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Thread: beginner dogs?

  1. #21
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    Re: beginner dogs?

    Iris! A pet will help you so much. <3

    I echo the sheltie recommendations. I will also toss in papillon. For a small dog, they are super balanced and not known to be as high strung as other "ankle biters". They enjoy having a "job" and so can easily be trained to be a companion animal.

    I'm linking one article, but I have looked at about 3 and the ones on this list are on all 3, so... =P http://goodrelaxation.com/2013/02/wh...s-for-anxiety/

    Also, if you find a bigger dog you bond with, just remember that with sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, most medium to big dogs (probably not the great danes and other sized animals) can function in an apartment (Of course I'm not sure how big yours actually is, just based on my knowledge of apartments here in the US).

    Since you are first time owners and already have anxiety, try to stick to breeds that are known for being easy going and highly trainable...of course, certain individual animals might bond with you. =P

    Someone linked that animal planet quiz...that's a good one! What I've done is take it myself, then had my husband take it, and then take it with him and see what the overlaps are.
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    Re: beginner dogs?

    Shelties and greyhounds need a lot of exercise and room to run. Please for the health of your pet look into what they need to be healthy, happy animals. Most working dogs are very intelligent but require challenges or they will find their own - at your expense.

  3. #23
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    Re: beginner dogs?

    Poodles and greyhounds (shelters too) in an apartment are pretty high maintenance...so are labs (otherwise awesome dogs) and lab mixes. You probably want something more lap dog, but still fun.

    We have a rescue lab-pit mix in an apartment, but we have 3 cats for him to play with and a dog park across the street... He's adorable, but sheddy. Also, either the most stubborn genius dog ever or the dumbest lucky dog in existence.
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  4. #24
    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: beginner dogs?

    The Dachshund I had was pretty high strung,and pig headed as could be,but she was devoted to me in ways no human could ever match. She was also ugly as sin being a wire hair Miniature.


    But I loved that little rag doll a lot,even though I am mainly a cat person. My ex was always a Big Dog person,as much as I was a cat person.
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    Re: beginner dogs?

    A miniature schnauzer might be an option that I haven't seen yet. When you're talking an emotional support animal the requirements are a little different than say, a setting eye dog. Also, I wouldn't completely discount the gentle giants. St Bernard's, great danes, etc. One in an apartment is manageable since they tend to not be as high strung. But they do eat a lot of food and that bill can get expensive. Just continue to research until you find something that sounds right. Then meet a few of that breed and spend at least a few hours with them to get a feel for them.
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    Re: beginner dogs?

    Aside from what breed, also consider the age. Dogs do go through the terrible twos. Oi. My Lexi is finally able to be calm enough to open the gate and her just wait till I invite her outside.
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    Re: beginner dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    Aside from what breed, also consider the age. Dogs do go through the terrible twos. Oi. My Lexi is finally able to be calm enough to open the gate and her just wait till I invite her outside.
    I so agree Medusa. If you get a puppy, you have to consider training them. Smaller dogs can be harder to train. Ours still use puppy pads even though we take them outside.

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  8. #28
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    Re: beginner dogs?

    The space you have is far less of an issue than most people think it is... if you can provide daily walks and constant mental stimulation (via good toys, training, environmental enrichment etc) then most breeds will live quite happily in an apartment. Space is not enough on it's own, unless you have a property (which provides a lot of opportunities for dogs to find their own fun that large backyards don't).

    In general, for your purposes I would steer clear of ALL working breed dogs (including Shelties). Working breed dogs need LOTS of mental stimulation and are very high maintenance. They are also genetically prone to anxiety and they are prone destructive behaviours if not kept appropriately occupied. Working breeds are typically herding dogs... so things like Border Collies, Shepherds, Cattle Dogs, Shelties, Collies, Sheepdogs etc... but I also put Huskies and other sledding breeds into this category. The exception to this is perhaps an Australian Shepherd, as they are very loving and a bit goofy... they do have a fair bit of energy, but they make good house pets.

    Hunting dogs (Labradors and other Retrievers, Standard Poodles, Beagles and other scent hounds, Setters and Pointers) can swing either way. They make quite good house dogs as long as you can provide them with training and mental stimulation. They benefit from having a 'job' to do, but have less energy than herding breeds. I would steer clear of a Beagle though... they are extremely high maintenance and prone to anxiety.

    Terriers tend to be fairly independent and not so great at being sensitive to your moods, so Jack Russells, Foxies, Westies, Border Terriers and their ilk are probably not a great choice for your purposes (but tend to make good first-time dogs in general as they aren't particularly needy and will occupy themselves easily).

    Lap breeds... people think that small lap breeds make good house pets just because of their size, but that's not necessarily true. I know LOTS of Maltese, Maltese crosses, Bichons etc that have anxiety disorders, and I see far more aggressive, snappy and rude lap breeds than any other breed category. They still need walking every day. They still need training. They still need mental stimulation, PLUS most of them have intensive grooming needs and attitude problems that can make that difficult! Miniature and Toy Poodles are probably the exception here... I don't personally like poodle breeds, but if you can keep up with the grooming and dental care they are relatively low maintenance.

    Spaniels tend to have skin disease issues (as do Labradors, Jack Russells and both English and Amercian Staffies). Cockers are prone to anxiety but can be very sweet house dogs, as long as you are prepared for skin allergies. Springers are quite sweet too. Spaniel breeds are hunting dogs as well, and they do benefit from having a 'job' to do too. Things like agility courses and scent courses are good for them. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are about as sweet a dog as you can get, and make fabulous house pets... they are loving, sweet and not prone to anxiety. However they ARE prone to skin/ear disease and of course heart disease.

    Bulldogs, Pugs and Bull Terriers (aside from Staffies) have major airway issues that require expensive surgery to correct - ignore all the breeders and owners who tell you they don't need it. They do. Bostons have less airway issues, but they are quite lively (because they can actually breath and exercise doesn't make them feel uncomfortable!). I quite like bulldog breeds, but without the airway surgery they are very high maintenance and can be difficult to live with in close quarters.

    My choice for you would be a sight hound. All the sight hound breeds (Greyhounds, Whippets, Italian Greyhounds, Salukis, Borzois, Wolfounds, Deerhounds etc) are very gentle and very low maintenance. They do benefit from being able to do sprinting activities... so off-leash dog parks or coursing are a good idea. But in general they're all kinda lazy... they love to lay around on the couch and potter quietly around the house. Sight hounds are not commonly anxious breeds (though I do know one Greyhound with an anxiety disorder) and they are easy to provide mental stimulation for.

    Either that or the gentle giants... Great Danes, St Bernards, Bernease Mountain Dogs etc. The problem with these guys is the health problems. You need to be prepared for devestating health issues, hip dysplasia, heart problems, lower life expectancy etc. Plus food and parasite products cost a LOT more. I don't generally think that giant breeds (or mastiff breeds, which I love) make good first time dogs, just because of the sheer cost and risk of health issues... very few people are truly prepared for that, and a lot of insurance companies will exclude them from effective cover.

    I guess it depends on what you're looking for. If you want something personable that will make you smile, then a small terrier or a lap breed (a Papillon or a generic Shih-Tzu cross would be my pick) might be a good option as long as you can provide the mental stimulation. If you want a snuggle buddy then a Sight Hound, one of the gentle giants or a little Cavalier would be good. If you want something that is just a quiet presence that can offer companionship without being overly needy then a Miniature or Toy Poodle would be a good option.

    In contrast to what most people expect me to say here, I would be inclined to counsel you to get a puppy, as long as you can see the parents and get an idea of whether there is anxiety in the genetic lines. Shelter dogs are a double edged sword... it's good to get a dog from a shelter, BUT... shelter dogs tend to be anxious dogs. People rarely rehome a dog for no reason... usually there are behavioural problems or health problems in there that the previous owner couldn't deal with. This makes it a bit risky for first-timers to get a shelter dog, because there's a high risk that you'll end up with a special needs dog. If you are prepared for that then great... but you need to be prepared for it! Of course, it could happen with a puppy too... but being able to meet the parents and see their personality is a big reduction in that risk. I am generally a fan of hybrid vigour... so a puppy from a local newspaper ad is just as good as a puppy from a breeder, as long as you can meet the parents! And keep in mind that registered breeders are not necessarily better than anyone else, and their dogs are not necessarily better quality than the accidental backyard mating.

  9. #29
    Silver Member iris's Avatar
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    Re: beginner dogs?

    Wow that's a lot of text But thanks!
    daily walks absolutely isn't a problem, it's something I always make time for as it is (I really have no idea how long thy need to be though. I'm usually out for 1-2 hours). And we're planning on taking training classes regardless of if it's a grown or a pup.

    We've been reading up on poodles. I've been around a standard one that I absolutely loved. But there seems to be some disagreememt on whether the smaller ones share the temper, I've seen them described as pretty high strung, but I've never had the chance to be around any. We're considdering a miniature.
    also keeping cavalier king charles in the running, but haven't gotten around to researching them much yet.

    I love giants, but aside from the fact that anything bigger than a medium dog could drag me around with ease, we're not actually allowed dogs here - we've gotten a permission (a few people do keep cats or dogs here, you just need to ask), but it can't be a 'big dog', so they're out of the question.

    We're thinking puppy too. The shelters here rarely let first time owners adopt because a lot of the dogs have special needs or unknown backgrounds that require some preparedness.
    Most of the puppies I've seen advertised (both private amd registered) provide medical history and sometimes dna test for both parents. It doesn't seem like a problem to meet the mother, but the father might be more difficult when he's borrowed from somewhere.
    All puppies are adorable, but is there something to be aware of when visiting them in regards to anxiety?
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  10. #30

    Re: beginner dogs?

    Please forgive the long ramble. If I keep editing, I may never post.

    Iris, I have a standard poodle, and my parents have had a few tiny toy poodles. They are wonderful dogs in many ways. Do consider grooming issues though, because that fur just keeps growing and growing. It can be expensive and/or time consuming to keep it comfortable for them.

    In terms of temperament, in my experience, the difficulty is that they are so intelligent, which is also lots of the fun. But I see my parents making theirs a bit neurotic, in my opinion, possibly on purpose. And I have noticed that we also unintentionally taught ours some bad behaviors. We don't mind so much, but I would approach it differently if starting over. They learn very quickly. Sometimes it seems as if ours is a human enchanted to be a dog. He listens to my chatter very attentively, and demands a certain amount of attention. He is quite good at communicating his needs and wants. It is very bonding and fun, and it gets them spoiled. Mine is also quick to notice my moods and offer attention if he thinks I am sad. Good for anxiety.

    In my experience, poodles are more likely to bite around food issues than a gentle giant, German Shepherd, or lab. I would train carefully around this from the beginning. There are tricks for doing this, so just look it up before you bring the dog home. They also seem to have no remorse for bad behavior, while a German Shephard, for instance, appears to experience real shame. The intelligence makes house training fairly easy.

    They are also big smoochy love bugs, and I think a good energy level for city living. I am not sure that size has to do with behavior so much genetically, as that it is easy to spoil and baby the lap dogs, and to treat the larger dogs as more adult and serious. My very large standard poodle is quite fond of snuggling on the sofa though, so just a bigger lap dog. The only reason I might not get a poodle again is because of the grooming. But if you think you can handle it, then they are wonderful. I suspect that if you start with a poodle, you may become a dog person for life.

    Also, if you already walk or jog at a quick pace for one or two hours every day, you might want to choose a medium to large dog so that it can keep up with you. Otherwise, you can get backpacks for the little ones when they get tired, or you may have to slow your pace for tiny legs. It depends on your preferred level of activity. An adult standard poodle or greyhound might find one to two hours moderate to strenuous activity about right, with a light stretch at bathroom times. They could also handle semi-regular long strenuous walks. I have just seen some very small dogs dragged around in obvious distress, sometimes trying to keep up with bikes. Of course, the little ones need exercise, too.

    I would agree with you and Rae'ya on breed selection. With the thought you've put into it, I think you are probably okay following your heart as you move on.

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