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Old 03-22-2010, 09:16 AM
 
1,688 posts, read 6,925,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LIgirl74 View Post

We are out of the house about 8 hours a day.

Also, on a daily basis, one of my cats will harass my female cat and it will sound like a cat fight inside the house (not just hissing but actual cat screaming

do you still think an adult rescue dog is good for us? If not, I will definitely consider going to get a younger dog (puppy) from another shelter/rescue.
OP - I want to start to saying I hope you will take what I'm about to write in the spirit in which it is meant - that is to say, I'm not having a go at you or just being stroppy, I'm just trying to get you to think this through.

To me, there are some flaws in your thinking that really need to be addressed.

Being out of the house 8 hours a day + a puppy = a recipe for disaster. Puppies are puppies - they are being formed, they are growing, their personality is developing on a daily basis. To ask a puppy to stay alone for eight hours a day, five days a week (I assume) is analogous to asking a toddler to entertain itself for said period of time. Are you prepared to walk in the door and deal with a puppy that has soiled all over itself, walked in it and tracked it around, etc. after a full day at work? Crating here is not the answer. It's a puppy. It needs to explore, to learn, to be housebroken. Let's take housebreaking: how are you going to housebreak a pup that is be constantly and inconsistently (very important) left to soil just by sheer virtue of the fact it cannot hold it's bladder or bowels for eight hours? Think about that for a second.

Pups need to play. It's how they learn and it's an ongoing process. You simply cannot expect a pup to concentrate all its play-time from when you get home until you want to go to bed - ie, a human time-table. It's just not fair.

Next there is the cat issue. Why do you think that a pup - a personality yet to be fully developed, a prey drive yet to be "exposed" - is going to do better with fighting cats than an adult dog? The converse is true - a pup might well mistake fighting for playing and try to join in, or the pup can react badly to the fighting in all sort of different ways. You'd be dealing with an unknown quantity in that regard and, again, by virtue of working full days, any sort of consistency is going to be impossible. An adult dog of a more placid temperment is going to be of an age and experience where it can be, at the very least, taught to not react to cat fights.

Inconsistency is one of the biggest problems folks run into with training. The more inconsistent you are, the harder it becomes. I put it to you that 40 hours a week away from home (and it's not just the number of hours, but it's the when of the hours as well, since dogs are diurnal) will make training any pup very, very hard work.

You have to accept that certain rescues are just going to retain "quirks" for the rest of their lives potentially. We have one that's been here over two years. He lies a distance away when I play ball with one of the others - the arm motion is still something he just prefers to avoid/still doesn't completely trust. That's ok. If one of the other dogs or any of the cats is getting a good telling-off, he still cowers uncertainly. Yes, and.... ? It's the way he is and maybe always will be. It doesn't detract from the fact that 99.9% of the time he's the happiest dog on earth (and it's a huge improvement from what he was when he first came). Rather than let it become anything other than what it is, and because I have a rather twisted sense of humour, we've made a joke of it - if I conversationally ask him if he would like me to beat him, he wags his tail and tries to kiss me.

I think you're looking for "perfection" in a way. And while it certainly is of no use to anyone to try to fit a square peg in a round hole, you have to realise that a dog - ANY dog - is a bit like a rough diamond. The finishing and polishing is what the dog learns from living in your family.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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You should try to go in there being genuinely happy and friendly and open. Dogs can sense moods much more than humans can. Maybe rub beef jerky all over your body before you go. No but seriously maybe have some doggy treats in your pockets that they can smell.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:38 AM
 
7,422 posts, read 13,732,489 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LIgirl74 View Post
I do want to keep trying to adopt a rescue dog but my concern is b/c we are not able to see the "real" personality per se until after you take the dog home and he/she settles in, we do have 3 cats at home and we just get concerned that as the dog is coming out of their shell, that they will try to chase our cat and go after them, etc. The last thing I want to do is put my kitties in harms way when not knowing the true personality of an adult dog. I don't mind adopting a rescue dog 6 months or so but the rescue organization will not adopt out a rescue dog to me any younger than a year b/c I work full time. I told them I would hire someone to come into my house once or twice per day (depending on age of dog) to spend time with them and walk them but apparently, it's not good enough for them. Has anyone ever heard of them being so strict after I told them I would hire a dog walker to come in 1 or 2 times per day meanwhile I'm at work? We are out of the house about 8 hours a day.
prey drive (and dog aggression) in dogs often doesn't show up until they've reached full maturity, which is around 3 years old. and as fivehorses said, puppies also often don't realize what they're doing when they play with cats.

you're much better off getting an adult dog. a puppy will only add to the craziness. yes, shelter life can make their personalities seem somewhat different, but that's nothing compared to the differences that can manifest between puppyhood and adulthood. especially when you are looking at rescue dogs who are living in foster homes.

unless the dog is actually sick, their reaction to cats is probably not going to change from the shelter or foster home to your home. just make sure that the dog's behavior has been evaluated around cats before you take them home. when we got our dog, they kept her on a short leash around a cat from the shelter and she did just what she does now with new cats - showed interest but no aggression, even after getting swatted. i've also found that the cats got used to her a lot quicker than they got used to the most recent cat who moved into the household.

a year and a half later:



(sorry, i'll post that picture at any opportunity!)

oh and the issue with rescues adopting a young dog to people who work full time is that it's more likely that they will need to be house trained. a dog walker coming in a couple of times a day is not going to do it. you need to be able to take the dog out at least once every couple of hours, plus any other time they need to go out. that's why i'll probably never adopt a puppy.

Last edited by groar; 03-22-2010 at 10:06 AM..
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Massachusetts
4,033 posts, read 8,610,829 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LIgirl74 View Post
Thank you everyone for all your replies. I appreciate it.

Unfortunately the rescue organization I am interested in adopting from is located about an hour away from my home. When I was at the event this past weekend, we did walk many of the adult dogs and I really enjoyed spending time with them. I kept telling my husband that I could totally do all this when they have events but just wish they were closer to home. Most of the people who were there (volunteers) have no clue the town I live in...that's how distant I am from them.

I do understand that a rescue dog has gone through a lot. One of the dogs we were interested in or hoping that he would be interested in us, seems to have been abused. I spoke to the foster family and they said that when they went to throw the ball to their own dog, the rescue dog ducked down. That was so sad to hear.

I do want to keep trying to adopt a rescue dog but my concern is b/c we are not able to see the "real" personality per se until after you take the dog home and he/she settles in, we do have 3 cats at home and we just get concerned that as the dog is coming out of their shell, that they will try to chase our cat and go after them, etc. The last thing I want to do is put my kitties in harms way when not knowing the true personality of an adult dog. I don't mind adopting a rescue dog 6 months or so but the rescue organization will not adopt out a rescue dog to me any younger than a year b/c I work full time. I told them I would hire someone to come into my house once or twice per day (depending on age of dog) to spend time with them and walk them but apparently, it's not good enough for them. Has anyone ever heard of them being so strict after I told them I would hire a dog walker to come in 1 or 2 times per day meanwhile I'm at work? We are out of the house about 8 hours a day.

Also, on a daily basis, one of my cats will harass my female cat and it will sound like a cat fight inside the house (not just hissing but actual cat screaming; sometimes when we are outside, we can hear this going on while all the windows & doors are shut..that's how bad it is). It's very annoying to me and I could see how a dog would get startled by this. I get worried that a rescue dog will get spooked by this while we are waiting for the rescue dog to come out of his/her shell.

As I said, I just get worried about the dog getting spooked with the cat fighting in my house (goes on at least once per day). After hearing the craziness in my household, do you still think an adult rescue dog is good for us? If not, I will definitely consider going to get a younger dog (puppy) from another shelter/rescue.

BTW, someone asked if I had a certain breed in mind, I've gotten bit by a terrier so I'd like to stay away from that breed. Ideally I'd like a lab or golden mix or a beagle mix. I'm really open to just about anything along as the dog is a medium sized dog (40 pounds, etc.).

Thanks again.
I was actually going to mention "cat relations" in my post but I had figured that you had already known to speak to the shelter staff about it. I'm not sure what the shelters are like where you live but here in FL., the shelter workers usually know the animals very well and can tell you which dog likes what. I would have that be the very first stipulation when speaking with the shelter staff about any adoptee; they are sometimes even able to do "cat tests" to see how well acclimated dogs are to cats (and vice-versa). And if they don't know, well, then I don't know what to tell you; you're definitely right to have concerns, especially if the animal has been abused (or was part of a fighting ring that used cats to "bait").

I would just get as much info as you possibly can about the animal from the shelter staff, and then trust your gut
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Middle America
36,734 posts, read 42,023,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LIgirl74 View Post

I do want to keep trying to adopt a rescue dog but my concern is b/c we are not able to see the "real" personality per se until after you take the dog home and he/she settles in
The refuge we adopted Willie from understands that you won't get a good feel for what one another is like right away, so they do a two-week trial period to make sure the fit is right. There's no obligation to go on with the adoption process if, in those two weeks (or less), you find that the dog doesn't fit your lifestyle/personalities aren't compatible. Not sure how common it is to do a trial period like this, but perhaps you could find an organization that does.

Our refuge also specifically notes which dogs have histories that indicate they'd do best in homes where there aren't cats (kids, other dogs, etc.). It being a network of fosters helps with identifying these sorts of things.

Also, to echo others, we knew from the get go that we were not in the market for a puppy/exceptionally young dog (in some ways, Willie is a bit young for us, at 2 years old (a year and nine months when we got him). We knew we needed an already housebroken, crate trained dog, since we both work too far from home to get home midday, etc. and perform relief duties. Managing a puppy would have required one of us quitting our jobs. Not happening.
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