What small-medium sized dogs are generally good with young kids? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 91 Old 09-05-2007, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Joanna-Thanks so much for your reply. I really enjoy reading your posts and find that I get soooo much information from the Pet Forum, here on MDC, b/c of YOU!

I don't know what dog we'll get, but I really want to narrow our choices and feel that we're focused on a few breeds that we think would fit and see if we can find those. I love the idea of a French Bulldog, but they seldom come up at rescues--even one devoted to FBs only gets a few/year. I also really like mutts. And then the flip side is Goldens. I know, I'm all over the place here...
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#62 of 91 Old 09-05-2007, 06:39 PM
 
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Bearsmama, Goldens are fantastic dogs. They do tend to be wonderful with kids, and are usually gentle as can be.

BUT I seem to remember you had a thing about hair... and size...

No amount of fantastic personality is going to change the fact that a GR has a LOT of hair that needs to be brushed regularly, and vacummed up off the floor often. No amount of gentleness is going to change the fact that a GR takes up the entire back seat of the vehicle, making it pretty tricky to take the whole family and the dog anywhere.

We had the world's greatest black lab for 13 years. He was everything you could hope for in a family dog. But he was HUGE. And while I don't think he shed excessively, because of his size, a little shedding went a long way! Not to mention the fact that a big dog eats a lot and leaves BIG piles.

Please look at the big picture, and try to be as objective as you can when it comes to how much inconvenience you are willing to deal with WRT a dog. Establish your limitations, and try not to look at dogs that don't fit. You and the dog will be happier in the long run.

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#63 of 91 Old 09-05-2007, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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nd_deadhead--Thank you for your reply and for reminding me of my original ideas about what kind of dog may work best with our family. We don't lead a "big" life--we don't have a truck, we don't live on acreage, we have a small-medium sized 3/4 fenced yard (which we would get all-the-way fenced if and when a dog joined our family). So a GR, or a Lab, would not fit that life, really. I would love it if those dogs *did* fit, but they don't. And I have to be roped in every now and again from what I WANT and what would WORK. That's why I really love all the honesty and wisdom and experience here.

I will continue to look at rescue sites of all different breeds and mixes. Perhaps we'll find just the right mix of good temperament and size. Maybe there's a mutt out there for us.

Thanks again, ladies.
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#64 of 91 Old 09-06-2007, 11:16 AM
 
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Bearsmama, my all-time favorite breed is the Newfoundland. Enormous, hairy, and often drooly! Maybe someday, if I live in a place with a lake, lots of room, and no carpet in the house, and I never travel (or have a generous neighbor who will dog-sit) I might consider a Newfie. Until then, I'll stick with Corgis!

I know the right dog is out there for you, and he/she will be worth the wait.

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#65 of 91 Old 09-06-2007, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I completely get that, nd! I knew a few Great Danes when I was young and I LOVED them. Does our lifestyle work for a GD? No! Newfoundlands are gorgeous. I have a very funny dog breed book and it talks about how unless you're ready to deal with a yard that looked like a fully-grown man pooped in it, you may not be ready for a Newfoundland!
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#66 of 91 Old 09-09-2007, 08:14 PM
 
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I don't know if anyone has mentioned a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Everything I have read and experienced says they're a great family dog and one of the top dogs for home living too. Sometimes they can be pricey when you buy and there are some CKC rescues too.

Their lil bodies are built like strong hunting spaniels so they can take it! We take ours hiking and camping. They're small to medium sized as the standard is 12 pounds I think, but mine is over 20. Outside they play like a hunter and have tons of fun and can go, go, go.

But they LOVE being a lap dog! Inside they're docile and friendly and loyal and will spend hours on you if you let them or at your feet.

Almost a b-ball team: : Taylor -14, Alex -11, Jack -8, Lachlan born at home 11/15/07
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#67 of 91 Old 09-09-2007, 09:37 PM
 
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Cavs ARE wonderful dogs. The reason they don't sit at the top of my list for families is 1) They're really too small for young kids and toddlers--they're best for kids eight and older, maybe even ten and over. And 2) The breed is riddled with some really nasty health problems, mainly heart and brain. Heart issues are so rampant that you really should almost expect them to show up, and in the last few years it has been realized that the majority of all Cavs have some narrowing of the brain case and subsequent bulging of the brain below the skull. Many dogs live with this and have no problem, but if the brain is too compromised the dog ends up with pretty severe pain and it's heartbreaking. So anyone thinking about a Cav needs to anticipate some pretty enormous vet bills OR a pretty enormous purchase price (to get a puppy from health-tested parents--since the brain test involves an MRI, the breeder has spent thousands and thousands of dollars before the dogs are even brought together, so the puppy price needs to be huge).
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#68 of 91 Old 09-09-2007, 10:10 PM
 
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I don't feel they're too small at all. Of course, it could be because mine's an Amazon at over 20 pounds.

But they remind me of the sturdy body of our Rudy whom was a Westie. They're solid, not easily hurt. My youngest was 5 when we got Charlie, but my friend's baby has been playing with him since the baby was around 8 months old (he's now 12 months).

Charlie has some patience with being pulled on and even if the baby were two to four years old, I don't feel he would be in danger.

I have seen some smaller Cavs that were less social and smaller, but from what I had read online as the norm for their breed, their bodies are hardy and their personalities are great.

The only "beef" I have with them is that I had also read there was little to no grooming for these guys. I guess since we don't have to get him shaved every month, that's true, but he gets some good sized dreads going really quickly if I don't brush him regularly.

The saving grace is that he's not very stinky like our Westie was, so that's nice!

Almost a b-ball team: : Taylor -14, Alex -11, Jack -8, Lachlan born at home 11/15/07
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#69 of 91 Old 09-10-2007, 04:50 AM
 
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We just got an adult Lhasa Apso and he is fantastic with kids! http://www.lhasaapso.org/FAQ/FAQ.html

Like you, I love the look of big breeds but wanted a small breed becuase we already have a med sized dog (German Shorthaired Pointer) and another one would be too overwhelming for me. I also wanted a dog that wanted to be cuddled and interact with me and the kids (as opposed to my pointer who only like to stalk birds).

I think you are on the right track with looking at rescues...that's what I did, looked at rescues and the local shelters and craigslist, and after a few months we finally found our match! And honestly, I wasn't even considering a Lhasa, the only reason I went to look at him was because he was billed as being excellent with kids. And he is! So just keep the faith and you'll find your new addition

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#70 of 91 Old 09-13-2007, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Gina--I looked into Cavs and I really do like everything I've read about them EXCEPT what I've heard about the myriad of health problems many of them are now having. They are quite expensive to purchase through a breeder, and we really want to go through rescue. There's a good rescue that I keep checking (an all-Cav rescue) and they seem to really have very detailed info on all health problems and temperament stuff, so they are still in the running.

Everything is "in the running" with me, though! I am drawn to the labs/GRs, but a small-medium dog would fit our lifestyle better. When I get the dream farm, or the acreage, I will reconsider! That may be in another lifetime, however. I am trying to have a few breeds in mind and yet leave myself and my family open to any dog who may be the perfect fit.

Gris-Thanks for the encouragement. I think a perfect dog would come in any breed, really. I could find the perfect Lhasa or Jack Russell or another breed I haven't thought of. But I do have a mental list going.

Joanna-I still need to read the complete article you mention in your siggy. I have read bits and pieces so far...
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#71 of 91 Old 09-13-2007, 04:24 PM
 
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I just want to put in a plug for a Golden b/c I love the breed. Yes, they're on the larger side and yes, they need to be brushed and be exercised, but honestly if you rescue an older (3-4ish) dog, you won't need to do near as much activity with him/her. Also, since we've switched ours to a raw diet I am amazed at how little he sheds. I still vaccuum once per week, but there are not near the number of golden tumbleweeds blowing across the floor as there used to be

I find that, in general, if you compare Goldens to Labs, they tend to be much less high-strung. We foster for a Lab rescue and, while I love Labs too, they are much more spazzy than our Golden.
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#72 of 91 Old 09-13-2007, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Kristin-Thank you GRs are still on my list, but I have paid more consideration lately to the size of our yard, the size of our car, etc. I'll tell ya, though, every Golden I have ever met has been just lovely.

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#73 of 91 Old 09-13-2007, 04:40 PM
 
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: a cav king charles spaniel. small great w/ kids transportable!

please make sure that you're ready to make a life-long commitment to this dog before bringing him/her home! just a friendly PSA
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#74 of 91 Old 09-18-2007, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,
I'm bumping my own thread b/c I'd like to page Joanna (thekimballs). Joanna-I cannot access the Choosing the Right Breed document from your siggy. Is there another link you could post that you feel is a good resource for helping families choose a dog or breed that is right for them. TIA.

Oh, and if anyone else has a good link to anything like this, please post! Thanks!
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#75 of 91 Old 09-18-2007, 04:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama View Post
Hi Mamas,
I'm bumping my own thread b/c I'd like to page Joanna (thekimballs). Joanna-I cannot access the Choosing the Right Breed document from your siggy. Is there another link you could post that you feel is a good resource for helping families choose a dog or breed that is right for them. TIA.
The article still works perfectly for me--click on either link, then on articles, then RIGHT-click on the choosing the breed link and choose "save as" or "download link as." It's a Word doc so it has to download to your desktop.

In terms of other resources, Your Purebred Puppy by Michelle Welton, the website by the same name (yourpurebredpuppy.com) and Paws to Consider by Kilcommons. Those are the ONLY ones I recommend. The vast majority of breed-selection books and articles are just puff pieces that don't say anything negative about the breeds. This is often because the publisher won't LET the author say anything, because the book will be sold in pet stores (I know that one to be true because I actually talked to an author who was seriously ticked off) or because they think that saying anything negative will not sell copies. So the author is forced into "The Alaskan Malamute loves his food" (please, please understand that I'm saying that this breed is often food-aggressive) and "The Australian Shepherd was developed to move stock over long distances" (please, please understand that I am saying that they have barks that can carry for three miles).
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#76 of 91 Old 09-19-2007, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Joanna. We use a Mac, and our trial of Word has expired. That was the problem, not the link. I can use another program to read it, I think.

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#77 of 91 Old 09-19-2007, 12:51 AM
 
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If you have trouble, let me know. I can easily transfer it to text.
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#78 of 91 Old 09-20-2007, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Joanna. I think I can get it...

I also think that the perfect mutt might find us. Or vice versa. All this breed talk, however, will be incredibly helpful no matter what type of dog we get.

I am currently enamored with the Jack Russell terrier that lives down the street. And I know temperament-wise and training-wise, they can be tough. I also have abiding love for my next door neighbor's bulldog. She is a wonderful dog. And I joke with her mom that I am tempted every day to smuggle her into our yard...
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#79 of 91 Old 09-22-2007, 06:40 AM
 
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We have a terrier mix (Jack Russell and...something) and a purebred Chihuahua, and believe it or not, the Chi and my two year old are best buddies. The dog puts up with the occasional pulling of the ears and LOVES to cuddle. (She usually knows when I'm pregnant before I do - I find her cuddled up next to my stomach.) I also tend to find her cuddled up next to sleeping babies in my house if they are left unattended for 30 seconds.

Most Chihuahuas, from my experience, aren't like this. But don't count them out - you may just have to look for one with a bit more mellow of a mood. And she'll never get over 8 pounds, so she'll always be the smallest in the house. The only real problem I've ever had with her is that she was a PAIN to housebreak, but once we figured out that it was mostly because her little bladder is so tiny, and we just weren't letting her out enough, it got fixed pretty quickly. Once we got that under control, she's been great.

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#80 of 91 Old 10-02-2007, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,
Okay, I'm bumping this thread with a question for the mama dog experts--namely Joanna and K9Rider. I know a lab doesn't fit my original idea of what I *think* would work for my family...but tell me why I shouldn't adopt a lab again?

I keep going back to Labs in my mind. I've always loved them. There's a 2-3 yo labbie up for adoption thru a local rescue....talk me down, ladies, talk me down.

Please know I am *really* not a spur-of-the-moment kinda gal. ooooh, gtg. more laterr
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#81 of 91 Old 10-02-2007, 02:03 AM
 
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I have a totally unfair prejudice against Labs because I can't *personally* stand their whole aura--the never-ending goofiness and food-seeking and bull-in-a-china-shop movement. I want a dog who at least TRIES to think before moving.

Having said that, I know that there are kabillions of people who like nothing more. So my actual answer revolves mostly around size and exercise. Labs are BIG DOGS. A Lab takes up more "space" than a Great Dane, because they are constantly moving around and banging into things and wagging their tails and checking on you and then seeing if maybe some food has miraculously appeared in the bathroom, then coming back and flopping down and then hearing what might be a vicious zombie outside and going to make sure that the zombie is driven away, then re-checking the bathroom for that food, then taking a drink because wow was that dehydrating, and any food yet? It's all ENTIRELY good-natured, but they really do inhabit a lot of mental and emotional space.

Exercise: It takes a lot to exhaust a Lab, and it is vital that they be exhausted. They are built to throw themselves into freezing water again and again and again, and to think it's all a grand game. If they are treated like sedentary couch dogs, they gain weight like crazy (MOST Labs are overweight) and they develop destructive and obsessive behaviors. You should plan on physically exhausting your Lab at least 2-3 times a week, which can mean a five-mile run or two hours of fetch. The happiest Labs of all are the dogs whose owners get into dock-diving or other hunting simulations (or who are actually hunted).

The only other thing that it is important to know is that due to the inherent skeletal structure of the breed (large bones, relatively loose ligaments) and the tendency toward overweight (and the VERY BAD trend that poor breeders are taking advantage of toward 25", 110-lb Labs), there are a TON of joint problems in rescue Labs. It's so bad that if I were looking to rescue a Lab, I would honestly invest the couple hundred bucks in a hip and shoulder/elbow x-ray series before I took the dog home, because if I didn't I would have a very good chance of having multi-thousands of dollars in vet bills when the dog's hips give out at age seven.

The good news, of course, is that they are terribly good-natured dogs and typically you won't run into a lot of actual temperament problems (aside from destructiveness because of lack of exercise). AS ALWAYS, any dog should be evaluated/screened for temperament and with kids, regardless of breed.
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#82 of 91 Old 10-02-2007, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Joanna,
Thanks again-as always-for your expert opinion and honest reply. I grew up with a smaller mutt, but the idea of a larger dog has always appealed to me. I think it was you that said in an earlier thread or post that lots of labs are languishing in homes that didn't really realize that they need A LOT of exercise. This is a serious decision, of course, and one I do not take lightly.

For a family like mine who has never had a dog before, how do we know when the time/dog is right? It's obviously not just when we *feel* it b/c if that was the case I would have adopted a dog by now. What have you told those that have bought your dogs or want to rescue one? There's obviously a lot here on this thread alone that's good advice. But for us-we don't want to buy a dog, we'd like to adopt. And we don't necessarily need a puppy? Any other words of wisdom? TIA I really appreciate your input.
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#83 of 91 Old 10-02-2007, 01:24 PM
 
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Schnauzers, do really well with kids. They also don't shed much

Where we came from dogs where free in rescues.

Put the word out that you are looking for a dog, you just never know who has a dog they need to rehome. We gave away our yorkie just by word of mouth. He went to someone who will provide him a better home than we could.
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#84 of 91 Old 10-02-2007, 01:27 PM
 
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I must say we have a purebred lab who must be a fall back because shes small and nothing like other labs. She loves our kids, play well with them but also just watches them from afar. If anybody bothers them she settles hash. She's not a bull in a china shop.

Labs shed all. the. time.We have copious amounts of yellow hair even with a Dyson Every morning we should vacuum where she sleeps but we dont.

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#85 of 91 Old 10-02-2007, 01:34 PM
 
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Hi BearsMama - do you lay awake and night and dream of doggies?

I had a Lab for 12 years. He was the most wonderful, gentle, friendly, smart dog I've ever met. He adored the children - when we brought out twins home from the hospital he literally grinned from ear to ear and wagged his tail for hours: "Hooray! We had puppies!" The babies could pull his hair out by the handful, and he would cry if I tried to isolate him for his own protection. I'll bet he understood a hundred or more words (he learned to spell W A L K). He would walk across hot coals for me if I asked him to. There never was a more loyal dog.

That said, when it came time for us to get another dog, we did NOT get a lab. They don't really reach adulthood until they are about 3 - and that's a pretty huge, energetic, rambuctious teenager to have in the house! Ours got at least an hour of exercise (frisbee or tennis ball) every day, 30 minutes before we left for work and more in the evening. Even with regular brushing, his double coat meant that tehre was dog hair EVERYWHERE. He was big for a lab, and we had to get a van, just so we could take him with us when we went out of town.

When he was younger, he was a runner. If the door wasn't latched, or if we were outside and didn't watch him for a few minutes, he would be long gone.

Even when he was tired out, he took up a lot of room in the house, as Joanna said. He wasn't quite as hyper as the dog she described, but he didn't miss much. No matter where we were he would be laying at (or on) our feet.

Labs are definitely high maintenance, because of the amount of exercise they require. In your case, with small kids, I think it might be hard for you to carve out an hour or more a day to devote to playing hard with the dog (ours was 5 years old when the babies were born, so it wasn't as bad). The problem with adopting an older lab is that they don't have a real long life span.

I think Labs are the greatest family dogs in the world - but I don't think it's the right dog for you. Think seriously about waves of dog hair drifting across the kitchen floor! It would have helped if we had brushed him more often, but that takes time too.

When is the "right" time to get a dog? We got a puppy, and typically puppies take a lot more time in the beginning. We waited until our sons were 7 years old, so that DH and I could devote 90 minutes or more each day to the dog, without taking a lot away from the children. The 90 minutes isn't all at once - it's 5 minutes out of 20, when he needs to go outside; it's 10 minutes of training here and there throughout the day; it's in the middle of dinner when you catch him chewing on a chair leg.

An adopted dog will probably be house trained, and more polite, but will still require a fair amount of time and energy to help him adjust to his new home.

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#86 of 91 Old 10-02-2007, 01:35 PM
 
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I have to agree with Joanna about the general Lab personality. However, I tend to like it...it doesn't bother me that they're always underfoot and wagging and walking into walls I grew up with Labs and then got a Golden and have been loving both breeds ever since. Goldens tend to be, in general, not as spazzy or as clumsy. They both were originally bred to be hunting dogs. Goldens were more bred to hang in a duck blind with their master all day and retrieve the occasional downed bird whereas Labs were bred to walk with their master all day long. Both need their fair amount of exercise, that is for sure. However, when I compare our Golden to our foster Labs, he clearly is more calm in the house and knows how to turn off. Part of that could be that we trained him since day 1 and he's learned self-control, but moreso I think Labs just tend to be more active indoors than Goldens. Also, Labs shed....a lot. Their short hairs have a way of weaving into nearly any fabric.

With both breeds, there are a TON of poor breeders, so most of what you'll find in rescue and in shelters are dogs from backyard breeders or puppy mills. Any good breeder would require that any of their dogs be returned to them at any time. So keep that in mind when looking at either of these breeds. The rescue that I work for does have all of their dogs fully vetted upon intake and if there is any concern over poor hips (or anything else), they are surgically corrected prior to adoption. I don't know if that's true with all rescues though.

As far as when you're ready, well I'm not sure how to answer that one. I guess if your life is settled enough that you can devote 6 months or so to continual and consistent training, then I'd say you're probably pretty ready. The new dog will require a lot of time and energy, both in terms of exercise and training/bonding. I guess you'll need to be financially prepared as well
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#87 of 91 Old 10-02-2007, 01:47 PM
 
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We had a Bichon Frise growing up. They're small-to-medium (10-15 lbs) and great family dogs-- lots of fun and energy and love nothing more than to be around people. The shedding is really good, too-- they practically don't shed.

Mara, mama to two boys born 05/2009 and 04/2011, after four miscarriages. 

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#88 of 91 Old 10-02-2007, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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nd_deadhead: Why yes, yes I do lay awake and dream about doggies! I'm not really kidding or exaggerating that one, either.

Thank you for putting so much into perspective for me. Joanna was able to do that for me when another larger bread mutt dog came up for adoption at a local rescue. The thing I keep thinking of is the size factor. I worry about fitting a 75lb dog in the car. That may sounds like a silly thing, but i figure I better think of everything. I like dogs of all shapes and sizes, but the ones I've known or met who have had the best personalities have been labs. The exercise thing I *do* think about, too. My older son is now in Kindergarten all day long, but I have a 3 year old here with me. So the time factor is not an issue. We do have the time. We go away once a year and very, very rarely any other time throughout the year. We have a pet sitter who we use and trust with our cat that is wonderful and an vet tech. So I feel comfortable about all those questions. But I keep coming back to size. And now, I'm reconsidering the hair factor. Did I mention that my DH is a bit vacuum obsessed? We usually end up vacuuming every day and that's just from the crumbs from the kids. I can't really imagine doing it any more. Ahhhhhhh...this seems so tough. Why is this so tough? When I was young, my dad brought home a dog and he was ours. Just ours. No decision about breeds/temperament, etc. And he was my loyal and faithful friend. Getting a dog was the best thing that happened to me!

I just don't know when I will know. Do I just start going to the local SPCA (only 10 minutes away!)? And keep visiting?

K9rider-I tend to want that sort of underfoot personality. Thinking about the hip thing is really interesting and another factor to consider. I don't know if the rescue I was referring to surgically corrects or even checks hip issues thoroughly. I have to go back and read that part of their site.

momtol&a-You know, a friend growing up had a schnauzer and she was great. You're bringing back good memories.

And weasly-I've never considered a Bichon, but I am open to any dog with a good temperament.
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#89 of 91 Old 10-02-2007, 02:36 PM
 
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I sometimes wish I didn't think about things too much too. Back in the day my family would just go get a mutt from the pound too. I think you are being wise in considering everything though. It will better prepare you for what's to come. By understanding different basic breed temperaments you can make a fully educated decision when the time comes. Definitely go visit the SPCA as often as you want to/can. The right one just might be there waiting for you. Just don't do anything on impulse. Take your time and think about it. We're here for you to help with any questions anytime

The other thing that I meant to mention is that our rescue will NOT take in any "hyper Labs". That might be something to look into with this particular rescue organization as well. We really try to take in those Labs that have the tried and true Lab personality....even if they're not the most picture perfect ones. Also, since I didn't say this before consider an older dog...like 4yrs old or so. They will be more calm and you shouldn't have to deal with adolescent craziness (as I am with my current dog : ). A good friend of mine recently adopted a breeder bitch who was done being bred. She's 6yrs old and just the most lovely Lab I've ever met. Very calm and gentle and tolerant. Just something else to consider...at least in that situation you'd be fairly certain that you're getting a good quality dog (that is, of course, if it was from a reputable breeder).

ETA: Also look into dogs that have washed out of Guide Dog schools. They are often very well trained and of great temperment, but just couldn't be used as a service dog. Most often they are Labs, Goldens, or GSD's though.
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#90 of 91 Old 10-02-2007, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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K9rider-Thank you. I have really been lurking on the pet forums for a loooong time. And have just recently come out of the shadows as a dog-owner-wannabe! Joanna has been been a font of knowledge. I've been following her posts and I really respect her opinion. I've also noticed that you're a lab person and very knowledgeable, too. So I am in the right place! MDC is such a great community--that's why I've been a member for years now and hope to be for many more.

I will run any other questions by my mama dog experts here.
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