How exciting! I started considering to getting a second dog a couple of years ago, and decided about a year ago that it was the right thing to do, unfortunately it hasn’t been the right time, but hubby and I have been discussing it and I am hoping that we will be able to adopt a new dog into our family later this year! Personally I’d get one today, but being realistic, we do need to extend our fenced area first to make room for another dog (Tia spends very little outside by herself).
I am blogging about this because I know that if I put it in writing and send it out to the universe, the right dog will come along. Yes I maybe weird but I do believe in this like that;) As it is becoming closer to being a reality, I have started looking for information and reading up on different breeds because dog ownership is a lifetime commitment, and I believe it is critically important to research and find the right breed/dog to suit your lifestyle, environment and time commitments and not make spur of the moment decisions based on a pair of liquid brown eyes imploring you to take them home!
So I thought that if I blog about the process that I am going through to find our new family member, it might a) help someone else thinking of doing the same thing and b) I’d love suggestions of breeds (mixes) that I might not have considered.
I would prefer to adopt an older rescue dog but if I was to get a puppy from a breeder, I would make sure that it was from a reputable registered breeder that carried out any medical checks, eye testing, hip/elbow x-rays for hip dysplasia etc for any medical conditions that are prevalent in the breed. While that might not guarantee a healthy puppy, it at least indicates that the breeder is interested in the breed and in breeding healthy puppies rather than in the $ they will get for selling them.
This is why it is important to research breeds before you buy, so that you know what medical tests should be conducted on the parents BEFORE they are allowed to have puppies.
I would NEVER buy a puppy from a pet shop, no matter how sorry I felt for it, or how much I wanted to save it. That may sound terrible from someone who loves animals, but buying an animal from a pet shop is supporting and encouraging a purely profit driven industry of breeding companion animals under inhumane conditions in puppy farms and mills – and yes these atrocities do happen here in Australia. As far as I am concerned pet shops should only be allowed to sell pet supplies, not animals, and that topic deserves a future post all of its own, but in the mean time, if you would like to know more, please visit Say No To Animals in Petshops
Ok, I’ll hop of my soapbox now.
Back to my original topic, not making a spur of the moment decision has really given me plenty of time to consider the important things that will (or won’t) make an individual dog suitable for our family.
First and foremost, with children aged 6-12 years, one female, couch potato Shar-Pei and two cats (one is very timid, hates our other cat and both love our dog) and all three are inside pets. Therefore, especially if its an older dog, our new family member *must* be kid and animal friendly. Gentle and well mannered. We have a lot of wildlife around and I’d like to get a couple of chooks next year as well, so we will be looking at an older dog without a prey drive, although it is easier to train a puppy when it is young, as long as the drive is re-directed in appropriate ways.
Mixed breed or purebreed, either would be ok. I do have a slight preference for male dogs (from previous experience), but gender is not that important. I like big dogs (think mastiffs, dogue de bordeaux and Irish Wolfhounds), but medium size is definitely more appropriate. Short coat preferred, although feathering or medium length would be ok, I’m not sure I am up for daily grooming for a rough collie or old english sheepdog type coat.
House trained would be a big bonus, especially as an adult would be easier than a puppy. The kids would like a dog that likes water and plays fetch for hours with a ball – our shar-pei Tia dosn’t think she is a dog, I think she would actually prefer to have been a cat and I am hoping that another dog in the house will allow her to discover her ‘doggy-ness’. It would be great to have a dog that likes going in the car to the beach (where I am sure Tia will sit on her towel and just watch!).
Exercise wise, we live in a very quite street on just over half an acre, so plenty of room to run around…although it is not all fenced so a dog that is happy to follow the kids as they play rather than being interested in exploring the neighborhood would be great. Ability for off lead excersize (bushwalking, dog beach) is a bit of a priority as well. Now I know that is a training issue, but in general, it does rule out many breeds such as sight hounds and many terriers. Daily walks are fine (at some stage I would like to start jogging again) but a high energy dog that requires five hours running a day would not be suitable due to time constraints.
I work from home, so the animals arn’t left for long periods of time, 5-6 hours occasionally is the maximum time I am away from home. This also means I have plenty of time for training, and I have experience with obedience training (trained my ACD to competition level although we never actually did competition). I would also attend obedience training if necessary, but feel quite capable of doing it myself.
Personality: Definitely looking for a gentle affectionate dog that is willing and eager to please rather than an independent thinker that needs 24 hour a day mental stimulation.
Border Collies have been a definite consideration, but this rules out many older dogs in rescue with true BC natures that have not been looked after and trained properly, so maybe a BC cross. I love Australian Cattle Dogs, although not all of them would fit the criteria unfortunately, but maybe an individual dog or a cross would. Kelpie or Kelpie cross is also on the list. I can see a pattern developing here. I think its the devotion that I have experienced and seen from working dog breeds I have owned or known.
Does anyone have any other suggestions? I would love to hear other peoples experiences (both good and bad) with adopting an older rescue dog into their family. And if you know of any good information websites, please let me know.