Advice for daughter of dog breed

ryseryse_2004May 17, 2013

Her family had a Husky who just passed away at 13 yrs. They have two daughters 8yrs. and 6yrs. who never cared for the Huskey (ummm -- neither did we or any of the other relatives - dangerous horrid dog!).

This time around they want a dog about 40# who isn't 'needy'. I think that means laid back and not much trouble but we will just be happy if they get a dog that doesn't eat small children. Is there a medium sized dog that is easy to train with the disposition of a Lab or Golden Retreiver?

I told her I would try to research and thought of a Beagle but they are often very hard to train. They don't do well with the training thing.

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Dogs, as a species, tend to be "needy" because they are pack animals who bond closely to their human family. The breeds who are more independent and less needy (herders, terriers, hunting and working breeds) are also the breeds that tend to require more training and exercise to keep their minds and bodies busy. Beagles can be very headstrong and many are hyperactive and noisy, though there are certainly individuals who are quiet, compliant couch potatos.

Your best bet is to work with a rescue or shelter that keeps dogs in foster homes where their personalities can be accurately assessed in a home setting. In that way, they can help match your daughter's family to a dog that fits their needs, experience, and activity level appropriately.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 4:56PM
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Or maybe you could even foster a dog, which could turn out to be "your" dog.

I know of one breed rescue organization which fosters all its dogs--none are in a kennel situation. You are wise to take your time to select the perfect dog for your family, preferably one who loves kids rather than wanting to eat them!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 9:15PM
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Your best bet is to work with a rescue or shelter that keeps dogs in foster homes where their personalities can be accurately assessed in a home setting. In that way, they can help match your daughter's family to a dog that fits their needs, experience, and activity level appropriately.

I agree with the above 100%, however I think a cat would be a better fit for this family. (Actually two cats, so they could keep each other company.) From your description they sound like the want a dog just to "have a dog", but may not be willing/able to give a dog what it needs. The right cat(s) would be more independent, and "easy" for them.

I suspect that Husky had issues that made him/her unlikable because he/she wasn't given the attention and stimulation that a dog needs.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:19PM
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There is one out there who will be a good fit......perhaps a Heinz 57. Some of those little non-descript fellows can be the most laid-back and gentle and maybe it's because of their hybrid backgrounds. There are no quirks from breeding. One I had comes to mind. He was the kindest, and gentlest fellow, not big. Not little. Long haired, but not too long so as to need professionally groomed. Didn't bark much and all the other pets in the house liked him. He was sandy haired, and low slung and a cuddler. My son rescued him from under a truck and brought him home and he stayed. He was an older pup. Maybe you could hang out at the local shelter and make a few repeat visits and let the staff know you are looking for good temperament and not necessarily something striking. You know...........Miss Congeniality. I miss old Duke yet. He was a fine dog.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 3:02AM
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A mutt from a rescue group.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 12:19PM
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I agree with a cat. Cats are not needy and are independent and rarely human aggressive and require basically no training to still be a good family pet.

My opinion is that there is not a good breed or match for this family.

Dogs that aren't needy are working breeds with a job to do, service dogs with a specific task, and those are highly trained dogs not family pets.

A dog needs interaction and socialization to not be aggressive. A happy dog who loves his family is going to be "needy" in the sense it's going to follow you, going to want to be where you are, probably cry if shut out or left alone, and if it's the only dog in the house it's going to go to it's humans for play.

Beagles are very needy, I've worked with lots and did not find any hard to train although people say that they are. They are however ME ME ME ME ME dogs,

Dogs with the disposition of a lab or golden, are labs and goldens. But a young lab is very different from an old one. A young lab is probably one of the worst offenders of destruction. They can take years to grow up also. Beagles too.

Aussies and border collies are the easiest dogs I have ever trained, but both will herd if they have that instinct. Great dogs, but need a lot of activity to keep them worn out.They are both needy breeds though.

I really can not name any dog that would require little training, be good with kids and not needy. An old dog, senior age maybe.

I don't know the situation, but any dog that is kept outside a lot, or crated a lot, is going to have a high chance of being aggressive.

As an indoor housepet allowed to run free in the house and socialize and given attention, almost any breed is fine and will not become aggressive. But it's easy for an owner to get frustrated with a potty training fail, or a dog that chewed up something or barks a lot, and shut them out or lock them up, and then you end up with more problems.

This post was edited by Marinewifenc on Sat, May 18, 13 at 17:10

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 5:03PM
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Oh gosh, I'm not picking up on clues that the family the poster is talking about aren't willing to invest time or attention into a dog and should therefore restrict themselves to a cat. Of course all dogs need interaction and involvement with a family, but some dogs are truly more 'needy' than others for many reasons and considerably higher maintenance through all sorts of issues. The husky may have been a very poor choice for their lifestyle, and they may have been clueless about how to bring out the positive aspects of this breed, and they are many. But if they expected a couch potato or lap dog with one and it was bored and got into mischief they may have set up a downward spiral of avoidance and bad reactions. My mate and I are terrier lovers, but that's another line of dog I would not wish on some families.............both for their sake and the dog's sake. And by the same token, I've taken in many dogs nobody else wanted, and to be honest some of them have had baggage, life-long baggage and been considered 'needy'. We've always found ways to help the animal adjust and give it a good quality life and loved them, but some dogs never do reach the state of nirvana and it takes a special household to accept that.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 5:13AM
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spedigrees z4VT

If needy is an undesired attribute for a pet, then I agree that a dog is not a good choice. All dogs *need* things from their human caretakers. Herding breeds are highly intelligent dogs who need a job to do, a lot of exercise, and training, more so than less highly motivated breeds IMO.

Dogs do not compare to children in respect to "neediness." Both need training, but in the case of a child, schooling is a 12 year affair, whereas a dog can get his required training in a 6 week basic manners class, providing that his family do their homework and reinforce what was learned in class at home.

Most dogs are protective of, rather than aggressive towards, the children in the family. If this is not the case, then it is most likely that the kids were not instructed and supervised around the dog. Children should never be allowed to disturb a dog who is sleeping or resting or especially when he is eating. If children are allowed to tease a dog, then the lesson in empathy, kindness, and responsibility (which is, after all, the most important benefit of a pet to children) is lost.

Also most children naturally develop an attachment to a family pet, and if these children regarded their last dog with fear and dislike, then something in this dog/family relationship is seriously dysfunctional.

A cat might be more suitable to this family, but again the same rules for teaching the children to respect the family pet apply.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 1:22PM
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This dog was there long before the children, if they got it as a puppy. It was raised well into canine middle age before kids came along. Huskies are strong, relatively large and there was no kid/cute puppy bonding here and more likely an adult desire to keep them apart and difficulty in how to get them back together in a relationship for fear a middle aged, probably spoilt animal might harm a kid. I don't think that starting over with a willingness to get a gentle breed and take it to obedience classes and instruct the kids how to interact with it are over their heads. We've judged a family here when we don't know the circumstances. Not a good way to get helpful information across.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Yes, the dog was there long before the children. He was a rescue dog that was returned by two families before my daughter and her husband adopted him. Red flags everywhere! He was not well behaved because he was never trained to be.

Water under the bridge - he's dead. I think the best suggestion here is the fostering one. BTW, husband is allergic to cats so that won't happen. I find it hard to imagine them even thinking about a replacement so soon. It was almost two years before we could bring ourselves to getting another dog after ours passed away at 16 yrs. old!

Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 4:03PM
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I don't know much about the breed, but have been told that Brittanies are much like labs in their disposition and people pleasing train-ability. They are a little smaller.

Like labs, they can be energetic and require a good deal of exercise and attention, but they are supposedly very family friendly.

I have a child about the same age as the ones mentioned in the original post. Her time consuming activities (school) and my lack of energy have prevented us from getting another lab mix. I've considered getting a shih tzu, because the ones owned by my friends have all been wonderful, easy going, family friendly, east to train, etc. I'm not really a small dog person, but feel a fondness for those little guys. For right now I'm lucky enough to be spoiling a cat- who is at least as needy as any dog :)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 4:38PM
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RyseRyse, you say that your daughter's family isn't good with the training thing. That, unfortunately, doesn't bode well for them being able to maintain any sort of beneficial relationship with most dogs. So, here's my next suggestion. If and when they find a dog that they want to add to their family, you might want to consider giving them a pup-warming present of enrollment in a basic obedience class with their new family member. That way, they won't have to put out any additional money for a training class that they might not really want, but they also might be "pushed" into participating in the class so that they don't insult you for your generous gift. Chances are, they'd also end up enjoying the classes once they got started in them. Obedience classes would benefit everyone involved, both human and canine.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 4:47PM
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" Her time consuming activities (school) and my lack of energy have prevented us from getting another lab mix. I've considered getting a shih tzu, because the ones owned by my friends have all been wonderful, easy going,"

quasi if you have a lack of energy then a shih tzu may not be the best breed for you. They have an incredible amount of energy for such a small dog and they aren't couch potato dogs at all. I have two of them and they love nothing more than to have fun, whether that's a game of fetch, a walk, roughhousing with each other, or being chased around the house. Some days I have trouble keeping up with mine and just wish I had more energy to.

They are a wonderful breed though, so full of fun and cheekiness. Even though I've owned shih tzus for 5 years now, there's something I never knew about them until recentlly and that is they are particularly prone to eye problems. They have shallow eye orbits so the eyes are more exposed to damage and can even be dislocated. But they are also prone to ectopic cilia, distichia, medial entropion, trichiasis, eye ulcers, and nasal fold trichiasis, all of which can damage the eyes.

One of my dogs started having problems earlier this year, it started with an eye ulcer that wouldn't heal as well as recurrent pain in the other eye and she ended up having surgery recently which was quite expensive because her eyes were being damaged and it would eventually lead to blindness. Many shih tzu's have mild versions of these conditions but for others they will be more severe, but according to the eye specialist, shih tzus are one of the most common breeds he sees. I love my dogs to death but I think I would be much more hesitant to get one in future knowing how common these problems are (and they are expensive to fix)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 5:00AM
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trancegemini, my dear friend lost her shih tzu a few years ago and he had chronic eye problems the last few years. I'm not surprised to hear that is common, and it's definitely a good thing to keep in mind, though I honestly don't foresee getting another dog anytime real soon. I know she had to order very expensive eye drops via mail order, keep them in her fridge, etc. Even with the eye drops, sometimes it was hard to control.

You make a really good point. In thinking about it, they are very energetic, aren't they? My friends' shihs have indeed been very active and seem to have that "big dog" mentality- in a cute way. They have also seemed very intelligent when it comes to training and learning- is that so? I guess my comparison about energy levels is that to the high energy lab mix puppies that I've had. My friends with shih tzus seemed to be able to exercise and play adequately at home, while we really needed to take the labs out for super long walks, runs, they needed to sprint long distances and do their retriever thing, etc. That's a really good point for the OP though, and a good thing for me to keep in mind too. I think cats are really more my speed at least until DD gets older and I run out of other hobbies.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:07AM
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Hi quasi and sorry for taking so long to respond, it was a busy week so I haven't been on the computer for several days.

They really are like a big dog in a little dogs body, they've just got that "attitude" and mine aren't clingy at all, they really like their space at times. They are really clever but some of them can be a bit stubborn, you can teach them any new game and they'll pick it up straight away, but if it's something boring like walking on a leash, not so much and it will take time and patience. They're really driven by how much of a payoff *they* get from it, it's not about pleasing you, you're there to please them (a bit like cats).

That's a good point about exercise levels though, and you can exercise indoors if you have to so they don't need those long runs like your lab mixes. With my shih tzus it's more like taking the time to get them to burn up energy intermittently throughout the day so they don't get restless, even in the evening I usually have to get up during a tv show to play a game with them if they're getting antsy. I do find it easier having two though because at times they'll just start chasing each other around and wrestling which helps tire them out at times LOL.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 1:58AM
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Here is a link that might be useful: All about Dog Breeds

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 1:22AM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

The above post is an ad for translating. How weird is that? Who puts things like that on here?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 8:47AM
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My daughter replaced their dog a few months ago with a 3 month old mixed breed from a shelter with paws larger than my 95# lab --- so much for the 40# idea.

Don't know what the mix is but it sure is a sweetie and they are enjoying him.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Ryse Ryse, that is great news! Come back in a few months and tell us how big this beast has gotten! It is great that the dynamics of the girls being involved in choosing the dog and the dog coming into the household with children - not having infants appear and steal the focus away from a dog used to getting all the attention - is working out for your daughter's family.

Murraysmom, that is weird. I went to the All About Dogs site they linked to and it is mostly in German, but Phasan, who just joined Garden Web, is in Pakistan. I have been here since 2003 and never seen a post not in English.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 2:04PM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

Nancy, I guess I could understand a post in a different language if it was about the subject being discussed - dogs. But this post, when translated, is just about an ad for translating.

It was easy to translate. I just copied it, went to Yahoo and put in "German to English translation", pasted it in and the translation is an ad for translations. Really weird. And now you say Phasan is in Pakistan. That is even stranger.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 4:43PM
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