First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

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Postmon
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First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Postmon » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:26 pm

We're thinking about getting our first dog. Both my spouse and I never had dogs/pets growing up and we don't consider ourselves "dog-people" (if there's such a thing). However, many of our friends have dogs and we're thinking a dog would make a nice addition to the family. We have two middle schoolers who assure us they'll take full responsibility (yeah, right!) but I know the responsibility will fall on me. I'm home most of the time, have the time/resources to care for it and think I would enjoy it. We've been doing lots of research on all that's involved so we have an idea of what we'd be getting into. Most say how much work they are but that they're so worth it. I don't see much about those who regretted the decision. However, there's a part of me that thinks I'm crazy for even considering a dog, never mind actually getting one.

I'm interested in hearing from folks who were in a similar situation -- not dog-people, wanted one but wasn't sure if was a good idea, but ultimately got one. How have things worked out for you? Any regrets? Would you have gotten one if you could do it all over again? I really appreciate any input. Thanks!

thenextguy
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by thenextguy » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:30 pm

You could consider fostering a dog to see how you like it. That way there's no long-term committment and you're helping a dog out.

Triple digit golfer
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Triple digit golfer » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:31 pm

Do you love dogs?

What would you do if your dog had an emergency that required a $3,000 surgery?

red5
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by red5 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:34 pm

If you get a dog then get one that fits your personality. Do you want a lazy dog that does not require much exercise? Do you want a big dog that was bred for herding sheep and thus requires much exercise? Research.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by hicabob » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:35 pm

They can certainly tie you down, but then so can kids. Usually not a good idea for "clean-freaks" either.

nordsteve
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by nordsteve » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:35 pm

My wife is the dog person and talked me into getting our dog, and I love him. Great personality and a member of the family.

Everyone needs to buy in up front that there's a burden with a dog -- needs walks, can't be away from home for long, boarding if you go on vacation, vet, grooming.

Getting kids to take on responsibilities -- feeding, walking -- is good for kids to learn responsibility. Both my kids got to be good dog caregivers.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by knpstr » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:55 pm

I'd say it is a little risky if you aren't already a "dog person". Certainly you can become one, but dogs are not hassle free or easy by any means. Our boxer is great a dog (I'd say I'm a dog person), but he can be cause for a headache at times.
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by tadamsmar » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:06 pm

You need to quickly discover that you have a severe life-threatening dog allergy and tell you kids many regrets no dog.

Or, at least get an older dog so you can see the light at the end of the tunnel about when your kids go to college.
Last edited by tadamsmar on Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by kaudrey » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:18 pm

My DH grew up with dogs; I never had one until we got ours 2 1/2 years ago. I have always wanted a dog, but due to schedules and other things, we postponed fro a long time. Now my DH can get home in the middle of the day to walk him, so it works out well. Maybe that doesn't qualify me as a "non-dog person"...

I have no regrets. I LOVE having a dog. But it is a big responsibility - we have to schedule things around him - a weekend away or a vacation; or even just a full day excursion. Luckily, my DH's cousin lives nearby and can usually walk him for us in a pinch. And we have a dog-sitter lined up if needed who will stay at the house, and several friends who also have dogs who are willing to take him for short stays. You just have to make sure you find the right dog for your family - of course they have personalities and quirks just like people. We keep our dog away from little kids because he doesn't like them walking right up to his face, but give him a hand to sniff first and he'll be your best friend in 2 minutes.

And, as another poster brought it up - make sure you and your DH are on the same page about potential treatments. I would do anything for my dog; my DH loves him but is more practical when it comes to potential costs - so we agreed on a number that is reasonable to spend in a year ( which will allow for tests and minor surgery) before we have to seriously consider alternatives.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by timboktoo » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:22 pm

Having a dog is like having a child. Nobody thinks it's that serious, but I think to do it well you have to invest a great deal of time. I think there are a lot of people that like the idea of a dog better than actually having one. I would suggest you only do it if you're ready to basically lose your freedom and spend at least an hour a day playing with the dog and taking it for walks, otherwise it's not very fair to the dog.

This advice is for the general home owner. If you have lots of land that a dog can roam free on, lots of things for the dog to do, then it probably doesn't apply as much in that situation.

- Tim

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by ddurrett896 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:26 pm

Foster a dog for a weekend!

I always loved dogs, but didn't HAVE to have one - however my wife did. After getting our first dog, we now have a second a year later.

No regrets here and I actually enjoy having two because they keep each other company when we are away from the house.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by tadamsmar » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:27 pm

If the kid's want to take full responsibilty, take them up on it. I'd require a $10,000 bond from them in advance of getting the dog to cover vet bills, home damage, and boarding fees.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by texasdiver » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:30 pm

Not a first time owner, we're on our second yellow lab, but here are my comments.

1. Forget about the middle school kids taking care of the dog. First of all they won't and second of all, they'll be leaving for college before the dog is middle aged. You are signing up for a 10-12 year commitment if you are getting a puppy.

2. Ready to get up an hour earlier every morning to walk the dog? For me this is a good thing because it gets me off my butt and I get some exercise every morning before going to work. You see all the other dog walkers in the neighborhood every morning at 6 am and it is something of a club although I don't know any of their names. Unless you have land in the country with room for a dog to roam you'll be doing this for the next 10 years.

3. You'll need a kennel or someone to look after every time you want to do any kind of overnight trip or longer vacation. Unless you are doing car vacations to campgrounds you pretty much have to leave the dog behind.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Deep Thoughts » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:34 pm

Make sure you are ready for the vet bills ... on the order of 1K to 3K per year depending on what goes wrong. Food/toys/treats also.

Make sure you are ready for the general level of dirtiness and hair shedding. They are way dirtier than most people realize. Short haired
breeds help somewhat on the dirt (you can clean them up easier/faster before they enter the house).

Make sure you are ready for "responsible dog ownership" .... the dog should have a certain level of training: comes when its called, trained not to jump up on
adults or worse children, not to bite, be able to heel, etc etc. This takes time and work and money. Don't be one of those people that just "house break" the dog and that's it for the training. It's not fair to the animal since if they can't be trusted or they are a horrible pain whenever you try to take them anywhere, they'll end up never going anywhere and they'll have to live a much less free life.

I've had dogs my whole life and now that I've retired, I'll never have another one. They are wonderful creatures but a lot of work/expense.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:40 pm

An animal is a big responsibility. I second the idea of fostering for awhile.

Be prepared to shell out five figures in vet bills if the dog develops a major problem. Your freedom to take off at the drop of a hat is gone.

It's sort of like kids, but the dog isn't going to help take care of you in your old age :-) Although he or she will probably wake you up if the house is on fire or someone tries to break in.

I don't know much about dogs, but my understanding is that obedience training is a must. If nothing else, the dog may come when you call if he or she slips off the leash and dashes into the street. Or starts to leap all over some elderly person who then falls and breaks a hip. I'm astonished at the bad manners of some dogs (really of the owners) who clamber all over the cat carrying cases in the vet's waiting room. It's like people who let their kids run around screaming in a restaurant.

Like Deep Thoughts, I said never again after my last cat and since I'm retired, then a starving kitty showed up... I love him, but I would not have chosen this.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Carson » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:44 pm

I agree with a lot of others on the time and effort it takes to raise a dog, but I wanted to comment on this quote.
Postmon wrote: I'm home most of the time, have the time/resources to care for it and think I would enjoy it.
We were married with no kids when we got a puppy. We thought it would be great because I WFH and DH was going to school online at the time. We figured so much time around the dog we would be able to train it. The training went fine and we essentially had a machine, but we fostered an unhealthy attachment in the dog. In retrospect, she is a needy breed and probably is a little neurotic her whole life, but we both wish that we weren't home so much! She panics (whining/pacing/anxiety) when we start to get dressed to leave somewhere. She cries while we are gone.

So all other things considered, I suggest you leave the dog at some points during the day on a routine basis. Just so she doesn't think you are there 24/7/365.

Another thing is find a boarding facility to use when you go out of town for vacations/emergency travel/etc. We send our dog back to her breeder, which is the most amazing choice, and I have no concerns about her care what-so-ever.
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by pennstater2005 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:05 pm

stevep001 wrote:My wife is the dog person and talked me into getting our dog, and I love him. Great personality and a member of the family.

Everyone needs to buy in up front that there's a burden with a dog -- needs walks, can't be away from home for long, boarding if you go on vacation, vet, grooming.

Getting kids to take on responsibilities -- feeding, walking -- is good for kids to learn responsibility. Both my kids got to be good dog caregivers.
Middle paragraph above is the reason I got a cat :happy
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:09 pm

I agree with the recommendation to foster first. Having a dog might not work for you.

I also can't overstress the rewards of rescuing a dog. The dog seems to know. Our most recent dog is a triple rescue. She had been rescued as a small puppy with her two sisters. She was returned because she wasn't healthy. A lovely couple then adopted her, but they only had an apartment and one of them was a touring musician, etc., so they reached out to us. I had been an anti-pit bigot ("show me where a beagle killed a kid"), but gave in to family pressure. Of course caring for the dog is my responsibility, and I am absolutely in love with this glorious beast. One condition I placed on the adoption was that we had to train her -- you don't want an untrained 85 pound athlete running around your yard -- and we spent >$1k on a trainer who trained us and also the dog. She gets to run outside with an electric fence on our property, but like the wuss she is, she won't go outside in the rain :D

As I write this, she is snoring at my feet. My life was great without her, and it is great with her, although we are more tied down than before. Think about it, it is not a decision to make lightly. Think about what kind of dog works for you. Try it for a few weeks. Decide what your budget can handle (we have spent thousands on our pit).
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by johnubc » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:10 pm

No regrets - but one inconvenience. Once my kids got into middle school, we would want to have a few spontaneous things to do on weekends - always the first thought was - who can we get to take care of the dog with very short notice. Example - we are down at a lake for a Saturday that turns into a potential over night stay - the at home dog becomes the issue.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Toons » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:12 pm

Dogs are fine but be prepared they need to be fed,cleaned up after,and exercised,,,,forever :happy
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Boats day » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:17 pm

Lots of good advice so far.

Make sure you contact your insurance agent to get coverage. Some insurance companies may charge more for certain breeds or may not be willing to cover certain breeds.

Good luck

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Eastwest » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:17 pm

I never considered myself a dog person either, but didn't really have much exposure to them. My SO works from home, so she really wanted some companionship during the day. We've had our little poodle for about 4 months now. She's brought a large amount of happiness into our lives and don't have any regrets so far. Good luck!

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by sevenseas » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:18 pm

I had this conversation with a friend who was considering getting a dog or cat. She and her husband are not "pet people". They travel a lot, and like to keep a spotlessly clean home. I queried her further as to why they were considering this. Bottom line is that my friend thought a pet would be a nice companion for her daughter, an only child (who has seen her friends with pets and been asking about them). I told her about the commitment in terms of time, expenses, loss of freedom, the shedding, the hairballs, muddy footprints, clawed furniture, urinary accidents...and the idea was soon dropped.

Bottom line is that you have to ask yourself why you are considering this. Is it because the kids are pestering you (you are correct that it is 100% certain you will end up the primary caretaker.) Or because all your friends have dogs? Neither is a good reason as far as I'm concerned. Getting a dog is acquiring another family member, and the only correct attitude with which to do so is to accept that you will take full responsibility for that animal for the rest of its life. I'm sorry to sound dogmatic (pun intended!), but there are millions of animals euthanized every year because people treat them as disposable commodities.

I think it's great that you are thinking about this thoroughly, getting others' opinions, etc. I also agree with the recs to foster first. Good luck!

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by AZAttorney11 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:37 pm

I absolutely love and adore my dog (that I acquired through my significant other). I wouldn't trade him for anything; I love walking him twice a day. I love taking care of him with fresh water, food, healthy treats, belly rubs, baths, and even brushing his teeth. I derive a great deal of pleasure from taking care of him. He is the most loyal dog in the entire world, and he has definitely added happiness and joy to my life.

We have not found travel to be a problem. Between pet friendly hotels and pet sitters/walkers, we are able to travel whenever we want, wherever we want. If you can find a good person or small business to take care of your pet while you are gone you can avoid the costly boarding fees (which can be eye-popping). We pay about $20 a day for a sitter to come by and walk the dog, take care of food and water, and provide some TLC while we are gone. They usually stay for about an hour, and they are nice enough to water plants and stuff like that. If $20 a day for a few days makes you cringe, then don't get a dog.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by cyfan » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:06 pm

If you decide to get one, read up on the various needs/behaviors of various breeds you are considering. If a dog's needs are met, they will be a joy to be around. If not, nobody including the dog will be happy. A good place to check out is a dog park where the typical owner will love to tell you about why they like their particular breed. I have seen folks pick a dog based exclusively of the cuteness factor and I can assure you that wears off in a hurry. I happen to be a dog lover but did not know it till my wife talked me in to getting one. We just got our second one and would be lost without him! A well cared for dog gives so much back in return and the unconditional love and loyalty are second to none. If you don't believe me try this; lock your dog and significant other in the trunk of the car for a half hour. Come back and let them out and see which one is happy to see you :D

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Girino » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:07 pm

Since you are home a lot and say you have the time and resources you are in a great position to take on a dog.
In addition to the advice above (on both the downsides and upsides) I would strongly encourage you and your family to take a dog obedience/manners class. If possible, take it together. That way everyone is on the same page about training rules and the dog gets consistent behavior cues. It can be really hard if one person is trying to teach the dog not to jump on people and another kind of likes it and encourages it. It also can be fun for kids to do something that they might even be a little better at that their parents, and is a great way to bond with the dog. I've also found classes really helpful for seeing the range of dog behaviors and solutions to training problems.

You are wise to hesitate and do your homework. As part of that you might visit a couple of training classes before you get a dog to see what will be involved, and talk with trainers. They can give you some suggestions for the kind of dog that would fit your family's life, and may have some good leads for dogs that need homes or reputable breeders.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by eucalyptus » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:08 pm

We love our dogs, have had as many as 5 and as few as 2. We've had huge dogs and little dogs. Every cent we've spent on them has yielded an immense return.

To the comments already made, I'd "second" the potential cost of what has become very sophisticated veterinary care.

Choose a breed wisely. We love English bulldogs, for example, but they are fat and quite lazy bundles of health problems. The cheapest/healthiest dogs I've owned have been mutts. Both of our current purebred dogs have had serious surgeries ....

SmallSaver
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by SmallSaver » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:23 pm

I really enjoy having a dog. That being said, it is a hobby, and one that takes up a minimum of an hour a day. If you don't have the time / inclination for this I'd say don't do it. Two pieces of advice:

1) Breed is huge, and will have a significant impact on your experience. Not every breed just wants to follow you around and lie at your feet. Many of the smaller, cute breeds that are in fact purpose-bred, high-octane killers - it will probably take years of training before my Feist can go off leash, if ever.

2) A significant part of the time involved is training, think about who's going to have the time to do this.

However, it's a blast, and I imagine I'll be a dog owner for the rest of my days.
Last edited by SmallSaver on Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Fallible » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:25 pm

You seem like a family that will make some dog very happy.

Probably the best way to know whether you'll truly enjoy a dog to the point where it becomes a member of the family is to own one (rather than temporary foster care). I say this after many, many years of owning or being around some 30 or more dogs in my family and extended families (includes one veterinarian and a dog trainer). Their personalities, regardless of breed or mixed breed, varied greatly and since most were bought young, they took time to develop. The older ones, depending on treatment by previous owners, could adjust quickly or take more time than younger ones.

Most were mutts from the local humane societies, one a mistreated farm dog, and a few purebreds (hunting dogs). They ranged from cuddly, sweet dachshunds (with a little beagle mixed in) to lively terrier mixes, to roaming Beagles (with a little dachshund mixed in) to standard Schnauzers (very smart) and collies (very loving and very big).

They weren't perfect, of course, and there were often some behavioral quirks, mostly minor. But with owners who knew and loved not only dogs, but also other animals and usually had more than one, the quirks were easily accepted.

Based on my experiences then, I would suggest you all check with a local vet and/or read up on breeds to help you decide which would be right for the family, and definitely visit the local humane society and learn about the many advantages they can offer.
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by TxAg » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:27 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:Do you love dogs?

What would you do if your dog had an emergency that required a $3,000 surgery?

This isn't a fair question. My wife and I are "dog people" but I know what we'd do in this situation...probably the same thing "non dog people" would do.


A better questions, is will the dog get regular vet check ups, lots of daily exercise, lots of human interaction, and a good diet.





If I were the OP, I would consider fostering (it's easy to get started) and go from there. You'll learn a lot about what size, gender, type, energy level, etc. dog that you want. Whatever you do, don't get a dog and end up with it spending 99% of its time alone in the backyard.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by DualIncomeNoDebt » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:36 pm

Cynic's perspective. We live in a gated community that has it's own dog park, a large grassy field with benches and wide open space beyond that. Plus there are dog "disposal" bags and pails all over the place. I see lots of people walking dogs in the neighborhood -- and not all of them look happy about it. For a fair number of them, it looks like a chore they'd rather not deal with. Worse, there are some really, really lazy pet owners. I regularly see people who are too lazy to walk to the dog park, and frankly aren't interested in giving their dog a fast, healthy walk. Just picture it, dog park in your own community and within walking distance of the home, yet many people don't even use it, and instead let their pets run around the streets. I also see a fair number of exasperated parents struggling to control dog and kids; it doesn't look fun, lots of yelling and "come here." Yeah, that's not something I'm subjecting myself to every day for a decade or more.

Don't get me started on the dog waste. Despite the fact their are bags and pails everywhere, people still let their dogs crap on other people's yards, on sidewalks, in public spaces. It's everywhere (not just our hood, but other places as well), it's beyond disgusting, and I can't stand it. Either the kids or the adults are, once again, too damn lazy or inconsiderate to properly clean up after the dog.

So give due consideration to all the work associated with a new pet. Who's going to be walking it twice a day, every day, the first year? Year two? How about five years in? And who's going to be cleaning up dog waste every single day for perhaps a decade or more? Are your children prepared for that kind of commitment, cleaning up after a dog in the morning and at night, disposing of it, and doing this every single day for many years to come? Then of course there are all the vet visits and bills, costs, water and feeding, boarding or care when you are away, etc. It is a major and serious commitment, and not unlike having an addition to your family. And you need to be prepared for all of that work, because the animal deserves nothing less.

Finally, and especially if you are in a major metro area, I'd visit the local dog shelter or pound -- it will likely be filled with abandoned pets from people who thought it would be a great idea, until the daily reality of the work involved failed to live up to the imagined bliss. I'm not saying to go there to adopt. I am saying, take 30 minutes, visit the shelter, and look at the stark reality of the responsibility, which millions of people abandon every year.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by nisiprius » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:47 pm

Triple digit golfer wrote:Do you love dogs?

What would you do if your dog had an emergency that required a $3,000 surgery?
What will you do if your dog becomes old and incontinent? Realistically, that's another question that needs to be answered. I'm not suggesting a particular answer, I'm saying you need to think about what your answer will be.

We're on our fourth dog now. No regrets.
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:49 pm

TxAg wrote:
Triple digit golfer wrote:Do you love dogs?

What would you do if your dog had an emergency that required a $3,000 surgery?
This isn't a fair question. My wife and I are "dog people" but I know what we'd do in this situation...probably the same thing "non dog people" would do.
It's totally a fair question, although I can't deduce your answer. I've had my cat for 3-4 months now, and the vet bills are over $1000.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by fandango » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:54 pm

See if you can "borrow" a neighbors dog for a few days and let your kids take over. A week or so would be best. Then see what happens.

Our dog is 14 years old now. When you look at any of our family pictures, he is in them. Right now, he is napping in his bed while I type this.

Dogs are responsibility but can be very rewarding if you take the time to train them. Our dog has never damaged anything, never barked excessively, and never bothered anyone else. The waste issue is not the dog's issue but the owner's. We live in a gated community with very strict rules. I take the dog out 3 or 4 times a day and always bring a bag with me. Not a big deal to bend over and pick it up once a day.

We love to take him for a walk, sit on a bench, and just see how people respond to him. Nine times out of ten, they want to pet him, ask about him, and then get into a general conversation. Great way to meet new people and share your dog with them.

Right now, we try not to think that we may be losing him in a couple of years due to old age. That's the cycle of life, and something that your children also need to learn about. But it will be a very sad day for us.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by livesoft » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:58 pm

Do you have a fenced backyard that a dog cannot get out of? I think that is crucial, so you can let them out without a leash when you don't want to go out.

We got a 4-year old dog when our kids were in high school. My spouse was not a dog person, but she is now. No horror stories with our dog, no major vet bills. He's pretty cheap to have around, but he does get walked lots except when I am not in town. Even though different breeds have their stereotypes, each dog is different. For instance, the breed of our dog is supposed be very vocal and shed. Our dog is not vocal and barely loses any hair. I'm not sure how we would have known any of that along with his true personality before getting him though.
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by AZAttorney11 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:05 pm

As far as I'm concerned, there's only one problem with dogs; they don't live long enough.

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stemikger
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by stemikger » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:25 pm

There is such a thing as being a dog person and just entertaining the idea. I am a dog person and consider my 12 year old shi tzu as my son. I have a human daughter who I love more then life and although I can't compare the love I have for my dog on that level on many other levels it is just as deep. I truly love him and don't look at him as just an addition to my household.

When I first got him, I thought I would just be able to kennel him when I want to go on vacation but after I got attached, I just can't leave him to anyone. The only time I put him in a so called doggy hotel which was very expensive, he came back extremely traumitized which makes me believe he was not treated well. Since then, I missed out on travel because I could not leave him.

At 12 he is now blind and I sense his hearing is going and I know until he passes I can not go on vacation. He seems like he also has mild dementia (yes there is such a thing, just google doggie alzheimers). As an older dog he is more needy and his blindness breaks my heart.

A dog should be cared for the way you would care for any other member of the household. Also, think about going out all in types of weather to walk him or her. If you have a big yard, you can let them out a couple of times a day, but they need at least one good walk.

They now have vet insurance which for a young dog is worth it. I do not have insurance and in later years, it can get pricey. I have to give my dog drops in his eyes and ears which I need to purchase monthly. He takes frontline and Heartguard monthly. His haircuts are every month and a half which cost $65.

If you get a puppy and you or your wife are fussy about your house, be prepared to realize a dog will pee and poo on the floors while housetraining them. It took my dog 8 months. Luckily we knew we were getting new carpets because he ruined ours. My wife and I had so many fights during the first year and she threatened to get rid of him on a weekly basis.

However, we now love him as much as anyone can love a dog and all the above things are more then worth it. If you haven't experienced the unconditional love of Man's best Friend at least once in your life, you will be in for a treat. They just want your extra time and love and they will be more loyal then a person can ever be.

There you have it. That is everything I can think of

If you are not 100% committed and don't see yourself as a dog person, please dont do it.

My brother-in-law has a dog but in my opinion he is not a dog person. He thinks it's odd that a have such a deep love for my dog. He does not mistreat his dog, but he looks at it as a dog and not a member of his household. I think he looks at someone (like myself) who cuddles and loves a dog as a sign of weakness. That to me is the difference between dog people and non-dog people. I can come home from work in the worst mood and my little guy comes up to me and is so happy to see me. I can sit there and pet him for a long time and I forget all about my bad day.
Last edited by stemikger on Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by stemikger » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:26 pm

AZAttorney11 wrote:As far as I'm concerned, there's only one problem with dogs; they don't live long enough.
+1000

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by dratkinson » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:31 pm

What about a big dog-like cat. There are some, and they can take care of themselves. The Maine Coon breed comes to mind.
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Fallible » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:06 pm

AZAttorney11 wrote:As far as I'm concerned, there's only one problem with dogs; they don't live long enough.
Not only that, they live just long enough to become so much a part of the family that they're missed more than ever when they're gone. But then there are more happy memories.
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Wildebeest » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:09 pm

Nobody loves you, like your dog does.

You will have to save more, because people with dogs live longer.

It is just not fair, that dogs do not outlive us.
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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Cash » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:09 pm

I agree with those who warn not to underestimate the potential money pit a dog can become. We love our dog, and therein lies the problem. Because we have grown so attached to her, and because we have good incomes, there's almost no amount of money that we wouldn't pay to make her better. Recently, she developed an auto-immune disease that has required lots of visits to specialist vets (internists, oncologists, neurologists...for dogs!). We have spent upwards of $10k on her over the past year, and they still don't know exactly how to cure or treat the problem. Finally, when they recommended a $6k surgery to remove her spleen, I had to be the bad guy and say enough is enough (my wife agreed, but I had to say it first). Fortunately, she's still with us and the issue appears to have corrected itself (with $100/month medicine). But be prepared for issues like this...in addition to $50/night for boarding (more on holidays), $15/walk for walking, etc. Oh, and when she was taking steroids, she had trouble holding her bladder...so we would come home to random urine spots on our rugs...fun. Don't get rugs that feel like grass if you have a dog.

Otherwise, dogs are great! :happy

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by toto238 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:26 pm

When I got my dog, I bought the most expensive pet insurance plan I could get. That's a bit of a regret. It was completely unnecessary. It was covering all these things like teeth cleanings and flea medicine that I could cover myself. Dropping $100-$200 on a vet visit isn't going to break the bank. I've since dropped the insurance to catastrophic only. So up to $14,000 of expenses is covered per year. If something catastrophic happens, I know I'm covered. For the small stuff, I got it.

The big thing is that it's like having a kid. Except it's a kid that will never be toilet trained or know how to make its own food. Dog sitting is expensive, especially if you want it done right. I paid $100 for a family friend to dogsit for us for one weekend (2 nights, 2 days). Would some kid have done it for less? Probably. But I wanted my dog to be with someone he was familiar with.

We probably spend about $50 a month of food/treats for him. Some dogs get by just fine on cheap dog food from Walmart, but our little Primadonna requires Science Diet or else he gets diarhhea. Paying a little extra for the food is worth not having to pick up the liquid feces.

We would like to have a big house so he has a lot of space, but we have an 800 sq ft apartment. I feel bad that he doesn't have as much space as I'd like to give him, but it was either that or we was going to get put down by the shelter.

That about covers the financial aspects. If you're just worried about money, just make sure you can budget for doing it right.


Personality and being ready for a dog emotionally is a completely different story. I HIGHLY recommend fostering a dog or two first before committing. Do it for at least one or two months. Especially considering you've never had a dog before. My wife and I grew up with dogs and cared for them all our lives so we were ok to skip this step. I don't recommend skipping it for first time owners. Because you might very well find that you're not a dog person, you don't like it, and then another dog ends up on the streets.

Another thing, get a dog from a shelter. About 1 million dogs get put down every year in this country. If you can save just one, you'll be doing a very good deed.

Also, neuter/spay your pets. Don't contribute to the overpopulation.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by toto238 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:32 pm

johnubc wrote:No regrets - but one inconvenience. Once my kids got into middle school, we would want to have a few spontaneous things to do on weekends - always the first thought was - who can we get to take care of the dog with very short notice. Example - we are down at a lake for a Saturday that turns into a potential over night stay - the at home dog becomes the issue.
This is very very true.

We had once we were dogsitting for someone, but our school was in the national hockey championship semi-finals, 4 hours away. The dogs were fine alone for 12 hours at a time at a max. So we let the dogs out at 3pm, drove 4 hours to the game that started at 7pm, the game lasted until 9pm then we had to drive back to get there by 1am. Then we had to do the same thing the next day because our team won the semi-final game and was playing the final game the next day.

You definitely have to re-schedule things to make dog-owning work.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by gloomydog » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:34 pm

I knew I loved dogs, my husband didn't really like them. At the urging of my sister I got a dog impulsively. Now I would never give him up for the world, but

-pups are like any babies. You need to give them a LOT of time and attention and be okay with that. In fact if you get a pup between 2-4 months they are just infants and require that same investment if you want it to grow to it's full potential.
The first week, being a newish dog owner, I didn't crate my pup, resulting in me barely getting any sleep for 1 week. And I still had to pay for professional carpet cleaning after all that. If I lived nearer the person who sold me the dog (off craigslist) I would have returned him.

-It's very hard to plan vacations or getaways or even visit my family abroad. I take my responsibility to my dog seriously. I signed up to be his caretaker, he had no say in it. On the few occasions both hubby and I travel, he stays with a responsible sitter, and it's not cheap + he gets stressed and misses us. And I haven't been able to make my usual extended visits abroad because of the dog.

-I got a super high energy dog and he's always on the go. But even the lowest maintenance dog probably needs a decent walk each day, and of course pee breaks.

-Good food for dogs (none of the crap like Science diet or Beneful or Purina) cost money. Dog walkers/sitters cost money. Vet visits cost money. Replacing a few items a pup inevitably chews up cost money. If these are expenses you can live without, reconsider. Someone I know just told me he put a limit on his dog's annual expenses - 3K max. But when it got sick, they're at 10K and counting and they can't say no because he's family.

-Definitely second the suggestion to foster first before any commitment. Or just go for walks with a friend's dog or whatever, so you can see how you like having a dog and having the responsibility to bring it out each day. It won't be the teens caring for the dogs, it'll be *you*.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by toto238 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:42 pm

When it comes to dog food, people have very differing opinions about it. There's cheap storebrand food at Walmart that some dogs are perfectly fine with. There's high quality brands that your dog just won't like. In the end, pretty much all brands of food will give your dog the nutrition they need. Find something they like to eat and that doesn't give them bowel issues. You can go and buy vegan, organic, hate-free, politically-correct, grass-fed, cage-free, if you want. But you'll be wasting your money. Dog doesn't know the difference.

I highly recommend Science Diet. My veterinarian recommended it, and it's solved my dog's bowel issues. He loves it, I love that he loves it, everyone is happy. Everyone comments on how beautiful and shiny his coat is too. That's good nutrition for you.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Cash » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:50 pm

This is a great site for dog food reviews: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/

Up until last year, we used Taste of the Wild's duck formula. Pricy, but high quality. But we had to switch to Hill's prescription diet food because of bowel issues our dog was having. Like toto238, I'm for whatever makes everyone happy.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by poker27 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:51 pm

Postmon wrote:
I'm interested in hearing from folks who were in a similar situation -- not dog-people, wanted one but wasn't sure if was a good idea, but ultimately got one. How have things worked out for you? Any regrets? Would you have gotten one if you could do it all over again? I really appreciate any input. Thanks!
I gf wanted a dog, I did not. I wanted a motorcycle, she did not want me to get one. I bought a bike, so she bought a dog. I should have seen that coming.

This was about 1.5 years ago. I hated her daily for getting him. He was a youngish chihuahua, beagle, terrier. The guy was suppose to be house trained (complete lie), would go crazy anytime left alone (we live in a townhouse and continually neighbors left notes saying to keep the noise down), and he ate everything from blinds, to my wallet.

Now I have to admit, we've come to understand eachother. He has come calmed down immensely over he past 1.5 years, and I even enjoy his company. He still wakes me up at 4-5 am to eat, need to make sure I stop at home to take him out, and when we do leave town it costs $50 a night to board him.

I obviously wouldnt get rid of him, and happy that we have him, but not sure if I would do it all over again at this point in our lives. The dog, not the bike :)

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:55 pm

toto238 wrote:When it comes to dog food, people have very differing opinions about it. There's cheap storebrand food at Walmart that some dogs are perfectly fine with. There's high quality brands that your dog just won't like. In the end, pretty much all brands of food will give your dog the nutrition they need. Find something they like to eat and that doesn't give them bowel issues. You can go and buy vegan, organic, hate-free, politically-correct, grass-fed, cage-free, if you want. But you'll be wasting your money. Dog doesn't know the difference.

I highly recommend Science Diet. My veterinarian recommended it, and it's solved my dog's bowel issues. He loves it, I love that he loves it, everyone is happy. Everyone comments on how beautiful and shiny his coat is too. That's good nutrition for you.
I don't know about dogs, but the food makes a considerable difference to cats. They can get urinary stones on supermarket food. I am not a fan of Hill's/Science Diet. My vet sells it, but I finally talked the vet into letting me get a different brand. In just two weeks on the new food, my cat's fur is softer and glossy.

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Re: First Time Dog Owners -- Any Regrets?

Post by Wildebeest » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:56 pm

toto238 wrote:When it comes to dog food, people have very differing opinions about it. There's cheap storebrand food at Walmart that some dogs are perfectly fine with. There's high quality brands that your dog just won't like. In the end, pretty much all brands of food will give your dog the nutrition they need. Find something they like to eat and that doesn't give them bowel issues. You can go and buy vegan, organic, hate-free, politically-correct, grass-fed, cage-free, if you want. But you'll be wasting your money. Dog doesn't know the difference.

I highly recommend Science Diet. My veterinarian recommended it, and it's solved my dog's bowel issues. He loves it, I love that he loves it, everyone is happy. Everyone comments on how beautiful and shiny his coat is too. That's good nutrition for you.
Have you tried "Science Diet" your self? A beautiful and shiny coat is something I would like myself.

I love that the love for your dog shines through. We love to make our dog happy as well.

Dogs bring out the best in us.

To the OP: we have had many dogs, and some were duds, but do not give up. Overall they enrich your live more than you can imagine.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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