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Getting Dogs - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Getting Dogs
Mike and I want to get a dog. Or maybe some dogs. The problem is: we are not sure what size dog we want. I want a small dog. Were I choosing a dog for myself, it would be a "cat-sized" dog, or maybe "one and a half cat-sized dog" one that could sit on my lap. I would still take it for walks and play with it, and I wouldn't carry it in a purse. But it would be small.

If Mike were to choose a dog for himself, he'd want a golden retriever or something like that. Something he can run and play frisbee with, wrestle and play with.

I love big dogs, but I'm intimidated by them. I've never had a dog before, so I don't know how to properly interact with them and train them. I worry about a dog big and strong enough to be too much for me to handle. Back when we thought we'd get one dog, it was a constant debate. Every time I saw a dog I liked, it'd be "too small". Everytime he pointed out a dog, it was "too big".

We were working on finding the perfect goldilocks dog right in the middle, when I had a brainstorm. Two dogs! A lap-sized dog and a frisbee dog. This of course doubles the amount of work we have to do in finding the dogs, finding compatible dogs, and making decisions... but it might be fun to have two dogs. They'd have a companion when we're at work, we would each have somebody to play with, and the house would be comfortably full.

Right now all we have is one stand-offish cat, and the house is quite lonely. For awhile I thought we should wait until Mocha moved on -- but honestly I would like somebody more friendly in the house sooner rather than later. I think she could learn to live with a dog, especially if say we didn't let the dog upstairs. Then that could be her domain.

As time gone by, without getting into too many personal details, we are both learning that the chances are slim-to-none that we will be adding another person to our family, at least not a biological one. And even if that were to somehow happen -- hey, kids like dogs too!

I would like to rescue a dog, instead of buying one from a breeder. But we'd need to find the right kind, regarding size, compatibility with another dog, compatibility with us, ability to be left alone while we're at work, that sort of thing. We would love a puppy, but that might be really hard to raise and train from puppyhood, given our heavy work schedules.

So it seems like hunting for rescue dogs, and learning all I need to know about how one choose a dog, trains a dog, cares for a dog, etc. It will be a fun adventure. And someday soon... Dream Dog(s)!

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dagibbs From: dagibbs Date: June 20th, 2014 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
And, of course, the lap-sized dog may decide it loves chasing frisbees, and the frisbee-sized dog may decide it's the one that wants to be a lap-dog. :)
djinnthespazz From: djinnthespazz Date: June 24th, 2014 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes!
This can happen. and still be awesome.
fachless From: fachless Date: June 23rd, 2014 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have you considered a Greyhound rescue? I knew nothing about them until my friend got one. Amazing! They're big, but not too big. Not overly hairy. Don't drool, RARELY barks, great with kids, doesn't climb all over you, but happy to be pet and loved on. The only thing to keep in mind is that some of them are not good with cats (though his last two have been fine). The rescue groups seem to test them for this characteristic, though, and indicate which ones are safe for cats. My friend takes his dog everywhere--just got back from a weekend in Chicago where they walked all over. He regularly interacts with other dogs who are much smaller with no problems.

Standard poodles are also interesting. As my mom says, they aren't like the toy poodles...they still know that they are a dog. The standard poodles I've known are super smart and pretty easy going. You can get them in a hair cut that isn't the crazy things that you see at the shows.

Small dogs are going to be prone to barking. All the time. And the ones that I've encountered tend to be pretty territorial and have more incidents of biting.

I would recommend that you go to some dog shows to check out different breeds. The one's going on now often have people (breeders/owners/handlers) camping on the grounds that you could talk to about their dogs. Note: it's hard to talk to people at ring-side at dog shows since they're on pretty tight schedules of getting dogs in and out of the show ring. You can ask them what their dog breed is like, what you're looking for in a dog and ask if they think that it would be compatible with what you want. Despite all the demonizing that the general public likes to do about pure-bred dogs and dog breeders, the good ones want what's best for their dogs, and want to find people that are going to give their dogs what they need. They can also be a great resource for rescue group contacts. I would be happy to serve as a tour guide, if you would like one. :) To see what shows are going on when/where, go to www.infodog.com.

Even if you aren't interested in getting a show dog, or a pure-bred dog, this can be helpful research. Any dog you get will be a *something* and will carry many, if not all, of the traits that the pure-bred dogs have. Even if you get one from the pound, which is a great option, too. Likewise, avoid the "designer dogs". I'm not super impressed with the "breeding plans" that most of these breeders are using. Unfortunately, many are just in it for the money and are trying to start the next big fad. It's sad, really and hard to know what is going on behind closed doors.

If you want to chat about this, feel free to call, or I'll be in town for the Fourth. :) Yay for dogs!
djinnthespazz From: djinnthespazz Date: June 24th, 2014 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Here's where I go off on a ramble... Pick up your grain of salt and follow along!

I found two of my dogs on petfinder.

Here is where I might start.

https://www.petfinder.com/pet-search?location=48105&animal=Dog&primary_breed=Rat+Terrier&age=Young&gender=Female&gender=Unknown&distance=&pet_name=

Rat terriers are small, cuddly, and yet active and energetic. They like to do things with you - frisbee, fetch, or dog sports (look up agility, flyball, dock diving, lure coursing, barn hunt... )

Dogs to avoid as first time owners (there's quite a list)
Border Collies, Jack Russels, Cattle Dogs, German Shepherds, Malinois, typically any of the dogs breed to be working dogs - sheep, police, hunting lines of the hunting dogs. These dogs are going to be super sharp, super motivated to stay busy, and you will have to work hard to be smarter than they are, in their eyes.

Dogs that are fiercely independent and might not need you - Akita, Chow, Shar Pei, Shiba, Siberian, Basenji ...

THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS, of course. Every dog is different. But know that you will want to be careful if looking at any of the above.

Dogs that are good prospects
Lots of mixes. Pug mixes (if they breathe normal, run around a bit and see if they start wheezing) Small terrier mixes - Boston, Rat, etc.
Pit Bull mixes. Bullies are excellent dogs. I'd look at the local Bully rescue if you want to think about them - they'll be able to tell you what the dog's personality is like.
Pomeranian mixes, Papillon mixes... so many dogs!

I like a Chihuahua mix. There are a bunch of 10 and 12 pound dogs in this category that will both cuddle and be active. Mine do agility, and Miss Cricket excels at it!

Any way. I love poking around on Petfinder. Type in a dog breed and it will come up with that breed and any dogs that seem to be a mix with that breed. Lose yourself for hours.

djinnthespazz From: djinnthespazz Date: June 25th, 2014 12:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Here's where I go off on a ramble... Pick up your grain of salt and follow along!

This kind of dog might be able to be what you both are looking for:

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/29069706/

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/29259255/

https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/29271687/

Of course, when you find a dog that interests you, ask the shelter about cats. Our dogs have all had low prey drive - we've had a cat 'safe room' behind a baby gate, and the dogs were trained to let them be and they could come and go as they pleased.

guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: June 25th, 2014 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mutts are the best breed, because they last longer. And adult rescues are great, as you will see their personality already formed and can decide if that fits into your home.

Dogs rarely understand if they're big or small, but most of my big dogs always thought they were small enough to fit on my lap.

You'll know when you see the right one. They find you, somehow.
djinnthespazz From: djinnthespazz Date: June 25th, 2014 11:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
*nods*
pstscrpt From: pstscrpt Date: June 30th, 2014 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Dogs have a sense of fairness, so if the little one gets to sit in your lap, the big one is likely to be upset that he or she doesn't.

Pit bull mixes are very sweet as long as they get a good bit of time around people, and there are a lot of them around, but you'd want to stick toward the smaller end (probably Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the smallest of the three pit bull breeds), as they're pretty strong. The strength might help Mike be happier with a smaller dog, though.

Our last dog was an American Pit Bull Terrier (the middle of the three) / beagle / lab mix, and didn't realize her own size, so she wanted to be in your lap, at 45 pounds. The American Bulldog we have now is just a little bigger, but he sits next to you on the couch and cuddles up, maybe putting his head in your lap. He has way less interest in obedience than Maggie did, though.
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