Author Topic: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)  (Read 22013 times)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« on: November 10, 2014, 12:03:36 PM »
Hey guys,

So after much deliberation with my wife, and likely at the disapproval of my parents (who I co-own my condo with and expressed to me that they wouldn't want pets there - since they're not living there though, and it's my wife and I, I think we have the right to make this decision though), I decided that I'd like to get a dog. Have wanted one my whole life but always held back by parents (when a kid) or circumstances. Even though my wife tries to dissuade me by reminding me that we are open to having kids soon, and that having a pet would just complicate priorities, etc I still think it would add to quality of life and also force me to get off my lazy butt and get outside for some walks and other exercise (I know this is true because we did some dog-sitting for my wife's cousin on several occasions and every time I felt the innate responsibility to care for the dog by taking it on walks and to relieve itself every morning and evening. It was a good thing).

In any case, we live in a smallish condo so I'd probably be looking for a relatively active and small dog in the 10-20lb range max. As someone who has never owned a dog before, and who would likely be going to a shelter/rescue, I'm kind of clueless as to what to expect or how the process really goes. Just want to prepare myself ahead of time to know what to expect and how to go about the process. I've read that at my local shelter, they really scrutinize and do intensive interviewing to ensure that you'll be a great owner. This is intimidating for someone who has never owned a dog before though. There's also several adoption events at a local Petsmart that I'll hopefully check-out this weekend. Other than that, I've sort of just been researching dog breeds best for our lifestyle and Petfinder to look at various dogs up for adoption in my area. Not sure how up-to-date Petfinder is either.

Any tips and advice for someone who has little experience and has always wanted a dog (but has never owned one)? For one, I'd like to avoid raising a pup if I can just due to our current situation where we're not home all the time. When we dog-sat, we were able to leave Stella at home for the day and she'd be OK but that's because she was fully grown and house-trained.

TIA!
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 12:06:10 PM by jplee3 »

Cpa Cat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1644
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2014, 12:25:24 PM »
My advice is for you to volunteer as a dog walker at the local shelter. While you're at it, read a couple of basic dog training books and try out some tactics on the shelter dogs. Together, these should familiarize you with managing dogs and also introduce you to a variety of dog temperaments and sizes. And ultimately, any of the dogs you like will be adoptable.

Siobhan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 113
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2014, 12:31:02 PM »
We own a small ark of rescue pets.  Be SURE that you aren't going to get tired of this animal and "re home" it when you have kids, or your wife throws a fit, or it becomes inconvenient.  Just as with kids, your staying out all night days will be over, you will need to be home to walk and feed them.  Also, vacations get much more complicated and expensive with dog boarding.  Be prepared, even an adult dog has accidents, especially when they are new.  And BOY, when they get sick, you'd be amazed at how much bodily fluids that tiny body can hold (seriously my dog ate a corn muffin this weekend that he stole out of the trash, he's got a corn allergy, and I went through 3 rolls of paper towels with the vomit).  In MANY aspects they are just like children so be prepared and don't adopt if you can't with 100% certainty say that you are going to be that animals forever home.

To us though, all the trouble, and the expense, are worth it.  My husband is gone a lot so they are my family, they keep me company at night, protect me when we are out, and provide a reason for me to get out of the house. 

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2014, 12:47:39 PM »
Thanks! For a first-time dog owner, would you advise *against* going to a shelter/rescue then? Is it better to contact a breeder or find a new puppy via Craigslist or something vs dealing with a potentially traumatized dog from a shelter and having to re-home it? Especially if there are certain preferences for the dog (e.g. smaller dog that sheds very little, etc)
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 12:49:11 PM by jplee3 »

mlipps

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1086
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2014, 12:56:24 PM »
Thanks! For a first-time dog owner, would you advise *against* going to a shelter/rescue then? Is it better to contact a breeder or find a new puppy via Craigslist or something vs dealing with a potentially traumatized dog from a shelter and having to re-home it? Especially if there are certain preferences for the dog (e.g. smaller dog that sheds very little, etc)

No way! A good shelter or rescue knows the animals and will steer a first time dog owner away from a dog exhibiting signs of being a more challenging pet. Both of my dogs are from rescues and they are really easy dogs. A few accidents in the house as they learned our routine & how to tell us when they need to go out, but all in all miraculously well behaved. Shelter dog does not have to mean tramautized. A puppy from a breeder, on the other hand, is always going to be a lot of work (and money!). I guess Craiglist could be ok, but I think most shelters really care about finding the right dog for you and you would benefit from their expertise.

First though, I think you need to do a LOT more research. The biggest reason I say that is because you think that a small dog is the best choice for an apartment which is not a good general rule. Many small dogs are terriers which have endless energy. They were bred for hunting rodents & can be lovable and smart, but also get bored VERY easily. A Great Dane, on the other hand, is one of the best dogs for an apartment because they have very low energy & do not require the same kind of mental stimulation. Keep reading!

Another Reader

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5109
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2014, 01:11:40 PM »
Do NOT get a dog from Craigslist.  Craigslist is filled with back yard breeders, stolen high value animals, and people that want to get rid of animals with health or behavior issues but don't want to take them to the shelter.  The best way to find out what you really want is to do what CPA Cat suggests.  Volunteer to walk or otherwise exercise the dogs at your local shelter.  If it's too much emotionally to volunteer at the municipal shelter, look for a no kill shelter or a rescue group.  This will help rid you of a lot of misconceptions and focus on what you really want in a dog.  For example, if you want a laid back couch potato that you can walk and hang around with, you might like a greyhound.  Yep, they are a larger breed, but they are easy to care for and cause very few problems.  Invest a fair amount of time in getting to know the breeds so you have a solid idea what you want before contacting rescues.

As a long time shelter volunteer and rescue person, I would NEVER adopt from a breeder.  You are asking for health issues from inbreeding, and the quality of the animals is quite variable, depending on the ethics of the breeder.  There are plenty of wonderful dogs at your local shelter, often left behind for stupid reasons that are no fault of the dog's, that would make great pets for you.

KS

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 207
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2014, 01:13:13 PM »
Thanks! For a first-time dog owner, would you advise *against* going to a shelter/rescue then? Is it better to contact a breeder or find a new puppy via Craigslist or something vs dealing with a potentially traumatized dog from a shelter and having to re-home it? Especially if there are certain preferences for the dog (e.g. smaller dog that sheds very little, etc)

I'd say no to this, although shelter/rescue dogs will often come with a little emotional baggage from having been given up (and sometimes lots of baggage if they were mistreated before that). But that doesn't mean they are necessarily all going to be difficult for a first time owner. On the contrary, some of them will already have basic training that would just need to be reinforced rather than starting from scratch. But do make sure you are very honest with the shelter/rescue about your situation and abilities when they are screening you. They aren't looking to be harsh and eliminate you as a candidate, they just want to find the best possible fit so the dogs will find a wonderful forever home, and they can't do that without knowing what kind of home you can honestly provide, and what you really want your dog to be like.

My parents have had several rescues, some of whom do have some challenges. But they have all been basically good dogs, most common issue across all of them is they did get a little more anxious the first time my parents went on vacation, since they probably thought they were being given away again. My sister also has a rescue she got as a puppy, pretty much the most awesome dog ever. (My family also had pure-breds in the past and they were also great again assuming you do your research on what breed is the best fit for you, but with so many dogs out there in need of good homes, I tend to lean that way now.)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2014, 01:13:43 PM »
Thanks! For a first-time dog owner, would you advise *against* going to a shelter/rescue then? Is it better to contact a breeder or find a new puppy via Craigslist or something vs dealing with a potentially traumatized dog from a shelter and having to re-home it? Especially if there are certain preferences for the dog (e.g. smaller dog that sheds very little, etc)

No way! A good shelter or rescue knows the animals and will steer a first time dog owner away from a dog exhibiting signs of being a more challenging pet. Both of my dogs are from rescues and they are really easy dogs. A few accidents in the house as they learned our routine & how to tell us when they need to go out, but all in all miraculously well behaved. Shelter dog does not have to mean tramautized. A puppy from a breeder, on the other hand, is always going to be a lot of work (and money!). I guess Craiglist could be ok, but I think most shelters really care about finding the right dog for you and you would benefit from their expertise.

First though, I think you need to do a LOT more research. The biggest reason I say that is because you think that a small dog is the best choice for an apartment which is not a good general rule. Many small dogs are terriers which have endless energy. They were bred for hunting rodents & can be lovable and smart, but also get bored VERY easily. A Great Dane, on the other hand, is one of the best dogs for an apartment because they have very low energy & do not require the same kind of mental stimulation. Keep reading!

Thanks for the insight! I'll keep reading up. I've been watching some of the Dogs 101 series (Animal Planet and on Youtube) and that helps. Also been taking various 'surveys' out there that seek to give you an idea of what the best dog breed might be for you. I saw that daschunds and beagles might also be a good option too. Although, daschunds like to burrow which could result in torn up carpet if not trained well haha.

The dog we dog-sat was such a *great* dog - Stella is a yorkie chihuahua (chorkie) mix and was the most mild-mannered and obedient dog ever. She would be classified as a small dog (at 10-15 lbs). My wife's cousin obviously trained her well but she is extremely smart and playful. She did perfectly fine in our place though. It's not a tiny apartment by any means (around 1300sq ft condo) so there was ample room for her to play and run around. And I would take her outside at least a couple times a day for a short walk and to relieve herself. I took her to the local dog park one day too and she loved it, chasing and playing with the other dogs. At first she was a little timid but quickly grew out of it.

Her cousin actually asked if we wanted to take Stella in (since he moved to Chicago and didn't think he could commit to her) but we had to decline since at the time my wife had a rocky and strained relationship with her cousin and she didn't want to do him another favor or cut him slack with taking in his dog. Otherwise, I would have scooped her up that very second. And I still would if he ever asks again (assuming the relationship gets better with him and my wife).

I've seen some really large Great Danes in my neighborhood, and I just can't imagine one roaming around in my place! LOL

mlipps

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1086
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2014, 01:16:16 PM »
There's definitely a lot of variance in personalities within breeds. My Corgi/Jack Russell mix is a huge couch potato, and not even smart enough to figure out fetch...He's a little special (but lovable, and the easiest dog ever!) I just didn't want you to rule out medium or large dogs on the assumption they aren't fit for apartments, or take on a challenging small breed dog assuming just because they're tiny they would be easy to train & live with.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2014, 01:20:22 PM »
Do NOT get a dog from Craigslist.  Craigslist is filled with back yard breeders, stolen high value animals, and people that want to get rid of animals with health or behavior issues but don't want to take them to the shelter.  The best way to find out what you really want is to do what CPA Cat suggests.  Volunteer to walk or otherwise exercise the dogs at your local shelter.  If it's too much emotionally to volunteer at the municipal shelter, look for a no kill shelter or a rescue group.  This will help rid you of a lot of misconceptions and focus on what you really want in a dog.  For example, if you want a laid back couch potato that you can walk and hang around with, you might like a greyhound.  Yep, they are a larger breed, but they are easy to care for and cause very few problems.  Invest a fair amount of time in getting to know the breeds so you have a solid idea what you want before contacting rescues.

As a long time shelter volunteer and rescue person, I would NEVER adopt from a breeder.  You are asking for health issues from inbreeding, and the quality of the animals is quite variable, depending on the ethics of the breeder.  There are plenty of wonderful dogs at your local shelter, often left behind for stupid reasons that are no fault of the dog's, that would make great pets for you.

Funny you bring up greyhounds. My aunt/uncle in Texas have/had at least two Italian Greyhounds that they rescued. Joe passed away within the past several years, and I think that was super-sad for them. I think Bones is still living though. They also took in a Golden Lab (Sweetie) and all are/were crate-trained. Sweetie mostly stayed outside but Joe and Bones were indoor dogs. They did have to put shock-collars on them to prevent them from bolting off (I've read the stories about the dangers of not putting a leash on a greyhound while walking it hahaha). They were super-fun dogs and I would consider one. Really intelligent and obedient dogs. My wife really doesn't like how greyhounds look but I know it's much more than just looks too hahaha :)

Kansas Beachbum

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 182
  • Location: Kansas City Metro
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2014, 01:26:31 PM »
Understanding that everyone feels differently about stuff like this, I'll never own another dog once the one we have is gone.  Don't get me wrong, our little dog leads a charmed life, and she's kind of funny to have around.  But - dogs are expensive.  Not so much food, toys, beds, etc., but vet bills, boarding them EVERY SINGLE TIME you want to go out of town somewhere, cleaning and/or replacing stuff they tear up or pee all over, you name it.  Dogs also limit what you can do and in that regard are kind of like having another child.  Want to go out after work?  Cant, have to go home and let the dog out.  Want to go out of town with the Mrs. for the weekend, kind of spur of the moment?  Can't, nobody to watch the dog, too late to get them boarded.  See what I mean?  And a lot of people who have pets are absolutely, totally ok with these things, and that's great.  But just understand what you're getting into before you do it.  If you're not OK with these things, don't get a pet, as the only thing that's worse is someone who does get a pet and mistreats it because they didn't understand how much of a commitment it was.  Good luck.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2014, 01:27:06 PM »
There's definitely a lot of variance in personalities within breeds. My Corgi/Jack Russell mix is a huge couch potato, and not even smart enough to figure out fetch...He's a little special (but lovable, and the easiest dog ever!) I just didn't want you to rule out medium or large dogs on the assumption they aren't fit for apartments, or take on a challenging small breed dog assuming just because they're tiny they would be easy to train & live with.

Oh don't get me wrong, I definitely don't think all small dogs are easy to train or live with. Take for example my cousin's poodle/terrier mix, Turbo, man that dog is the most stubborn dog ever and has a CRAZY Napoleon complex. My cousin brought him over because we were potentially going to dog-sit him while Stella was with us. He was SO super aggressive as a 5lb toy-sized dog. He had to jump up on the chair or sofa and look down at Stella to show some authority, and was constantly barking and on the defense when she would try to initiate playing with him. Stella is the most timid dog ever but Turbo had major issues with her. He also went through every room in our condo and marked while she followed him - BAD DOG!! hahaha... anyway, I think we prefer smaller dogs like Stella's size because we admittedly like to "baby" them and hold them and keep them in our laps - not sure that can be done with a much larger dog; or it would be a different kind of cuddling LOL. That's just a preference though, I think if we meet some larger dogs we might be more open to it. Oh, and I'm assuming the cleanup isn't as easy for larger dogs. My wife's parents have a brother and sister beagle/rottweiler mix who are very sweet but they don't get much regular exercise and weren't raised or trained well at all. They are outside dogs as well. Cleaning up after them seems like such a pain compared to when we cleaned up after Stella. Sorry I keep going back to Stella, she was really the only dog I've ever known hahaha.

DeepEllumStache

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3465
  • Location: Hiding under my desk
  • I came, I saw, I made it awkward
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2014, 01:29:56 PM »
Shelter dogs can be great.  I got my 20 pound beagle/terrier mix from a shelter 5.5 years ago.  One note on beagles - purebreds may enjoy howling... in a condo situation that may not be a good thing.  My brother's beagle is very vocal.

Once you do get a dog, sign up for a dog training class. Most of the differences between a well behaved dog and a poorly behaved dog start with the owner.  The class will teach you good habits and how to be consistent.  You also learn tricks, practicing then provides an awesome outlet for a dog's energy.

Having a dog is a change in your lifestyle.  Like other posters said, you now need to go home frequently to let your furry family member out.  Boarding can get expensive pretty quickly and vet bills can be a surprise.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2014, 01:31:10 PM »
Understanding that everyone feels differently about stuff like this, I'll never own another dog once the one we have is gone.  Don't get me wrong, our little dog leads a charmed life, and she's kind of funny to have around.  But - dogs are expensive.  Not so much food, toys, beds, etc., but vet bills, boarding them EVERY SINGLE TIME you want to go out of town somewhere, cleaning and/or replacing stuff they tear up or pee all over, you name it.  Dogs also limit what you can do and in that regard are kind of like having another child.  Want to go out after work?  Cant, have to go home and let the dog out.  Want to go out of town with the Mrs. for the weekend, kind of spur of the moment?  Can't, nobody to watch the dog, too late to get them boarded.  See what I mean?  And a lot of people who have pets are absolutely, totally ok with these things, and that's great.  But just understand what you're getting into before you do it.  If you're not OK with these things, don't get a pet, as the only thing that's worse is someone who does get a pet and mistreats it because they didn't understand how much of a commitment it was.  Good luck.

Understood, my wife and I live a pretty low-key/low-profile life. "Going out" means running errands or grabbing dinner hahaha. And vacations? Well, those are usually planned out well in advance and hardly ever spur of the moment. So I think having a dog wouldn't necessarily impede on our lifestyle as is. Of course, things change but the only big thing we may expect to change is having a kid, in which case I think we'd be home more than ever. But this would also impact the kind of dog we might want (e.g. one that is good around babies/kids and one that doesn't have crazy-high energy that is more inclined to bite and nip at things - I wouldn't want a dog that's like that even if we didn't have kids though).  As far as the expenses, that's also something I'm preparing myself for - just reading around and looking at checklists and 'budgets' of items that cost.

Seņora Savings

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 179
  • Age: 31
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2014, 01:45:19 PM »
likely at the disapproval of my parents (who I co-own my condo with and expressed to me that they wouldn't want pets there - since they're not living there though, and it's my wife and I, I think we have the right to make this decision though)

Are you paying them rent or just using their assets without reimbursing them?  In either case, you don't get to make unilateral decisions.  Pets mess shit up, getting a pet will decrease the value of their home.  Either get their approval or don't co-own a condo with them.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 354
  • Location: Vermont
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2014, 01:46:16 PM »
We have a retired racing greyhound and I cannot recommend this breed highly enough. Greyhounds are calm, quiet, don't need a lot of exercise, and need good homes. We did extensive research before adopting our little frugal hound and discovered that greyhounds are a very frugal breed! They're fine staying home alone all day while you're at work (ours sleeps all day--we've put a web cam on her), they don't need dog walkers, grooming (short fur!), expensive food (we get grain-free from Costco), or obedience training. They're adopted off the track as rescues, so they're adult dogs already housebroken, etc. We live in the city and we needed a dog that would adapt well and she absolutely has.

Dogs are indeed expensive, but, we've frugalized ownership (we spend about $950/year on her). We have friends watch her when we go out of town and we've never paid to board her. We bathe her ourselves, clip her nails, brush her teeth, etc. We take her to the vet every year for a check-up and we buy preventative medications, but otherwise, she's pretty cheap! Dogs are definitely a time and money commitment, and I don't want to make light of that, but, it is possible to not spend tons of money.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2014, 01:51:58 PM »
likely at the disapproval of my parents (who I co-own my condo with and expressed to me that they wouldn't want pets there - since they're not living there though, and it's my wife and I, I think we have the right to make this decision though)

Are you paying them rent or just using their assets without reimbursing them?  In either case, you don't get to make unilateral decisions.  Pets mess shit up, getting a pet will decrease the value of their home.  Either get their approval or don't co-own a condo with them.

We're technically paying them "rent" but it goes back into the house as equity anyway. Essentially, we're paying them mortgage if you will (and at a very low rate). Except, we have to figure stuff out with their will, as they've stated they want to split the value of the property between my brothers and I, which doesn't make much sense if my family will be the primary residents and if we plan to live there the rest of our lives...but that's a completely different topic all together.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 01:57:19 PM by jplee3 »

rocksinmyhead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2014, 02:12:40 PM »
My advice is for you to volunteer as a dog walker at the local shelter. While you're at it, read a couple of basic dog training books and try out some tactics on the shelter dogs. Together, these should familiarize you with managing dogs and also introduce you to a variety of dog temperaments and sizes. And ultimately, any of the dogs you like will be adoptable.

Thanks! For a first-time dog owner, would you advise *against* going to a shelter/rescue then? Is it better to contact a breeder or find a new puppy via Craigslist or something vs dealing with a potentially traumatized dog from a shelter and having to re-home it? Especially if there are certain preferences for the dog (e.g. smaller dog that sheds very little, etc)

No way! A good shelter or rescue knows the animals and will steer a first time dog owner away from a dog exhibiting signs of being a more challenging pet. Both of my dogs are from rescues and they are really easy dogs. A few accidents in the house as they learned our routine & how to tell us when they need to go out, but all in all miraculously well behaved. Shelter dog does not have to mean tramautized. A puppy from a breeder, on the other hand, is always going to be a lot of work (and money!). I guess Craiglist could be ok, but I think most shelters really care about finding the right dog for you and you would benefit from their expertise.

First though, I think you need to do a LOT more research. The biggest reason I say that is because you think that a small dog is the best choice for an apartment which is not a good general rule. Many small dogs are terriers which have endless energy. They were bred for hunting rodents & can be lovable and smart, but also get bored VERY easily. A Great Dane, on the other hand, is one of the best dogs for an apartment because they have very low energy & do not require the same kind of mental stimulation. Keep reading!

I think both of these are amazing suggestions!

Also good to see your response to Kansas Beachbum because they are right on about some of the harder parts of dog ownership. The travel/boarding thing is a big one... we have a friend who dogsits for us, but we still pay her and we still have to plan in advance. Re. the tearing up and peeing on stuff, definitely a problem with a puppy but I will say, after raising a puppy this year (she's 6 months old now) for the first time in my life, I was more relieved than ever that being mustachian meant we don't have a lot of clothes/shoes/furniture that are very expensive or irreplaceable :)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2014, 02:39:44 PM »
Thanks all!

One other thing I was a bit confused about and wanted to clarify is the adoption fees. I know many places ask for a "donation" or fee but it seems like this fee often varies. I've seen anywhere as low as $90 to upwards of $400 or so.

Why would there be such a disparity in fees? I understand the fee paid goes toward covering the initial care including vaccinations and medications - I suppose it depends on the condition of the animal itself? But I've also seen where some shelters charge "flat fees" for dogs, cats, etc.

Can someone explain or breakdown what these fees really are? Also, I noticed some shelters ask for a donation rather than a fee. For instance, there's one shelter who I inquired with and on their adoption form it asks if the adopter is willing to make a $250 donation to adopt but not making the donation does not disqualify them (but likely will put you below someone else who IS willing to pay for the same dog, I'd guess). Is there any 'etiquette' in navigating these kinds of "donations" that shelters/rescues ask for? I'm assuming most people would want to donate but is it usually what the shelter is asking?

Cpa Cat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1644
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2014, 02:52:59 PM »
At our local shelter, the shelter will charge a sliding scale with more in-demand dogs demanding a higher fee, and lower demand dogs (usually pitbull mixes or senior dogs) often commanding a low fee (or sometimes even no fee).

The optional donation thing is probably just a test. If you aren't willing to lay out $250 for the dog to adopt it, then are you going to be willing to take it to regular vet visits or pay for medical care? On the other hand, if it's a kill shelter and the dog you're wanting to adopt is on the short list, then maybe they'll take the chance.

Also, they may be just trying to make your "fee" into a tax-deductible donation.

It is very unlikely that the fee you pay (whatever it is) will actually cover the shelter's costs for the dog. Running a shelter is a money-losing proposition and the shelter is only running because it receives money from donors and often the city/county.

starbuck

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Small Town Connecticut
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2014, 03:48:00 PM »
At our local shelter, the shelter will charge a sliding scale with more in-demand dogs demanding a higher fee, and lower demand dogs (usually pitbull mixes or senior dogs) often commanding a low fee (or sometimes even no fee).

Yup this is what my shelter does. Supply and demand, basically! Specialty breeds and puppies command a higher price than pitties and senior dogs. $150-450 is our range. Same for cats. My shelter doesn't do any of that vague donation BS so I can't comment on that.

Be patient when searching for a dog from a rescue org. Often times people want a dog and they want it NOW, and when the right animal isn't available, they either get the wrong dog for their household, or turn to a breeder. So, be patient! It will happen, just may take a while. The animal you choose has quite the lifespan. Some live into their 20s, ESPECIALLY the smaller mixed breed dogs. Mine is 14 years old, and showing no signs of slowing down.

(Also, cats are super cool. I love dogs, but I was surprised at how much I love cats too! My cats are far more interesting than my 15 lb dog. :) Just sayin')

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2014, 03:56:28 PM »
Thanks all!

Well, I have an opportunity to meet Mindy (a doxie-pin) for starters this weekend - stumbled across her on Petfinder and sent an email out last night not expecting a reply but got one really fast. She's 11mos old in foster care right now and is mostly house-broken but still has some issues (with gnawing on things). I don't think we'll have issues with that. The foster parent gave me an idea of her temperament and there's also some videos of her running around on Petfinder. Probably not the *best* way to indoctrinate myself into the adoption scene right off the bat like this (versus visiting several shelters and observing a bunch of dogs) so I'm trying to not to get myself too invested, knowing it will probably not work out (or guarding myself from committing right away without really understanding the commitment). It's kind of a long drive too, so we'll see. I'm hoping to also stop by for another adoption event for a rescue that's hosted at a Petsmart just to see some the dogs they have up for adoption there.

I have a test that morning so I need to focus on that of course - hopefully I pass it so I'm not in an upset mood for the rest of the day!

Siobhan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 113
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2014, 05:03:07 PM »
All of our pets are shelter animals, and outside of the standard behavior modifications that all dogs need, they are WONDERFUL pets.  My chow/collie mix is actually a therapy dog, we were leary towards him since he was part chow, but man he has the BEST personality, he's aloof like a chow but has the patience and tolerance of a collie.  The neighborhood children routinely try to ride him, one actually took a running dive onto him on Halloween and outside of a slight growl, no reaction at all (which trust me my husband and I were like Noooooooo in slow motion when we saw that kid coming, he landed HARD and the poor dog got a sharp toddler elbow to the ribs)  Our husky mix is a little more destructive, but doesn't have any issues so long as we keep her exercised, when she gets bored she chews...a lot.  All of our other pets are shelter animals as well (outside of one cat that we stole before we moved from her highly abusive owner), and we have NO issues. 

The important thing about dogs is in the training.  You see lots of yippy bitey small dogs because people don't train them, they think they are small, and can't do much damage, so why invest the time?  Just meet the dog, play with it, see how it reacts to you touching it's ears, paws etc.  Walk it around the shelter and see how it reacts to other dogs etc, that's how you are going to find the dog for you.

They are wonders to have around, especially after a bad day, they've helped me through a number of deployments and family losses...They've helped my husband cope after deployments, and the therapy dog has aided a number of PTSD soldiers (even if he's been a health wreck since day one, I could buy a new to me car with what we've spent in vet bills on that dog)  To me, no amount of money in the world would be worth me giving them up. 


Tick-Tock

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 156
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2014, 05:18:30 PM »
Kudos for looking to save a life.  We have two shelter cats who are the most loving animals and can't imagine our house without them.

But please, please, please get things straight (explicitly) with your parents before adopting.  It would be horrible for the dog (and you) to have them disapprove to the extent that you can't keep the dog.  And shelters/adoption agencies will ask about your living situation, and may require written permission from the record owner of the house.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2014, 06:42:12 PM »
We chose our Beagle last summer from the shelter, and it was a great option.  I don't think I'd ever consider getting a pet anywhere except from the shelter in the future.  First, we were saving an animal who otherwise would've been killed.  Second, it was a great bargain:  We paid $75 for him, which included his rabies and puppy shots, and we were given a certificate to take him to the spay/neuter clinic within 30 days and have him "fixed" for free.  (Definitely spay /neuter your dog -- it's simply the responsible thing to do.) 

Another option:  Look into fostering dogs.  This gives you a chance to "try before you buy".

I'll second what another poster said:  Don't hurry.  Adopting a dog is a commitment, and you want the right dog -- not a right now dog. 

One health comment:  I told the kids that we were taking him THAT DAY to the vet to make sure he didn't have heartworms.  Heartworms are extremely expensive to treat, and the dog doesn't always survive.  If I were already attached to the dog, I would pay for his treatment . . . but I wasn't willing to take on a brand-new dog that already had the problem.  If you choose a young dog, your chance of heartworms is smaller.

From a frugal point of view, I've been very happy having chosen a Beagle:  He's 20 lbs, which is a nice size for an indoor dog; a small dog doesn't eat much and his collar, bed, medicines, etc. are cheaper.  One small negative: His stomach is a little delicate, and he can't eat cheap food; I'm paying about $15/month for his food.  His short hair is easy to wash at home, and he doesn't require grooming (except trimming his nails).  I set out looking for a Dauschund, but quickly ran into Beagles and haven't been disappointed in the least.  We had a Cairn Terrier when I was a kid, and that was also high on my list of possibilities.  I think I would like a Yorkie or a Shih Tzu, but I wouldn't like keeping up with the brushing and grooming. 

I'll echo someone else's comment:  Obedience classes were well worth the cost.  He's my first indoor dog since childhood, and both he and I learned in the class.

As for boarding, I suggest you find a friend with a similar-sized dog and agree to "trade" boarding when one of you goes out of town.  FREE, except that you might give the friend a box of chocolates or another small gift as a thank you. 

Finally, I would be a bit concerned about getting a dog while you're planning for a baby.  A baby is such a huge time commitment and a lifestyle change.  You can always adopt a dog later.  A dog with a newborn may not be such a big deal . . . but a toddler is going to pester a dog, pull his tail, get into his food dish, and so forth.  Choose your breed with toddlers in mind.  If you wait, I think children are really ready for a dog around the time they start school. 


mlipps

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1086
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2014, 07:52:33 PM »
I wouldn't count on swapping boarding. My pup loves other dogs on the street, but if she realizes they live in our apartment building, instantly hates them. She's very territorial despite being otherwise friendly. I can't imagine what would happen if we tried to bring another dog in. I think she only accepted our new dog because we had just moved to our apartment & she didn't feel as possessive. I think it's a great idea, but don't bet the budget on that one!

And in other advice, I think you're crazy to go "look at" at a dog this weekend. Keep reading & learning. There will always be great dogs out there in need of a home.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2014, 09:29:33 PM »
Thanks again for the advice everyone! I am holding off on the one-on-one visit but will try to make it to the adoption event at a Petsmart not too far away. Fostering sounds like a great idea as well - how does one get started with that process though?


BTW: when you guys say to research and read more, do you have other suggestions in terms of good websites to visit? I feel like I've done a fair amount of research in terms of what kind of dog I'd want. And have researched various breeds that interest me and that seem to fit best with our lifestyle. I understand there are all sorts of fees to cough up with vet bills, vaccinations, food, etc

About the commitment part, I think I kind of get it but will anybody ever really be ready if it's their first time with anything?

Anyway I just don't want to research myself into a pigeonhole but I think the commitment part is still important. But I feel like there will be tons of surprises regardless. In any case, I think fostering sounds like a good way to start out perhaps.

« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 10:14:59 PM by jplee3 »

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2014, 10:29:30 PM »
BTW: the person I was going to setup an appointment through is a volunteer at this particular rescue, and she pointed out the is distinctly different from the shelter. She made the point that rescues work with dogs that are taken from shelters and help "transition" them for re-homing. I'm guessing you're paying more going through a rescue vs a shelter but sounds like it could be an easier transition and better way to match a dog to potential owners (especially new ones).

What are your guys' take on adopting via a rescue vs a shelter?

Siobhan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 113
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2014, 05:51:21 AM »
It's not necessarily always easier, most "rescues" are breed specific, and specialize if pure breeds, you pay almost as much as getting them from a breeder.  And the "transition" isn't always easier.  My parents adopted a cocker spaniel from one of the rescue groups in their area, it was a puppy mill dog for 3 years before the rescue got ahold of it.  That dog is a NUT CASE, it took them 2 years to potty train it, and since it had little socialization in it's early years it snaps at anyone but my mother...and barks. non. stop.  She's gotten better but if there is so much as a drop of rain outside she secret poops in the house when no one is looking still (5 years later). 

In terms of fostering just call your local animal shelter and tell them you are interested in fostering.  Realize however that you will be fostering a variety of dogs (or cats) and probably puppies as well.  Also, if you have SUCKER written across your forehead, like my husband and I do, you end up adopting more of them then you should.  We had to stop fostering after the last dog.

There is only so much research and reading you can do, I never had a dog growing up, my husband and I adopted our first one 6 years ago, and it was a learning lesson for us both, mainly because he was so ill when we adopted him but you get through it, you invest in a good carpet steamer, and you move on.  I'm really not sure how much more you can read on the topic if you are already prepped for the commitment and cost since those are the top two reasons people give up their pets.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14337
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2014, 06:10:39 AM »
We got our beagle from Toronto Animal Services (basically the pound).  I've had dogs most of my life, so I knew the kind of personality I was looking for in a dog.  Our beagle was pretty quiet (unusual for beagles) and low key, but not overly timid (being afraid of everything can lead to a lot of problems).  Breeds tend to have particular traits, but there's a big variation in personality from one dog to another.  Figure out a few breeds that have traits you like, and figure out the kind of doggie personality you are interested in.  If you can, bring someone you know who has a lot of experience with dogs along when you're looking at animals in the shelter.  A dog becomes a pretty important part of the family, so it really helps to find one that will mesh well with your daily life.


rocksinmyhead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2014, 07:53:23 AM »
The important thing about dogs is in the training.  You see lots of yippy bitey small dogs because people don't train them, they think they are small, and can't do much damage, so why invest the time?  Just meet the dog, play with it, see how it reacts to you touching it's ears, paws etc.  Walk it around the shelter and see how it reacts to other dogs etc, that's how you are going to find the dog for you.

+1000

Honestly it sounds like you are good on the internet/book research front. Just meet some dogs. Between the housing situation and a baby in the future, I agree with others' suggestion that fostering would be an awesome way to test the waters (and do a good deed) without the commitment right away.

mlipps

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1086
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2014, 08:59:46 AM »
It's not necessarily always easier, most "rescues" are breed specific, and specialize if pure breeds, you pay almost as much as getting them from a breeder.  And the "transition" isn't always easier.  My parents adopted a cocker spaniel from one of the rescue groups in their area, it was a puppy mill dog for 3 years before the rescue got ahold of it.  That dog is a NUT CASE, it took them 2 years to potty train it, and since it had little socialization in it's early years it snaps at anyone but my mother...and barks. non. stop.  She's gotten better but if there is so much as a drop of rain outside she secret poops in the house when no one is looking still (5 years later). 

In terms of fostering just call your local animal shelter and tell them you are interested in fostering.  Realize however that you will be fostering a variety of dogs (or cats) and probably puppies as well.  Also, if you have SUCKER written across your forehead, like my husband and I do, you end up adopting more of them then you should.  We had to stop fostering after the last dog.

There is only so much research and reading you can do, I never had a dog growing up, my husband and I adopted our first one 6 years ago, and it was a learning lesson for us both, mainly because he was so ill when we adopted him but you get through it, you invest in a good carpet steamer, and you move on.  I'm really not sure how much more you can read on the topic if you are already prepped for the commitment and cost since those are the top two reasons people give up their pets.

I think it also varies by region. There are a lot of rescues on the East Coast that pull dogs out of high kill shelters in the South & move them up to major cities so they can be adopted. Our rescue came from a rescue in KY that drove the dogs to MD every other weekend for adoption events. Insane. They had reduced the local shelter kill rate from 99% to less than 10%. Her adoption fee was $200 and our other pup's was $250 from a different rescue, as best as I remember. There are also breed specific rescues, and yes, those dogs can be expensive, especially if they are young.

There's no guarantees no matter what that you know what you're getting, but I do think OP is on the right track with finding a dog that has been fostered already. I'm not sure a rescue would accept someone as a foster home who has no experience with dogs though, but you could certainly try.

Finally, I guess what I think you should learn about now is more dog behavior/training information. When my parents & I got dogs for the first time when I was in high school, we just checked out a bunch of books from the library & read the ones that seemed most helpful (and most sane...looking at you Cesar Milan). But, we couldn't afford to take our dogs to a training class as others have suggested doing, so if that's in your budget then maybe that step isn't as important.

chasesfish

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3311
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Texas
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2014, 09:11:25 AM »
I love our beagle/hound mix, such a great dog.  The only challenge with most hounds is they must be leashed or in a fenced yard.  Their nose takes control and aren't the dog that would stay next to you unleashed.

Consider adopting an adult dog, you'll already know their personality. Go walk dogs for a few weeks at a shelter first too

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3402
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2014, 09:21:03 AM »
OP, I wish you well in your quest to get a dog.

Personally, as someone who does dog rescue and who places dogs in home, I look for The Mom of the house to be into the dog. It worries me greatly when The Mom isn't fully on board, as in your case. Because my breed is one that's popular with men (Bulldogs) I am less interested in adopters when the man of the house is the one most into the dog. The Mom will be the one cleaning up messes, most likely.

I'm not saying that I wouldn't adopt to you, I'm just saying that personally, this situation would worry me for placement of a dog into your home. Babies on the horizon and a lukewarm reception by the woman of the house is a situation that doesn't give me confidence for the placement of a dog.

daymare

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 463
  • Age: 30
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #34 on: November 11, 2014, 09:38:10 AM »
OMG, GuitarStv, your dog in the Santa hat is sooo adorable!!

I have thought about getting a dog off and on (ultimately, my husband and I are probably not going to ever get one) because I love dogs, but I also never had one growing up or have cared for one for a significant period of time.  I live two blocks from a dog park and so love watching the dogs and always think ... maybe?  Ultimately, I don't think I can handle being responsible for another creature for such a long period of time.  And it wouldn't be fair to take in a dog in this situation.

I would strongly suggest volunteering at an animal shelter, or fostering for shorter periods.  I went through training at the shelter by me, and while I ultimately decided not to volunteer, I can see that doing so would really enable you to learn how to care for and train dogs, get more familiar with them, and build a relationship with the shelter that would enable you to eventually adopt a dog that fits with your lifestyle.  If you foster dogs, you and your wife can get a sense for how having a dog would fit in to your life and how you can share the responsibilities.

Duchess of Stratosphear

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 327
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #35 on: November 11, 2014, 09:43:11 AM »
I deliberated a loooong time before getting my dog ten years ago, but when you just can't stop thinking about something for months and months, you should probably just go ahead and do it. I had dogs growing up, so I knew what I was getting into (one reason for the hesitation), but pets can be so life enriching--I don't regret it at all. If you just keep coming back to this question of whether to get a dog, just go ahead and do it! It means you really want to and maybe need to on some level.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #36 on: November 11, 2014, 10:14:42 AM »
I deliberated a loooong time before getting my dog ten years ago, but when you just can't stop thinking about something for months and months, you should probably just go ahead and do it. I had dogs growing up, so I knew what I was getting into (one reason for the hesitation), but pets can be so life enriching--I don't regret it at all. If you just keep coming back to this question of whether to get a dog, just go ahead and do it! It means you really want to and maybe need to on some level.

I mean, I had a taste of this on various stunts of dog-sitting but we of course dog-sat the same dog on several different occasions and she's such a good dog so maybe I created some kind of bias. Outside of her being a good dog though, I felt like I absolutely *had* to be responsible for her health and it forced me to get outside to take her on walks and stuff, and I really enjoyed it. I don't know, maybe I felt a stronger sense of obligation since it was someone else's pet. So I guess what's concerning is if I won't feel the same way if I'm the owner. It's hard to believe I'd ever feel that way though considering how much I've wanted a dog my entire life and also dog-sitting (we would dog-sit for up to a month on a few different occasions).

Fostering still sounds like a great non-committal way to "get your feet wet" so maybe I'll give that a go initially. But when you foster, do you really have an option as to what kinds of dogs you are willing to care for? Is it more like the shelter sending out an email with a bunch of dogs in need of fostering, and you respond back choosing one to foster?

rocksinmyhead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #37 on: November 11, 2014, 10:29:17 AM »
Outside of her being a good dog though, I felt like I absolutely *had* to be responsible for her health and it forced me to get outside to take her on walks and stuff, and I really enjoyed it.

I love this too. My boyfriend and I were just talking about it while walking our dogs last night. We realized that even excluding other forms of exercise (which we do get regularly since we're both runners and enjoy hiking too), we at least go for a 30 minute walk pretty much EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I kinda just forget about it and take it for granted. I feel super sedentary and lazy when I go a few days without running, but I'm still walking every day! It makes me realize just how sedentary it is possible to be in the average American lifestyle. Just, wow!

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #38 on: November 11, 2014, 10:41:22 AM »
OP, I wish you well in your quest to get a dog.

Personally, as someone who does dog rescue and who places dogs in home, I look for The Mom of the house to be into the dog. It worries me greatly when The Mom isn't fully on board, as in your case. Because my breed is one that's popular with men (Bulldogs) I am less interested in adopters when the man of the house is the one most into the dog. The Mom will be the one cleaning up messes, most likely.

I'm not saying that I wouldn't adopt to you, I'm just saying that personally, this situation would worry me for placement of a dog into your home. Babies on the horizon and a lukewarm reception by the woman of the house is a situation that doesn't give me confidence for the placement of a dog.

That's a great point. My wife doesn't fully agree with me on this but says she will support my decision. She actually really loves dogs and would be willing to help out but more as a secondary rather than primary. The onus of this is really on me since I want it most. Part of her apprehension comes from the fact that she decided to get two dogs (beagle/rottweilers) while she was in college and not at home very often. This was slightly at the disapproval of her parents, who let her take them in anyway, but set a bunch of ridiculous rules like "They can never be in the house. They are OUTSIDE dogs" and "I don't want you walking the dogs" (I am super ???? on this one) and now the dogs are quite unruly and not really house-trained at all. Giving them a bath (since they get super smelly) usually results in them darting over to the dirt patches and rolling themselves in it right away. They do know to pee/poo on the grass and not the cement. They also understand simple commands like "sit" and "paw" but are mostly unruly especially when you go out there to greet them - they jump all over you out of unbridled excitement (and each one weighs probably more than 50lbs). Trying to walk them on their leashes is a form of INTENSE exercise too. And her parents are away for up to 14-16 hours a day at times, leaving the dogs in the yard. Her dad just fills up a bowl of kibble every day, which is way more than they should have, because he knows he won't be home later. So the dogs are overweight and really not in the best physical shape at all. I think all of this weighs a burden on her because she knows she's the one who decided to take them in and these are the consequences now. The other thing is that they absolutely cannot be separated or they'll go crazy. It's a really tough situation, and I told her that if we had a bigger house with a larger yard, we would take them in. As it is though, I just don't think it would be suitable or fair (to me) to bring them into our current living situation. And I don't think she would want to bring them in as well.

I still wonder though - is the behavior described something that could be fixed with dog training/obedience? These dogs are probably coming up on 10years or so, so I don't know how 'fixable' the behavior is. If it is, then perhaps it's something we should consider (except for the yard part - these dogs have been used to living outside for 10 years now and we don't have a yard big enough to support them so they'd have to be inside most of the time, and I have no idea where we'd even house them for 8 hours a day). Any thoughts on this?

So ultimately, part of this decision is somewhat held up on my end because I'll feel bad if we get a dog while my wife is still living with the regret of her past dog-owning decision. Even though she says she's OK, she probably won't be fully OK about it. Not to mention the guilt she has told me she'd feel with giving love to a new dog when she knows how the others are somewhat neglected (and it's her fault mostly because she decided to bring them in). I think she obviously learned a big lesson and also wants to prevent me from making the same mistakes. I don't know, the more I think about it the more it makes me think it's not a great idea to adopt right now.

« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 10:47:35 AM by jplee3 »

mlipps

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1086
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2014, 10:45:59 AM »
I think house training would be the hard part with dogs that old, but definitely not impossible. The rest of it (poor leash behavior, excitement) sounds like pure loneliness/boredom. They also might be destructive inside if they've never been trained on what they can and cannot chew on, but they could have grown out of it by now. Do they chew on things around the yard? That would be my biggest concern personally.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2014, 10:51:42 AM »
I think house training would be the hard part with dogs that old, but definitely not impossible. The rest of it (poor leash behavior, excitement) sounds like pure loneliness/boredom. They also might be destructive inside if they've never been trained on what they can and cannot chew on, but they could have grown out of it by now. Do they chew on things around the yard? That would be my biggest concern personally.

I see. I think it would be very burdensome trying to 'reverse' a lot of their bad behavior. I really don't know where we'd keep them inside our place either as they're not crate-trained and because the bathroom where we'd normally keep just one dog is probably *way* too small for them. About the separation anxiety, I don't know how bad it would be but if you try to walk them without each other they refuse to walk and go crazy sniffing for each others' scent.

They've absolutely never lived inside the house before so I think it would be a huge change for them. Not sure how big on chewing they are but I don't think there are a lot of toys in my in-laws' yard. Not sure what, if anything, they are chewing on these days. My father-in-law does plant a lot of stuff though (cacti and rose bushes, among other things) and I don't think he's had any issues with them digging stuff up or chewing on plants or other random things in the yard. They're relatively lazy dogs until someone comes around - then they get crazy excited and they also bark quite a bit too.

Pigeon

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1209
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2014, 11:16:02 AM »
I volunteer with a rescue.

We charge about $240 per dog, up and down a little depending on age.  We get most of the dogs from high kill shelters in the south, and many are the by product of puppy mills.  We transport them hundreds of miles.  They are spayed or neutered if old enough, and they are given shots and often other vet care.  We aren't making money on the adoptions, in fact, we are constantly running fundraisers to help pay the bills.  We get a small discount from a few local vets, but vet care is very expensive.  We also sometimes have to pay for boarding if we don't have enough fosters.

First, you need to make absolutely sure that you are allowed to have a dog, as many condos have HOAs that prohibit them, and you have to get the whole thing squared away with the parents.  You also have to make sure that your wife is on board with this and that the dog will remain a member of the family if you do have kids down the pike.  It is not fair to the dog to do otherwise.

I would recommend that you not focus so much on breed as on temper.  Small dogs are often more difficult on a number of levels.  As a pp mentioned, often they aren't well trained because people think they are too small to be much of a threat.  They also have a much higher incidence of housebreaking issues than larger dogs. 

I would also recommend an adult dog over a puppy.  Puppies are a whole hell of a lot of work.  I've had both and I'd never do a puppy again.  If you volunteer with a shelter or a foster, you would be able to get to know a bunch of dogs, and as an added benefit you'll have an inside advantage when the perfect dog arrives. 

rocksinmyhead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #42 on: November 11, 2014, 11:17:10 AM »
OMG those poor dogs. I totally understand your wife's hesitation/guilt!!

The Architect

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 120
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #43 on: November 11, 2014, 11:41:37 AM »
My family had dogs all through growing up, but I would *NEVER* own a dog without also owning a place with a yard big enough to keep said dog in. Indoor dogs destroy your stuff! Shoot, we had a dog that even ate our fence and several bushes outdoors. Small dogs, from what I hear, are almost worse than big dogs - you don't expect them to be as destructive as they are so aren't as prepared for it.

I would also not get a dog if you're actively planning on having a baby soon. It's not fair to the baby, the dog, or you - you will not have sufficient time for everything. Baby's crying, dog wants a walk, it's time for breakfast, and you haven't slept in a week? Too bad, you need to do it all. And never expect any animal to behave around your child.

mlipps

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1086
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #44 on: November 11, 2014, 11:51:31 AM »
My family had dogs all through growing up, but I would *NEVER* own a dog without also owning a place with a yard big enough to keep said dog in. Indoor dogs destroy your stuff! Shoot, we had a dog that even ate our fence and several bushes outdoors. Small dogs, from what I hear, are almost worse than big dogs - you don't expect them to be as destructive as they are so aren't as prepared for it.

I would also not get a dog if you're actively planning on having a baby soon. It's not fair to the baby, the dog, or you - you will not have sufficient time for everything. Baby's crying, dog wants a walk, it's time for breakfast, and you haven't slept in a week? Too bad, you need to do it all. And never expect any animal to behave around your child.

Neither of my dogs have ever destroyed anything...Definitely not true that they "destroy everything". Your dog probably destroyed those things because he or she was bored. You just need to be prepared for the level of mental stimulation that different dogs require and keep them occupied.

Agree though that, unless the dog is being fostered by someone with a baby, there are no guarantees about the dog/baby mix. I would give the dog at least a year with a family to settle in & learned how to behave before adding a baby in the mix.

rocksinmyhead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: Oklahoma
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2014, 11:56:28 AM »
My family had dogs all through growing up, but I would *NEVER* own a dog without also owning a place with a yard big enough to keep said dog in. Indoor dogs destroy your stuff! Shoot, we had a dog that even ate our fence and several bushes outdoors. Small dogs, from what I hear, are almost worse than big dogs - you don't expect them to be as destructive as they are so aren't as prepared for it.

I think this is a YMMV/"what is the dog used to" thing. I've had indoor dogs my whole life and would never even CONSIDER making a dog an "outdoor dog." To me the whole point of having dogs is that you want to hang out with them, so why would you get a dog just to make it live outside?!? We have 80 lbs worth of indoor dog in my 1100 sf house (a 50 lb husky/GSD mix and a 30 lb mystery mutt that may be some kind of Jack Russell/blue heeler/pit mix), and the destruction only started when we got the 30 lb dog earlier this year as an 8-week-old puppy, and has dramatically decreased over time as she gets older.

That being said, it definitely makes your life easier if you have a yard to let them out in, especially small puppies that have to go out in the middle of the night. Also I agree completely on your baby/dog comments.

Janie

  • Guest
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2014, 11:57:47 AM »
I would not have a dog if my co-owner did not agree to have one. It sounds like you're a tenant rather than co-owner anyway.

The arrangement with your parents seems like a rental agreement rather than an ownership one. They want to retain ownership and divide the property value between all children upon death. (I don't think there's anything wrong with this on their part.)

I understand you want a dog, but your landlords (parents) don't want to permit it. You might want to look for a different rental if you're not happy with pet restrictions or with their plans on how to handle property disposal in their will.

If you move somewhere where pets are okay, I'd still think long and hard especially if your wife is reluctant and you may be expecting a new baby soon.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 12:10:41 PM by Janie »

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2959
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2014, 12:21:02 PM »
In our community, I'm pretty sure pets are OK as I've seen numerous residents walking their dogs and such. I think the main point is that they keep their animals under control especially in terms of barking and what not.

As far as with my parents, I know they don't want it but there's a chance they'll still be OK with it. This part hasn't been clarified yet but we did mention to them we wanted to dog-sit before and they didn't say NO. This is why I'm leaning towards fostering now, since it's not really a permanent thing. I think they'd probably have more issues if it were a permanent thing for us.


Janie

  • Guest
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2014, 12:33:03 PM »
You should clear that up the question with your parents in advance and find out your community rules. Many shelters/rescues contact landlords of adopters to check before allowing adoption. For good reason--taking in animals where they're not allowed is a common way for pets to end up homeless (turned in to shelters, abandoned, etc) when they're found out.

The Architect

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 120
Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2014, 12:35:09 PM »
We have 80 lbs worth of indoor dog in my 1100 sf house (a 50 lb husky/GSD mix and a 30 lb mystery mutt that may be some kind of Jack Russell/blue heeler/pit mix), and the destruction only started when we got the 30 lb dog earlier this year as an 8-week-old puppy, and has dramatically decreased over time as she gets older.

I suppose I should have mentioned, the real destruction was when our 80# shepherd mutt was an adolescent. But boy, was there ever destruction! She had a huge yard and went on walks and everything, didn't matter - fences got eaten.

I think this is a YMMV/"what is the dog used to" thing. I've had indoor dogs my whole life and would never even CONSIDER making a dog an "outdoor dog." To me the whole point of having dogs is that you want to hang out with them, so why would you get a dog just to make it live outside?!?

Why not hang out with the dog outside? To me, dogs are animals, and animals live outside. Especially animals as messy as dogs. Every indoor-dog house I've been in has been disgusting by comparison to my outdoor-dog house or no-dog houses I've been to.

For the situation at hand, if you must negotiate with your parents on this, ask if putting $5,000 into a partially-refundable (They keep whatever it costs to do any cleaning & repairs; refund the rest) pet deposit will dissuade them. That should cover most of the possible costs, as long as you don't have hardwood/laminate flooring and the dog isn't especially destructive to the building.