Looking For Input

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by Larkest, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. Larkest

    Larkest New Member

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    Hello everyone.

    My first time on these forums, but not my first foray into the world of dogs. :) However, I've become a little stumped, and in my quest for knowledge I've gotten conflicting information from a combination of books, online resources, and breed forums, so I was directed here by a friend of mine who often lurks your boards. According to her, there's a wide variety of folks from all walks of life, and I'm hoping that perhaps I can get some input.

    Having acquired an apartment of my own several years ago - along with two cats - I've found myself missing the excitement of my old dog. I previously owned a Chihuahua/Corgi mix who was remarkably calm and well-behaved while being a joy to train - truly the very thing I'm looking for - but whom I tragically lost last year to heart failure. The apartment hasn't quite been the same without his presence so I'm looking to get another dog; however, he is the third I've experienced in my lifetime with health issues (previous two were family dogs from my youth) and as all three came from the shelter with little to no medical background, I am unwilling to put myself through that gauntlet again. I have seen in the time I've spent clicking around that folks are often referred to the shelter but I truly hope you will understand when I say I am just not going to put myself through that surprise pain again; I would rather dance with the devil I know than the devil I don't, so purebred I shall go. That is to say, I would rather purchase a dog knowing the possible health issues that could come along for the ride than have a Pandora's box of issues that I'm not prepared for. Again, I truly hope that you understand the reasons behind my decision and think no worse of me because of it. <3

    Having said that, I suppose this is the part where I explain a bit about myself, so folks have an idea of who I am and what exactly it is that I'm looking for.

    I am currently a full-time university student who works from home part-time and I am at present remarkably withdrawn from society, so my routine rarely varies between school and home. My classes are the same each year, and I have breaks of a few hours in between most classes - at the shortest part, I'm away from home for two and a half hours. Essentially, I am a homebody, but I do enjoy my freedom to go out when needed for a few hours. My old dog was ten months old at the time he passed and he was able to sit comfortably at home for several hours if necessary, so I'm looking for a breed who could replicate that. This is perhaps my most important criterion - a breed with a reputation that is suitable to be left for a few hours without developing separation anxiety.

    As mentioned, I live in an apartment, and whilst I wish it were large it sadly is not. That isn't to say that it's tiny - well, my kitchen is a hole in the wall, but considering I'm rarely there that's beside the point ;) - but it's suitably snug. I'm not looking for a large breed, or even a medium, really - I'd prefer if the breed were no more than 20-25lbs, but the smaller the better, honestly. My Chi/Corgi cross was about 20lbs and our vet considered him fully grown at that weight and that was a good size.

    I have cats, so a breed that isn't prone to a hunt-kill-FEAST! instinct is preferable. I have minor experience training the urge to chase my cats out of a dog, but I wouldn't by any means consider myself a pro. I enjoy teaching tricks, but that's the extent of it, as I've never had a dog with behavioural problems that weren't fixed by extra exercise or socialization work.

    I am ridiculously lazy, and I'll be the first person to admit it. However, even I can manage to rustle my rear up for a 20 minute walk twice daily, and this suited both myself and my dog just fine. In finer weather, the walks were increased to 30 minutes twice daily along the riverfront. I never took my dog to a dog park due to the local crowd having a penchant for "it's only a flesh wound" and my own desire to have positive-only experiences with my boy. We did bi-weekly doggy playdates at a local field with friendly dogs, but that was about it. Basically - the lower the exercise threshold, the happier I will be. But I am capable of mustering 40-60 minutes per day.

    I have sensitive skin, and for some unknown reason, short or coarse hair tends to agitate it. The only dogs my family has owned have been Chinese Cresteds (one hairless, one powderpuff) that I did fine with, and my Chi/Corgi was long-haired. I'd prefer a breed with longer coat, or at least a coat that's softer to the touch. No terrier coats or short coats, if at all possible.

    I'm a sheer novice when it comes to training, really. My family's dogs were trained by a pro (I was but a wee little lass) and my Chi/Corgi was trained with clicker training step-by-steps I got out of a Karen Pryor book. They worked alright - the dog saw the clicker come up and had a spazz attack with joy - but I guess what I'm trying to say is, breeds that don't really want to work for their person probably won't go over well with me. I'm not a very confident person (I feel like that bit is obvious even through my typing, heh heh) so my dog's calmer and ready-to-please nature worked better for me as it made me feel more confident, and I feel like this is what I need.

    Now, you may be wondering why I'm asking about it, as those seem like pretty straightforward needs. My main issue is that I'm getting a different picture of a breed from every single source I've checked. Since all three of the dogs in my life have been from shelters, we inherited an absolute bricksack of issues (the Cresteds had teeth, hip, eye, and skin health problems, as well as dog aggression and separation anxiety; my Chi/Corgi was a huge barker and it took a tonne of training to get past that) so I don't consider my personal experiences to be "the norm". However, taking the Crested for example - books say they're Velcro dogs; online resources say they're aloof and high energy; and breed forums say they're barkers and lazy. The same went for breeders I contacted - same said livewire, others said needy. Every dog's an individual, but I'm not finding any common ground to base an idea on. I'm really not sure who to believe, so I figured some additional input on any breed that came to someone's mind - not necessarily a specific one - would help me out.

    If you made it this far, kudos! You're awesome in my books. Any advice or experience that can be offered will be appreciated. Thanks guys!
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
  2. crazedACD

    crazedACD Active Member

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    I wonder if looking for an adult/older puppy from a breeder would be good for you...something that didn't turn out like they had hoped, or a puppy they took back...something like that :).

    Quiet and smaller breeds don't always go hand-in-hand, but hopefully you can find something that works!

    Hmm.. Miniature Poodle? They are usually very trainable and not necessarily known for being loud. The coat may benefit you as well.

    Cavaliers are nice dogs that might suit you, but they can run up some health problems. They are adoring, friendly, happy dogs but not always very "street smart". Trainable though.

    Cocker Spaniel?
     
  3. Larkest

    Larkest New Member

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    I was considering an older puppy to adult for sure. I've never really raised a puppy per se... my boy was the youngest I've ever raised and I adopted him at four months and he worked out fine at that age so I was looking to start at 4-6 months and up to two years. It isn't that I couldn't make the time for a young puppy, I just think it would be more comfortable for myself and the puppy if it already had a degree of bladder control. :)

    I can work on the barking (I had more experience with that), I'm more concerned about the development of separation anxiety. I'm not away from home for longer than a few hours tops, but our family Cresteds could seriously not handle more than a few minutes away. If we didn't let them sit in the bathroom while we took a shower, for instance, we'd come out of the shower to pee and poop everywhere as well as dogs having the equivalent of a panic attack. I really am not keen on something like that. I've taught "Inside Voice" to my Chi/Corgi after a lot of work and persistence, and I am fully prepared to do so again if there's a breed/dog out there that fits the rest of the bill. :)

    The Mini Poodle was at the top of my list, but I saw on another thread they have a very high drive and high energy, and since I'm not exactly an athlete, I didn't know if that would fit my lifestyle. If someone who has a Mini Poodle or is familiar with the breed could let me know about that I'd be very keen to hear more as they were the very first breed I was really considering.

    My heart breed is the Cavalier, but after losing my boy recently to heart failure under very traumatic circumstances (let's just say that was not what I expected to find coming home from the grocery) I'm very unwilling to consider a breed with something of a reputation for significant health issues. I'm prepared for the possibility, but from what I've seen and read (and the consensus seems pretty common) it's an inevitability with that breed, and I just don't know if I'm ready for that sort of situation right now.

    I've not actually considered a Cocker Spaniel. Aren't they very active dogs? I don't know very much about them. What's their energy level like? I've heard they're very trainable though, and the size is right.
     
  4. casey82

    casey82 New Member

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    I have an American Cocker. He's about 21 pounds. He loves to play but he's not what I'd cosider high energy. He seems to be really good st matching his energy to my activity level. He is mildly reactive but not unmanageable. In fact I would not consider him child friendly and Saturday I had him st a beach full of children and he was perfectly content to chase his bumper in the water. He is super handler focused abd loves to learn. He's smart. I'm only limited in my imagination and my skill as to what I can teach him. I do not like his coat. I have shaved him down and will continue to do so. His coat would make me stick with field lines in the future but I'd absolutely own another. Feel free to pm me if you have any specific questions.
     
  5. ~Jessie~

    ~Jessie~ Chihuahua Power!

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    Have you thought about a long coated chihuahua? It seems like you really clicked with your chi/corgi mix.

    Mine are really good at laying around, but are ready to go as soon as you are. I take mine on hikes (we do 6 mile hikes on a regular basis in the cooler months) and they can go and go.

    I've found mine to be easily trainable... they are VERY food motivated and really love to please their owners.

    Mine have always been fine with our full time job schedules. We'd take them out as soon as we woke up, feed them, then take them out again. They'd all make it until the end of the day where we'd do the same thing. We always kept a pee pad down for them in case they couldn't hold it as we leave down a water dish during the day.

    If you have any questions feel free to send me a PM :)
     
  6. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    Have you thought at all about an Italian Greyhound? They have a smooth coat and shed very little, so they should be okay for your skin sensitivity. They LOVE to snuggle, are active little dogs without needing a lot of "outdoor" exercise (but if you want to go for a walk, they will for sure be able to keep up!), good with other animals, and the ones I've met have just been fun, awesome little dogs and I don't think I've ever heard one bark.

    They can be fairly delicate (although I wouldn't say any more so than other toy breeds) and the can also be hard to housebreak. I know many who have had no issues, and others who do. So...not really sure. I think a large reason is they don't like cold/wet weather and tend to have naughty habits because of it (my mom's Dachshund is the same way).

    I wouldn't discount a miniature/toy poodle. Granted, I don't know many of them, but I think they are highly adaptable. While I believe they certainly *could* go-go-go and be an active, drivey companion, I also think they can swing towards the more "house pet" side of things. They certainly aren't going to just laze around indoors, though, so if that is what you want, perhaps another breed would be more suitable.

    Other breeds that came to mind were Maltese, Shih Tzu, and perhaps a Tibetan Spaniel? (I've loved the Tibbies I've met!)
     
  7. Locke

    Locke Active Member

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    If you like poodles, I would recommend a toy over a mini.

    My mini poodle, and ones I've met, are very high energy, high drive dogs. I have yet to meet one that is a couch potato.

    That said, toy poodles tend to be much better lap dogs, and are incredibly smart and eager to please. They are prone to having bad knees and eye problems though, so make sure the breeder tests for luxating patellas and PRA.


    Maltese are pretty neat dogs, have you looked into them?
     
  8. Larkest

    Larkest New Member

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    Hi guys!

    I've gone ahead and messaged a couple of you with further questions about your suggestions. :) Thank you so much again for taking the time out to give me some more choices and be available for further questions!

    On that note, I had a friend of mine who is a longtime fancier of Dachshunds suggest that a longhaired miniature may fit what I'm looking for. I have very limited experience with this breed aside from her smooth coat standards, but they didn't immediately come to mind for what I'm looking for in a dog, nor do they appear on any of those "top ten" lists. Does anyone here have any suggestions about this? I personally think it may just be her opinion that a Dachshund would fit into everyone's lives, but I'm trying not to discount anything. :)
     
  9. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    I think it depends on the Dachshund. I know quite a few that would be *perfect* for you (my mom's dachshund included!), but you'd need to look closely at the lines you go with, and make sure you like the breeder's dogs.

    My mom's dachshund loves to cuddle, she sleeps with the cats, barely makes a peep, and she has no desire for exercise, just attention. She's fine at home during the day (sleeps). No anxiety, great with everyone, just wants loved. Super food motivated. Shes smooth coated and barely sheds at all. She's literally the perfect dog for my mom.
     
  10. Larkest

    Larkest New Member

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    That Dachshund sounds perfect for me too! :) That's exactly the kind of personality I'm looking for.

    My friend suggested them when I gave her the list. She told me the only issue I'd run into is either barking or possible aggression if I didn't socialize well enough. I feel ill-equipped to deal with dog or human aggression so I'm unsure if this is the right choice for me. I've also read that they can be really stubborn and difficult to train, but I guess that's just dependent on the dog and the lines? I'm not too sure. I've never really done the whole breeder thing - always been rescues for my family and myself - so I feel super newb at all! :p
     
  11. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    I have met some Dachshunds that are super barky, super nerveous/scared, and fear aggressive. But, I've also met some that are like Gracie, or like Gracie with a higher activity level. So, I would assume if you found the right breeder, you'd be able to find the right dog!

    Gracie certainly doesn't have barkiness issues (although if you howl, she'll howl - it's super cute) and her favorite activity is going to the nursing home to see my husband's grandmother, because she gets loved on by everyone.

    As for stubbornness, she is. LOL She's also very smart and learns things quickly, but she isn't a "push button" dog and if she doesn't see why she should do something, she won't.
     
  12. Larkest

    Larkest New Member

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    Hmm. Possibly a breed to keep in mind, then! :)

    This may be either on topic or off-topic, I'm really not sure how to classify. How are dogs like toy poodles and bichon frisés with home grooming? My Chi/Corgi had a really easy coat - I just sort of scissored him with the kitchen scissors occasionally and brushed daily so he didn't mat - but I keep hearing how expensive/bad the grooming is for poodles and bichons. At this point I think a toy poodle or longhaired Chihuahua might be my top choices but as a university student, even with my part-time job I'm not exactly made of money. I can afford to have nice things, but $50 a week on grooming isn't in my budget right now ($100 per month for grooming is, though).

    Is home grooming an option for these breeds? I would be willing to learn how to solo groom if it isn't like painting the Sistine Chapel. Are there affordable grooming kits maybe with the basic stuff to keep the dog comfortable?
     
  13. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I can't imagine you would have to spend even $100 a month on it. When we had our Bedlington (similar coat type to a poodle) we had him professionally groomed about every six weeks. We'd even stretch it to 8 eight in the winter. At home, we would just keep up (sort of) with combing him out so he wouldn't mat. I do know plenty of people who clip their own poodles, but even if you didn't want to, I don't think you'd have to pay for it weekly for sure!
     
  14. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    Depending on the cut you are having done, you shouldn't need to take your dog to be groomed more than once a month. I mean, if you keep its coat long and never ever brush it you may need to do it weekly to keep the coat mat free, but I'd say 4-6 weeks is about average, with an average grooming charge being around $45. If you don't mind a more scraggly look and the dog isn't prone to matting, you could go as long as 8 weeks.

    I bought (good) clippers and groomed our Yorkie. I didn't brush him between grooms, just shaved his body short with a #7 and gave him a short schnauzer face with a #10, scissoring his beard and eyebrows to my liking. It wasn't difficult for me at all (but I also worked in a grooming shop, and while I never groomed dogs, I saw it done enough I had a basic idea in mind of how to do it to my own satisfaction.)

    A good pair of clippers and a set of blades would probably run around $125-$250, depending on what all you get. I got my blades free and my clippers were $100. I used cheap human hair scissors to trim.

    If you don't mind the work, and the learning curve, grooming at home will definitely pay off.
     
  15. Larkest

    Larkest New Member

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    Oh good! That's a relief, heh heh. I've been hearing horror stories about weekly grooming bills and I sort of shirked away from it. I have no trouble brushing daily as I'm used to that (my boy didn't necessarily need it but I'm just one of those people who liked to brush him daily to make sure he was comfy) but I definitely couldn't afford weekly groomer's bills.

    Four to six weeks is totally doable, though. I suppose I could also do some calling around to see what local groomers charge. The cut I was looking at was just a simple cut, with the face and feet clipped right down and the rest of the body a manageable length.

    I'll have a look around to see what I can find in terms of blades and clippers near me. In a worst-case, does PetEdge sell good ones? That's where I usually get most of my pet stuff from. I usually like their products and find them pretty good but I don't know much about grooming things.
     
  16. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    Yup, pet edge has very good ones! Just remember...If it's cheap, it probably is for a reason. Lol Typically, the clippers that come in "starter kits" aren't very good. But, for home grooming once a month or two, you don't need a $300 clipper set, either.
     
  17. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen Active Member

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    Agreed. I have the Andis cordless clippers that are about $45 and I haven't been happy with them - they just aren't sharp and don't clip evenly for me. I know others who like them for clipping their small dogs though. I have the Andis AGC 2 speed now and they are awesome - a professional groomer recommended them to me as the only ones she uses. You can often find them on sale for ~$100
     
  18. Larkest

    Larkest New Member

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    Thanks you guys! I'll give a look around for that specific model when and if it comes time. I've gone ahead and emailed a few breeders and have yet to hear back, but I'm feeling pretty good about things so far. :) Thanks for all of your help!
     

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