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Thread: Help me choose - pleeeaaase!

  1. #1

    Question Help me choose - pleeeaaase!

    Hi guys,
    I've done my head in with research on dog breeds - and am so interested in them I've bought an encyclopaedia on them (arriving soon ) . I'm really keen on getting a pup in the next year or two and I keep looking at purebreds. I haven't left crossbreeds out of the equation though, but it'd be cool to have a specific one-breed dog. I'd love to get your opinions!

    A little history: I'd looked after a friends 4 dogs for over a year (now sold and some passed on), one was Pit x Mastiff x, the other Staghound x Dane, another a pup from the latter two, and the third was Sharpei x (something something).
    After I stopped looking after those, I ended up with my own dog about a year or so later, a 18mo female Staffy who I had for 3 months before selling her as I wanted to give her a family with kids where she had space to run (I currently rent a unit w/ courtyard) - even with daily walks, she always would lie and stare at me with sulking puppy eyes making me feel guilty for not playing with her (instead of studying) or otherwise turned her back on me when I called her over as if to say 'stuff you'
    My next dog about 6 or so months later was a mixed breed from a rescue. He was 10 months old and the staff at the rescue said he'd suit my living conditions and would be fine with a short walk (had a hip problem) in the morning and another in the afternoon as well as bones and toys during the day. Well that didn't work out either. He chewed up a blind, cords, wood, chewed up TWO beds, dug holes under the fence line sharing his bones with the neighbours dogs, and the last straw was when he tore a piece of my backseat arm rest off while I was driving (he normally loved being in the car). He had a 10 day cooling off period, so I got my money back after having him for 9 days.

    After all these dogs, I've finally decided that I won't be getting another dog until I live in a decent sized home WITH A YARD at least AND I'm making sure I've done as much research as possible on breeds AND I'm going to raise my dog from puppyhood to as long as he/she lives. I'm also fully aware of the work involved in raising a puppy and have filled my brain with as much information I can on the process.

    So here I am, trying to decide what breed to get that suits my lifestyle (and that I can raise with my 6mo cat) OR whether to just settle with a mixed breed. I live on my own and currently work as a casual (fingers crossed will be getting a full time traineeship/job soon) so I need to watch the budget. For example, I probably won't pay over $1000 for a purebred (limits my options), but I will probably spoil my puppy with toys and the best dog food I can get. I'm not exactly a first time dog owner, but I don't think I could handle a breed that is notorious for being stubborn or hard to train or that needs a very strong leader. Regarding the latter, will the dog automatically see me as a strong leader if I raise them from a pup? Or will the dog test me time and time again?

    Just to add to the immense waffling on I've done (sorry!), I do prefer medium - large breeds, but would be happy with a small dog (don't like yappers). Have been interested in the Pharaoh Hound, Great Dane, Staffy, Greyhound and molosser breeds.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Okay so you prefer medium to large breeds...

    How much exercise will you realistically be willing to provide the dog with?
    What kind of grooming requirements are you after?
    How much time will you be able to spend with the dog once you get a full time job?
    How much time are you willing to put into training the dog?
    Inside dog or outside dog?

    Personally the only mixed breed dog I would get would be from rescue, otherwise ANCK registered purebred all the way. Depending on your chosen breed and breeder you may need to pay more than 1k for a good quality pup though which is something to keep in mind.

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadielee87 View Post
    Okay so you prefer medium to large breeds...

    How much exercise will you realistically be willing to provide the dog with?
    What kind of grooming requirements are you after?
    How much time will you be able to spend with the dog once you get a full time job?
    How much time are you willing to put into training the dog?
    Inside dog or outside dog?

    Personally the only mixed breed dog I would get would be from rescue, otherwise ANCK registered purebred all the way. Depending on your chosen breed and breeder you may need to pay more than 1k for a good quality pup though which is something to keep in mind.

    How much exercise will you realistically be willing to provide the dog with? - 20 minute walk before work and half an hour to an hour in the afternoon. Weekends I plan to take the dog to a park or the beach for a run. Hoping to train it off-lead.
    What kind of grooming requirements are you after? - Preferably short hair, but could deal with medium-long. I enjoy giving my dog a bath
    How much time will you be able to spend with the dog once you get a full time job? - In the mornings before work, probably not a lot as I'll be short for time, but after work I'll have a play and take it for a walk. If the dog is inside, I'm hoping to just sit with it on the couch and watch some TV.
    How much time are you willing to put into training the dog? - As much as I can manage (Eg. Before a feed, after work, weekends). Knowing the basic commands is one of my priorities for a dog.
    Inside dog or outside dog? - Both. It's likely I won't have a doggy door, so when I'm working the dog will be outside, or have access to both the garage and the yard.

  4. #4
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    The issues you describe with your staffy pup and the rescue dog... I'm sorry, but they just sound like pretty standard puppy/teenage dog behaviours. Raising a pup IS hard work for at least the first 18 months. Some dogs chew more than others, some dogs struggle more with being left on their own than others, but if you are not prepared to tackle these types of behaviours, maybe you should get an older rescue dog. Or guinea pigs.

    I'm a bit too judgmental because I work with rescue organisations and see the result of people giving up their dogs when they become too much to handle way too often. You can glean some information from the genetic background of a dog, but noone can predict what kind of dog a pup is going to turn into. You just deal with it.

    And no, they will not see you as their leader automatically. They will see you as a leader when they catch onto the fact that you have their best interests at heart and that obeying you is the best way to get what they want.

  5. #5
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    a 18mo female Staffy who I had for 3 months before selling her as I wanted to give her a family with kids where she had space to run (I currently rent a unit w/ courtyard) - even with daily walks, she always would lie and stare at me with sulking puppy eyes making me feel guilty for not playing with her (instead of studying) or otherwise turned her back on me when I called her over as if to say 'stuff you'
    This is most dogs and especially terriers. And it reflects more on you as a dog trainer than the dog. It's the dog attempting to train you. And I suspect the dog was better at training you than the other way about. An easy to train dog like a border collie is 10x more demanding on the owner than a staffy x - in terms of wanting you to give them something to do. ALL THE TIME.

    My next dog about 6 or so months later was a mixed breed from a rescue. He was 10 months old and the staff at the rescue said he'd suit my living conditions and would be fine with a short walk (had a hip problem) in the morning and another in the afternoon as well as bones and toys during the day. Well that didn't work out either.
    10 months old - is the start of doggy adolescence - and the age most puppies get dumped when they become impossible to live with. Again - a reflection on you as a dog trainer.

    He chewed up a blind, cords, wood, chewed up TWO beds, dug holes under the fence line sharing his bones with the neighbours dogs, and the last straw was when he tore a piece of my backseat arm rest off while I was driving (he normally loved being in the car). He had a 10 day cooling off period, so I got my money back after having him for 9 days.
    Normal bored dog behaviour. The problem was he had access to chew up all these things when you weren't home. So he was doing something called "self reinforcing" and the more he did it, the more he liked it, so the more he did it... The fact that he had a dodgy hip probably didn't help. He still needed the exercise and mental stimulation and restricting access to things you didn't want chewed (irrigation systems are popular) and he didn't get it. With a dog like this - that you can't take for long walks but still gets bored... trick training and lots of it plus restricting access to things you don't want chewed by putting him a dog run or crate when you're out can be the only way to manage the problem.

    I would suggest you get a book by Susan Garrett called "Ruff Love" and read that - it's short and easy and follow the program with the next dog you get. You need to learn about "extinction bursts" where the dog tries to get you to cave in like a toddler having a tantrum, and you must wait it out no matter how guilty you feel (so long as the dog is not injuring itself), or your problems only get worse.

    You may also want to investigate "NILIF" or "nothing in life is free" to help build your dog's sense of your importance in its life. And you definitely need to find a dog trainer or dog training club you can work with to teach you the skills to manage your next dog - no matter how benign or placid the dog might seem. Even if you got a pekingese lap dog - it can still make your life miserable if you don't train it and let it make all the decisions in your shared life. Starting with toilet training.

    It won't matter what breed you choose if you repeat the same mistakes you made with your previous dogs.

    My dog has some very frustrating behaviours - we're not perfect but I look at my problems as "training opportunities". Some are very hard to figure out because I can't predict when they're going to happen but that just means I need to pay more attention. I never blame the dog.

    Each dog you get - will find your weak spots and exploit them, that's what they do - they're opportunists and experts in observing human behaviour.

    You may want to read through some of the dog behaviour and training articles on Steve Courtney's website.
    Knowledge Base | Steve Courtney Dog Training

    there are articles about NILIF and Triangle Of Temptation and also the Puppy Development (calendar) that describes puppies (bad) behaviour by age...

    I don't agree with all his stuff, but I do agree with not letting the puppy/dog make decisions that are unacceptable in your life. I don't think you need to punish or beat the dog for making mistakes or "bad" choices but you do need to stop or better yet - prevent them.

  6. #6
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    You sound as if you want a dog for companionship.

    If you look on PetRescue - Inspired by unconditional love - PetRescue
    you will find OLDER dogs, past the puppy stage
    some of whom are cat friendly.

    Getting a new puppy is like having a baby.
    Do you really want the responsibility?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by chubbsecurity View Post
    Getting a new puppy is like having a baby.
    Do you really want the responsibility?
    Sure do! Might sound crazy after the experiences I've had, but I truly want to start from scratch, learn from my dog and my dog learn from me. I completely take responsibility for the actions of the dogs I've had. The fact I'm renting took over a large part of my paranoia and worry and I wanted what was best for the dog and what was best for the unit. With the staffy, I felt like she deserved a better home with someone who could give her all the attention she needed. At the time I had her, I was still in Uni and when I was studying was when things went a bit sour for the two of us. I therefore made sure she went to the best home - and that she did. A lovely father and daughter with a male staffy. Their yard is enormous, she has space to run and play with her boyfriend and a young girl who became her best friend. Was very pleased to see her happy again. With the rescue, the renting thing took over my mind the most. I got very VERY paranoid about the damage that was occurring and I couldn't afford to pay for the damage and wait until he grew older and I'd managed training with him correctly. I was fully prepared to help bring him out of his shell (he was a very timid dog, especially around men) and I was looking forward to training him, but it was all too much for me to handle. He went back to the rescue shelter and within less than a month was adopted

    I bought one of Cesar Millan's books. I really like his technique but am also open to other methods. I want to learn as much as I can! I find it all thoroughly interesting (not using sarcasm, I'm very serious).

    In regards to breeds, I've read Greyhounds are great dogs, that when indoors will lounge about with you, and when outdoors loves to go for a run/walk. The only drawback on my part is my cat. I've read a post by a lady who rescued a retired racer who was labelled "cat friendly". Well the "cat friendly" greyhound put holes in her cat. It therefore makes me wonder that even if I raised a greyhound, or any other breed who has a strong instinct to chase small fluffy animals, that it would still have the high chance of wanting to put holes in my cat too...
    Last edited by wkristen; 09-10-2013 at 04:26 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkristen View Post
    Sure do! Might sound crazy after the experiences I've had, but I truly want to start from scratch, learn from my dog and my dog learn from me. I completely take responsibility for the actions of the dogs I've had. The fact I'm renting took over a large part of my paranoia and worry and I wanted what was best for the dog and what was best for the unit. With the staffy, I felt like she deserved a better home with someone who could give her all the attention she needed. At the time I had her, I was still in Uni and when I was studying was when things went a bit sour for the two of us. I therefore made sure she went to the best home - and that she did. A lovely father and daughter with a male staffy. Their yard is enormous, she has space to run and play with her boyfriend and a young girl who became her best friend. Was very pleased to see her happy again. With the rescue, the renting thing took over my mind the most. I got very VERY paranoid about the damage that was occurring and I couldn't afford to pay for the damage and wait until he grew older and I'd managed training with him correctly. I was fully prepared to help bring him out of his shell (he was a very timid dog, especially around men) and I was looking forward to training him, but it was all too much for me to handle. He went back to the rescue shelter and within less than a month was adopted

    I bought one of Cesar Millan's books. I really like his technique but am also open to other methods. I want to learn as much as I can! I find it all thoroughly interesting (not using sarcasm, I'm very serious).

    In regards to breeds, I've read Greyhounds are great dogs, that when indoors will lounge about with you, and when outdoors loves to go for a run/walk. The only drawback on my part is my cat. I've read a post by a lady who rescued a retired racer who was labelled "cat friendly". Well the "cat friendly" greyhound put holes in her cat. It therefore makes me wonder that even if I raised a greyhound, or any other breed who has a strong instinct to chase small fluffy animals, that it would still have the high chance of wanting to put holes in my cat too...
    I think a greyhound would be a great choice for you! They are absolutely gorgeous dogs! My uncle rescued an ex-racing greyhound last year who was labelled 'cat friendly' and he gets on really well with their two cats. I think it would depend greatly on the individual personality of the dog.

  9. #9
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    Greyhounds are beautiful. My family has had whippets and cats for ever although it is always wise to monitor their interactions with cats and keep an eye out for any unacceptable behavior but really that goes for any cat dog relationship to begin with. My sisters whippets are fine with their cats. They like some exercise but are quite laid back and all the ones we have had have had really nice temperaments.

    Personally I would avoid a young animal with dodgy hips. Could result in major vet bills or euthanaisia down the track and just because a young animal has dodgy hips doesnt mean that it wont behave like any other young animal. Not sure what rescue was thinking in that case.

  10. #10
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    Greyhounds can get along ok with the family cat, but you cannot trust them off lead when there's unfamiliar cats around. And when they chase wildlife, they're more likely to just keep going and going and they could easily match the speed of a wallaby and probably even a roo. It was always my main reason for not wanting a greyhound because I do like to walk my dogs off leash and I didn't want a dog whose recall would always stay unreliable because of that strong chasing instinct. Most dogs will chase, but some are harder to snap out of it than others. I had a hunting dog (a staghound x, so also a sighthound) and I deliberately chose a completely different type of dog after she died because I preferred not to deal with that one track hunter brain. That is just my opinion, but I thought I needed to tell you because of your mention of wanting to walk the dog off leash. I have found a smarter, more versatile type of dog is much easier to train in that regard. Mine's a kelpie x staffy and she's a really easy dog. She was a ferocious chewer and destroyer of shoes and all other sorts of stuff we had an attachment too when she was an adolescent, she still has a problem with wanting to launch her whole body at people when she greets them, she has no idea about personal space at all but she is smart and very obedient. (Obviously I spent lots of time training her too)

    I love whippets but most of the ones I meet seem to fall in one of two categories: extremely timid or downright fearful or completely bonkers and unable to stand still for even a second. I've never met one inside his home though.

    Despite your bad experience with rescue, I would not discard that option. It may take a while to find both a suitable dog and a foster carer that you feel is being completely honest with you, but if you do find that you will get a good idea what the dog's temperament is like.

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