just adore puppies and it’s totally worth it. You see their personalities come out. As soon as we got her I did everything imaginable that one of my daycare kids could and would possibly do to her. I took food away from her, put my hands in her mouth while she was eating blocked her bowl in the middle of eating. Pulled her by the tail and legs, dressed her up like a doll, (I had a lot of girls at the time), used her as a pillow and much more. I swear she thinks she is one of the kids. When I call lunch time she is the first one to the table, hmmm I wonder why πŸ˜‰ She is a social eater. She always has dry food in her bowl, and when someone eats, she moves her bowl over by them and starts eating, whether it’s at the table or in the family room.

    I know there are books and test you can take as a family in finding out what best breed of dog is right for your family, something you might want to check out. Dogs have a lot of personality and traits, and you want to make sure the one you get fits the family. You run quite a bit as a family, you might want to train a dog that runs with you. I’ve had two dogs that were great running partners, one was an Australian shepherd (my parent’s dog) and the other was a shepherd/Siberian husky mix (I don’t recommend a Siberian for the first time dog owner, too many bad instincts/traits).

    Mandy is about 50 pounds and she is the perfect size, we are not quite sure what she is, but we think she has possibly whippet, kelpie and something else in her. She is a total couch and lap dog. She runs to the door and is so excited to see you when you arrive home, she will sit in your lap and nuzzle her head under your chin and wrap her paws around you, giving you a hug –
    We also have a doggy door so she goes in and out as she pleases and when we leave for a night or two she has enough food and water, if more than that we have someone stay at the house

    Do some research on breeds, take you time, train the way you want him/her to be and have fun!

  • #271106

    LC
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    I should revise my statement, it was a little strong. What I should have said is that rescue animals often have emotional problems, and you may not see it for months. Some of them have been abused, and you might not know that, nor may the rescue agency. The point is, a well meaning person looking to house a rescue animal may get a handful of unexpected behavior.

    We got our cat from the shelter as a kitten. She’s a great pet, but still very skiddish. I’m now certain she was born from feral cats and of course often there’s no way to know that up front. No one in their right mind pays for a cat, but I might next time, just to be sure of the lineage. I’m not a cat person, probably never will be, but we’ve been pretty lucky with the two we’ve had. They are perfect for traveling. Just dump a week’s worth of food in a bowl, leave a bucket of water, and you’re gone without worries. I’ve grown to like them as pets. They can be somewhat affectionate and fun, but dogs they are not.

  • #271125

    Scarlet
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    LC, my dad won’t get a rescue pup for some of the same reasons. He wants to be able to meet the parents and know the history

  • #271131

    ErinO
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    If you get a dog from rescue you must get them young, because as others have said, they can have emotional scars and bad habits from previous owners. Sometimes you can work through those issues, but since this is your first dog, that’s probably not the right fit. Three months is about the right timing. You don’t want a puppy that is too young OR too old. The ones that are too young, often were taken from their mother too early and can have issues stemming from that. And the ones that are too old are may have issues from abuse, neglect, or just from living as strays for a time.

    If you do decide to get a rescue dog (I’ve had great success with rescue dogs) remember it will take a bit of an investement of your time. You can’t expect to just go to the shelter and find the perfect dog on your first visit. You might get lucky and have that happen, but usually it takes visiting several times to see the available dogs, and maybe even going to more than one shelter. It’s a sad place to visit, so be prepared for that.

    Once you’ve gotten your dog, make sure you expose the dog to TONS of situations. Socialize, socialize, socialize. Introduce him/her to other dogs when you are out walking. Take the dog to crowded places and different environments. There is nothing worse than a dog that hasn’t been exposed to much and is fearful of their own shadow. Those dogs usually lash out with barking, biting, and just being generally annoying. Expose your puppy to as much as possible and your dog will be more comfortable and confident in most situations. I know that vets will tell you to keep your puppy away from other dogs to avoid getting illnesses, but you have to find a balance between being cautions about diseases the pup might catch and a the necessity to properly socialize they dog. Puppies are very maleable and trainable. As they age, it becomes more work.

    Defintely take your puppy to obedience school. Have the dog learn all the basic commands and how to behave. Crate train your puppy. Even if you don’t plan to keep the puppy in the crate long-term, it’s a good thing for your dog to be comfortable with for travel. If you don’t have time to train your dog, pay somebody to do it for you. Dogs should be taught manners just like kids. They don’t come pre-laoded knowing how to behave.

    Consider a big dog for your first. Little dogs, in my experience, can be challenging.

    Good luck. Post pictures when you get your dog. Everybody loves puppies.

  • #271128

    kindrlindr
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    I am so excited for you guys. I definitely recommend getting a puppy. They are a little work in the beginning, but the rewards are SO incredible its worth it.

    One negative about having a dog…….I don’t know if anyone mentioned it already, but just keep in mind your lifestyle. Dogs limit the freedom you have. If people say they don’t, they’d be lying. Dogs need attention if you want them to be good dogs. πŸ™‚ But as long as you have a good pet sitter(like grandma and grandpa…lol) you have no worries.

  • #271107

    LC
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    @kindrlindr 100434 wrote:

    Dogs need attention if you want them to be good dogs. πŸ™‚ But as long as you have a good pet sitter(like grandma and grandpa…lol) you have no worries.

    I would go a step further and say if you do travel, especially on weekend jaunts by air or anyplace you don’t take your dog, and don’t have a good pet sitter, pass. That’s exactly why we don’t have one now; we have no backup. I would love to have another. Perhaps when the kids get married they’ll be willing sitters and we’ll have another in a heartbeat. Maybe a third Irish Setter–dumb as rocks but beautiful, affectionate animals.

  • #271095

    EGL Admin
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    I agree. We have the space and a big backyard and people to take care of him but now that my mom is gone it is more difficult. I could trust her and she always had dogs. My mother in law, not so much. She’s not reliable. She would do something stupid like let him out to run around and then he might take off and she’s in no physical shape to track him down and then I would have to kill her if she did something like that. πŸ™‚

    Usually for a weekend of overnight trip it’s been fine for us. Our dog doesn’t eat all his food. I can put two bowls of food down and he will eat a little now and more later and the rest tomorrow.

    I would like another dog but then traveling would be worse and we aren’t taking two dogs places. Sometimes I see dogs on the Aussie rescue page and I want to get another one.

  • #271101

    doclaguna
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    All this leans me towards not wanting any dog πŸ™‚

  • #271096

    EGL Admin
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    Probably so, especially if you never had one. But it does bring a lot of joy to the family.

  • #271120

    violarose
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    All those times I had to go to NV to help my mom, I had to bring the dogs with me. The cats was left with big bowls of food and water. The dogs enjoyed the road trips.

  • #271115

    tomwaltman
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    DL, you should babysit a friend’s dog for a week or so. See what happens.

  • #271111

    newmom
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    We travel some-but not much. If we just leave him for a night, we have great neighbors who feed him for us. Longer and we kennel him. I really like Camp Bow Wow. Franklin Ranch is great too. He has always come home safe, clean, and happy.

  • #271132

    loonyman
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    I have two dogs and used to foster rescue dogs. My first rescue became my second dog and after a little training has become a great dog. He did have some issues at first (He would stop while on on walks-usually in the middle os an intersection!) but after a little encouragement and love he is doing great. Most rescue dogs have some issues but they can be overcome.

    I travel frequently and put the dogs in a kennel when we can’t bring them with us. A little added expense and trouble but totally worth it.

    I wouldn’t get a pom though. Get a real dog, you’ll be much happier. My wife’s daughter had one and I would not recommend one, especially if you have never had one before.

  • #271121

    violarose
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    Dogs bring spontaneous joy & laughter. They are like your soul, constantly needing attention, it keeps you connected to the real world. They love walks. It is extra vacuuming, but I enjoy being a dog owner.

  • #271099

    adiffer
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    @doclaguna 100515 wrote:

    All this leans me towards not wanting any dog πŸ™‚

    Where your family is likely to feel the impact is when you all travel. It’s more complicated to pick up and go somewhere overnight or for multiple nights if you have a dog to care for at home. It can be done, of course, but the more you care about the dog the harder it gets to find suitable care.

  • #271127

    govwatcher
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    After reading all this thread I think we need to start an EG-L dog sitting group where we cover for each other when traveling. I agree that good dog sitters are one of the hardest things to deal with when planning travel. I have always had shelter/rescue dogs and the last few were NOT puppies, so yes – there were some things to deal with. But adopting the older ones from a rescue you know they are potty trained, and you usually get a heads up on what training they have had and any issues the foster has seen. Loved, loved, loved both of the adult dogs we’ve adopted – you don’t have them for as many years – but they seem to know that you saved them. Read about breed behavior and choose carefully. Try dog sitting for some friends as an introduction for the kids. Good Luck!

  • #271122

    lizzie
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    Find some online quizzes that well help find a dog that is a good for your family and lifestyle. After having 2 pound dogs with disaster results I made a promise to my husband no more shelter dogs. I am a Corgi person. Corgi is not good for a first time owner. Corgis can be great dogs but they are very smart and can be dominant. Dog training is a must. Crate training is the best way to go. Go to dog shows, talk to breeders.

    Chloe is my “baby”. Chloe has bought my family and me a lot of joy. Have fun.

  • #271123

    pepsilvr
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    We rescuesd a yorkis almost 2 years ago the best and worst decision of my life. He is a good dog and although considered a senior dog when we rescued him he is still pretty spry and trainable. He has a good temperment but he was clearlyspoiled by hi previous owner. Our problem is traveling. Since most of my family travels together it is hard to find a sitter. He is not a yapper only when he needs to be. He is truly a lap dog and does not enjoy being outdoors long although we force him to be outside in good weather.

  • #271133

    Birdofparadise
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    I can’t imagine our family without a dog. Just like children, they bring worry, expense and sometimes frustration, but the love they bring outweighs all of that 10 fold!

  • #271102

    doclaguna
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    @birdofparadise 100734 wrote:

    I can’t imagine our family without a dog. Just like children, they bring worry, expense and sometimes frustration, but the love they bring outweighs all of that 10 fold!

    That’s the whole point. My kids will be out of the house in 6 years… Do I want another kid this late in the game?

    So where does one find a reputable breeder to talk to? Cursory web search leads to endless ads.

  • #271116

    tomwaltman
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    DL, go check out a fish at Walmart. Got one from there that lasted quite a while. Danged good fish. Clarina the Fish.

  • #271112

    newmom
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    @doclaguna 100806 wrote:

    That’s the whole point. My kids will be out of the house in 6 years… Do I want another kid this late in the game?

    So where does one find a reputable breeder to talk to? Cursory web search leads to endless ads.

    Talk to owners of the breed you want. Talk to local vets. There are also usually groups on FB and such. Dog people will tell you if they like their breeder or not. A bad breeder can cost you a lot of money and a lot of heart break. Personally, I would wait until after the rainy season ends too. House training in the rain is no fun for anyone-the puppy or the adult. It seems to take longer, IMO.

  • #271103

    itsallinthepits
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    You said your kids will be out of the house in 6 years….does that mean your youngest is 12 years old? There is a teen volunteer group at the Front Street Shelter that would allow your kiddo the chance to help out the animals and she could see (not be in contact without further training) the various dogs that come through. My kid just turned 12 in October and she has already started volunteering.
    Also, the shelter on Bradshaw…..I forget their full name, but I am sure you can find it. They also have a junior volunteer program.

    Volunteering at a shelter will let her have as much exposure (with training) as she wants without any messes at home. Just a thought to throw out there….plus, volunteering would look good on job applications, scholarships and such.

    We have 2 dogs at home, so my kid is actually more interested in helping cats when she goes to the shelter. πŸ™‚

  • #271104

    itsallinthepits
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    Oh, and with regards to training. The dog and the people (that would be your family) all have to be on the same page with regards to training. Often times, it’s not the dog that is making the mistake, but their human counterpart. Someone mentioned paying someone to train the dog….well, that is okay to a point, but the humans that live with the dog still need to know how to interact properly with the dog.

  • #271097

    EGL Admin
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    @doclaguna 100515 wrote:

    All this leans me towards not wanting any dog πŸ™‚

    Apparently you leaned back the other way? πŸ˜‰

  • #271126

    Scarlet
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    Does that mean there is a puppy in the house?

  • #271113

    newmom
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    Do tell…..details and a picture please! Everybody loves a puppy!

  • #271098

    EGL Admin
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    I think one on the way according to my sources. πŸ˜‰

  • #271117

    tomwaltman
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    I think they were just cleaning under the refrigerator. Looked like a massive dust bunny to me!

  • #271129

    kindrlindr
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    I saw a picture of a book about poms posted the other day……..made me wonder too πŸ™‚

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