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Whihc dog should I get


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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I've been lurking on these forums for a while now and I have to say that this is the best and most comprehensive forum out there. Thank you for all the interesting and valuable information.

Now that I am about to pull the trigger on a dog purchase I am in between the two breeds, Standard Schnauzer and Irish Terrier.

I was finally able to get an agreement from the wife do get a dog, the kids wanted one for the longest time now. :cool:

To give you the background for a little help with my decision...
  • First time dog owners.
  • Wife is allergic to a lot of things, but can tolerate my parent's Maltese. Other dogs for short periods as well.
  • Kids are 10 and 5.
  • We own a house and do have a fenced yard.
  • I have been watching a lot of Dog Whisperer and feel pretty confident I can deal with dogs the right way.
  • I do not have illusions that kids will be responsible enough to look after the dog and do plan to have before work morning walks and evening walks with the dog myself, probably 30 to 45 minutes each day.
  • During the day my wife has a flexible schedule and kids are back from school by 3pm, to take the dog out.
If I missed any information needed to make my decision please let me know.

I originally wanted a large dog, and since I have to get a hypoalleregenic one my choices were Bouvier des Flanders or Labradoodle, a Giant Schnauzer was omited due to being a much more serious dog.

But something didn't click right until I talked myself down to a medium sized dog. I realized that for a large dog I'd need, at least, to get bigger cars for myself and my wife. :)

Hence the two choices, Standard Schnauzer vs. Irish Terrier. I am leaning more towards the Schnauzer and my wife towards the Irish, kids don't know that I was able to convince the wife to get the dog yet.
 

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Do you want a puppy? If you don't have your heart set on one, here are the club rescues for both those breeds:

http://www.itca.info/itcarescue.htm
http://www.standardschnauzer.org/rescue.html

Sometimes breeders have older dogs available as well, so that's worth a look. There are a lot of benefits with an older dog - not even a senior, just a dog that's 2-3 years old - not the least of which is you know what you're getting. A lot of times they'll be housebroken already, which is a huge relief!

I think either of these breeds would be a good fit. Don't worry about the physical size of the dog, both Schnauzers and Terriers are plenty of dog for the package they come in. One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone with allergies reacts the same; it might be a good idea to have your wife spend sometime with both breeds of dogs and see if there is a difference in reaction.

Also, another thing to keep in mind is that the Dog Whisperer isn't really a good resource for most dog owners. Not only is he not a trainer (ie, just because your dog "respects you" doesn't mean he'll come when you call), the dogs he works with are not most dogs. He also relies a lot on his personal magnetism with dogs, which most owners can't replicate.

Good luck picking out your dog! You're being very realistic about the kids' involvement with the dog, but I (and a lot of other people here) grew up with dogs and it's just the best thing. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do you want a puppy?
I do want a puppy, I've been debating this for a while and I want the "total experience".

One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone with allergies reacts the same; it might be a good idea to have your wife spend sometime with both breeds of dogs and see if there is a difference in reaction.
I understand this part, but the only way we can spend time with either breed is by visiting a breeder, which I have not picked yet.

Also, another thing to keep in mind is that the Dog Whisperer isn't really a good resource for most dog owners
I understand what you mean, but I can find any and all info on how to train a dog on the web, what I see as a more important part is understanding of dogs and how their mind works.
 

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I do want a puppy, I've been debating this for a while and I want the "total experience".
Ok. Have you read about how to find a responsible breeder? There are some stickies in this forum on the topic. Also the breed clubs are a good place to get information.

I understand this part, but the only way we can spend time with either breed is by visiting a breeder, which I have not picked yet.
Why not visit both? A dog is a 10-15 year investment, there's no reason you can't shop around like you would for a car. If you go here -> http://www.akc.org/events/search/ <- you can find AKC shows in your area, that's usually a good place to meet dogs and talk to breeders (the wife may need to stay home, they're very doggy events. I can't imagine it's fun for allergy sufferers). I do suggest you meet these dogs in person, I think it's really the best way to get a feel for the temperament and personality.

I understand what you mean, but I can find any and all info on how to train a dog on the web, what I see as a more important part is understanding of dogs and how their mind works.
There are better theories of dog brains, in my opinion. I won't go into more detail unless you want me too, it's a subject I'm rather passionate about and it isn't really the point in this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have you read about how to find a responsible breeder
Oh yeah, I've been reading forever now. ;)

Why not visit both? A dog is a 10-15 year investment, there's no reason you can't shop around like you would for a car.
Funny you should mention cars... I bought my last three cars after reading numerous reviews and articles with barely a 10 minute test drive, have not been disappointed yet. On a more serious note, my cousin has an Irish Terrier and my wife seemed fine with the dog, the Standard Schnauzer we'd go to a breeder or two. Dog show is out of the question as my wife is not a dog person, even if we discount her allergies, and it'll be too overwhelming for her.

There are better theories of dog brains....
I'm sure there are as many theories as there are "experts on dog psychology" out there, but you are right, it's not the point of my inquiry.
 

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Since this has, at least in part, contingencies with allergies, PLEASE get in touch with some breeders or rescues for both of these dogs and explain your situation with the allergies, and ask if you can spend some time around the dogs.

Even though both of these are "low allergen" dogs, most people with dog allergies are still allergic to the dog's saliva and wastes, which can dry in their hair and cause reactions. (There are NO true hypoallergenic dogs). This doesn't sound like a big deal, but in some people it's worse than just the fur/skin shedding that dogs do. Most people with allergies tolerate some breeds better than others, even amongst low-shed or low-allergen breeds.

You need to spend several hours in the environment where the dog has been before you know if you have a reaction to it - often repeatedly. Doing so beforehand by hanging out with some of them would be much better than getting one home and realizing a week later that it's making you (or your wife in this case) miserable.

If it turns out that one of these dogs is better on her health, that would be the obvious choice to go with :)
 

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neither.

I own a Standard Schnauzer. I think that they, and the Irish Terrier are a really bad choice for a person who has only 30-45 min a day to train them, no dog owning experience at all, thinks that Ceasar Milan and the Web has all the answers for dog training. It's just a big fat train wreck a coming. Choo choo.

If your wife isn't allergic to a Maltese I'd get the Maltese. Seriously. Then after a few years of dog ownership and sucessful dog obedience training do your research very well and re-consider the SS or the IT.

If you used Ceaser Milan's methods on my dog she'd either bite you or shut down completely and do everything in her power to avoid you. Standard Schnauzers are smart, tough and independent. They suffer fools lightly and do not tolerate unfair punishment. (I'd classify CM's methods as unfair punishment and negative reinforcement) They do well with Positive reinforcement training. They love to be with their people, but not glued to their sides. They have a high prey drive and were breed for centuries to kill vermin. If I had her in a fenced in yard, I would not be surprised if she killed my neighbors cat. I would never leave her alone in a fenced in yard. She would be a terrible dog for a first time dog owner. You would be miserable with my dog.

Don't get a high drive, high energy dog as a first time dog. Get a mellow little love muffin.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Since this has, at least in part, contingencies with allergies, PLEASE get in touch with some breeders or rescues for both of these dogs and explain your situation with the allergies, and ask if you can spend some time around the dogs.
I am planning on doing that, as much as I can anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Interesting... what would you suggest in a medium size dog which is relatively hypoallergenic.

...a person who has only 30-45 min a day to train them...
I mentioned that I have 30-45 TWICE a day for a walk myself in addition for a walk during the day by my kids. My weekends are open for spending time with kids and the dog as well.

...thinks that Ceasar Milan and the Web has all the answers for dog training....
I don't think Cesar has all the answers but I do know that I can find ANY and ALL information needed on the web.

If your wife isn't allergic to a Maltese I'd get the Maltese.
Out of the question as I do want a real dog not a toy. Seriously.

If you used Ceaser Milan's methods on my dog she'd either bite you or shut down completely and do everything in her power to avoid you.
I don't really understand what you mean by "Cesar Milan Method". Every single one of his cases is approached on individual dog basis and by knowing the dog's view of life.

I would never leave her alone in a fenced in yard.
I am not planning to leave the dog alone in the yard, but when we are in the yard the dog will be able to roam within the fence.

She would be a terrible dog for a first time dog owner. You would be miserable with my dog. Don't get a high drive, high energy dog as a first time dog. Get a mellow little love muffin.
This one is true and I do see your point here, I did read that the Standard Schnauzer needs a firm owner and I think I can handle the challenge. I do not even consider "a mellow little love muffin" a true dog, but just a toy.
 

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I am a first time dog owner myself and one thing I found difficult is one thing you are mentioning. I too, when a puppy arrived unforeseen at my house one night and became ours, looked to the plethora of information on the internet. I found all sorts of info and started putting it to use. Unfortunately, the problem is with my lack of previous experience, it was hard to define what would be appropriate for our puppy and what would not. Each web site speaks of their choice as the right one. The various web sites can be conflicting to each other. I would advise since you have the opportunity to do the research now investigate thoroughly before getting the puppy and talk to humans (who are qualified trainers at a place such as the SPCA) in person before deciding on any of the methods listed on the internet.
 

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I mean this in the best possible sense...

But neither. Both are an A WHOLE LOT of dog for first time owners. I am not saying your can't do it. But if you do, you better be committed to it.

You mentioned some larger breeds. Size does not have really anything to do with how difficult a dog is to handle. And both the breeds you mentioned ain't easy. They are both very determined, tenacious, and strong willed.
Neither would find its way onto a list for first timers.
 

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Interesting... what would you suggest in a medium size dog which is relatively hypoallergenic.
Poodles are the "standard" answer (they are medium sized and consider to be hypoallergenic more than most).

Irish Water Sapniel's are consider more hypoallergenic.

I think both are considered on the independent side for temperament (I take that to mean they like to do their own thing more so then join in with what you're doing).

Here's another list that has dog breeds I never heard of (Dandie Dinmont Terrier...what the heck? Cute looking though) and actually lists the Coton (my dog's breed).

http://www.dogguide.net/dog-breeds-for-allergies.php


Some of them aren't medium, though. All of the Bichon family (Maltese, Coton, Havenese, and the Bichon Frise of course) listed dogs are toy to small sized (they still can be active and probably a challenge in some situations). I think the largest, at least on that list, is like 12 or so lbs.
 

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I'm not going to address anything about your ability to raise a dog or not or how to handle them. I'm sure tons of people will give you feedback one way or the other about what to do, who to read, etc etc.

Answering your specific question about what kind of breed:

Have you considered a standard poodle? People see "poodle" and get all weirded out and repelled, but there is a world of difference between a standard and a toy.

Standards are considered "medium" or "large" dogs, depending on their breeding. They can be expected to mature between 40 and 75 pounds.

Poodles do not HAVE to look froofy and silly. If you keep them in a short utility clip they look quite respectable.

They are highly intelligent and typically easy to train, as long as you are consistent and firm with them - WITHOUT being mean and snappy. They are great with children (which you have) and typically one of the dogs people with allergies have the LEAST problems with (hence the onslaught of "doodle" breeds trying to replicate the poodle quality there).

Standard poodles are typically MUCH lower energy and less excitable than toy breeds of the same. They tend to be pretty laid back in the house, but they DO need real exercise a couple times a day. Walks are sufficient in most cases, but most of them enjoy chasing balls and retrieving as well.

The only thing to be aware of is that their temperament CAN be high strung and they can get very yippy and snappy. A lot of this depends on breeding, so it's important to pick a reputable breeder who is conscous of breading for temperament as well as health, if you choose to get your animal from a breeder and not a rescue. Usually rescues also provide some sort of profiling for personality, at least to the extent that they know, as they are interested in making good matches to the family getting the dog.

If nothing else, you could try looking them up. They are less "serious" dogs than a lot of the terrier/schnauzer type dogs, without being super silly (see labradors).
 

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Out of the question as I do want a real dog not a toy. Seriously.
I'm not going to attempt to talk you into a little white fluffball or anything, but what do you consider a "real dog?" Are you opposed to all smaller dogs, or just fluffy white ones? (And by the way, my papillon -- one of the top 10 intelligent and trainable dog breeds with tons of energy and an aversion to being carried like a baby or stuffed into a purse -- may be toy sized, but she is no toy.) If you'd be willing to consider smaller dogs (15-30 lbs or so), you have a few more choices in the less allergenic realm -- the Basenji, for example, or the Australian, Cairn, Norwich or Soft-Coated Wheaten terriers (the latter is actually medium-sized at 30-45lbs). None of these are toy-sized dogs, and they should all look "real dog" enough for you. :p

You could also consider adopting a Labradoodle or a Goldendoodle, although these are mutts and are not guaranteed hypoallergenic, despite what many people think. You would need to have your wife spend some time with the specific pup you wanted to take home to see if she had a reaction. If you look around, you could probably find one in a rescue or shelter. I know this is a hot topic around here, but some "doodle" breeders actually do perform health checks on each parent, so if you really wanted a pup and couldn't find one in a shelter or rescue, you might look into one of those. Avoid anyone who doesn't health test at all costs, of course!
 

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Neither the Standard Schnauzer nor the Irish Terrier are ideal breeds for the 1st timer. And I say that as a huge fan of both breeds. Neither breed is especially forgiving of noob mistakes. Between the two, the Irish is about as bad a choice as you can come up with.

Individual temperaments will vary a great deal, but breed generalizations are useful guides. Both breeds will require a lot of attention to proper socialization and training. Firmness is all well and good (and necessary), but firmness by itself won't get it done. I'm not really a member of the Cesar haters club, but what works for him is difficult to replicate for the new puppy owner. He has the ability to read a dog that you don't just pick up in a few weeks. His timing is pretty darned good, as well. These are skills that take years to develop.

If you are the ambitious type, and feel that you are up for a challenge, get a well bred Lab. They are more than enough trouble for anyone. A good Lab will let you fix your mistakes. You can train them wrong and retrain them almost indefinitely. A Lab pup is not the ideal starter kit, but less likely to grow up to be Public Enemy #1 than an Irish Terrier.
 

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Out of the question as I do want a real dog not a toy. Seriously.
Maybe it's just rubbing me the wrong way but toy dogs are most definitely 'real' dogs. You don't have to get one but I HATE it when people say they're not 'real dogs'. I hear it all the time and it drives me insane. I think it's quite rude, honestly.

Okay had to get that off my chest.
 

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...Both are an A WHOLE LOT of dog for first time owners. I am not saying your can't do it. But if you do, you better be committed to it...
I am probably as stubborn as these two dogs' descriptions put together. I do plan to follow through completely. :cool:

You mentioned some larger breeds. Size does not have really anything to do with how difficult a dog is to handle.
An ideal dog for me, based solely on breed standard descriptions and pictures, would probably be Bouvier des Flanders. But I'd have to make too many changes to accomodate a large dog. :(

Neither would find its way onto a list for first timers.
First time dog owners suggestions do not take into account an individual, but generalize a great deal, just as dog breed general standards. I did go through these "first timer recommendations" lists and cannot find a single dog that I like. :)
 
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