Maybe getting a dog – any advice?

aragorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Our kids have been begging us parents to get a dog "for ever", and we've previously always said no mainly because my wife is sligthly allergic to them, and also because we've considered the kids to be too young to take responsibility of one. You know the story...kids say "please, please, please, we'll do anything for a dog" and then the next thing you know, you're the only one who takes it out and cares for it.

Well, recently my wife and I thought this over, and to our 'surprise' we both concluded that it wouldn't be such a bad idea, after all. I was genuinely surprised that my wife was for it, since she's never been a 'dog person' and never had a dog. In contrast, during my childhood our family had three consequetive dogs, I've always liked dogs, and know pretty well how to deal with them. I guess the weird and stressful times we are living might have something to do with the decision. We feel like a dog would bring some positive spirit, joy, and focus (other than Corona !) in the family. And, it might give the kids an opportunity to learn more of how to be responsible and the dog might even give them comfort in this mad world. Plus, I really like dogs. :-)

Anyways, because of my wife's slight allergy we've been looking at hypoallergenic breeds, and now we've narrowed it down to two options: 1) Standard Schnauzer 2) Labradoodle.

I'm not that familiar with Snauzers but from what I've read they are highly intelligent, very loyal, and 'serious' dogs who like to 'do chores'. I like that description! Personally, I'm not a big fan of really small, 'funny' and 'wild' dogs that 'bark all the time' (sorry my prejudice). So, the miniature Shnauzer is out, and as the giant Snautzer is too big, I give my vote for the standard sized (original) Snauzer.

My wife and daughter think that the labradoodle is sooo cute, and that the Snauzer is a too 'serious German dude with whiskers'. It appears that they'd want the labradoodle instead. Our son hasn't yet given his vote to either one. Since labradoodles are a quite recent mixed breed, I have some concernes about how robust their health might be (unpredictability of health and other factors is mentioned on several pages I've seen). The original Snauzer, on the other hand, has been around for over 200 years. Some sources say that the labradoodle is highly intelligent, some say that you never know.

So, does anyone here have any experience with either breeds or good knowledge on them? I guess since I'm the only 'experienced dog owner' in our family, my vote will have considerable weight in the final decision (I could be wrong about that !). My experience is that it's more important that the dog is intelligent and loyal than how cute or 'fun' it is.
 

rs

Dagobah Resident
My advice is not related to breed. The most important thing to remember about a dog is that dogs are pack animals. There is only one Alpha in the pack and all dogs will "compete" to be that alpha. As the owner of a dog, it is imperative that you both train the animal and also that you establish and constantly maintain your alpha status. Neither require cruelty, in fact compassion and love is required. But you have to make the dog understand that YOU are in charge. Always. Otherwise the dog will take over. Also, as pack animals, they require socialization. This is why people have problems with some pets. They leave them home and they chew the couch. They require companionship.

You should try and find a local "dog whisperer" and discuss it with him. It will be well worth the time/money. Good luck.
 

placematt

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Hey mate, my parents just got a blue heeler pup. I tried to convince to go with a smaller dog, because they are getting older and their health is getting bad, but they didn't really listen. My thoughts were also in regards to food shortages and a dog needs to be fed. With that said, I echo RS's sentiments about training.

Kikopup training

Above is a youtube channel that teaches training by the use of a clicker. There is also a great book called Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor which is also a must read in regards to training and behaviour. I make my own beef liver treats with my dehydrator for training. But i tend to eat most of it for myself haha

best of luck finding the right breed for you and your family, i do enjoy training and having a dog but i think given the circumstances, thinking about feeding them with the coming situations is a good reason to get a reasonable/ mid to small sized dog. Just my thoughts.
 

BHelmet

Dagobah Resident
1. Ask Yourself: as food prices rise and food becomes scarce, and the economy continues to tank, are you in a position to feed a dog AND your family?
(oops- already mentioned)
2. Yes dogs are good for mental and emotional health. They can be wonderful. Their barking can provide some security.
They can also be high maintenance.
3. They eat and they require getting out for exercise and they poop, which, if you are conscientious, you have to clean up after.
You have to account for dealing with these realities.
Is it worth the energy drain that comes along with the benefits?
Sorry to be a negative Nancy.
I had a dog. Lover her to death. Now I have a cat.
 

Jones

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
A labradoodle isn't necessarily going to be hypoallergenic or low shedding because the cross doesn't reliably produce the sought after qualities from what I understand. Sometimes you end up with a coat leaning towards the Poodle look, but still with the shedding characteristics of the Labrador and it's not always easy to pick out how the coat will behave until the adult coat comes through.

There are three different aspects that a person can be allergic to - the fur, the saliva or the dander. Dander is dead skin particles that are being shed. So buying a low fur shedding breed may not necessarily help with allergies.

Other options are to get a standard Poodle. They don't necessarily have to be kept clipped in the popular Poodle styles, I've known a few in competition circles that were clipped in an ordinary even all over clip. The popular clip styles in poodles were originally designed around their work in cold water with puffs of fur left around their joints, over their kidneys, end of tail etc for warmth. So the standard poodle was originally a working/hunting dog similar to the Labrador.

There's also the Irish Water Spaniel - the few that I've known have been lovely natured dogs. One of the benefits of these dogs is that they have a naturally clean, short haired face and tail, so while they will still need to be clipped, their face is always free of curly hair. Shaving off whiskers can be disorienting to dogs because they are part of their sensory system - they are used to protect the face and head and for guidance in low visibility.

One thing to consider about the above breeds is that they will need regular clipping. The nature of their coats makes it difficult to keep matting and knots under control with just brushing or combing. Check out costs of doing that in your area. Some busy families keep standard appointments for every 6 to 8 weeks. Alternatively you can buy a good quality pair of dog clippers and learn to do it yourself.

Don't know if you've come across it yet, but the Schnauzer first appeared as a genetic throwback in Doberman litters. The standard size is basically a Doberman with a wire coat. A wire coat is less costly and time consuming to look after, rarely knots in comparison and doesn't pick up prickles and seeds as easily as the coats of the above dogs.

I'm pretty biased on the subject and think that a dog is a great addition to a family :-D All the best with your decision and looking forward to any news you share.
 

genero81

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Probably not an option, but German Shepherds make the most amazing canine companions. They are my sisters favorite for a pet (as opposed to say hunting) and she breeds and grooms dogs. When I lived in Dickson she picked up a rescue she named Sabrina. I still miss that dog. And my boss at work owns one too, Lucy. IMO, the best breed of dog although they can have issues with their hips.
 

Alejo

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
One thing to consider about the above breeds is that they will need regular clipping. The nature of their coats makes it difficult to keep matting and knots under control with just brushing or combing. Check out costs of doing that in your area. Some busy families keep standard appointments for every 6 to 8 weeks. Alternatively you can buy a good quality pair of dog clippers and learn to do it yourself.
This is similar to what I was going to mention, I had a Pomapoo (pomeranian- Poodle mix) and one of the challenges with him was grooming. If you make regular visit to the groomer part of the budget, then it can workout. I did it myself and because of his personality, of trying to get into everything, he ended up being high maintenance, anything he ate or sniffed would stick to his face, and even a bath, unless he had short hair, was a long process particularly because of the drying afterwards.

Besides the advice you have received, I guess I would ask, how old are your kids now? I think dogs are lovely companions for the family, and specially for kids that have grown past a certain age, the energy investment that a puppy requires is sometimes matched by the energy available by a younger kid.

But also, how long before your kids start to develop different interests?, friends and socializing and the like. Other than that, the energy level of the pup you guys pick and the living situation, how much space is available for the dog and how much time would it need to spend alone if any?
 

Yupo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have heard that there are a lot of health problems with labradoodles. If your finances are tight, be aware of how much vet bills can run. I'm fond of a Puli, myself, but they are not inexpensive. They're extremely protective, and will herd you and your family if they think you're not moving fast enough, by nipping at your heels. You'll need a high fence to contain them as they can really jump.
If I get another dog, it will be another puli. I've had 2.
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I think it is a fantastic idea to have a dog. And the joy to decide what kind of dog! The desire to meet this dog! What a beautiful conversation for the family. What a beautiful plan for the team that is a family.

Whether you choose this one or that one, it's all the love you're going to give him or her that counts. and responsibility towards the dog.

I don't know which races you have chosen. I know very well the Labrador Retriever, the Belgian shepherd Groenendael and the Jack Russell. As a small breed dog the Jack Russell is a super intelligent dog. Arturo is a Jack Russell and I didn't choose him, he came to me by magic. Like my other dogs too. Belgian shepherd Groenendael are excellent dogs even if they are big dogs. they are the best for me.

The labradoodle is really beautiful. I think that whatever you decide to take it will be a good choice and a meeting with a dog that will bring you friendship, fidelity and love.

But a dog is not an object. It's a new family member coming, a friend. A life for which you have to take responsibility until his death.

It's a good thing to have a dog for the children, a dog in a family. Anyway I wish you good luck.
 

Keit

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
2) Labradoodle.

It appears that they'd want the labradoodle instead.

Since labradoodles are a quite recent mixed breed, I have some concernes about how robust their health might be (unpredictability of health and other factors is mentioned on several pages I've seen).

I would recommend to think really carefully about getting labradoodle. Apparently some time ago they became really popular because they are so super cute, but as others mentioned, and you probably saw yourself, they have many health and behavioral issues. Basically, as Dr. Karen Becker mentions in her article, they are considered to be a "genetic wild card". And as Jones said, hypoallergenic effect isn't a sure thing.

I also know a person who has a dog "day care" business, and she says that labradoodles are not a good mix and are often hard to train or discipline. 🤷‍♀️ It really depends on what traits this particular labradoodle will get, and you won't be able to observe it until you already have the dog. Perhaps, as Dr. Becker recommend, if you do decide on labradoodle, make sure you get them from a shelter, where they will be able to give you some information about the dog's temperament.



There are three different aspects that a person can be allergic to - the fur, the saliva or the dander.

Also another aspect should be considered, that a human can be allergic to one of the ingredients in pet's food, or pet food can influence secretion from sebaceous glands, and humans will be allergic to the sebum. There is research that was done in cats, and when their diet was changed to a natural one. humans stopped being allergic to them. Maybe it is the same with dogs.


Probably not an option, but German Shepherds make the most amazing canine companions.

Indeed, but only if they are probably trained. Since German Shepherds are service dogs, they require a proper and continuous training, otherwise they become amazing drama queens 😅 and are very hard to handle.
 

Tuulikki

Jedi Master
I am very much a cat person. But if you cannot get a cat, a dog will do...:lol: Once you have made the decision to get an animal it is so exciting and something the whole family gets involved in. Whether the whole family will get involved in what comes out the rear end, only time will tell. Those schnauzers are so weird looking they are cool. They are like distinguished old, bewhiskered gents and if they "do chores" what's not to like. Good luck with the decision anyway. Look forward to hearing which breed you have chosen.
 

aragorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Many thanks for the great replies with good advice. Yeah, it's starting to look like the Labradoodle is not a wise option. In my teens, we had a Boxer dog that was fantastic – intelligent, loyal and alert – but it turned out that its kidneys never grew as they were supposed to, and so we had to 'put it to eternal rest' at the age of 2 years. Minimizing any chances of hereditary health issues is a top priority, I don't want the kids to go through such a horrible experience.
 

rs

Dagobah Resident
Many thanks for the great replies with good advice. Yeah, it's starting to look like the Labradoodle is not a wise option. In my teens, we had a Boxer dog that was fantastic – intelligent, loyal and alert – but it turned out that its kidneys never grew as they were supposed to, and so we had to 'put it to eternal rest' at the age of 2 years. Minimizing any chances of hereditary health issues is a top priority, I don't want the kids to go through such a horrible experience.
Get a mutt from rescue. :-)
 
Top Bottom