Adopting a Dog
Posted 16 August 2012 - 02:42 AM
Because his breed is supposed to be very high energy, I used to walk/run/hike him A LOT, but he's gotten lazier or mellower over time, so he no longer acts like a typical border collie in some respects. For example, he seems very content to just sleep and rest while I'm gone at work. Some border collies can get destructive when left alone for extended periods of time, but not him. My guess is that like people, dogs can have a wide variety of personalities. If you get a rescue dog that is being fostered, you might be able to find out some more about the dog's personality. The organization I used wrote a page or so about the dog that they posted online. Shelters might have this type of information too if the dog has been in the shelter for a while.
I really lucked out that my dog turned out so mellow. When I got him he was young and was probably still teething so he just chewed up everything in sight, including toys, furniture and the carpet. He would literally turn hard plastic nylabones into tiny plastic fragments over the course of several weeks. He still loves demolishing rawhides. Luckily, I was not busy at the time, so I was able to keep an eye on him most of the day. It would have been a disaster if I had the schedule that I have now though.
Might be easier/better to get an older dog that has been housebroken and trained rather than a puppy that is intent on peeing and pooping everywhere in your house, and when not pooping and peeing, destroying everything in sight, if you don't have the time right now to monitor and train your dog. Regardless, I would definitely wait until you aren't that busy at work, or even better, wait until you can take some time off.
My dog is a lot of work still, even though he's mellowed out a lot. If you are single and are used to doing whatever you want, whenever you want, you will likely have to give up some of your freedom and spontaneity, especially if you don't have a yard. Also, travelling can be difficult if you can't take your dog with you and you don't have someone who can take care of your dog while you are gone. That said, getting my dog is definitely one of the best things I've done in the last 5 years.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 04:27 AM
Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:59 AM
Not much to add to what Kal and Ixodes mentioned. They covered most everything, I might have been able to add, excpect, dont just consider adopting from a shelter. There are also rescue groups. These groups often work with shelters and take extra animals and put them in foster homes. The foster will be able to give you a much better idea of the dogs personality than a shelter worker, and they often have given the animals a start on training and socialization much better than a shelter.
the rescue group I work for has requesnt adoption events held at various pet venues like pet stores and day care. Check with your local pet store, they may have info on local rescues.
Chuck and dons Pet food Outlet had expanded into Denver. I get all my pet food there. They have nice rebate progreams and stock a lot of quality products at price comparable to Petsmart. They are sure to work with local rescues.
Edited by RaceBannon42, 16 August 2012 - 08:02 AM.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 09:58 AM
Ixodes, gonna reach out with a PM to you in the next day or so.
*Was actually visited by a Rhodesian Ridgeback while outside at Chipotle the other day - was an awesome dog. Could actually feel my risk of lion attack go down 95%
On Corgis. I am sure there are a lot of wonderful corgis out there, and they are very cute. But I have known probably about 5 people who own corgis, and I have yet to meet a calm, I'm okay to stay at home alone corgi. They seem to require a lot of attention, and a lot of training, even more then most dogs. I could just be seeing a flute of in the breed, but I doubt it.
I have a large 90lb mixed breed dog that I had for almost 2 years in an apartment, it was totally doable and he wasn't destructive. Though we did start having a dog walker come every other day for the last couple months. I think the house hold got more stressful as we started getting ready to move, and Bear started acting out in ways he never had before. The dog walker helped fix that.
It was a lot of work to have a dog with out a yard, but also really cool. It meant that I got up at 5am every morning to go for a couple miles with Bear, and when I got home I went for another one. I would also take him to dog parks a few times a week so that he'd get some run around time. Now I still get up at 5 to take him for a walk, but he's outside all day, so I don't walk him when I get home, my husband does take him for a short walk around bed, and I make sure to have play time in the yard every day. We only go to the dog park rarely because it's not easy to get to from my new house. The thing is now having a yard, it is much easier on me, but Bear I think preferred not having a yard but getting more focused attention.
Bear never needed to be kenneled, and was never destructive in the apartment. Every dog is different though, and kenneling is something that I thought I would do, but never ended up doing.
Listen to people at the shelter, we originally looked at a hound mix, but the lady at the HS talked us down from him, he really was to high strung for our apartment. Bear was the most mellow dog in the place, and we where lucky to get him.
Good luck, and keep us posted.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 10:20 AM
They make amazing one person dogs, but can be so stubborn, and require a lot of firmness, they are always looking for loopholes, and they are ungodly smart. Pepper (aka Dumbydumbass) could open patio doors at will.
Her real destructive trait was anything that had eyes, like teddy bears. Every teddy bear or toy with eyes she found ended up blinded.
And they are far stronger than you'd think. She could destroy a kong brand toy in minutes. My parents yard wasn't fenced, and she was a runner, so, she had a long chain. Those spiral pegs? Pulled straight out. Looping the chain around a cinderblock? She went bipedal, and walked, dragging the block, across 2 yards to visit the Cairne Terrier next door.
One thing to watch for, with rescues, is jealousy. Squig is SO jealous of other dogs if I pay attention to them, only certain dogs are allowed free acess to me.
Pepper? Intensely jealous of my girlfriends - to the point where she'd destroy their clothes; once, she shredded the sheets on the side of teh bed my ex had occupied.
It's nice, in a way, to have a dog that devoted to you, but...it's an issue to watch for.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 10:27 AM
My mini aussie is another matter entirely. Never sits still, and blows her coat like crazy. But I still love her.
* Well, every dog sheds some. But I never have to go around cleaning up dog hair from Cricket.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 10:43 AM
Corgis are great, but it's true, man can they yap when they want your attention.
That ridgeback, now, that you mention - I think they are in the bottom half of Coren's list.
ETA: Toto in the Wizard of Oz was a cairn terrier, if you're not familiar with the breed. My dog looked just like Toto, but bigger, since he was male.
Edited by Fragile Bird, 16 August 2012 - 10:45 AM.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 10:46 AM
I'm with you that big dogs are more fun that little dogs, but I might recommend a dog with less energy if I had to do it over again. I was thinking that more energy=able to go running with me, but that isn't really the case because she is a frustrating and lazy running companion. Unless I want my run to be less than a mile, I'm going to be dragging her along for the end of it. She's very much a sprinter, and while she can't run more than a mile, she's fine to go running again fifteen minutes later.
If you want a dog that is big, but really gentle and low maintenance, my friend has Great Danes and they are awesome.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 10:50 AM
I've had 3 dgs in my lifetime and 2 of them were adopted - the first from the SSPCA and the second from Dog's Trust.
As for breeds you may be interested in I have a real fondness for terriers - they are all heart and have bags of character. My dog sadly passed away in January at the ripe old age of 14 and he was a terrier cross. Best wee dog in the world and his absence is keenly felt by everyone in the family. as for larger breeds, the retrievers are fantastic.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 10:53 AM
The great thing about them is that you can train them for almost anything. If you want a chill dog that cuddles you can do that. If you want an energetic dog who does agility trials you can do that. If you want to teach them to dance you can do that. And you can associate all of these things with specific places and commands, so they are chill at one time, eager another. But yes, this requires work.
That being said, they are easy. Our corgi was housebroken by 4 months. Leash trained after three long walks. Could sit, down, stay and play dead at 6 months. And that was with minimal training, just by us who had never owned a dog. It was super easy.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 11:33 AM
I totally agree with Ixodes upthread about not getting a Husky.
I'm echoing this. I'm sure someone, somewhere has a great Husky, but all the ones I've met are jerks. It is a shame, because I always really wanted one and they are beautiful dogs, but knowing what I now know about the breed I will never get one.
I have a yellow lab and I think he is great. Pretty sure he is pure, but we adopted him from the shelter. With proper exercise he is very well behaved. I live across the street from the dog park and we take him there everyday to play fetch.
Which brings me to what I think you have to ask yourself and be 100% honest about. A dog that is not getting enough exercise will get bored which leads to bad behavior. How dedicated are you to making sure your dog gets 30 mins to 45 mins of good exercise every day? A dog does not understand that you had a long day at work and just want to chill, they need exercise. They also don't understand that it is cold or that your are sick. Are you fine with skipping going out for drinks after work so you can come home and take care of the dog? Would you be willing to do doggy day care during your busy times? Seventh mentioned getting up at 5am to take the dog out to pee. Are you fine with this?
If you are fine with all that, then yeah, get a high energy breed, if not, look into a dog that doesn't need much exercise or get a cat.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 11:34 AM
Plus - you don't want to know how strong they are.Not a dog a child can walk easily, but they need lots of exercise or they get back issues.
And, ours was filthy. He literally would shit beside his waterbowl .
Posted 16 August 2012 - 01:22 PM
I myself love mutts.
My Beagle/Aussie mix has the constant sniffing of her hound side, and the herding of her Aussie side. She's a nut. I really thought the Lab/GermShep/Pitt mix would be much more hyper, but man, even though she's a puppy, she's so chill. She's got strong jaws, but the only time anyone is afraid, is when they are holding dried seaweed chips. She loves them.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 01:25 PM
Ridgeback's are incredible dogs. I've had 4 in my life while my parents are looking at getting another. The thing with Ridgebacks is they need exercise but not constant. Most of the time, they just lay around and sleep but they do get a burst of energy so walks or trips to the park are necessary. That being said, they're ridiculously intelligent, incredibly sweet and very loyal. I'd highly recommend that for anyone.
Edited by Mexal, 16 August 2012 - 01:26 PM.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 02:11 PM
BTW, I'd love to hear Ix's recommendations on keeping a dog's teeth cleaned. Benny's look pretty good, but could always be improved.
Essentially you have 3 tools at your disposal:
1) Brushing -- this works the best. You only need to brush the outside of the teeth, focusing on the gum line, and you use a pet enzymatic toothpaste. The more frequent the better but even 3-4 times a week will show improvement. This wipes off plaque before it becomes tartar. Small brushes are ideal but even rough cloth or guaze squares work.
2) Diet -- the one commercial diet that has impressed me with dental benefits is Healthy Advantage, made by Science Diet. It is a dry kibble that does a good job of keeping the teeth clean, better than other commercial diets I've played around with for the past 15 years. This is what I feed my dogs (for the dental benefits). Any chewing will help, too, and there are alot of treats/toys that can help but can't keep all the teeth clean by themselves.
3) Dental Visits -- once tartar is on the enamel, only a scale/polish visit will get rid of it. This requires anesthesia and is expensive. My advice with my clients is either get into habits to keep teeth healthy or do a dental then use tools 1 and 2 to try to avoid having to do anymore cleanings.
2. One of the best books I've seen on dogs is Katz on Dogs, by Jon Katz. It debunks a lot of myths that people have about dog training and behavior. Actually, I'd really be interested in what Ixodes thinks about this book, because it's also rubbed a lot of dog-owners the wrong way, mainly because of the myth-debunking which some dog-owners refuse to accept. Here's an excerpt from an Amazon review:
I'm ignorant about Mr Katz but I'll keep my ears open if any of my friends have opinions. Reading the amazon comments was entertaining, though. Dog training is like a freaking vipers nest of different opinions, some good info, some antiquated thinking, and stuff that is often made up out of thin air. There is and will never be any one size fits all approach. In general, methods that rely heavily on negative reinforcement or "dominance" theories are usually inferior and sometimes dangerous. Methods that rely heavily on positive reinforcement will always be superior. In my career, I've always found confident dogs and methods to increase confidence make happier dogs and happier owners.
This is why for a first dog, one should always pick the outgoing, sweet, confident personalities rather than shy or withdrawn. They will be easier to train and adapt to a newbie owner.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 02:17 PM
This is why for a first dog, one should always pick the outgoing, sweet, confident personalities rather than shy or withdrawn. They will be easier to train and adapt to a newbie owner.
Lol, sounds like good advice for a marriage, too. I think I've been reading too much in the Cheating thread.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 08:44 PM
Different strokes for different folks. When I was looking for a dog, I thought "I can deal with withdrawn dog, because in time he will learn to trust me." but I was more intimidated by dog with to much energy that wanted to jump on me. Bear was defiantly withdrawn when I got him, not shy per say, but not really interested in people, including me. He wasn't fearful, and that was a good thing, because fearful big dog can be trouble. Sure enough Bear came out of his shell in a matter of weeks, having consistency was very good for him, but he maintained his mellow behavior that originally drew me to him. Also now he is totally bounded to me, and a great dog. But I still like that he can just do his own thing in his own space, and doesn't always have to have me in sight.
The giving up freedom thing is real though. Nicole kind of hit the nail on the head when describing it. I remember the week I had this couple days of panic where I thought "No I can't do this I bit off more then I chew", but then you get into a routine, and it becomes normal.
I would recommend find a doggy day care place, and a dog walker, just in case. I loved have the dog walker because I could call her if I had to work late and she would come and take him out. It was a huge load off of my mind. Doggy Day care is very expensive, and it is luxury, but some dogs love it. Bear however hated it, with a burning passion. He always acted like I was dropping him of at Auschwitz. He would fight to stay in the car, grabbing with his paws and yowling like a cat. I felt like I was trying to reel in a marlin with a leash as he would whip his head about and pull with his all his not inconsiderable strength against getting out of the car. Once out of the car he would constantly try to escape, and throw himself on the glass door as I was leaving. He never acts like that. I can leave him at the vet more easily.
I got a seven visit punch card to one of the highest rated day cares in the city. I kept thinking that it would get easier as they always assumed me he had fun there once I was out of sight. But if anything it got harder. Finally on the last visit, when I got to take him home, he ran up and jumped on me, he put up on his hind legs and had is front legs on my shoulder I felt like he was saying "Look I never want to come back here again ever. Do you understand me!" After that we used a dog walker, and that was better for everyone as it was cheaper, easier, and more flexible, plus Bear actually liked the dog walker.
Every Ridgeback I know if a goofy, fun, and well mannered, as long as you exercise them enough.
Edited by Seventh Pup, 16 August 2012 - 08:47 PM.
Posted 16 August 2012 - 09:27 PM
She started out as belonging to my boss/close friend's parents, but was way too high energy for them. I convinced my parents to "mind" her for a while, like, forever.
Pepper was a monster at first, doing everything she wasn't supposed to. She made mom nervous, because Mom couldn't see her eye's through her brows. And Pepper always had to get even. My dog practiced revenge her whole life, and it took a year to break her of nipping. (Basically, everytime she nipped me, I pretended to bite her paw. That really freaked her out.)
Then, we called a breeder, because, you know, nobody knows shit about Standard Schnauzers. He told us, basically, they are high energy, and smart. And they test you constantly.
So, yeah, exercise, and company. Once we had that sorted, she was teh sweetest dog, but she never stopped testing the limits.
Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:56 AM
This reminds me of my dog Cracker. He was a labrador-type stray that showed up at our house, and while he was so sweet-natured around us, he was very nervous whenever any visitors were around. He run around them in circles barking and he'd shiver in fear.
Then one day he nipped at a woman when she was leaving, and my mother decided she had to put the dog down. I understand why she did it, and I know it was very hard for her to do. (she says how much she cried at the vets), but I wouldn't have done it. To me it felt like a betrayal. I loved that dog so much. When I came home from school he'd run out to greet me, jump up on me and I'd give him a hug.
But then again, if that all hadn't happened, we wouldn't have got our Jack Russell Quix. Who is so much a part of the family now. And her daughter Lilo was too, before she was killed on the road.
Jesus, dead dogs, I really don't want to bring the thread down!