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UPDATE ON PAGE 2! Considering a dog---first time owners!

Update on page two! Hello! I need your help and advice.

Our (teenage) daughter has asked for years for a dog. Begged. For years. She loves animals of all kinds, but especially dogs. She dogsits for neighbors as needed and absolutely loves them, big, small, and in-between. We have said No because:
1-Neither my husband or I are animal lovers. Usually, dogs make us nervous and startled. (Go ahead, roll your eyes :) )
2-I'm very squeamish and the thought of cleaning up dog poo, the shedding hair, etc. is too much for me.
3-Logistics- We both work full-time. Every six weeks or so we go out of town for the weekend. We live in a 1200sq foot house in town.
4-One of our other children is severley allergic to both cats and dogs.

But because of some recent life circumstances, it has been recommended that our daughter have a dog as 'pet therapy'. She does not know this (yet). We are not sure what to do, but here are my responses to #1-4 above.
1-We would get over our dislike for our daughter's sake. Absolutely.
2-As a teenager with dog sitting experience, she would be comfortable and old enough to do a lot of the care needed.
3-?
4-The allergic child will soon be moving across the country to college and only coming home for holidays and special occasions.

I've done tons of research so far, but need to hear from people who have been there/done that. According to my research and multiply "What breed is for you?" quizzes, it appears the following breeds are the direction we should be thinking:
Bichon Frise
Halvanese
Boston terriers
Shih Tzu
Poodle

I've checked online to see what's available at local shelters. I also googled area breeders and found that they are waaaaay out of our budget. :( We want to have a specific plan in place if we move forward with this before telling our daughter.

Here are some current concerns:
1-I absolutely can't deal with shedding and poop. At my job I deal with some difficult situations on an ongoing basis, but this I just can't do. I'm sorry!
2-What happens when daughter moves to college in a few years? We will not want to keep the dog, but chances are she won't be able to take him to college, nor would she want to part with him (nor should she). :(
3-We would prefer a low-maintenance, low energy dog that doesn't bark very much (neighbors).

I'm probably not the typical poster here. Thank you in advance for your patience. I am so interested in your thoughts and opinions.

Slardyb
 

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Good on you for doing research and wanting to have a solid plan. You've asked some good questions and have come to the right place.

First - how old is your daughter and how long until she moves out to go to college/university?

Second - have you considered fostering a dog? This would be a more temporary solution. You wouldn't be stuck with a dog you don't want after your daughter moves out. Getting a dog is a 10-15 year commitment for sure.
 

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Others will come here with some good advice for you, I'm sure. I just had a couple things pop into my head, so thought I would put them down.

Don't discount a good breeder as being too expensive. (Trust me, everyone in my family thought I was insane for paying what I did for my Australian Shepherd - and he was moderately priced for a purebred.) There are many good things that come along with breeders, including support when you get a dog and in the event you can't take care of it any longer. Also, an option for you guys as cost is a factor, sometimes breeders will have dogs they are no longer showing/breeding/whatever that they rehome for a lesser cost (or even without a cost at all). A dog like this might be a great solution for your family! (There are a lot of resources on the internet to help you distinguish a truly good breeder from those that only look good on the surface.)

I'm not trying to discount a good rescue - almost every dog my parents have owned has been a mutt and a rescue of some sort, and every one of them has been amazing! So that can a good avenue to take as well.

Most of the breeds you listed are smaller breeds, so there might be a chance your daughter could take the dog along to college. It's the medium to larger sized ones that often have more restrictions. She just might need to be more creative about where she stays and how she manages her time.

Thank you for doing your research. I hope if you do decide to get one, it works out for your daughter!
 

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Hm. You're in a very difficult position, for sure, especially when a dog really needs to be a lifetime commitment (for the animal) and your daughter will likely not be able to take one with her to school (or even many first apartments). I'll address your concerns first.

1: Haired dogs (poodles, bichon, etc.) shed very minimally, but do require regular grooming. You can do this yourself, but of course this means the expense of equipment and needing to clean up the cut hair afterwards - it's just easier to contain than a dog that sheds constantly. Otherwise it's a groomer's every 4-6 weeks and some maintenance combing in between. Some dogs with very short/smooth coats (like the Boston Terrier) don't leave big tumbleweeds around, but they will shed those short little hairs. There's just less of it and it's not as noticeable.

But all dogs poop. A puppy would definitely be out. A senior dog may be a good fit for your home (calm, lower energy needs, many are already housebroken, fewer years of life to commit to), but incontinence is something that can happen with elderly pups. Then there's an adult dog that's already housebroken - but even housebroken dogs often need training "refreshers" when they're in a new place, and can have accidents. You should ask yourself, can you handle the idea of a dog pooping inside if someone else cleans it up? Because it happens. Even a housebroken, healthy dog will occasionally eat something that upsets their stomach or the like. Kinda like kids, that way.

2: This is a big one. In my mind, it is not really fair to the dog to bring it into your household knowing you don't intend to keep it for the rest of its life. Situations change, of course, and sometimes people have to give up their pets, but there's a difference between someone getting laid off and not being able to afford a dog and someone getting a dog fully intending to rehome it down the line, you know?

As I said above, elderly dogs may be an option. They can be hard to place, so many rescues and shelters will have several in desperate need of a place to spend their last years. But they come with end-of-life problems, including medical issues that may be pricey or messy. Not to mention the heartbreak.

Another option may be a foster situation, where you agree to take on a dog for a rescue so it doesn't have to live in a kennel. The rescue pays expenses and searches for a permanent home for the dog, but in the meantime it lives with you. This may give you a better idea of what living with a dog is like, and how it works for you and your daughter, without that long-term commitment. But of course it's not permanent, and that may be difficult for your daughter to handle when this is for her emotional benefit. Then again, getting a dog and then rehoming it when she goes to college might be just as bad - or worse.

I don't know that I could suggest getting a dog otherwise, unless you can figure out a way to keep one long-term. It's honestly just not fair to the dog or your daughter.

3: Another thing that makes me think elderly. A lot of older dogs are happy with a plod around the neighborhood, and prefer napping in a sunbeam to aerobics. Some young dogs are like this too! But they do tend to be less common. Many of the smaller companion breeds are actually pretty peppy guys and quite excitable, despite being called "lap dogs".

Honestly, you may want to consider another species as a companion animal for your daughter. One you're either willing to care for yourselves while she's in school, or one of the shorter-lived "pocket pets". Just know that these are not throw-away pets, even if they're often treated as such, and their care, housing, diet, etc. should be researched before getting one. Sadly a lot of the way they've traditionally been kept are unhealthy (squishing a hamster into a tiny cage with little digging space and feeding a seed mix, for example). I know you said you were squeamish, so I'm sure you'll probably balk at this, but domestic fancy rats are actually lovely pets. They need to have company, so you should keep at least two, but they're surprisingly sweet, interactive critters that bond well with their people and can learn lots of cool tricks. They also only live 2-4 years typically - heartbreaking for those who love them, but a bit of a better fit for a situation like yours.
 

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Hello! I need your help and advice.

Our (teenage) daughter has asked for years for a dog. Begged. For years. She loves animals of all kinds, but especially dogs. She dogsits for neighbors as needed and absolutely loves them, big, small, and in-between. We have said No because:
1-Neither my husband or I are animal lovers. Usually, dogs make us nervous and startled. (Go ahead, roll your eyes :) )
2-I'm very squeamish and the thought of cleaning up dog poo, the shedding hair, etc. is too much for me.
3-Logistics- We both work full-time. Every six weeks or so we go out of town for the weekend. We live in a 1200sq foot house in town.
4-One of our other children is severley allergic to both cats and dogs.

But because of some recent life circumstances, it has been recommended that our daughter have a dog as 'pet therapy'. She does not know this (yet). We are not sure what to do, but here are my responses to #1-4 above.
1-We would get over our dislike for our daughter's sake. Absolutely.
2-As a teenager with dog sitting experience, she would be comfortable and old enough to do a lot of the care needed.
3-?
4-The allergic child will soon be moving across the country to college and only coming home for holidays and special occasions.

I've done tons of research so far, but need to hear from people who have been there/done that. According to my research and multiply "What breed is for you?" quizzes, it appears the following breeds are the direction we should be thinking:
Bichon Frise
Halvanese
Boston terriers
Shih Tzu
Poodle

I've checked online to see what's available at local shelters. I also googled area breeders and found that they are waaaaay out of our budget. :( We want to have a specific plan in place if we move forward with this before telling our daughter.

Here are some current concerns:
1-I absolutely can't deal with shedding and poop. At my job I deal with some difficult situations on an ongoing basis, but this I just can't do. I'm sorry!
2-What happens when daughter moves to college in a few years? We will not want to keep the dog, but chances are she won't be able to take him to college, nor would she want to part with him (nor should she). :(
3-We would prefer a low-maintenance, low energy dog that doesn't bark very much (neighbors).

I'm probably not the typical poster here. Thank you in advance for your patience. I am so interested in your thoughts and opinions.

Slardyb
Good doing all that research! Oofta!

But yeah, the allergic kid, the daughter going off to college, and neither you or your husband liking animals is kind of a large player in this decision. Animal and pet ownership absolutely is not for everyone, and that's okay.

Unless you get a very senior animal, more than likely you will have to care for the dog for some period of time, perhaps years, without the help of your daughter. You would have to deal with the poop, the shedding, the gross that dogs often bring. She probably won't be able to find accommodations that allow pets in college, and she probably won't have the time for a dog!

Would it be possible for her to say, volunteer at a shelter and walk and play with dogs as "pet therapy," or perhaps fostering a dog like Jen mentioned? Would that kind of be a compromise you would be willing to consider? That would eliminate any long-term commitment issues, so when your daughter leaves for college you're not stuck with her dog.
 

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I too would have to vouch for a senior pet. We too are looking for a "hypoallergenic" dog as my husband has allergy issues as well. From spending a lot of time on Petfinder lately, finding a purebred of one of the breeds you listed that is young is almost impossible. Though there are many mixes. However, if you find a young dog and it says poodle mix, you can not be sure if the dog will really be hypoallergenic. While poodles are hypoallergenic it may turn out that the dog has more traits of the other mix whatever that may be and not be hypoallergenic at all.
On the other hand, I have seen numerous purebreds of the breeds you are interested in looking for homes on Petfinder. In most cases they are older dogs who have been with the original owner their whole life. Sadly for them, their owner was either put in a nursing home or passed away and no one wanted to take the dog. This would be a perfect situation for your daughter as she would be nurturing a dog that really needs a buddy and you wouldn't be tied down for 10-15 years with a dog. Best of luck.
 

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Pretty much nothing about your situation sounds right for getting a dog and actually, I think it is good that you are being realistic about your abilities to care for a dog.

I do not recommend a senior dog for your specific situation. While taking away the exercise needs of a young dog, you are trading that for the medical care and attention of an aging animal. While 'senior' can mean as young as 6-7 for a large dog or 8-9 for a toy breed, it still means a likelyhood of such problems as arthritis, heat intolerance sooner than later and if your teen is a high school student now then a likelyhood of your needing to care for a pet at end of life as she goes off to college. Including potential for dementia, incontinance, daily medicine etc.

For mental health or comfort needs, definitely consider a small pet that while still needing care and attention, has less time consuming needs. Some can be left alone over a short weekend or only need one check-in for water refill during that time. Fancy rats are darling little creatures that are smart and quiet and keep themselves very clean. They poop tiny pellets so cleaning is pretty easy.
 

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Go to a shelter, find a poodle or poodle cross, an adult that is house trained. At least you get minimal shedding and, accidents though, accidents do happen with the best house trained dogs, especially when moving to a new home.

If you daughter is okay cleaning up after the dog, then at worst, the dog need to be confined to one room or area when she isn't home to supervise and interact with her dog.

Before you do any of that though, you and your family may want to consider volunteering at the shelter to walk and play with dogs there. It will be a chance to get to know those dogs, overcome your own wariness of dogs and, help you find the ideal dog for your family.
 

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Go to a shelter, find a poodle or poodle cross, an adult that is house trained. At least you get minimal shedding and, accidents though, accidents do happen with the best house trained dogs, especially when moving to a new home.

If you daughter is okay cleaning up after the dog, then at worst, the dog need to be confined to one room or area when she isn't home to supervise and interact with her dog.

Before you do any of that though, you and your family may want to consider volunteering at the shelter to walk and play with dogs there. It will be a chance to get to know those dogs, overcome your own wariness of dogs and, help you find the ideal dog for your family.
Poodles are great little dogs, but most aren't especially low-maintenance and low-energy. And mixes aren't necessarily going to be low shedding - in fact, many poodle mixes have coats more difficult to maintain than poodles themselves.

Poodles are bright, intelligent little dogs that, in my experience, are very alert and interested in what's going on around them. Mine isn't what I'd call a barker the way that some dogs are, but he will absolutely let you know if he hears something strange or interesting outside. They're also more athletic than people give them credit for, and can and will find... creative ways to get your attention if they aren't given enough physical and mental stimulation. Or if their dinner is late. They're also a pretty long-lived breed, especially the smaller guys. 15+ isn't unusual.

Basically, lovely dogs. I adore my guy to bits and wouldn't trade him for the world. But in this situation, they wouldn't be my first suggestion. I do think the OP needs to first figure out if this is really something they can do comfortably for them and humanely for the hypothetical dog.
 

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Has yall thought about your daughter possibly volunteering at a shelter or rescue or something similar? Might be good for her to do.....
While I am normally gung-ho about volunteering at shelters and rescues, I think that this option should be considered with caution based strictly on the OPs reference of recommendation for "pet therapy"

The teenager already dog-sits and so has opportunities for playtime and contact with pets who are cared for and presumably healthy/active/happy. Depending on the shelter situation, it could be stressful for the teen to interact with a dog for awhile and then have that dog sent to an unknown fate via anything from transport to a rescue in another location to being adopted but to a stranger, or even worse in many municipal shelters, being put to sleep.

Fostering brings all the difficulties of owning a dog (poop, pee, fur, slobber) that the parents seem not able to deal with but without the full bonding experience of owning one that may be what is being recommended for the teen as therapy. Bonding emotionally with a foster and then having to let them go to their adoptive home is not easy. It is important if one is to continue to foster dogs and save more of them, but may not be compatible with the pet therapy aspect of things.

If a small animal pet isn't the right direction, an idea that might allow plenty of animal interaction but without the emotional difficulties of shelter situations is horse riding.

Horses are very intuitive animals, they bond with humans probably as closely as dogs do as an animal domesticated to work closely with people similarly to dogs were domesticated to work closely with us. If money is an issue, talk with a local riding stable about trading work for lessons, grooming horses for example is hard work but also a chance to be close to the animals and can be relaxing mentally. Training concepts for dogs also overlap with training for horses in things like positive reinforcement and clicker (marker) training.
 

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Between her leaving for college in a few years, and the fact that you wouldn't want to keep the dog if she couldn't take it with her, no, I just wouldn't get a dog. She can choose one herself when she gets settled into her independent life. I think you're very generous parents to even consider it and try to figure out how to make it work despite your reservations, though.

I second the recommendation for riding lessons - it scratches a similar animal-bonding itch, but without the long-term commitment.

Also, I know my dog trainer takes on teenage "apprentices" to help with classes and around the facility, and to help out at shows. I wonder whether someone in your area might do something similar? Less potentially traumatic than volunteering at a vet or shelter, and good early work experience, to boot.

This is a little out of the blue, but you might consider a bearded dragon. I had one dumped on me, and I'm really not a reptile person at all, but he's oddly soothing to hold and take care of. Properly conditioned they're friendly toward people, and they're one of the easier exotics to care for, since they live in a dry tank and aren't particularly fragile. She wouldn't be able to have it in a dorm, but it'd be less of a burden left at your house than a furry pet would be, and it wouldn't pine for her like a dog would.
 

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With you being gone every 6 weeks, I wouldn't even bother anyway. My friend goes for the week end once a month and has to find someone to keep her dog every time - not a great solution as most people really don't want to bother (he's NOT an easy dog). Or you have to board them every time, and some dogs really don't do well with that (especially rescues)... Or you can find a sitter, but it can be expensive (and often your dog has to be comfortable around other dogs).

But with your daughter leaving for college in a few years, I wouldn't even worry anyway. Tell her to find a pet-friendly room to rent or something and get her own dog then.

I'd look into small pets but I'm not sure you can leave them two days either.
 

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All the reasons i wouldn't get a dog:

-You both work full time.

-You don't really like dogs.

-You go away every 6 weeks.

-Your daughter will be off to college in a few years leaving the dog home alone with you.

-You don't like hair and poop.

Your daughter will be able to get a dog when she moves into her own home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the replies and advice so far. I am reading each one several times to really soak in all the information.

Your bring up some excellent points.

Yesterday as I was perusing a rescue site (just to see what's currently available and gain a better understanding of rescues) and I was clicking on picture after picture, I got this feeling that *the right dog* (if we move forward with this) will make him/herself known. That if finding my daughter a dog is the right thing to do, the dog will 'find us'. Then I thought maybe I'm not being realistic and am being too dreamy... some of those dog eyes, though!

I fully realize this is not a quick decision and I'm fine with thinking and studying and talking to others for several months until I am at peace either way.

Again, I greatly appreciate your time and thoughts. Keep'em coming!
 

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Hello! I need your help and advice.

Our (teenage) daughter has asked for years for a dog. Begged. For years. She loves

Slardyb
As some of the respondents already said, your probably should not get a dog.
However, I understand the need of a parent to make her child happy.

If possible, I would find another family / person who would want the dog once your daughter is moving out. Many people share a dog - especially if it is a pure breed and trained properly. Ideally a neighbor.

I would not be that concerned about dog poo. Since you had kids...trust me, kids' poo is worse.

It matters a lot to be able to clear easily (to have tiles, vinyl, polished concrete)

You should look into a dog with minimum level of energy - a highly energetic dog, for a person who is not into dogs necessarily can be a nightmare.

If we were close, I would take the dog after your kids move out :) I have an old one and a puppy. I anticipate the puppy will be left alone in a couple of years, and he will need a companion.

In any event, a dog requires a lot of work, and a house specially arranged to accommodate his needs and nature. One more thing - most dogs are not like those perfectly trained service dogs, that everybody love because they are so good and smart. Most of them are rather crazy and can do cray things.
 

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I actually really like the horseback riding suggestion, if that's available in your area. There's a place near here that does therapeutic riding and it seems like a fantastic idea. When I rode as a kid, I definitely felt bonded to the horses I most often rode with and helped take care of, even though they were owned by the riding school.

I get that your daughter may love dogs more than anything, but if it really doesn't make sense for your household, another species can still provide a lot of emotional support and therapeutic benefits.
 

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I just wanted to say looking at the dogs on your list don’t underestimate how much work a hypoallergenic dog can be I have one and it’s a lot more grooming than I originally thought it would be
Also even if u adopt an older dog that’s house trained U still might have to deal with poo occasionally I personally rather deal with poo than pee in the house lol
I work full time and have dogs I don’t really think that working means u can’t have them but I think it means it’s harder dogs need a lot of attention especially if left alone half the day maybe consider a cat? Much easier to take care of and they can be great therapy for kids too


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I do not think you should get a dog. Everything else aside, you don't want to keep a dog once your daughter goes off to college, and she likely wouldn't be able to take it with her. It would be cruel to her to adopt her dog out to someone else, and it would be cruel to the dog to permanently separate it from its loving owner.

Let your daughter pick out her own dog once she's out on her own, like everyone else whose parents hated dogs does.
 

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I am currently about ready to place a very well bred, very well trained dog with a family who have a young daughter (young teens) who has begged for a dog for 8 years.

The big difference here is as follows:
While they have no pets now, they like animals.

The new owner (who has been reading books and taking classes about dogs) is going to be grooming, walking, bathing, cleaning up after etc. the dog.

There are no siblings.

The new owner has some minor allergies, but they have a good health plan to deal with those with a specialist.

They just bought a house and around 100 acres of land and will be moving in the end of August.

By the time the owner goes to college the dog will be a senior dog and they will keep the dog.

In your case it sounds like none of you want a dog (and you have an allergic child) except the one girl who needs a dog for pet therapy. You will "get rid of" the dog when she goes to college (it sounds like an emotional support type dog so it is not a service animal and does not have access). You have an aversion to hair and poop...

Your case sounds better suited.. to no a cat or dog.. no pet really.

If you had the money a lease of a horse at a reputable riding facility would be more sensible than a dog. Physical activity, other people doing that, lessons and the horse is not "yours" and there are stable hands or barn owner to deal with poop.. and the horse can be turned back at any time.
 
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