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A little background on me: I'm a college senior living at home for now, and have never owned a pet before. Was never around any when I was a kid, and was actually pretty scared of dogs, as I've gotten older I enjoy the hell out of playing with my friends pets.

I don't know very much about dogs, but I have been researching as much as I can recently and will continue to do so but I'd like to hear from people and not just static FAQs that can't talk back.

I would like a small house dog that is low maintenance and easy to take care of. I've done the breed selection quizes online but I get so many different answers I'm not sure. I was thinking of adopting from petfinder.com but I'm not closed to the idea of getting a dog from a breeder or a shelter - but I'm not totally sure on the advantages of which. I know a lot of the dogs on petfinder are already vaccinated, spayed/neutered and house broken. My biggest concern outside of health issues is the house broken thing. I have no problem with cleaning after a dog, I'd even have a hard time scolding one but out of respect to my folks who work very hard to keep the house clean it is something to worry about for me. As for living conditions, I'm in a two story house with a medium sized backyard. I have a high fence in the yard and a gate in the front (though the front gate has a lot of space inbetween bars). Also I should probably mention it is very important to my family the dog not be a loud barker. I know it's a bit general but if there are breeds that are more gentle and quiet than others that would be great.

So anyway yeah, any help and advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for reading! Have a nice day :yo:
 

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From what you have written, I would suggest you look for a grown-up dog from a rescue. If you got a puppy, you'd have to do the housebreaking and training, and you can never be 100% sure you'd get one who didn't make a lot of noise. A rescue will know the personality, the training level, and the general behavior of the dog. I think that is probably more useful than getting any specific breed.
 

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First of all, welcome to the forum. I'm sorry you're feeling low, and I wish you luck in finding a pet to give you the uplift you need.

As you don't want a lot of work on your hands, a puppy is completely off the board.

That means you can find a breeder who's willing to sell you an older dog, a shelter, a rescue, or a dog whos family need to rehome it. I wouldn't recommend petfinder or craigslist...Dogs at the shelter and rescue are also vaccinated and usually spayed/neutered prior to being rehomed. They're also assessed to better fit them with homes, so you can go in and explain what you need, and you'll be taken to dogs that would best suit you.

About 10 years ago, my mum rescued a dog from the shelter, and he hadn't been neutered. We took him back when he was old enough, and they neutered him for free, and offered yearly booster shots (which I don't believe in) for a cheap rate. You might be able to find a shelter with a similar policy.

All dogs have a loud bark, so you'd need to look for a specific dog, not a breed. Basenji's are the non-barkers of the world. They howl, instead.

Good luck.
 

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I definitely agree that you don't want a puppy. I think going through a rescue in your area is a great idea. In rescue (as opposed to shelters) the dogs are with foster families while they wait for a forever home, which means you can talk to the foster family and ask all of these questions prior to adopting the dog. When I rescued my dog, I knew I wanted a quiet dog who was housebroken and was good with cats, and I was able to assess all of these qualities and more by talking with the rescue before choosing a dog.

Good luck with your mood problems - I hope that you begin to feel better. One caution for you is that people with depression (as I'm sure you know) often have motivation difficulties, so I would think carefully about your readiness to care for a dog, and discuss it with your family and therapist (if you have one) first, just to make sure you are ready for the challenge, because even if you don't get a puppy, having a first dog means a pretty major change in lifestyle.
 

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I would like a small house dog that is low maintenance and easy to take care of.
I get nervous when I hear this. No dog is truly low maintenance or easy to take care of. They are a lot of work and the happy dog owners are the ones who actually enjoy the work, or at least most of it.
 

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I get nervous when I hear this. No dog is truly low maintenance or easy to take care of. They are a lot of work and the happy dog owners are the ones who actually enjoy the work, or at least most of it.
Ditto! I think a it sounds like the OP would be much better off with a kitten. Kittens are hilarious to watch, loves to cuddle, and don't need house training or walking like dogs do. A dog, even a small dog, needs to get out of the house and yard on a regular basis ... whether the human is sick or don't feel well or not.
 

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I think a kitten is a great call... although I have depression my PITA is my panic disorder... and I found I was taking A LOT more medication when I was house training a puppy... it's very stressful and frustrating.... and it requires a lot of continuous work... like you need to bring a puppy out every 30 min. or an hour... you can't say one time... I don't feel like it right now... I'm too tired. You really have to be motivated to get a puppy.
 

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I agree that you should get a cat. My son, an older teen, has severe clinical depression. As much as our dog cheers him up, he cannot be counted on to take care of Aidan because of his depression. My son is helpful, but not enough to take care of a dog.

I think my son would do very well with a cat or two. We'd have at least one if my daughter weren't highly allergic to them.

I've had indoor cats, and they were a lot of fun and not demanding pets at all. I fed them twice a day, played with them, they played with each other, they slept on my lap, and looked out the window a lot. I cleaned their litter box twice a day. They were basically no trouble at all.

Basic supplies: Litter box & scoop, food & water dishes, inexpensive carrier for trips to vet, toys, cat tree, food, litter, a few rolls of that tape that removes pet hair from clothing. Our cats did not have their own bed -- or perhaps they did, but shared it with us.

I had domestic short haired cats. They did not have to be walked, trained, or groomed. They did not require anywhere near the work or attention our dogs have needed.

Every shelter around here is overcrowded with cats and kittens.
 

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Hi Odin ,

Welcome to DF, and, stop by often and tell us about how your search is going for that perfect dog/cat.

I hope you will be able to find a companion that will suit your needs. I would be hesitant to recommend any certain type of dog as I have seen too many of the small breed dog's do a lot of barking at the window inside of the house at any thing that moves outside. Most of my experience is with hounds and I know that is not what you are looking for. Perhaps you will be able to find a very calm and happy adult dog that is content just to be with family. You did say you had a fenced back yard and that is a plus. Other members here at DF can help you much more than I can , so for now , I will just send you good vibes............

Good Luck , oldhounddog
 

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Ditto! I think a it sounds like the OP would be much better off with a kitten. Kittens are hilarious to watch, loves to cuddle, and don't need house training or walking like dogs do. A dog, even a small dog, needs to get out of the house and yard on a regular basis ... whether the human is sick or don't feel well or not.
Some cats grow up to want nothing to do with cuddles though. I'd suggest an adult from the shelter. They personality assess them just like they do with dogs, then you can be sure you're getting a cat that doesn't treat you like a roommate.

That being said, having some mood disorder issues myself, I find having a dog to be MUCH more therapeutic. I enjoy training and having a companion to walk with. It can be difficult though to find the perfect dog when you are having to cater to the preferences of other people you live with though. If a dog is what you want, I'd suggest you go down to a shelter in your area and see what's available. Talk to the people there. They know the dogs and are unlikely to advise you to take home a dog that isn't a good choice for you because their main goal is to send a dog home forever and know they're well cared for and happy. They won't advise you to take a dog that you'll be bringing back in a week. Keep an open mind and take the time to meet as many dogs as you can. If the perfect dog for you is there, you'll know it when you meet it. If not, take your time and look around other shelters or go back at a different time when new dogs have come in. If you choose an older dog (very likely given the criteria you're asking for) set aside the money you're saving by not choosing a puppy from a breeder and earmark it for vet-care, or get a good vet-insurance plan (I recommend doing this anyways, but it's especially important if you choose an older dog).
 

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To the OP and Dobie:

Petfinder.com is a resource that lists dogs (and cats) that are in shelters and rescues. If you enter your zip code, it shows animals in your area and you can specify breed, age, etc. It is a tool to help you locate and rescue the perfect animal for you, given what is available in your local shelters/rescues. It will show you thousands of adoptable shelter pets, organized by geographic distance from you. It is not some third-party large-volume puppy dealer, nor does it have anything in common with craigslist.
 

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I would like a small house dog that is low maintenance and easy to take care of. Also I should probably mention it is very important to my family the dog not be a loud barker. I know it's a bit general but if there are breeds that are more gentle and quiet than others that would be great.

So anyway yeah, any help and advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for reading! Have a nice day :yo:
Hi Odin! One of my dogs is named Odin (the one in my avatar)!

I also have been diagnosed with depression and I have some anxiety issues, and I can tell you it can really make things harder at times with a dog. Especially puppies, which I don't recommend because they're continue work for months and months. Especially if you aren't up for a high maintenanc pet.

The barking depends on the dog, but some breeds are known more for barking (like hounds). I had a border collie that pretty much never barked, but she was a laid back kind of dog.

As others have said, dogs require a lot of care. Cats are more independent, but still cuddly. You could even look for other types of animals, like rabbits, which are lower maintenance, cuddly, and can live in a house.

if you do get a dog, just keep doing research. go to some shelters and just LOOK for a while, don't feel like you need to adopt one immediately. think about what you'll need to do with it. feeding, playing, exercising, walking at least once a day (distance depends on the breed and size), taking out to potty, etc. Even an older dog should be trained for more things than potty training, so you should be willing to spend a lot of time with a dog. Dogs like being with people all the time usually, whereas a cat is just as likely to wander off and sleep instead of following you around.

RedFraggle said:
That being said, having some mood disorder issues myself, I find having a dog to be MUCH more therapeutic.
Agreed with this.


GottaLuvMutts said:
Petfinder.com is a resource that lists dogs (and cats) that are in shelters and rescues.
This. That is where I was looking for dogs around here before I got my new puppies (they weren't listed there yet when I got them, but only because the shelter didn't update often enough). It can give you an idea of what kinds of dogs are available in your area.

If you want a purebred dog, there are lots of those there, too. The local one here was full of beagles and AmStaffs last time I was there, but if you just want a companion animal, you should consider mutts, too.
 

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My baby Sister is clinically depressed. She actually has a prescription from her physician so that if she were to rent she had proof of the need for her dog. She started with the puppy route but it was a bit much for her. Unfortunately she had to rehome the puppy a couple of years ago. She is dog-less at the moment. It takes so much time and energy per day....she found it rather difficult in her particular situation. Every ones depression can vary.

I would suggest an adult dog be it a breed or a mix. I also suggest that looking at a rescue or shelter is a good idea. Some shelters or humane societies can tell you some about the dogs if they happened to be turned in by their owners. I personally like the rescue groups because they appear and mostly do know the individual dogs on a one to one basis.

I wish you luck in your search. Take your time. Your forever friend is out there somewhere waiting for you. You will know when you meet your perfect him/her. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thank you all very much for the response! Please don't misunderstand when I ask for a lower maintenance dog it's not that I'm not looking forward to the work it takes to have a dog (I really am) it's just that I know it'll also be a huge learning experience for me having never taken care of a dog before and if I can find a type of dog that'll be easier for me to learn with, it would be a big plus!

The cat suggestion is a good one, I actually am totally open to it and up to a few weeks ago I was dead set on getting one but unfortunately my entire family outside of me hates cats :( Not a total big deal since I've always liked dogs better and I know how they like attention and I would like as much attention from a dog as a dog wants from me, since I'm really anti-social, lonely and lack friends.

As for the trained service dog, yeah I've heard of that. I'm gonna be seeing my therapist next week and I plan on asking about it.

One more silly/stupid question, how out of the question is it for a small dog to use a litter box? Is it harder to teach a small dog to use a litter box than it is to take them outside?

Thanks again for the response everyone :wave:
 

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I've known people to teach to use pee pads and pee boxes... but these need to be very small dogs and IMO dogs should be taught to go outside. It's healthy to be outside, it's natural for them to go outside and "choose" their place to go, not be demanded to relieve on fake grass or a piece of cotton.
 

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I'm in a similar position. I've had depression for ages and it's gotten so severe lately that I've had to drop out of university, (but I should be able to go back at the start of 2013). So don't worry, you're not the only one in this situation.

So yeah, I'm stuck living at home with my parents and have a crappy part time job and nothing to do with myself. I've always wanted a dog, and I finally convinced my parents to let me get one, so I got a puppy and am spending lots of time training her to keep busy.*

She has made a huge difference to my life and mood, so when they say that pets are therapeutic, it's true!

Anyway, as a first time dog owner, I would agree that you should get an adult dog unless you have plenty of time to spend housebreaking and toilet training him/her! It's very time consuming.*

Anyway, all the best with everything, I hope your depression gets better soon! *

P.S. After doing some research to find a small, friendly house dog, I settled on a Maltese x Shih Tzu. Non shedding, tiny and a great companion dog!
 

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Some people have luck having a dog if they have depression, I had a really hard winter last year....then we got a puppy. I will say having a puppy was one of the worst things for me at that time (which I realized after the fact). I wanted to take care of her and train her but didn't feel like I could, so everything I did wrong (or just didn't succeed at) seemed like even more of a failure, not the best thing when depressed. So I really won't suggest a puppy, though you might respond differently than I did, and it seems you are definitely doing something really smart by checking into breeds first too. It has worked out in the long run, I'm relatively fine now, and Caeda having grown up has helped (as well as seeing that much of my training HAS been a success). It might have been different had we not gotten a high energy, somewhat high maintenance puppy, but I'm still glad we got her :D

A cat would be a great idea, I was going through a slightly rough patch (but nothing like last winter) when I got my cat, she was fantastic for me. I would never have believed until then that a cat could be a real companion. I would vote for a cat (or kitten) over a puppy. If you aren't a cat person....I can respect that, maybe some fostering might be a good idea to see how it goes (I've never fostered, so others that have please chime in on how that could go). Either way, I wouldn't suggest a dog or puppy unless you've got a really good setup to get out of the dog owning situation in a way that is good for the dog and for you.
 

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I think getting a puppy for companionship to help with depression is a big gamble, and like others have said, I would consider a rescue where you can get a MUCH better idea of the dogs personality, training, etc.

I'm not sure whether you are going to be solely responsible for the dog or whether your family will pitch in as well. If it will be completely up to you to train, clean up after and care for the dog and you decide to get a puppy, make sure you understand that you might not get a day off for the next 15 years. Man, I would have given one of my testicles to stay in bed all day today, but that's not even a remote possibility with my puppy, so instead I'm out in the rainy freezing cold excercising him for 3+ hours, just like every... other... day... (exhausted looking smiley)

You clarified the "low maintenance thing" and I understand you, but the fact that you said "house dog" and that you have access to a backyard but ask about litter boxtraining kind of worries me, and that you say you are antisocial. Proper socialization is the most important part of raising a healthy puppy, and that means you will have to be out there introducing your puppy and interacting with as many different people, dogs, noises, places, smells, situations, environments etc that you possibly can. Is this something you feel up to?

But back to the beginning of the post: "I think getting a puppy for companionship to help with depression is a big gamble" and therefore one that can pay off huge. I have my share of mental issues and more than my share of physical ones, no outside help at all, no backyard (oh, how I can only imagine!) and I LOVE raising a puppy. It gave much needed structure to my life and lots of opportunites for healthy socializing for me while I was socializing him. I enjoy the companionship, and the satisfaction that comes with making progress. Wanting my puppy to feel safe with me, I am increasingly calm and confident in my mind, actions and attitude. I have thought hundreds of times "what have I gotten myself into" but I have thought " I love this!" thousands of times. But really, if I didn't see so many people with dogs, I think I would question whether raising a puppy was humanly possible!

You talked about playing with friends pets in your first post, do you know anyone who might let you pet sit for a day, weekend, week? A test run would be a great no obligation way to see how you like caring for a dog, and whether it's something you think you can do every day. Keep us posted!
 
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