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Your First Dog...

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by JordanRose, Oct 9, 2013.


  1. JordanRose

    JordanRose Master of the Whingey Cat.

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    I'm hoping that, in a couple of years time, I will be able to open my heart to a dog (you probably know this already!) and although we've had dogs in the family, I've not had much to do with them so it would be completely new to me!

    I have my heart set on a rescue pooch and although I have breed preferences, I reckon I'll go into it with an open mind and just see what I bond with :)


    Just wondering what people's experiences were/are of their first dog- where did you get them from (rescue, breeder, 'by chance')? Was it a daunting relationship to go into or did you sink your teeth into it straight away?

    Also, what kind of research did you do and did it prepare you for what dog ownership entailed? (I imagine it's one of those 'trial and error' type scenarios...)
     
  2. Alice Childress

    Alice Childress PetForums VIP

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    Maggie is my first dog. She can from a breeder. I spent a long time researching dogs in general, specific breeds, and then finally, breeders. I was keen to go for an older rescue, but in the end, decided that a pup from an ethical, supportive breeder was the best choice for me for my first dog.

    It was very daunting! When I visited the pups at 4 weeks for the first time, I came away feeling really quite overwhelmed by the enormity of what I'd signed up for. They all looked so vulnerable and the idea that one of their futures complete depended on me, and what I choose for them went, was very daunting! In fact, if I am honest, at that point I questioned whether it was the right thing to be doing. It was a make or break moment for me. All those years of researching and now it all seemed real. I quickly came out the other side though and knew that ultimately this was what I wanted, and I am so glad I did.


    I did over 2 and a half years of research (and that research was more or less done every day during that time :eek:). I spent A LOT of time on here, reading about peoples experiences, often threads involved someone having difficulties and asking for help. I used to google phrases such as "regret getting my dog", or "overwhelmed by puppy", to prepare me for the worst case scenario! I went to dog shows, dog meets, I went dog walking with a local Bernese and his person, I read just under 50 books on all aspects of dogs. I sat and thought about every possible situation that I could imagine happening to me in the next ten years (kids, jobs, moving away etc), and considered what I would do with a dog if x, y, or z were to occur.

    Did it prepare me? ... I'd say yes actually. As hard as Maggie was/can be still, as a pup, she was still easier than I had imagined (I think because I always, always, always imagined the worst case, and never the rose tinted version of having a pup/dog). Having a dog is as I imagined it would be - just as hard work, and just as brilliant :) That's not to say that the reality wasn't still a shock to the system. She was like a whirl wind of puppy craziness and my life was changed forever. Those first few weeks especially were VERY hard work, but still, I was prepared for it.

    Obviously actually having a dog is a learning curve, and she is constantly teaching me things as we go (mainly to worry less and trust her more :eek:), but nevertheless, I think you can be prepared for a pup if you are obsessive about research and expect the worst!
     
  3. LouLatch

    LouLatch PetForums VIP

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    I wanted to own a dog for many years before I got one, so over those years I did a lot of research into different breeds and dog ownership.

    Mitzie my little staffie is my first dog.

    I was volunteering at a local rescue whilst at college and it was coming up to Christmas so I though I would ask if they foster out dogs as I thought it would be nice to give a dog a break from kennels. (I had my eye on a rottie called khan he was gorgeous and I thought if I took him home mum would also fall in love so he would have to stay! :D) They said they only foster out dogs if they need any medical treatment and need recovery time before finding a new home.

    They said that Mitzie will need a foster home to recover from knee surgery but that was not scheduled till after xmas. So I thought that was it and I wouldn't be able to foster any of the dogs as I would be back at college by the time Mitzie had her op.

    About a week after this I got a call to say its possible Mitzies op was going to be bought forward to before xmas and would I still be interested in fostering her, so I said 'yes'!!!!

    A few days later it was confirmed that Mitzies op was going to ahead before xmas so she would be coming to stay for 2wks after to recover. I was so happy!!!!

    She was so sad when she arrived and he poor little leg had been butchered.

    So 2wks turned into 3mths as she became ill and had to have another op to be spayed. (she prolapsed when she came into season and then developed an infection in her womb and was very ill.) So she stayed with us to recover from that.

    Then in march we decided to adopt her as we loved her and she loved us and had been with us for so long. I couldn't get rid of the pig with a jumper on!! :p

    Its funny that we ended up with a staffie as I remember when I was young making a log of all the different breeds that would be a suitable dog for the family and a staffie was one of them.

    If mum had said 'yes you can have a dog' before all this happened I would have chosen khan as I hadn't had much to do with Mitzie so didn't know her, he and Mitzie shared a kennel at the rescue. So I do think it was meant to be. :)
     
  4. Vicki

    Vicki PetForums VIP

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    I can't remember a time when I didn't dream of having a dog and a DOG was on top of every list for birthdays and Christmas. When I was 9 I got my fist dog as a Christmas present (this was not something that my parents did on a whim, they were well aware of what they were doing). She was a 4 months old Swedish Lapphund. I have no pictures of her on my computer, but this is how the breed looks like:
    [​IMG]

    I had actually wished for a German Shepherd, but I think it was good that they bought a Swedish Lapphund instead, as they are easier to handle, especially when you're a child. They bought her from a breeder, where she had been left when all her siblings were sold. She had a terrible over bite so no one wanted to buy her because she could not be shown.

    I don't think that my parents had researched the breed very much, but I know that they had asked my aunt, who was a dog trainer, for advice.

    The first dog I bought myself was a Belgian Shepherd Tervueren and I didn't think that through at all. I had decided that my next dog would be a Tervueren, so when a friend asked me if I wanted to buy a 16 months old Tervueren bitch that a friend of his was selling I said yes. I was 18, unemployed and lived with my dad. I didn't even tell my dad that I was getting another dog (I had a 5 year old cross breed already) until I brought her home. Luckily my dad likes dogs and he wasn't angry about it.
     
  5. JordanRose

    JordanRose Master of the Whingey Cat.

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    What lovely stories :)

    I'd like to foster, too, I think. Once I'm in my own place, it's something I'm considering doing- means I don't have to think about the commitment of the dog(s) in the long run, which is my main barrier at the moment- I just don't know what I want to do in the next few years and if a dog would fit into those plans...

    However, I have a feeling I'd end up being a 'failed fosterer' so it will be something to really weigh up once the opportunity arises.


    Alice, I love the way you went about research as well! It's a very good way to go about it, I think, looking at the worst case scenarios as well as the best. I tend to lurk on Dog Chat and read the challenging threads, too; there are always threads about aspects of dog ownership that I would never have considered otherwise!


    One day, little doggy, whoever you are. One day, we will meet!
     
  6. Sleeping_Lion

    Sleeping_Lion Banned

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    Indie is my first dog, and was meant to be a male springer spaniel. The guy I'd agreed to buy the spaniel from pulled out, and at that point, knowing nothing about dog breeding, I sent a load of emails out to breeders of chocolate Labs as my then OH wanted a chocolate Lab. Somehow, despite putting the wrong phone number on my email, Indie's breeder managed to get in touch with me shortly after sending the email, she did the health tests and explained it all to me, and I was involved with the experience from before Indie's mum was even pregnant. I had pick of the litter, and Indie just chose me really, she kept resting her head in my hand, and falling asleep. And I've never looked back, I absolutely love my Labradors, and have learnt such a lot since bringing Indie home, in fact just this morning, I helped put someone in touch with a breeder who health tests, and they're now on a waiting list to get a pup from a caring breeder, rather than just going it alone. :)
     
  7. Leanne77

    Leanne77 PetForums VIP

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    The first dog I had of my own, outside the realms of 'family dog', was Jed, who was, and still is, my male Border Collie. He was from a BYB and I wasnt on forums back then so made a lot of poor decisions related to dogs. I trained him with the old dominance theory and was quite harsh with my methods really but I have certainly learned a great deal in 7 years and now train, and view my dogs differently.

    I didnt hesitate in making a decision to get a dog. As soon as I moved out of my parents, who had upheld a 'no animal' rule for a few years, I got Jed, then within 18 months I added another 2 dogs.

    I hadnt done any research because I grew up with dogs and thought I knew all I needed to know! I had also grown up with collies so was confident with the breed. However, I had never done things like toilet training or made decisions on what to feed etc so all of that was quite daunting!
     
  8. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    Ziggy was my first dog, I got her from a rescue centre. I did quite a bit of research over what breed or type to go for, I wanted a collie type but read they weren't suitable for a first dog, so decided to look for a collie crossed with a smaller breed, female as I read they were less likely to be stubborn, and young but not a puppy. It took 5 months to find Ziggy, a collie x Jack Russell, female, with a nice easy temperament. The shelter said she was 18 months, but it now seems she was older, about 3.

    She had poor health at first and quickly ran up a gigantic vet bill; it turned out that she's totally cereal intolerant but it took me a while to work that out and get her on a suitable food. Apart from that, and her tendency to join in any football game she comes across, she's been no problem. She was easy to train, clever and friendly with other dogs and people (though scared of men with sticks). I took her to training classes as I didn't really know what I was doing, one of the trainers asked if I'd be interested in joining their agility section and my life was totally changed! Ziggy got to grade 6, and qualified for the finals of the Rescue Dog Agility League twice. She retired from competition at the end of last year, now a bit creaky in the joints and with cataracts. I've had her for 9 years.

    She achieved her Gold Agility Warrant and Gold Good Citizen Awards. I only entered her in one obedience competition - she won it.
     
    #8 Burrowzig, Oct 9, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  9. SLB

    SLB PetForums VIP

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    I always say Sadie was my first dog but in reality she doesn't actually belong to me..

    So my first proper dog is Louie. I didn't want a dog, definitely not a cross between a Springer and a Lab as I don't find either breed appealing, although my thoughts of them have softened in the past 3 years, I still wouldn't own a Lab, but could see myself with a Springer. I had 3 weeks to research as we popped into this farm "just to look" and they were 5 weeks old. OH already put a deposit on him. So I said, if we were having this puppy we were going to do things my way as I didn't want another Benjie (OH's dog who has/had a lot of issues). I researched both Labs and Springers, got everything prepared for him and at 8 weeks old we brought him home. He has not been the easiest of dogs but he could've been far worse. His health isn't brilliant at the moment, but he has ear problems - prone in both breeds, stress issues - more to do with the environment and most recently - cysts, which are a Lab thing.

    But I loved him so much, last year we went back and got another pup.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. JordanRose

    JordanRose Master of the Whingey Cat.

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    Ah, you're a good person to ask this then.

    I get different answers from different people so wondered what you think about Collies as a first dog- considering I've never lived with a dog at all (my Mum's afraid of them)?


    I mean, I would do all the research necessary and be more than willing to go to dog training, Flyball, agility etc. and would only take one on if I was in the position to do so and could give them adequate stimulation but even with all that in mind, are they are difficult breed to deal with for a first timer?

    (I just adore them both in looks and personality, you see, but would always let my head rule my heart when it comes to a huge responsibility such as dog ownership!)
     
  11. JordanRose

    JordanRose Master of the Whingey Cat.

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    Ah, this made me all fuzzy inside! What fantastic achievements :)

    I hope she's enjoying her retirement :001_wub:
     
  12. MollySmith

    MollySmith PetForums VIP

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    My first dog I suppose was 14 dogs. I moved in to live with my grandparents when I was 15. At 16 one of the pair of dogs was killed in a road accident and they adopted another rescue. This was from a farm in the 1980's so it was based on that the dog looked okay and got on with their other elderly lab. We took her to the vets who said she was pregnant but they hadn't any heart to rehome her since it was all going well and annnnyway, a few pups, we can cope. Despite that they ran a business from home with several employers we thought we'd be fine. Soooooo twelve puppies arrived, we had a page 3 appearance on our local newspaper and I spent my time revising for my A levels with one or two of many pups on my lap. We homed them all apart from 3 and they all made it to adulthood. It was great but hard work and it's why I wanted an older dog when we got one but my grandparents instilled into me that rescue is best, all their dogs (they had 7 over the years, excluding the pups and they were all rescue).

    My gran still takes care of Molly. She temporarily (we hope) in a rest home following an illness but we take Molly in most days and she's delighted to see her.

    I had dogs with my ex but he arrived with them and they were very much his so Molly is my first dog since I married my husband.
     
  13. lilythepink

    lilythepink PetForums VIP

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    When I got engaged to my husband, he bought me a ring but I didn't buy him one....and he thought that was odd. On the way home from picking my ring, we called at the worst puppy farmer/dealer you could imagine.just to have a look, just to see what was available and what not to buy.

    First doorway were some black GSDs and the one that sat at the back and cocked his head at us came home with us.

    We had had a GSD when I was a child but we hadn't done any research, didn't even have a food bowl when we picked the puppy and had to buy it at the puppy place.

    Puppy came from somewhere in Wales....we bought him in Manchester.Paperwork said he was GSD, biggest one I have ever seen with a semi long wrinkly curly coat.

    I have learned since then. Fortunately, the pup was healthy and we had him 9 years.He was a fantastic dog.I would never buy from such a place again...in fact, wouldn't even walk into the place.
     
  14. Leanne77

    Leanne77 PetForums VIP

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    My personal opinion is that if you are going to get a collie as a first dog, you need to research the behavioural issues that often pop up with them (herding, car chasing, noise sensitivity, nipping etc) and then research breeders who breed dogs who will fit your lifestyle. So, if you live in a city with lots of movement and noise, getting a working bred collie may not be the best thing to do! Collies come in all different guises so you need to find one that you are able to cope with. I have a pet bred collie who, although noise sensitive, doesnt chase, herd or nip and has no particularly stereotypical collie behaviours. Then I have a farm bred collie who has more collie traits but none that present a problem (e.g she doesnt nip, herd, chase cars/bikes/joggers etc either).

    I did realise that I would have to do something with these collies so I immediately started obedience training my first from a pup, and agility training when he hit a year old.

    I think problems occur when inexperienced dog owners get a working bred collie from a farm for £120, and then when it starts lunging at traffic, nipping their kids heels, chasing everything in sight, herding dogs on the park etc they cant deal with the behaviours. Thats why I think it's important to really think about where you get a collie from.
     
  15. Goldstar

    Goldstar PetForums VIP

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    We had family dogs growing up but Lucky, my JRT is my own first dog. We bought her from a working farm in Yorkshire. The breeder bred a litter for working purposes but Lucky was for q pet home as she wasn't suited to working. Don't know why, she's a great little hunter now (always getting rid of flies for me :D)
    I didn't do much research if I'm honest, came across the advert and travelled 9 hours round trip to get her. We had a JRT growing up so I knew what I was letting myself in for.

    I wouldn't buy a pup that way again though, Lucky has been very healthy, good temperament too but since being on here I have realised that there are far better ways of getting a pup. I am now on the list for a Manchester Terrier pup from a very respectable breeder who will hopefully have pups due sometime in January if all goes to plan :)
     
  16. lupie

    lupie PetForums VIP

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    I've wanted a dog for my entire life, literally. I really thought it was never going to happen, and then once I graduated and moved back home and realised that realistically, moving out just wasn't going to happen for a very long time, I decided that I wanted to seriously research dog breeds "just out of interest".
    I've always wanted huskies. Since I was tiny. But I knew that as much as I loved them they weren't going to be a breed for me until I was magically not working.

    I actually posted a thread on here - asking about jobs and dogs and whether I should go forth in a career etc or focus on getting a dog to fit in with my lifestyle and worry about a career afterwards (I have a job, that's all I care about for the meantime!). Most of the advice was to wait, but some people gave their experiences of making a job and a dog work. It was on that thread that someone mentioned Finnish Lapphunds; and having always dismissed them as being too small I gave them another glance. And fell in love :001_tt1: Temperament was perfect, good energy levels and yet they have an "off switch" and are happy to chill out. Had the ability to be good with cats and have some reliability offlead....ticked all my boxes.

    I kept on researching the breed ("Just out of interest" still)and went to Discover Dogs at Crufts where I met them in the fur. They were just perfect. And most importantly, they bowled my mum over too. She's wanted a dog all her life too but never had the time - she was on board with me getting one because she would get all the perks and I would have all the chores! :rolleyes:

    I contacted a local breeder and we actually went on her puppy lists. But a few things fell through and then she mentioned that she had been given the opportunity to import an adult bitch from Norway that has had some wonderful litters. She was living with quite a few other dogs and the owner thought she would be better off an only dog. Long story short a little while later Ruska flew over and came to live with me :001_tt1: She'll have her last litter next Spring.

    It's been daunting for me. I did SO much research and SO much planning, but I wasn't quite prepared for Ruska's issues. She is on-lead reactive, and it wouldn't have shown really in Norway because she was walked off-lead in the mountains 90% of the time. In a little village in Surrey it is entirely different, so I've had to work VERY hard on her reactivity. We've had progress and set backs and all sorts and I know it'll be a very very long road before I can see another dog and not have to worry...But on the other hand, she is so much more relaxed around a home without any other dogs, which is lovely.
    She also managed to chase my cat at the very beginning, which was horrendous. But I worked very hard on that and now i would say she is 95% reliable around Poppy. Poppy is still wary of her but grows in confidence everyday.

    I know that I have "limited" my career and job options and social life but she's worth it. It's a dream come true and it has come with some very difficult to work with issues but I wouldn't have my hiking/running/cuddle partner and that would be just....horrible. I'm still oh-so-new to doggie life, having only had her just over 4 months, but we're getting there. :)

    What an essay - gold star if you got through that ;)
     
  17. cravensmum

    cravensmum PetForums VIP

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    My first dog of my own was a Lurcher called Stripe.

    I had wanted a dog for years but the career I was in meant I did a lot of moving around in rented flats.

    Then eventually at aged 34 I got promoted to a position where I didn't have to move and I could buy my own house.:)

    At the same time my best friend had bred her Lurcher and they still had 2 pups left,one she was keeping and Stripe.

    So I said if he was still available by the time I bought my house I would have him,I went to visit him (and her) every week over 70 miles away,and 3 months later he came home to my own house.

    I didn't do a lot of research,but I had known his mother since she was born and knew the father,and my grandfather always had working Lurchers.

    He lived until he was 13,absolutely fantastic dog.

    Getting on a bit here.:(
    [​IMG]

    In his younger days.:)
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Hanwombat

    Hanwombat I ♥ dogs with eyebrows !!

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    My first dog was Holly :eek:
    She was a black labrador.
    She was the nicest, cuddled dog ever and I miss her so much.
    We got her at 1 1/2 and she died in 2008 at 12 years old. She'd done remarkly well as she had had cancer for years.
    The morning she died, I was down the horses with my mum, my dad rang to say that Holly couldn't get up.. my dad had to go to work so my mum and I rang the vets and they sent a vet round.
    It was obviously she felt it was her time to go so my mum get her lots of chocolate (she was getting put down so we thought why not!) as well as lots of kisses and cuddles.. and then she was gone :(
    It was the nicest way for her to go though.
    A few months later we got another black lab named Bella, who is 5 in November :)

    Holly :001_tt1:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now I'm off for a good cry :crying::crying:
     
  19. BenBoy

    BenBoy Banned

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    Aww she was gorgeous x

    Got a lump in my throat reading some of these.

    Ben is our first dog, I saw him advertised at 12pm on one Friday and we had him home by 7pm that same day, not prepared AT ALL. Mad dash to pets at home the next day but luckily the breeder borrowed us a crate. We had had a hard time and I think I did get Ben for the wrong reasons for something else to focus on but we live and learn.

    I didn't expect a puppy to be such hard work and I thought dog owning was feed, walk and love....there is a lot more too it. Ben is dog aggressive and its hard work but I love him to pieces and wouldn't be without him.
     
  20. Tacey

    Tacey PetForums Senior

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    My first dog was Scamper. I'd always wanted a border collie and me and my ex decided to get him together.

    [​IMG]

    He was wonderful and I loved him to bits... but me and my ex split up and of course we couldn't both keep him. I left the both of them and it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

    I was so lonely and sad I completely rushed into getting April but she's the best thing that's ever happened to me. She is simply perfect. My best friend and soul mate. :)
    [​IMG]

    I miss Scamp, but I know he is well and happy and I can live with that. :)
     
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