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Suitable family dog for first time owners

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by Sceb1380, Aug 5, 2020.

  1. Sceb1380

    Sceb1380 New Member Registered

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    I know this kind of question has probably been asked lots before but wondering if you can help. I always had dogs growing up and would love to have one now for my own family. We have a 6 year old daughter (will almost be 7 by the time we get a dog as we're going to take our time researching and are thinking of next summer) but I'm really struggling with which breed so thought if I told you our situation, you could help!

    I work part time but on days I am at work, I would be happy to pay for a dog walker/sitter etc. We're quite an outdoorsy family anyway so weekends are often spent walking in the countryside. We live in a semi rural area with lots of great dog walks nearby. But being totally honest, we don't have the time apart from weekends to go walking for hours (would more likely just be round the estate on week days) so one of the things which worries me is whether we could give a dog enough exercise. We do have a large garden.

    In terms of what we would like from a dog, ideally I'd love a dog that will happily play in the garden with my daughter as I'd really like the dog to be a little companion for her but equally one who would be happy snuggling up on the sofa. So I'm looking for a gentle, docile breed although I know you can't always generalise.

    We initially thought labradors but I worry their exercise needs are too high, I then thought I'd decided on Cavaliers but after reading about all their health problems, I've gone off that idea. I love terrier type dogs as we always had Jack Russells growing up but they were never the most kid friendly dogs so I think they could be a bit snappy. I'm looking for a real softie really! We've also considered beagles and cockers but again, I've read stuff about cockers being very hyper and perhaps beagles' exercise needs being too great for us.

    Although in theory, I'd love to give a resue dog a new home, I'm just not sure it would be right for us as first time owners. Husband has never had a dog! I know a puppy is hard work but I'm not sure we could commit to the potential behavioural problems that a rescue may come with. A colleague of mine has rescued greyhounds and swears by them and I have to say, I was struck when I met hers, how calm and placid they were. I felt they could perhaps be an option but my concern there is, will they want to play? I've heard a lot of them just want to sleep all the time!

    Sorry for the massive post but if anyone has any advice, I'd be grateful!
     
  2. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    You are being very responsible and doing your homework- if only everyone did! There are two factors that matter more than shape and size: some restriction on exercise and a child. One is easier. I'd really rule out working dogs therefore (labs, most spaniels, collies etc). They will be distressed if unoccupied while young. Probably an older dog rather than a puppy? I have a 12yo corgi x that will happily play fetch in the garden- forever... Your child is another big factor. What isn't available anywhere is a child-proof dog- I work for rescues and often get asked for one. Laid back, docile, easily trained and very obedient! Don't exist. Dogs live in the moment and respond to situations, mainly out of anxiety. You need to be prepared to supervise EVERY interaction between child and dog. Dogs come into rescue with heartbreaking stories: much loved family pet, lived with them for years...suddenly snapped at/ bitten child. Dogs/ children miscommunicate. I'm not being holier than thou- a dog I've had for years bit the child of our best friends. All my fault, my inattention.
    Why not talk to a rescue? Dogs Trust, etc- or your local one if they have good reputation. They can often help new dog owner get a good 'fit' and provide back-up support. You could try fostering a dog even. You will be able to buy a puppy anywhere- sadly the worse the breeder the fewer questions they'll ask. Young children? Everyone working full time? Top floor flat- no problem! So if you are asked by rescues or breeders that's a good sign- they care about you and the dog. The very best of luck.
     
  3. Tinytom

    Tinytom Well-Known Member Registered

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    My first thought was a greyhound ....some do love to play and a good rescue will match you to a greyhound that would suit you ....
    Let us know how you get on ...and good for you for thinking of everyone's needs including the dog ...i wish more people did;)
     
  4. Biker John

    Biker John Well-Known Member Registered

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    I agree about good breeders asking questions, I have often thought it could be easier to adopt a child then get a pup. Joking of course but you get what I mean. I admit I'm biased but sight hounds do make wonderful dogs to live with, both Greyhounds and Whippets are lovely friendly pets. Their two big drawbacks are they do tend to chase small furry things, Rabbits, Squirrels and Cats in particular, and although they can and do play they tend to be lazy so if you don't start a game they simply shut their eyes and have a kip.
     
  5. lurcherman

    lurcherman Well-Known Member Registered

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    I read your post a few times and had to cancel my post a few times, a good Heinz 57 would suit, but a greyhound at 4 years will also suit .
     
  6. Tinytom

    Tinytom Well-Known Member Registered

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    Whereabouts are you. ....
    If you considered a greyhound try to ask for a non chaser ....my friend adopted a 15mth old black greyhound boy who was a failed chaser ...non runner ...although he is big he is a gentle soul with no chase drive. ..
     
  7. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    Here's some pics of a dog I walk, retired early as she didn't take to racing.. a beautiful, loving dog and playful as you can see!
    But, (and please someone with more knowledge correct me if I am wrong), ex racing greyhounds can suffer from sleep aggression or sleep startle, where if woken when sleeping they can sometimes snap at you.. with a 7 year old child in the home I would maybe look in to this first, just incase...
     

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  8. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I agree with Flobo - greyhounds can have sleep aggression. And if they've come from kennels, no one may have discovered this. If you do get a rescue, the best think is to look for a dog that has been in a foster home.

    Another thing to bear in mind is that all sighthounds can be very sensitive - not the best if you have a noisy household and lots of rambunctious children. A lot depends on your daughter - a greyhound may be brilliant for teaching her about respecting other animals' needs, such as not disturbing them when they're asleep, not pestering them for a game when they don't fancy one, but if she's likely to run up and hub the dog regardless... they might be the best match. They might not do cuddles in general, though just resting their head against your leg can be an expression of ultimate love!
     
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  9. Tinytom

    Tinytom Well-Known Member Registered

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    Two of my lurchers dont like to be disturbed whilst sleeping and will snap ....but then so do i :p:p:p:p:p
    One of which we have had from a pup ...
     
  10. Hemlock

    Hemlock Well-Known Member Registered

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    Re: the sleep aggression - sighthound types often sleep with their eyes open. Children especially but adults also must understand this - just because the eyes are open doesn't mean the dog is awake, so don't touch.
     
  11. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    Terriers certainly are playful things, and yes....JRTs can be bit temperamental, particularly if you are thinking of it as 'second hand' dog rather than starting from a pup. But regardless what breed you go for, one has to learn to read the dog for what mood it is and respect it wishes if it is looking for some 'me time'.
    I've known many many terriers that have been happily brought into families with a child..but it is better idea to bring puppy into such a family so they will grow to learn and adjust into hustle and bustle of a such environment.
    JRTs can be wired to be hardworking dogs and if they don't get all the physical and mental stimulation, then yes, they can get bit hard to handle. All terriers are 'busy', playful dogs for first few years and some need more walkies and play sessions than others, and then they tend to calm down and turn into perfect homely dogs.
    How about a westie? Despite the breed's origins, they are not so hyper & highly strung terriers and make good family pets. Westies tend to be very family orientated dogs and generally get on well with children and they are one of the terrier breeds that is good a first time (terrier) dog owners.
     
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  12. Hemlock

    Hemlock Well-Known Member Registered

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    Cairns are similar too, as long as you are able to commit to the grooming needs. Norfolk and Norwich terriers are also less driven, but have a screech of a bark, so depends if you can cope with this.
     
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  13. Sceb1380

    Sceb1380 New Member Registered

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    Thank you all for taking the time to reply. It's definitely given me some more things to think about. Westies are definitely one to consider I think, thank you Finsky. I had considered them but forgot to mention them in my op. I've always had a soft spot for them as they have such a cheeky, cute face! I had thought spaniels would be the way to go to suit our needs but it now seems not so all your answers have helped! I've not looked much into the terriers you mention Hemlock but I will definitely do that now although not sure husband (or elderly neighbours!) could cope with the bark you mention!

    In terms of my daughter, I'm pretty sure she would be sensible around a dog. She is pretty good at following instructions if things have been clearly explained to her so I feel confident she wouldn't intentionally disturb a sleeping puppy for example. Greyhounds do still seem like a good option and I feel like maybe better for my 'never before had a dog' husband! But obviously still a lot to consider but a lot of which a good rescue centre would probably be able to help with. As I said, I have a colleague who's really into her rescue greyhounds so I would have a starting point if I do go down this route. I've noticed greyhounds out for a walk are often muzzled- is this to avoid them chasing if off a lead?

    Thank you again, lots more research still to do I think!
     
  14. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Yes, ex-racers can chase - and catch, and kill - small furries (though most are very well aware that a small fluffy dog is a DOG and not prey). So much depends on the individual dog. Some can also be a bit nippy in play with other dogs. Sighthounds often enjoy a game of bitey-face and can look and sound as if they're trying to kill each other, though they'll both be having a great time - but their teeth can damage the other dog in the process.

    Westies seem like sweet dogs, but are prone to skin problems - something to research before deciding.
     
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  15. Rinkydinkydo

    Rinkydinkydo Well-Known Member Registered

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    Have a look at Border Terriers, they are great dogs. Known for being people friendly,but also children friendly. They are intelligent and good to train.
    My borders were all working terriers but that didn't stop the kids dressing them up in skirts and tee shirts. I would often come home from work to find the dogs dressed like this being pushed around the garden in a pram. That's the personality of a Border terrier,I love em.
     
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  16. Hemlock

    Hemlock Well-Known Member Registered

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    Re: the muzzles - I used to be involved in rehoming retired greyhounds, and it was always stressed that they should be muzzled and kept on leads when out. They are used to it from early days at racing kennels so it just tells them they are going for a walk.

    Greyhounds are the fastest dogs on the planet, but until people have seen them run with intent, it's difficult to realise just how fast that is. They can also jump 6 foot fences with no discernible effort. They don't all do it but they can. And they have big mouths and unless previously neglected, strong teeth. All of which means that they can kill big furries as well as small ones, and faster than you'd ever believe. So muzzle and lead is a must if you go anywhere there are other life forms.

    It isn't aggression or any form of nastiness. It's prey drive. That's a term often misused to mean a dog chasing a ball or a flirt pole. Real prey drive is a jaw-dropper.

    But greyhounds do make the most wonderful pets, as long as care is taken never to put them into circumstances where they can perform unwanted behaviour. And that's the case with any dog. Not one is perfect: it's about choosing the one whose imperfections don't matter.
     
  17. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    Another breed that just popped into my mind is Bedlington terrier. Again....a breed that has plenty of playfulness and 'omf' for more energetic outings but still, it is terrier breed that is not quite so 'full on' than some others....the term that I keep reading about this breed is 'mildly mannered'.
    And yes....I admit....as much as I like all dogs, I LIKE terriers ;)
     
  18. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I met the most gorgeous 15-month-old Bedlington yesterday. He would have been more gorgeous if his onwer had taught him not to jump up though! Just don't be tempted by the idea of getting the best of both worlds - terrier and sighthound - with a Bedlington x whippet... they're cracking dogs, but in the main not for the faint-hearted!
     
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  19. Cla_ire

    Cla_ire New Member Registered

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    As children me & my sister had a border collie/ springer spaniel cross. You’d think that would equal mental, but she was the most laid back (lazy later in life), patient, child friendly dog ever. So you can never tell. Top tip, if you get a puppy, ask the breeder for a calm female pup from the litter.
     
  20. Biker John

    Biker John Well-Known Member Registered

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    Cla_ire, we had one dog that was assumed to be a Border Collie x Springer, (she was a rescue so no one actually knew). The kennels first re homed her to a family, they brought her back after a couple of weeks saying she was untrainable. My wife had seen her, (she helped out a couple of days a week), and thought she had the makings of a decent dog. So she came to us and I have to say she was easily one of the most intelligent dogs we have ever had, training her was easy but she needed to be doing / thinking about something nearly all the time. We did obedience and agility with her and she loved both. With having stuff to do she also made a wonderful dog to live with but I felt that if we hadn't given her stuff to do she could easily have been a devil dog.
     
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