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First dog advice

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by Sycamore123, Jul 7, 2021.

  1. Sycamore123

    Sycamore123 New Member Registered

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    Hello

    I’m sure you all must get thousands of threads like this so let me apologise in advance!

    I think I am finally in a position to get my first dog, after wanting one for as long as I can remember… I work from home on a permanent basis, and have emergency care in place, as well as being in a fairly safe financial position.

    My partner has grown up with dogs, however this would be a first dog for me, and I would be the primary carer. I have an aunt who is a dog behaviourist, and runs training, agility and fly ball classes so I’ve been attending these with her recently in order to get a bit more dog experience!

    I would be able to walk the dog around 5 miles every week day, possibly more on weekends, hopefully with twice weekly running (only if the dog is happy with this- I’m more than happy to give up running!) with playtime and training on top of that. We have a large garden, so lots of room to run around, HOWEVER, we have a very small house. We also have three cats. We like golden retrievers and Labradors, however think they wouldn’t be happy in a house this size. We also like spaniels, but worry that I wouldn’t be able to give them enough exercise, and that they may be a bit too hairy for a tiny house! ( or this might just be the spaniels I know!). And I worry terriers wouldn’t work with our cats- or our guinea pigs!

    I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice, firstly on being a first time dog owner, and secondly on choosing the right breed for us? We are going to a local fun show next week to have a look at various breeds, but we need to think practically, and not just choose a cute looking breed!
    I will obviously take the dog to training classes, but having only had cats, things like toilet training seem very complicated!

    Any and all advice welcome!

    Thank you!
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Hi and welcome.

    If you think spaniels are hairy, I think you might find goldens are too. And I think you are right about terriers, they are hard wired to chase small furries, although some are more mellow than others.

    Many dogs can be trained to co-exist with cats, so I'll let others suggest breeds as it's not something I've tried to do.

    You will find loads of helpful information on the thread linked below, but please do shout out if anything is unclear or if you have questions. Can I just add it is a great thing that you are thinking ahead like this, not jumping in first and asking questions later.

    Useful Links & Recommended Reading
     
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  3. Buddy1

    Buddy1 Active Member Registered

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    If you are in easy reach of London, Discover Dogs will be back this year. It is a great place to meet all the different breeds and chat to breeders and owners. Otherwise, I would always recommend contacting the Breed Club for individual breed advice.

    Both a Golden Retriever and a Labrador will shed. I find long hair tends to collect like tumbleweed on the floor, whereas short hair seems to spread everywhere. It’s also worth remembering that both breeds love mud and water which can be more irksome than the hair. That's not meant to put you off - they are both lovely dogs (but I am totally biased;)).
     
  4. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I'd have thought 5 miles a day would be enough for a spaniel - though as has been said, they do shed. Have you considered a cockapoo, or some other sort of doodle?
     
  5. melb100

    melb100 Active Member Registered

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    I'm biased of course but have you thought about a lurcher? Typically very sociable and as long as they get a bit of a run most of them will then snooze happily at home (i.e. you'll be able to do some work). Not sure about the cats, I know various friends with greyhounds plus cats but I dont know how much training went into that.

    The guinea pig is more tricky as it will be tempting to lots of dogs with high prey drive (including lurchers). I dont know what the best breed would be for that, or how you would train them.

    I would say from having worked at home during puppyhood the past year it is much harder than you imagine/ remember!! Not at all to put you off but just remember it is worth it, as you find yourself in the dark days trying to prise a puppy's incisors from your ankle as yet another well-meaning colleague says "you just need to leave the room" I CANT LEAVE THE ROOM THEY ARE LITERALLY ATTACHED TO MY SKIN BY THEIR TEETH. So yes, flexible working from home job with lots of time for toilet breaks and rescuing illegal chew items.

    We got our puppy early Sept which was perfect as it was still light outside and not always raining for toilet training, and then she was old enough for longer walks by the time spring/ summer came. The other thing I hadn't realised was how little exercise you're supposed to do the first year of pup's life - I had imagined 5 mile walks at 6 months but we still only occasionally do those now she's a year, and I haven't started running with her yet.
     
  6. Sycamore123

    Sycamore123 New Member Registered

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    Thank you- that looks really useful information, and I’ll make a start on reading through it!
     
  7. Sycamore123

    Sycamore123 New Member Registered

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    Unfortunately quite a long way from London (opposite end of the country!)
    I didn’t think to contact the breed societies directly- we are making a shortlist of breeds so I will send a few emails! Thank you!
     
  8. Sycamore123

    Sycamore123 New Member Registered

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    Thank you- it’s not so much the shedding, it’s just being able to easily bath legs off etc and have them dry in reasonable time! And also not having to get a professional to groom them regularly. I do like labradoodles, but just worry they might be a bit big again- I suppose there might be smaller ones!
     
  9. Sycamore123

    Sycamore123 New Member Registered

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    Thank you! That is incredibly detailed! I hadn’t considered a lurcher as I know they are bred to chase small furry things- but maybe you can train that out of them?
    Thank you for the advice re home working- I’m lucky to have an incredibly understanding employer who doesn’t mind as long as the work gets done- so I’m sure I will be starting early and finishing pretty late to make up for removing puppy from ankles time!
     
  10. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    There are labradoodles where the poodle is a miniature poodle, so they will be small - but if going for a crossbreed ('designer dog') be VERY aware of the risks of puppy farms & backyard breeders... More info here: Puppy Farming

    It was cockerpoos I suggested, though there are many other 'poos' - you could also consider a poodle, they can be cracking dogs.

    I doubt you could reliably train an adult lurcher to be safe around your cats, but introducing a puppy to cats is doable. You have to be extremely vigilant at first though - my lurcher adored our cat, but would want to play chase and bitey-face at every opportunity, and the cat didn't appreciate it one little bit. Not sure if you could ever safely let your guinea pigs free range with the dog around.
     
  11. Hemlock

    Hemlock Well-Known Member Registered

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    Having had lurchers for many years I'd say, lovely dogs though they are, not suitable for your situation. This is more about the small furries than the cats, as many live happily with their own cats, but small furries are just too much like prey, and the littlies would be as stressed as the dog. Who needs more stress in their lives?

    Poodles and their crosses are lovely but there is a big grooming commitment. I'd agree with the labrador fans, as although they are world champion shedders, once adult they will sleep away the time between walks, so a small home is not a problem as long as you don't mind stepping over them while they go to sleep in awkward places. One way to avoid this is to have a dog sofa!

    As with any breed, take time to be absolutely certain you have chosen an ethical breeder, as almost all pure breeds have their health issues, quite a few crossbreeds too (unhealthy dog + unhealthy dog = unhealthy pups) and there are so many con artists about. I applaud you for taking time to do your research.
     
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  12. JAB

    JAB Guest

    Hi, were first time owners too and have a cat.

    We chose the Labrador in the end. We could not deal with the coat of a golden.

    Id still advise a Labrador ,some females can be on the smaller side and can be ok with cats and small furries

    Labs can live in a small house as long as they get there exercise and mental stimulation , I've know of labs in apartments and it's worked really well.

    There coat dries quickly and super easy to care for.

    The number one thing is to be very careful were you buy from and do your research on breeders to make sure your getting a well bred dog no matter the breed
     
  13. lurcherman

    lurcherman Well-Known Member Registered

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    Owning lurchers can be fun in the right hands, in the wrong hands you will find out how quickly offlead they can disappear, they off course need to be trained hard for offlead use ,, even when trained instinct takes over so be careful..
     
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  14. CoCo2014

    CoCo2014 Member Registered

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    Please don't buy a designer crossbreed, especially poodle crosses, as they are not totally non shedding & as my groomer friends know, their coats can & are horrendous & need at least a visit to a good groomer at least every 6 weeks, plus daily comb throughs. No one breeds crosses to improve the health of the offspring & only a tiny minority do all available health testing or even just the very basics.
    Up until a few years ago I always had cats alongside my dogs, but having had one cat simply disappear & the other killed by someone using my private driveway to reverse into, I, have given up trying to have cats.

    My first dog over 60 years ago was a German bloodline GSD from the Brittas kennels in Ireland(bought by me aged 6!!) . In the days when 99%, of the breed were called Alsatians & had terrible temperaments & epilepsy was rife, she has the total opposite because of her breeding.

    Since then I have owned several GSDs, Bearded Collies(not the extreme ones seen in the show rings today), Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, ISDS Border Collies & various rescue dogs. All of which were/are trained to be good pets & companions.

    I started professionally training dogs in 1964 & training people a fews later, though it has never been my main occupation.

    You really need to do masses of breed research & be willing to travel to KC dog shows/events to meet breeds in the flesh.

    As for certain breeds not being cat/guineas pig safe, if you train from when you get your puppy to ignore the GPS & give the cat(s)places where they are safe above the puppy & do a very controlled introduction, I cannot see a problem. I have a friend with very high prey drive Border Terriers that work for a living vermin controlling most days, yet she has Norwegian Forest & Siamese cats that mix with them, the cats rule BTW

    You do realise that you won't be able to take any puppy for 5 mile walks for many months, don't you?
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
  15. Sycamore123

    Sycamore123 New Member Registered

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    Thank you- a Labrador seems a good bet!
     
  16. Sycamore123

    Sycamore123 New Member Registered

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    Thank you very much this is very detailed! I think we had ruled poodle crosses off, because of the grooming aspect, but I wasn’t aware on lack of healthy checking etc. It’s definitely a long process, and we are happy to take as long as needed to find the right breed for us. I was aware that I needed to gradually build up the walking time, so thank you for clarifying! It was definitely a good idea posting here, as I’ve received lots of useful advice!
     
  17. Inka

    Inka Active Member Registered

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    Hooray someone is being honest! ......want ANY crossbreed pup or adult there are many in rescue
     
  18. CoCo2014

    CoCo2014 Member Registered

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    All breeding dogs, no matter what the breed or non breed, should be fully health tested before being bred from.

    Hip & elbow scoring is a necessity & no dog should be bred from with an elbow score above 0(this the BVA advice) or a hip score above the median of the breed. Information can be found on the BVA site along with other clinical health testing schemes.

    Then there is DNA testing & you can now have a multiple DNA bundle done on one sample
     
  19. CoCo2014

    CoCo2014 Member Registered

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    My naturally developed designer dog, his mum looks like a Bearded Collie & father unknown. He has 4 hairy siblings 3 yellow & 1 fawn
    Screenshot_20210620_155110.jpg
     
  20. Inka

    Inka Active Member Registered

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    Hes lovely!
     

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