thinking about adding a big fur baby to the family....need advice

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by ilovepink4, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. ilovepink4

    ilovepink4 Member

    Here is the deal....we have a (highstrung) chihuahua who is with me at all times....2 black cats....2 wild boys....2 dd's ages 17 and 20 (20 is disabled, in a wheelchair and needs help with all movements-eating, showering, can't write or type, can't sit up, ect)

    my boys desperately want a dog of their own...a big one...a choc lab....and there is one at the shelter right now that fits what we want....

    how much work is a large dog....do they need attention all day long? my chihuahua is my companion at all times....she follows me every step i take in my home and goes with me almost everywhere when i leave the house...so that is more what i am used to....

    tell me what your big dog does during the day when the kids are playing or walking it....thanks

    oh, yeah, do you think it is crazy to add another pet or do you think it is so great for the boys that it is more of a plus than a minus?

    thanks all! Pink
  2. Greenbean7

    Greenbean7 New Member

    You didn't mention how old your prospective fur baby is. With as much activity as you have in your household and with the amount of responsibility you already carry I would be cautious about adding a young dog to the mix.

    You might consider an older rescue dog. My lab, who is 11, has been a lay around the house dog for about 5 years. She's mellow and perfectly happy to just be in the house and snooze.

    The golden, now that he's 3 and a half, has mellowed and also sleeps most days.

    How old is the chi? Does he tolerate other dogs? Some little dogs are very territorial and it sounds like the chi might be that way about you.

    Do you plan to keep the dog in the house? My feeling (you have probably noticed this!!) is that all dogs belong in the house full time with their "pack". I hate to see a dog left in the yard or chained to a tree.

    We do not have a fenced yard but I highly recommend a fence. My kids are taken out on lead except when we throw the ball. We have about 5 acres and throw the ball where they aren't anywhere close to the road. I really like to play ball when it is snowy and cold. The cars that are out and about aren't going very fast then!!

    Also consider the extra cost. More dog food, vet visits, etc. There is a commercial where the guy says friends gave his daughter a free puppy. Then he lists all the things they had to have and said that his father was right. "There's no such thing as a free puppy!" I think that commericial is really cute!

    My 32 cents worth (inflation you know!).

    Hugzz
    Greenbean

    Stop and smell the puppies!
  3. ilovepink4

    ilovepink4 Member

    The dog we heard of is about 1 year 6 months...a purebred choc lab, female....my chihuahua is female ( 2 yrs) and a very possessive/dominant personality....she is the pack leader of the cats....and tries to dominate the boys....as for the girls and my husband she does submissive behavior ....pawing, smiling, throwing herself on her back and the best of all peeing while doing the crouch/walk....lovely...or sometimes dribbling when my dd picks her up....

    she warns others to stay away from me or her maybe.....when she is in her bag....or on my bed...I know, that is very bad and we are working on this....

    these are all reasons why I wonder if she will be able to be the pack leader with a large dog, who might hurt her when she is letting the new dog know her place....the vet wasn't too concerned since an older dog might understand the pack mentality better than a puppy and just submit...a puppy might goof around, wrestling without understanding what is going on....

    The cats let her be the boss...but one of them, at times will groom and lick the dog...at the dog's request....the dog will lay and act like she is going to start a wrestling match but then she will stop and lay still...the cat starts right away to lick her face and ears....weird! the vet was so surprised that thet would do that, being different species....

    we don't hafve a fence but we have two lots ...on a quiet road....i have my chihuahua on her leash most of the time...she goes potty on a lead.....i let her take a lap or two around the yard once in a while....

    if we got the big dog, I would think about a underground fence...

    I am very worried about the big dog needing to be walked when the boys are gone at hockey or baseball games...i can't do walking very far....

    i have been hearing that older, big dogs do alot of napping....i also have heard that big dogs get into mischief when they are bored and haven't been walked....

    I really love my little girl even though she has her faults....she is by my side 24 hours a day....she is my best friend and keeps me company when i feel miserable...she lays with me even when there are more interesting things going on in the house...if she is afraid of something she will go and stand behind my legs....like a noise or the boys running around....if i am sad she seems to know and will give me a lick on my cheek...

    i just feel bad that the kids don't have the joys that I have with their own dog....i just don[t need anymore work or hassles...my boys keep us busy....one of my sons is slightly overweight and we like to promote anything that keeps him active....walking the dog and throwing the ball and chasing around the yard would be good things....

    my boys are not big tv watchers and we don't have any games like Wii or playstation or gameboys....they play outside alot and swim in our pool...a dog would keep them busy longer....

    so that is a picture of our situation....maybe all my hesitation is my answer....Pink

  4. ilovepink4

    ilovepink4 Member

    we would definately keep the dog in the house! i am such a softie....it is soooo cold where we live...sometimes 60 degrees below zero with the wind chill!
    i don't mind pets on the furniture....dh does but the cats and the little dog always are on the couches and chairs....and my bed! so bad...

    maybe we should go for some type of cage-animal...like a guinea pig or bunny? the boys just say nooooooo we want a doggggggg!!! BOO...
  5. Greenbean7

    Greenbean7 New Member

    A one and a half year old lab is a puppy. Labs "mature" around 3, if they do at all! My old girl will still act like a pup when DH gets the shotgun out of I get the ball! Puppy behaviour such as chewing and rambunctious play should be expected for quite some time yet. (Evidently golden retrievers never mature, mine still thinks he's a baby!)

    As far as size being a factor with dominance, it's not. My golden will roll over and give up to a toy poodle. He has not one dominate gene in his entire make up. It's kind of, good to meet ya, your the boss, let's play! It's actually you who should be dominant and that will set the tone for the "pack".

    Any dog can get bored. Working dogs such as sheepdogs, shelties, border collies, need lots of work and exercise. Hunting dogs don't need as much, but they still need quite a bit. Mine get none. Sad to say I can't walk them and the only time they go any distance at all is in the morning when my DH takes them about 1/8 of a mile up the road to change the sprinkers in the summer or feed the stock in the winter. That isn't enough work and I hope that when the weather cools off a little I can get out with them more, right now I just haven't been able to.

    I don't recommend an underground fence. The problem with them is that if the dog does get passed it, which happens, then they can't get back into the yard. That's a personal preference of course and lots of people use them.

    A lab will also want to play in the pool! I take mine the last day the pool is open when they have "Paws in the Pool". They have a great time! Rey, my golden, was on the news because he was the only dog bailing off the side and into the pool after his ball. I had to make him get out and rest! I was afraid I was going to have to go in after him he was getting so tired! Very important that the dog learn how to get out of the pool if he should get in when no one is with him! Sounds funny, but dogs have drowned because they couldn't find the steps/ladder.

    I know this won't be a popular opinion and I applaud you wanting to rescue this dog. You have a big heart. But I still think your plate is full. The boys are busy and that would leave you taking care of the dog when they are at practice and games. It's wonderful that you want your boys to enjoy the kind of memories you have from your childhood, but you have to consider everything in view of your illness, your household's activities and the needs of the dog.

    I hope no one takes offense, you all know how passionate I am about dogs!

    Hugzz
    Greenbean

    Smile on purpose!
  6. maineweezie

    maineweezie New Member

    Hi Pink,

    My companion dog is a very large White American Shepard 7 years old. He's a constant no matter where I am,he is. He does nap quite often and is far from dormant matter of fact he's a big sissy afraid of not being gentle. My daughter has a little dog that was only about a pound in weight when we introduced the two of them. The little girl growled softly and my 100 pound Shepard went down on his belly immediately. Only trouble we've ever had was he loves to tend to all other animals including the chickens. When he's sired a litter he takes more care of the puppies than the female.He does love playing with children and is super with them. He does cheat at fetching as he will play keep away rather than drop. I do have mine trained to not leave the yard area unless he's on an errand to get me help. Your hidden fence idea usually works well from what I've seen with others.

    Labs are normally great all round. My middle son has a sweet boy that's black. The first year or two they can be hyper personalities and are known to be chewers.

    Hard decision I know. Some kids are great about helping with fuzzy kids but lots get comfy and forget that chore.
    Maineweezie
  7. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    Take the existing dog with you to the shelter . Tell the shelter people your concern. See if they will allow you to walk the two dogs together to see how they interact.
  8. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I don't have a dog now but I volunteer at the local shelter. Big dogs do need a LOT of exercise to keep them healthy and calm like several folks here said, so a fenced yard would be key if you or someone can't walk the dog several times a day. I'd also be hesitant to bring the lab around your possessive little chihuahua. I've seen some nasty confrontations between small and big adult dogs staking out their territory.

    I love your willingness to please your kids but do think long and hard rather than risk having to return it to the shelter. That's so hard on the pet - and the family. You could, though, take the dog for a day which would be a good outing for the dog and somewhat of a test for you.

    Good luck to you. You're amazing. Who knows? You might decide to get the dog and have it be the best thing you could have done. Just don't act impulsively.

    Marta
  9. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    Another option might be to have your boys volunteer at the shelter for a year or so to prove that they're mature enough to take care of the dog.

    It might just be that 'this' dog isn't right for your family but it doesn't mean that one won't be in the future.

    Have them spend Saturday afternoons cleaning cages, walking and bathing the animals at the shelter to help give them a better understanding of what it takes to be a pet owner. (Cheaper too)

    And you're right, with an overweight child I think excercising a dog is a very good thing...natural play for both dog and boys.

    There are rescue organizations on the net that you can put in your zip code and find a good match for you. Also, do some research into the breed type, as Greenbean said, some are naturally more active.

    So many dogs needing forever homes, I can't imagine that there isn't one out there that's right for your family.

    With your Chi, I was thinking about my Malt and after we moved into this new home in May, I started putting her on the floor all the time. She too was with me every second, but she was starting to bark too much here and protecting me as if the landlord would bite me!!

    It's calmed her down tenfold, not being by my side 24 hours a day, amazing change really.....

    Hugs,

    Nancy B
  10. ilovepink4

    ilovepink4 Member

    I feel like I am back a the local cafe with my girlfriends, gossiping and cackling back and forth!!

    I think I am back to page "boys, i think we need to wait until maybe next summer. YOu will be even better at taking careof a dog! " my hesitations must be clues that i need to pay attention to....my gut says no

    i bet i will be workng up to it again tomorrow though...i just love animals....but, i love my kids more nd they have needs that i can't ignore...
  11. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    .... you made an excellent decision. Here's me applauding you.

    Marta