I want to be a dog owner, don't know where to begin..

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by peapody, May 17, 2012.

  1. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

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    baltimore, md
    #1
    For the longest time I have yearned to be a pet owner, and now that I am living on my own, with my own means of living etc etc, I want to take the plunge. I've been reading a lot about different breeds etc and want to make the right decision both for me and my future pet - if I have one.

    I have been thinking about rescuing a dog and have been perusing all the various shelters in my area, but I am not sure if my lifestyle will be the best thing for a dog. I'll be living in a 2 bedroom apt in a complex, working 7-330 (bf works from 12-midnight), so space and time is a little strained. I have a lot of hesitation because of my living situation but I see dogs in my complex all the time, so I am not sure what is best. Basically I want to make sure that both me and my dog are happy. Is that silly?

    Also is there concern I should be having for adopting an older dog? Like say 10years old?
     
  2. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #2
    Since you will be living in a small apartment you need a dog who doesn't need a lot of physical activities. Not all small dogs are suited for this (forget Beagles, Fox Terriers, Jack Russel Terriers and other easily excited breeds). Some bigger dogs are very calm and do not require a lot of exercise (I'm thinking about English Bulldogs here).

    Now adopting an older dog will mean two things:

    -He will die sooner (obviously), so think about it. The relationship between human and dog can be VERY strong, and to me it would be sad to lose such a good friend in as little as two or three years.

    -It can be more expensive if he is ill and requires treatment. But this is a lesser concern since it would happen anyways with a younger dog.

    On the other hand:

    -The dog will be much more calm than a puppy or young dog, and require much less physical activity.


    I'm not an expert at all (I've only had one dog), but that should help. Read about different breeds and you'll probably find which one is best suited for you. I think one does not choose a dog breed, but is rather chosen by the breed.
     
  3. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #3
    I've always had at least a dog at home. For a first time owner, my advice would be to avoid a puppy. Get a two years old calm and relatively small rescue dog and you'll avoid many problems in the short term, and also down the road.

    A couple rules of thumb:
    Mongrels have less health problems
    Larger dogs die earlier, and also often spend their last years having bones problems in their legs.


    To be honest, I'm a foster home at the local shelter, so I'm not impartial. :)
     
  4. anjinha macrumors 604

    anjinha

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    #4
    Please get a rescue! So many awesome doggies get put down because no one wants them. :(
     
  5. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

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    #5
    I would have no qualms about adopting an older dog. My girlfriend got a dog that was somewhere between 10-13 at the time. Poor thing would have been put down the next day. Many people passed over her because she was older.

    Its the best dog ever. Seriously. I don't even usually like small dogs, but this dog isn't one that runs around a ton (its a lap dog and lieks to sleep a lot, but it does like going out for walks). it doesn't bark, it doesn't shed (its a poodle mix, which don't shed). Its stubborn but well potty trained.

    My advice is to do your research first about the types of dogs that might work well for you. Then go to the shelters and tell them what youa re lookign for, both in terms of potential breeds (or breed mixes), and in requirements. I'm sure they will have some good ideas to help steer you towards the best animal for you. Spend some time with the animal before you decide to adopt one. Just cause its cute doesn't mean its the right fit for you.
     
  6. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #6
    Get a small dog. I've seen it where neighbors basically have their small dog litter trained, maybe not litter, but a pad where they can defecate without making a mess on the floor. This could be just the answer if the dog is going to be left at home during the day, but I don't really know. Anyone?
     
  7. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    #7
    My local stray rescue has a trial adoption program where you can take the dog home for a weekend to see how he or she fares in your home and with your lifestyle. Something like this would probably be a good start.
     
  8. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #8
    This! I'm glad there are people out there who can adopt older dogs, but I'm not one of them. I think it's down to their more dependent nature and walking dogs that creates this strong bond.

    My last dog was a 3 year old rescue dog who lived for 10 years with us. It really wasn't enough time.
     
  9. kolax macrumors G3

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #9
    You've longed to be a pet owner, but does it have to be a dog?

    I think an indoor cat sounds more suited to you.
     
  10. Plutonius macrumors 603

    Plutonius

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    #10
    I suggest finding someone who is going on vacation for a week or two and watching their pet for them to see what it is like. Raising a pet is a lot of responsibility and work so you should know what you are getting yourself into before taking the plunge (i.e There is nothing worse then a pet owner that can't give the pet the love and care that the pet requires).
     
  11. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #11
    Cats are much more independent than dogs, but if you get a cat and will be leaving it alone a lot, get 2 cats. They are really not much more work than 1 cat and they will keep each other happy when you are not there. Things like continuing to use the litter box. Actually the same thing can apply to a dog. I remember the dog we had when left alone ran around the house tearing down the drapes, lol. Really...
     
  12. TheGenerous macrumors 6502a

    TheGenerous

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    #12
    You can start by watching Cesar Millan's dog whisperer, there's plenty of episodes on youtube. Great to hear you want to adopt! choose the right dog for you based on his energy and not his breed
     
  13. peapody thread starter macrumors 68040

    peapody

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    #13
    I've longed to be a dog owner actually. Not to say I won't consider a cat.. just that that's what I have longed for.

    I've considered older dogs for the reason that they are much calmer, and that I really sympathize with them since everyone is looking for the next cute puppy etc etc. I don't know how I will be able to handle a shorter amount of time together though..
     
  14. ejb190 macrumors 65816

    ejb190

    #14
    I might suggest you spend a few weekends volunteering at the local shelter. You will get a feeling for what the animals need and you might just find the one that grabs your heart. You might also develop some connections with staff that can assist you later on, if you need it.

    e.
     
  15. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #15
    Older rescue dogs are not pets for emotional 'amateurs', for trouble may come before you are mature enough to handle them. It's easy for me to say you have to be objective, in giving an older dog a better retirement, but doing it is an entirely different thing.

    Start will a rescue puppy, and age together. ;)
     
  16. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #16
    I grew up with dogs and moved out of my house when I was 18. Going from house to apartment to house to apartment (whatever I could really find that made me happy) was not conducive to a dog. Finally in 2002 I was gung ho on getting a dog but then realized that I do believe having a dog in an apartment may not be fair. It is not that it cannot be done but for me, I wanted to wait until I bought a house. That was my own personal hang up. I got a cat.

    Many many years later I got a house and I got a dog. I was not looking for the particular breed that I got but there were YouTube videos of her online that made me realize that she was indeed the perfect dog for me. I've had her 10 months now and here is what I've figured out and yes, I am quite attached to her.

    I could easily travel for up to 5 days and not worry about my cat. I cannot do that with a dog. Every time someone springs an idea to go away on me I have to look to see if I can board her. It's $40 a day/night to board my dog but the facility is remarkable. If I want to leave some place late Friday night on a whim and not come home I cannot do that unless I can bring my dog. I can't just bring my dog everywhere. This is the biggest hassle for me overall that was not even considered when I got the dog because my life was different 10 months ago. Even still, it is something you need to consider.

    I work from home, which is nice, but if you get a dog you never know what it may do when you're not home. My dog was entirely different when I got her than how she is now. She is coming into her own and she knows this is her house. No dog trainer will appreciate that comment but it is true. Recently there has been some unwanted behavior so I have to crate my dog when I go anywhere, even for 30 minutes. I'm hoping she'll get past it. I caution you to look at the breed because my dog does what she does because she has separation anxiety which is a known trait in American Staffy dogs and pitbulls, I have a staffy.

    You have to consider that your dog will be alone for 8 hours a day minimal. Again, cats don't tend to give a crap but dogs do.

    Dogs may want to pee in the middle of the night. Dogs don't care if you have the flu and you're puking everywhere, if they have to go they have to go. Dogs need baths, this is either an additional cost or something you have to do yourself depending upon the dog. Long hair dogs shouldn't be bathed in a household tub because of all the hair. In the summer outside baths are nice though.

    Dog food, if you give two craps about the dog, is not cheap. I feed my dog Blue or Blue Wild. That is $28 for 18 lbs or $52 for 24 lbs of the Wild variety. That is not cheap and figure 18 lbs every 10 days give or take for a 40 lb dog (that is my scenario).

    On the most positive side, my dog is the reason I get out of bed every morning. If I don't she'll pee wherever she wants. It is not as though I don't really want to get out of bed but I don't have the luxury of just staying in bed all day. I have to at least go outside. If you're in an apartment you'll have to get dressed and go out. At least in my backyard I can look halfway unkempt and still let her out. In the winter at 6 am it could be 20 degrees. That sucks but guess who has to pee? That is right! The point is, having my dog has really been good for me. Though it can sometimes be a hassle, the benefits of having a pet that really does care if you're around is cool. My cat cares when I get home after a 5-day trip but otherwise, he's chill as long as he gets food and water.

    Most people will say dogs are expensive, require a lot of attention and there is never really a way to get a vacation from them unless you pay to board them. This is all very true. My dog likes to play and has gotten herself hurt before. She's been pretty problem free for the most part but annual shots, check ups, food, grooming, and of course everything I spoil her with is not cheap. Again though, I feel lucky to have found her ... she's a giant stupid head.

    I personally looked for a dog that was 1+ year because I felt like it was easy to get a puppy, they go like hot cakes. My dog is going to 2 in August, I think or I guess ... she's got some puppy in her but she's generally pretty chill. I do take her out a lot, she goes a lot of places with me and we hang out at the dog park frequently.
     
  17. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #17
    I want to be a dog owner but don't know where to begin...

    Maybe a pet shop or rescue centre?
     
  18. Kebabselector macrumors 68030

    Kebabselector

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    #18
    Staffies are great :)

    Here's the UK version!

    [​IMG]

    Samson - got him from Birmingham Dogs home. We're still getting used to each other at the moment - he seems to be settling in well though.
     
  19. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #19
    I've always been weary of short haired, muscular dogs. Wouldn't it rip your face off given the chance? I mentally put them alongside the doberman, bulldog etc.

    ... Maybe I was fed too many horror stories as a kid :p. And chavs aren't helping, as it seems to be their dog of choice.
     
  20. MOKHAN macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I wish there was a breed of dogs that would stay puppy-ish forever! Or cats that would stay kittens forever!
     
  21. NippleFox macrumors newbie

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    Jan 12, 2012
    #21
    Actually, if you are living a rather small home, you can get a small dog anyway so it has more space for dog to walk around. Also, I'm sure you will take your dog out for walk so it shouldnt be any problem.
     
  22. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #22
    As long as they're un-puppy-ish enough not to pee everywhere, I'm in ;)

    (I'm lucky... my dog became clean after only one week, and we got him at 8 weeks.)
     
  23. peapody thread starter macrumors 68040

    peapody

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    #23
    When I am reading about rescuing dogs from shelters, they all seem to push for fenced yards, room for the dog to move around, etc etc. Will I have trouble proving that I would offer a safe and happy home for a puppy/dog being a working professional living in a 2 bedroom apt?
     
  24. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #24
    Nope. But I got my dog from a kill shelter. The key was paying the fee. That was all.
     
  25. Kebabselector macrumors 68030

    Kebabselector

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    #25
    That's usually the problem. Staffs are generally very friendly, playful and great with kids. Most people see the breed of dog and cross the road to avoid me. I used to feel the same about rottweilers, but having gotten used to them I know they are friendly.

    I have been savaged a few times, all by small dogs!
     

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