dog for single female

clarosietooJuly 7, 2009

I apologize if this is the second post but I don't see the first one. I'm thinking about getting a dog. I've wanted one for awhile, but I traveled too much. That has changed quite a bit so now I want to relive my childhood with a pet.

I'm single, age 51 and looking for something small, friendly and that can be trained to potty in the house. Can a rescue or shelter dog meet my needs? I'd like a short hair, but it appears that something like a shiz tzu would have the personality that I need. I live in a small house, no fence, but I could get one.

Needless to say, I'm confused. Any suggestions of breeds or things for me to think about.

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If you can't walk a dog I would suggest you think about getting a cat. How small would you want a dog to be? Pugs and french bulldogs tend to stay small and they do not require alot of exercise. If you are willing to go a bit bigger, an english bulldog might fit your needs. All of the above mentioned dogs have short coats and are friendly and need less exercise than other energetic breeds. You can also go to a rescue and check out what they have, you may fall in love with someone there. I would seriously consider getting a cat in your case. A dog needs to go outside.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 2:39PM
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You sound confused. The closest thing you can come to as far as your requirements go is a stuffed animal.
Dogs left inside on a daily basis, with no place to walk outside and get stimulated by the scents and smells, no socialization with other dogs, limited socialization with people is going to go mad and will end up being put to sleep for behavioral disorders.
I suggest you go volunteer at the local shelter or guide dogs or canine companions to get some time with a dog, this way the dog stays healthy, and you get your time with a pet.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 2:54PM
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Questions for you -

Do you want the dog to be trained to go potty indoors because you need to leave it while you are at work?

Can you walk the dog at least twice a day?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 3:51PM
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Some very small toy breeds can be trained to go potty indoors. But if you can get a fence that really would open up a lot more possiblities for you. Plus even miniature dogs enjoy outdoors, sniffing and running around. Even a dog enclosure or run would be okay for a really small dog if you couldn't afford to fence the entire yard right away.

As for breed I wouldn't know where to begin to give you an answer on that. I know some Shih-tzu's who are sweet as angels and some others that are mini-Cujo's!

Good luck!


    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 4:17PM
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I think you should look into Maine Coon cats. As a breed, they are often dog-like. They do have longer hair, but it's not a high-maintenance coat. My mother's Maine Coons follow her around the house, they are always at the door to greet her when she returns, one of them even retrieves a ball (slowly). I'm really a dog person, and I adore her cats. I know you can find them through rescue groups. Some of them might be a Maine Coon mix, but you can always ask the foster home what their personality is like. Honestly, look up the breed information. Many breed profiles mention their dog-like qualities, and it sounds like this would be a perfect match for you. Mom also thought she REALLY wanted a dog, but given her situation, we knew it wouldn't be good for her or the dog--they'd both be crazy within weeks.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 7:00PM
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Great idea, darenka! I got a wonderful Burmese cat at a shelter a year ago. She is incredibly good natured and happy - acts much like a dog. Loves to be with me, greets me at the door, walks on a leash and loves to talk. A lot. Not for people who like quiet, but I don't mind. Cats are lower maintenance because they use the litter box and don't need to be walked. Most are OK alone while you go to work, but some need more company. Mine just sleeps when I am gone. If you go to a rescue organization or a good cat shelter they can recommend cats to you based on your lifestyle. I highly recommend it.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 7:17PM
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You didn't say wheather you prefer a dog or a cat.

A cat would be the easiest to have.
If you want a little inside dog, maybe a Chihuahua or a Yorkie would be better to pee inside.

Although they have great personalities, Shih Tzus are medium personality dogs in small bodies. They are NOT fi-fi dogs (not delicate). Many people group them in with Yorkies, Bichons, ect. Shih Tzus are different.

Shih Tzus are like little people. They communicate with you with their expressive eyes. They can be aggressive, if they come from bad breeding. You may not see the real mean signs until they are 3-4 yo. Be careful where you buy one. There are lots of puppy mills selling badly bred Shih Tzus. I happen to have one( I'm not sure if she is 100% Shih Tzu) from a puppy mill and she IS aggressive toward other dogs. My other Shih Tzus were the best, ever.

Shih Tzus are a lot of upkeep. You always have to cut or trim this or that. You need to pluck their hair in their ears at least every 4-6 weeks. You have to keep their eyes and ears clean, so they don't get infections. They have hair coming out of every opening in their bodies. They like to be clean. Mine do, anyway-lol
The last thing they would want to do is pee in the house. The puddle would be substantial. They like structure. The inside peeing may confuse them.

Shih Tzus like to boss their owners around. They are stubborn and get their way. Shih Tzus train their owner, not the other way around. Now if you don't mind being pushed around and catering to them, Shih Tzu is your dog.
If you want a sweet obedient lap dog, you are barking up the wrong dog. Lol

A Shih Tzu is an independent& bossy lap dog, with spunk. They are always happy, and pick up on your emotions. They like to play rough. Don't let their appearance fool you. There is a hardy dog under all that hair. Properly bred, they have the best , people-like personalities. They are very smart, with long memories, and with a mind of their own (stubborn, tenacious). Mine were very easy to train to go potty outside.

I would like to know what you end up getting. Please let us know.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 8:24PM
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I wanted the dog trained to potty inside because two days a week I work long days (go in at 11, home around 8). I don't mind walking the dog outside or getting a fence so the dog could play outside.

I don't want a cat.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 9:56PM
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Geez, you all need to read more clearly. clarosietoo titled her post "dog for single female." She was clear in stating she wants a DOG, not a cat. There is a big difference between a dog and a cat.

She also never said she couldn't/wouldn't walk a dog.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 1:02AM
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I am a single female and I often work 9-10 hour days. My dog has no problem holding his potty until I return home. However, I take him for nice long walks before and after work. When he was a puppy, I came home at lunch until he was about 9-10 months old to take him out in the back yard.

If I were you, I'd get the fence before the dog; and keep researching dog ownership to zone in on what you really need. For example, many toy dogs (like the shiz tzu you mention) require daily grooming and brushing. Are you willing to devote time for that? Many terrier breeds require intensive exercise (several miles of walking everyday), are you willing to do that? There are many aspects to dog ownership other than size, potty needs and shedding.

What you need is a complete list of what you are willing and able to do and then we can help you hone in on a specific breed (or mix shelter dog).

One thing you might consider is to volunteer at a local shelter or rescue group and talk to people who really know their dogs. When you are around alot of dogs, you will be able to refine your wish list.

There is a website out there that goes through about 100 questions on breed selection. Take the quiz, just to see all the considerations you need to think about before you adopt. You might be surprised at what type of dogs are a good fit for you.

This test is by no means foolproof, but it's a start to get you on your way.

Good Luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 8:53AM
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While preselecting a type/breed of dog is fine, it is difficult when trying to fit a dog into an establiahed set of circumstances---like yours.

Get ready for a dog---fence/house/etc.

Then have some fun---go to a shelter/rescue and just walk along the cages and look at the prospects.

Pick out two or three---make a note of them. Once you are done, have the staff bring out each one so you can touch/interact.

I am quite sure(from experience) that you will find one out of 7-10 that 'grabs' your heart.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 9:31AM
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I would suggest chihuahua. They are small, short hair and some are more lovable than others. I have two that love to sit on my lap and get kissed and carried around like babies. I have a small pet door to a fenced yard so they come and go with no problems. They are quiet except when there is a knock or sound in the yard.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:55AM
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Can a rescue or shelter dog meet my needs?

Absolutely. I would contact a local rescue group and tell them exactly what you have posted. They will already have screened dogs and may have one to suggest for you.

We have a local group called "pets for seniors" that is really great about screening dogs that are perfect for single older people, that probably wouldn't be perfect for young people with families.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 11:09AM
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A friend of mine has someone come once a day to check on her dog and walk her. Now, I realize that is expensive...but since you only need to do it two days a week maybe that is an option? It eliminates the need to teach the dog to "go" inside.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 11:45AM
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Sue, I was going to suggest the same thing. I own a pet sitting business, a national franchise company and doing mid-day doggie visits are a big part of our business. It really isn't that expensive, especially for 2 times a week. We are bonded and insured and I would highly recommend hiring a pet sitter versus a friend. We are in the business to be dependable and reliable. Friends may flake out on you and what good is it to 'wonder' if your doggie got the outside break it needs.

Good luck with whatever decision you make. I hope you find your new best friend and have many happy years together!


    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 11:50AM
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The closest thing you can come to as far as your requirements go is a stuffed animal.

Nice. Not.

Geez, you all need to read more clearly.


Clarosie, you don't sound confused to me at all. You sounds as if you have given careful consideration to the idea of adding a canine companion and you are realistic about your needs and limitations with such companion. Kudos to you, many people do not give thought to these concerns ahead of time.

My niece has a pug that is trained to use an indoor litter box. The 'litter' is some sort of recycled paper 'plugs'. I'm sure there is info on the web about it. That said, if it's possible I also like the idea of a dog walker so the dog doesn't have to be inside and alone for such a long time.

I also agree that a rescue may be your best option, partly because you may not be able to deal with a puppy given your situation. Rescues tend to have a lot of adults (as do shelters).

As for breed, there are multiple online quizzes of the sort posted above. I would try a couple of them. You will probably find that a few breeds consistently end up near the top of your results. You can research why those breeds fit your need. Then try to meet some. For example, when I did these quizzes several years ago, flat coated retrievers kept coming up (along with goldens and labs). I knew about goldens and labs (and have owned both) but had never met a flat coat. So we made arrangements to meet some - and fell in love. They were (and still are) without a doubt THE breed for us. So try it, see what comes up.

You say you can do a fence. I personally would recommend that simply so that, in addition to walks, you and your dog can spend time outdoors playing without worrying about roads or people or other hazards.

Good luck to you! It's exciting to contemplate a new addition, isn't it?

Here is a link that might be useful: Dog breed quizzes

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 1:17PM
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May I again suggest english bulldog. With you schedule I would definitely get an older dog. They can hold their pee and poop for long periods. A bulldog will sleep almost the entire time you are away. They have rescues where you can check out the dog to make sure it is small enough to fit your needs. Bulldogs can range in size from 30-100 pounds. If you get an older dog you will be assured what you are getting. The rescues have many dogs for adoption. A bulldog will also make you feel a little safer as it is not a small dog as such and they look fierce. They are also very lovable and think they are lap dogs no matter how big they get. They are short coat however you do need to clean their folds daily or it can start to smell. They do drool, depending on how big their jowls are. My old girl used to leave trails of drool around food but my new girl does not drool, although soon after she drinks we wipe her mouth, we have drool rags all over the house for this purpose. Some of them snore, again my old girl could wake up the neighborhood but my new girl is a quiet sleeper. I will warn you that depending on the bulldog, you could also be in for high medical bills,so if money is a concern I might think of another breed. Bulldogs are medical nightmares. Both my girl were/are healthy as pups. My old girl had eye surgeries when she was younger for cherry eye but then I did not have problems with her again until she got old. My new girl seems to have allergies and breaks out in hives occasionally, only once has it been bad, usually its just a bump or two. Whatever breed you decide on though, I recommend an older dog, so you don't have to train a puppy.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 2:33PM
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I suggest you think twice about getting a dog. With no walks and your long hours, you will have major, major behavior issues. There are also alternatives, you could hire a dog walker to come in once a day when your working long hours.

Play outside?" A single dog will eventually get bored after the novilty wears off. They will bark and/or dig.

Dogs are pack animals that crave companionship.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 3:43PM
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Have you given any thought to a doxie. I work with a girl
who has three doxies. She and her husband both work but they crate them when at work. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 4:08PM
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todance - once again, the OP did NOT say no walks! She said I don't mind walking the dog outside. Why is everyone assuming that she will not walk the dog?

They will bark and/or dig Not necessarily. Mine don't. It didn't sound like she was planning to put the dog outside for hours on end with no other interaction with her.

Long hours - I don't think these are long hours. 11-8, that's nine hours. If nine hours away from home means one can't have a dog, then I suspect many of the people on this forum (myself included) can't have a dog. I think nine hours is too long to leave a puppy, but should not be too long for an adult.

Please don't let the nay-sayers discourage you. As I said before, you have thought about the challenges and are willing to address the potential problems.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 4:35PM
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Small dogs can be trained to go potty on a wee-wee pad or similar. My girlfriend's elderly mom has a shi tzu who is trained to do this. He is the cutest bundle of love.

If you aren't into grooming or don't want to take the dog in for regular pro grooming, smooth-haired dachshunds are easy-peasy to keep clean and they shed about as much as a human.

Dachshunds can take a lot of exercise, but on the other hand they can be mellow house dogs as well. They are generally not hyper-active, and they are independent.

When you keep a dog home alone, after the initial potty training, keep it in one area or room, with the wee-wee pad always in the same place, water, chew toys and bed. Later the dog may be able to have the run of the house, but for some dogs this is extra responsibility and stress.

Good luck choosing a dog - it will definitely bring you joy.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 4:48PM
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Focus on personality, not size. Small dogs can be annoyingly energetic and many folks don't train them at all simply because they're small. This results in an annoying dog, so do plan an obedience class for you and your new dog. Go to the rescue leagues and start meeting dogs. 9 hours is not too long for a dog to go without a potty break. Remember that dogs don't sit around drinking coffee all day. They're crepuscular, (most active at dawn and dusk) so if getting decent exercise will sleep during the day and be happy to walk with you when you return home.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 7:05PM
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prairie love - ditto. I don't get why people are assuming the OP won't walk her dog. She never said she wouldn't.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 8:12PM
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A rescue group will require a fence, do that first. It will make your life easier anyway. That would eliminate the potty in the house situation.

Would the dog be safe in the yard when you're gone if you had a fence? I have a wood fence with a padlocked gate. It prevents meter readers leaving the gate open or kids getting in the yard or fingers poking in chain link.

I've always adopted adult dogs to skip the puppy stages.

There are always dogs available that have lost their owners. I won't say elderly owners because I'm older than you. :-) Dogs that are accustomed to being house and lap dogs. That don't require constant activity. I wouldn't look for a specific breed to be the perfect dog. Evalaute each dog's personality. You already know you want a small dogs so that narrows the field.

Good luck with your search, I hope you find a great companion.

When a new poster comes here for help they don't need to be attacked. Some comments were uncalled for. I see why people talk about the pet boards being rabid.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:37PM
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I highly suggest an adult rescue dog. Most rescue organizations that bring their pets to PetSmart and Petco are willing to let you do a test drive for a week. Another option is to become a foster parent - you get pretty much as long as you need to figure out if the dog will work for you, and if you will work for the dog.

As far as what breed...there are definite temperament, trainability, and exercise tendencies, but every dog is different. For instance, don't rule out a certain breed just because they are "known" for being a certain way. Breed tendencies are an excellent starting point, but should not be the deciding factor.

Regarding 9 hours alone, that again depends on the dog. My first dog was left alone for that long. As a puppy, she was gated in a vinyl floored kitchen. Yes, she peed and pooped on the floor. Easy clean up. I ended up adding a doggie door and she learned quickly. The problem I did have with her being alone that long was that she got bored, and decided to chew on the baseboards and wallpaper. When she was two, I got another dog and her destructive behaviors stopped just about immediately.

Depending on the dog, walking them once or twice a day is fine. And it doesn't have to be a long walk...again, depending on the dog. So don't be dissuaded by those that say you have to do hours of daily exercise! Just be informed and selective of the dog you get.

My current situation is fabulous: I have two dogs - an adult beagle rescue and an 11 month old shepherd mix. I have a retired neighbor who loves dogs, but doesn't have them anymore for various reasons. He lets my dogs out and plays with them every day for no charge. (I tried, but he refused to accept payment.) His wife is disabled, so I cook for them in exchange for dog duty. They are thrilled with the dinners, and me and my dogs are thrilled too!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:37PM
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When a new poster comes here for help they don't need to be attacked. Some comments were uncalled for. I see why people talk about the pet boards being rabid.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 10:48PM
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I suggest you go to Petfinder and type in your zip code and that will tell you all the dogs in a certain radius to your house. I was doing this about a year ago and came on a Boston Terrier/ Sheltie mix who was cute. I made an appointment and even tho the rescue lady had 30 dogs in her basement I only saw this one. I liked how he was a little shy, just sat and looked at me and then rolled over submissively. He was only 7 or 8 months old and the former owner gave him up because she had RA. He now weighs 22 pounds and goes on a 2-3 mile walk with me every day and has NEVER had an accident in the house. He sleeps in a crate but is never there except at night or if we're going away for long. We went to Phila. last Friday and he was in his crate 11 hours and was fine. That's by far the longest time. Mutts are fun and my vet said he gets his smarts from the sheltie side of the family. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 2:04AM
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i second the idea of a shelter dog. adult shelter dogs are SO hard to place because everybody wants a cute, cuddly puppy. whoever said an adult dog can't be cute or cuddly??

i've had my share of shelter dogs and there is no better feeling than to rescue a dog from less than ideal conditions. he/she will KNOW you saved his/her life and that dog will worship the ground you walk on. i predict, within a day, you will wonder how you ever got along with him/her. :)

best of luck in your decision. you sound like a perfect potential dogmom.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 8:36AM
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I was just going to say that a larger dog can generally hold it longer than a smaller dog, so unless you're really against having a larger dog, you might want to consider at least looking at some.

I highly agree with the adult shelter dogs. We have two and they're wonderful and we didn't have to deal with the puppy stage, and we saved two lives and they love us for it. Just be careful when you choose one and don't choose just for looks. In fact, I'd advise not to consider looks at all if you can avoid it. Test their personality and go with the dog that meets your needs/wants.

Good luck!!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 2:20PM
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prairie_love - why don't you mind your own business. I wasn't posting to you. Read my post line by line - obviously you didn't.

I TOO am speaking from experience. I have several dogs and I also do dog rescue.

I don't post on this forum unless I have experienced what the poster was talking about.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 3:16PM
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why don't you mind your own business. I wasn't posting to you.

Because it's a public forum and because you were the third person to assume that the OP would not walk the dog, even after she said she would (and that's not counting the people who told her to get a cat).

Read my post line by line - obviously you didn't.

In fact, I did. Here, I'll reiterate it for you.

I suggest you think twice about getting a dog. With no walks and your long hours, you will have major, major behavior issues

She said she would walk the dog. Nine hours is not unusually long. Yes, there *might* be behavior issues, even "major, major" ones, but there might *not* be as well.

There are also alternatives, you could hire a dog walker to come in once a day when your working long hours.

Agreed. As had been suggested by others as well.

Play outside?" A single dog will eventually get bored after the novilty wears off. They will bark and/or dig.

Interpretation. My interpretation was that she was considering a fence so she could go out with the dog and .... PLAY! Further, you again made a definitive negative statement "They will bark and/or dig". Maybe, maybe not.

Dogs are pack animals that crave companionship.

Agreed. But dogs can adapt (easily in my experience) to an owner's schedule and be quite comfortable when the owner is at work, so long as they get plenty of attention when the owner is home.

I TOO am speaking from experience. I have several dogs and I also do dog rescue. I don't post on this forum unless I have experienced what the poster was talking about.

I never said you didn't have experience.

I found it very frustrating that so many people mis-interpreted the original post and became so very negative about OP's dog ownership potential when in fact, she has given a lot of thought to the situation and is looking for ways to be a responsible owner. The doomsday attitude of "do that and your dog will be ruined" (from others as well) was disheartening. OP was immediately jumped on and told she can't have a dog if she doesn't walk it and she should get a cat. Talk about not reading the posts. Even in the first post, I never had the impression that she wouldn't walk the dog.

I think that a lot of people on this forum have valuable experience with pets (dances, you included). But it would be nice if new posters are given positive responses rather than negative and accusatory ones.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 4:06PM
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All I have to say is .... Oh brother! ... a mightier than thou attitude. So Prairie, you now think for others.

Did you not read "I wanted the dog trained to potty inside..." doesn't that raise a red flag????

I gave a SUGGESTION. You or I do not know this person or what he/she will do with their new dog. They posted a question and simply added a SUGGESTION.

Do you know how many times I've stood in line at the animal shelter and witnessed people surrendering their animal because they realized the dog was not for them.

I'm so done with this topic ... and you.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 5:37PM
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a mightier than thou attitude


you now think for others


Did you not read "I wanted the dog trained to potty inside..." doesn't that raise a red flag????

No. As I said above, my niece trained her pug to potty inside. She has had very good luck and her pug is a very sweet, apparently well-adjusted, happy dog. I believe it is not that uncommon for apartment dwellers to take this approach.

OP's (and she is a she based on the title) subsequent posts further clarified the situation.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 6:15PM
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Well I'm new to this board but not new to message boards so I understand how some people will totally misunderstand while others choose to misunderstand.

Thanks to all for the sincere answers. I've gotten gotten advice from a couple of places to visit a shelter so I'll start on those arrangements this week. I don't want to do anything harmful to a dog but I know I'm not perfect and will make a gazillion mistakes along the way.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 8:45AM
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Claro.....I'm glad you decided to rescue a dog. If you find that there is a specific breed that you like there are also many breed rescues that you can check out.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 2:39PM
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I think it's a great idea to train a dog to potty inside. We once did that with a mixed-breed rescue dog we had. Not that we didn't walk her, but we didn't like to think of her having to "hold it" for hours if we should ever get held up on the highway and be unable to get home when planned.

I'm smiling as I suggest something that would be much more work than you are considering, but...if you had *two* dogs, they would be companions for each other and be less lonely and probably less mischievous when you aren't home. My cousin had two mini-dachshunds for many years; they were delightful and never caused a problem.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 4:18PM
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clarosietoo ~ I'm so glad you can read what is useful and discard what is not. Believe me, the 4 dogs I've rescued over the past 15 years would not agree with the 'substandard' home they ended up in since I couldn't meet some of the 'requirements' listed in some posts in this thread.

The one mistake I did make was not fully understanding the breed tendencies of the beagle I adopted 2 years ago. BOY, has it been a tough road. She is the extreme end of 'beagle', and was a handful. But I'm as stubborn as she is, and I committed when I got her. I will NEVER get another beagle, but I love her and she loves me. We have come to a loving truce of sorts...I came to accept her beagley ways, and she understands that I will never be abusive to her like in her previous home. We've learned from each other, and I believe we're both better for it.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 11:48PM
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Biwako - at work, we have several people who have shelter dogs (I've learned over the weekend, to do shelter not rescue in this community). Yesterday, someone else suggested two dogs. She too said talk to the administrators and they can help me find two who are compatible.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 8:42AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I would get the fence first. It doesn't matter what kind of dog you get but you will have to have a fence from day one.

And, you might also consider getting two dogs. Two are not much more effort than one and they will have each other as a companion all day.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 9:32AM
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You don't HAVE to get a fence to own a dog. There are plenty of happy, healthy dogs living in homes without fences.

Its easier for dog owners who have a fence to let their dogs out for potty, but its not a necessity.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 10:37AM
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Yes, but if she is seriously considering getting a rescue dog (or dogs), then she will need a fence. There are almost no rescue organizations that will adopt out a dog to someone that doesn't have a fenced yard.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 11:40AM
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Though its true that many rescue groups, prefer to place animals in homes with fences, its not a requirement.

Your local animal shelter is a rescue operation and will adopt pets to people without fences.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 12:15PM
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I'm sure it varies shelter to shelter and group to group. Most groups and rescues in my area don't require fences.

I have fencing for my own dogs, but I still walk them 3 times a day for real exercise and stimulation and 'me' time. Walking isn't just for elimination and exercise.

Dogs adopted into apartments or homes without fences are more likely to get real exercise, since adopters have to put the leash on instead of simply tossing them into the yard to potty.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 10:36AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Personally, I think dogs need to run everyday and that's where the fence comes in. If you are playing ball, for instance, with a dog and no fence, how do you keep them from running into the street? Or the neighbors cat shows up? Yes, obedience training helps but it takes a long time to get that into the system.

With a fence, dogs can run around safely.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 4:34PM
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I start volunteering at the shelter next Wednesday. They were really great. I explained what I wanted to do and the person I talked to gave me lots of options of duties. She suggested that I try to complete several of tasks (walking, feeding, cleaning, etc) a couple of times each with different types of dogs.

I'm looking forward to the experience. I'll either get a dog or realize that I can't handle it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 7:05PM
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Good for you. I think its great how much effort you are putting into finding the right pet for you.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 7:29PM
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Wow, that's such a great idea. A very smart way to go about getting a dog. With the amount of thought you are putting into it, the dog who chooses you will be one lucky pup!

Keep us updated!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 9:36PM
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I overthink most things in my life. This is no exception. Probably why I'm single - LOL.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 1:41PM
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Good idea. I think you'll fall in love with one of the lucky pups.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 4:06PM
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I'm just going to pop in here and give you my experience. My first dog was a miniature Australian Shepherd, and she was WONDERFUL. She weighed 22 pounds at full adult weight. True to her breed, she was smart, loyal, loved to "herd", and did very well indeed when I had to leave her at home for 10 to 12 hours at a time. A daily walk was all she required, and sometimes she didn't get that. On my days off, I tried to make up for it, but she made a good 'couch potato'. I tried to teach her to "potty on a paper" but she would just hold it -- early training, I think. I had rescued her at 8 months. Then she died of a malignant brain tumor at 7, and I was heartbroken, so I got two little miniature Australian Shepherd puppies who were only 7 weeks old. OH, WOW! Nobody prepared me for the "early puppy stages" and I didn't get a full night's sleep until they were about 6 months old - but I would happily do it again. I adore "my girls". They both "pottie on the paper" which makes me feel better because if I have to be away a long time, they don't have to 'hold it' the way Sherbert did. I'm glad I got two, because they are wonderful company for each other. I do restrict them to the kitchen/Dining/living rooms when I'm at work, but they are not destructive. They are small enough that we can play indoors if the weather is lousy outdoors -- they are one year old now and Sunny weighs 20 pounds and Paradise weighs 16. Sunny tends to be a little more active and is mad to play "catch the ball". Paradise could be a real couch potato if you let her. Both are just excellent dogs -- in my opinion -- for a single person, because they are so smart, they adapt so well to training, and they can get by with or without exercise (obviously they will need some exercise, but if you miss a day here or there, it doesn't matter, especially once they get past 2 years of age.) Yet they will run and play with you as well if that's what you want to do. The miniature Aussies generally weigh between 16 and 22 pounds. You can also get "Toy Aussies" that weigh about 8 to 16 pounds. (sizes are approximate). In my humble opinion, and experience, it's just a breed you shouldn't overlook. MacThayer

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 8:46PM
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You know when my old girl died I went looking for a puppy. I was at the breeder and saw this pudgy sad looking 11 month old with her tongue sticking out. Well I had my heart set on a puppy, but that face, I couldn't resist. I mean the puppies were cute too, but the thought of the 11 month month home still not having a home broke my heart. I was hesitant, because bulldogs are powerful dogs and with the wrong attitude can be we took her out of the crate and she knocked me over and licked my face...then we took her out in the yard and she ran around like a crazy dog...she sat like a little princess while her breeder cut her nails, and she listened. So we went home and discussed our options (DH and myself). Couldn't make up our mind, and the breeder called...she asked me what I thought and I was quite honest with her, I told her I liked the 11 month old but the puppies were cute and I just didn't know...the breeder said we could bring the 11 month old home and test her we did....and within 1 hour my mind was made up. It was great to have a older dog. She was pretty much housetrained...I didn't have to take her our every two hours. She also kind of listened, we haven't had any problems with her biting things up (except one shoe). Of course now she won't let us cut her nails so we take her to the groomer and now she only listens when she wants to, but she's a bulldog so :-) In short....I am so happy I got an older dog :-) She's still got many of the puppy qualities, but without the tiny little bladder and the sharp little teeeth.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 11:06PM
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We've always been cat people, and got our very first dog a couple of years ago. I had specific requirements, a dog that was a young adult, calm, small, housebroken, and cat safe. I went online to various rescue groups nearby and told them what I wanted. One of the groups said they had a dog they thought would be perfect for us, so I filled out the application, also on line. The woman brought Reggie out to us, examined our house and yard, made some suggestions, sold us a crate, and that was that.

I wrote to her several times for advice, which she was always happy to give. I watched the Dog Whisperer for advice too. And started taking him a couple of times a week to a doggie day care place for socialization. He loves to play there, and that's where he's boarded if we need that.

Reggie is a chihuahua/terrier mix, 15 lbs, short haired, a happy little guy who washes one of the cats every day, just a love. I don't know how we got along all those years without a dog. We walk him twice a day, and he's out in the backyard with me when I'm gardening. Sometimes he stays there by himself for several hours, but not often (we're retired).

Rescue groups will know the personalities and needs of all the dogs they have, and will have started training the dogs, too.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 12:55AM
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I want to congratulate you on being a caring, kind and thoughtful person, wanting to adopt a dog and give it a good home. You and your dog will be very happy--just listen to each other and make adjustments. Please let us know who you adopt, and post a picture if possible!
There's nothing better than puppy love!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 10:00AM
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I'm in a condo with no yard. But my dog has a real nice life with me. (And me with him).

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 7:05PM
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I would suggest going to your local animal shelter and looking around. You may also have luck checking at your local vet office. I see signs in ours where people are giving away or selling their dogs...sometimes puppies, sometimes dogs they can't take care of, sometimes strays they picked up. I've gotten a couple of dogs that people offered on our local Freecycle because they couldn't take care of them anymore and these were great dogs (grown and house trained already).

I've had a few short haired dogs that were great (dachshund, miniature pinscher and a few mutts). Here is a link to Animal Planet's dog Breed Selector. Good luck!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Animal Planet Breed Selector

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 10:08PM
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Let's see: I found two dogs that I liked at the shelter but so did someone else. They were adopted before I could get out there. I tried a dachshund rescue but the dogs that I applied for weren't as they appeared. I tried a different rescue for two little pugs and was rejected due to lack of experience with the breed. I went with a third rescue but one of the two I chose died before I could pick them up. I guess I could have gone with one, but I think two will keep each other company. Finally, I found two shih tzus at what I thought was a rescue (my stupidity - 'paws' was in the name like many of the rescues) only to find it was a breeder.

My gut was to stay away from rescues but I was convinced by some that they were great to work with and would help me learn to be a good dog owner. One rescue worker told me that two dogs might be good, but that they would think twice about letting me, an inexperienced owner, adopt two puppies.

So I'm going back to the shelter this afternoon to walk dogs. Perhaps that's all I'll do until the time is right.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 7:58AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I'm glad you're going to get two dogs. The right dogs will come along eventually and it's best to wait until they do.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 8:08AM
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clarosietoo, be patient. I am in the same demographic as you, single household at work 8+ hours a day. Rescues are picky for the simple reason that they don't want the dogs they adopt out to boomerang back to them.

You have to sell yourself to them. Go over all their concerns with positive responses to let them know you have already thought about the responsibilities of dog ownership. I know this from experience, no one wanted to adopt a dog to me either. "Good" breeders will be just as picky, if not more so...if a breeder will give you a dog at the stroke of a check, I'd think twice about adopting from them.

Regarding the dachsund rescue; leave your name and phone number with them and let them know exactly what you are looking them every couple of weeks. Oftentimes there is a waiting list for breed-specific rescues. I know many people who adore dachsunds and most of these people have gotten their dogs from breed rescues. If you're going that route, just be patient.

Good luck, and let us know how you do.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 12:38PM
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Sorry it hasn't worked out so far. Anyone can start a "rescue" and run it pretty much as they please. Lack of experience with pugs? OMG! So what! That's just plain ridiculous. I could accept that reasoning for a Basenji or a Ridgeback, but a pug? Pugs are among the most amiable of dog breeds I've ever encountered.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 5:33PM
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Go online to Petfinder and type in your zip and see what's out there. That's how I found my guy. Before him I was thinking of an IG rescue but found them as picky as you described. My rescue lady made a home visit and checked with my vet.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 5:50PM
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I'm also happy you're looking for two dogs. I am a firm believer in the benefits of dogs having a fur buddy. They keep each other company when you're not there, yet adore you x2 when you're home. Your patience and careful thought process about adopting is admirable.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 10:09PM
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clairosie, I have a shihtzu and they do have great fun personalities but a couple of things you need to consider. they can be very active little dogs that get bored easily, mine chews things, digs holes and plays up a lot, and she gets lots of play time and walks everyday but she has so much energy it's hard to keep up sometimes.

the other thing I will mention is that the grooming is intense. Ive had long haired dogs all my life and am used to grooming and brushing them, but I had no idea a shihtzu could be so much work. they have this very soft undercoat which knots and mats very easily, so you need to be prepared for a lot brushing to keep it from becoming a mess. they also need regular hair cuts because the long coat will be too much for most people and they do suffer from the heat because of the short nose. mine has to go into a very short haircut over summer because she just cant cope with the heat and all the running around she does so there will be regular dog grooming appointments and the costs that go with that.

they are lovely little dogs, but they do take some work and really like to have lots and lots of your time and company. they dont like being on their own and they dont like being bored, and be prepared for the constant brushing to ward off the mats.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 5:58PM
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I have been following your post and wanted to let you know our experience. My husband and I are in our mid-50's. We recently adopted a shelter dog who is a pomeranian/terrier mix. He had ran out of time at the shelter when a foster mother volunteered to take him home since he was so frightened and not friendly at all. Once she got him home, he was just another best friend she said. She only had him five days when I saw him on their website. Once I visited him, he was just so sweet. We have had him now two months and he is just the best little guy. Approximately six years old, he's housebroken and knows commands very well. Doesn't bother a thing and gets along well with our house cat. In addition, we adopted another shelter dog just a week ago. And, this is a corgi/chow/shepherd mix female about 2 years old. What a beautiful, sweet, well-mannered lady she is too. And, I never would have thought of looking at her if it wasn't for the director who encouraged me to take her for a walk. Both of our dogs are best buds and we are so thrilled to have them in our lives. Good luck and the right ones will come along. But, keep an open mind and remember to look beyond their appearance (and size). I never thought I'd have a larger dog, but she is just great and so gentle.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:13AM
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Dachshunds are the dogs of my life - but we no longer have them. My 2 special guys - serious Alphas (but benevolent with their brothers) - both suffered from worst case back/neck disc disease - and had the full body surgeries. So if you get a Dachshund be prepared for this - and know the costs involved of the surgery. We now have a 22 lb. American Eskimo - never thought about the long white furry hair! We do not have a fenced yard so rescues hung up on me. But when we did have a fenced yard it didn't matter becaue our Dachshunds could dig under it - and before them our Beagle did same. An Eskimo the size of our guy can jump a 5 ft. fence from a standing position and then break his neck falling over the other side. Our guys are always on a leash and never out unless we are with them - heaven forbid that I shouldn't freeze to death in the Toronto winters. My guys were very smart and I have been trying to explain to our Eskimo how to use the toilet - so far it hasn't worked out. He is too big to use a kitty litter type of device - and being a male - well apparently it isn't pretty. I wouldn't go with a teacup breed - too many health problems - can't even climb a curb - but apparently they are good with the indoor litter boxes. Dachshunds are part of the terrier "terrorist" breed - but I have never met one that didn't love me. The Dachshunds I have met of late seem to be of a more mellow temperament - but I prefer the bossy ones. My Eskie is very smart and a barking fool - and will do everything he can to ensure that I protect him. With him it is "me me me" then Mommy. With the Dachshunds it was Mommy, them and then Daddy. I hope you find a couple of pets that will add joy to your life. Just be careful with the personalities - you definitely do not want 2 Alphas or worst one Alpha and one who wants to be, but isn't. Been there, done that.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 12:51PM
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I admit I haven't read all the responses because I got tired of the judgemental and flame responses. I do have two thoughts. If, at all possible, create a small enclosure outside a doggie door so the dog can "go" at will. Yes, the door creates a loss of heat or cooling, but all pets are costly in some way. I would be concerned that on some days the dog, just like a human, may find it has to urinate more often than usual, even though they aren't ill. A thought about using piddle pads--if that is your solution it would be wise to get a female who doesn't lift a leg and urinate against something. You will probrbly have fewer "misses" that way. There is a TV show on TLC called "The Littel Couple". They are professional people who have a Boston Terrier that uses pads and he does sometimes overshoot the pad. I am a fierce dog and cat lover, active in rescue, and I have 4 Siberian huskies and 3 cats, all adopted rescues. I would never feel comfortable asking them to wait 9 hours between bathroom breaks. My dogs, who are always separated from the cats (Sibes have an enormous prey drive and I can't trust mine around cats), have a 24/7 doggie door to a fenced acre. This is what I have decided I HAVE to do in order to feel I am treating my pets well and I have chosen to budget accordingly. Responsible pet ownership is expensive, even for one dog or cat. I respect you for asking for suggestions prior to getting a dog. One last thought; I am retired and at 65 found that social security and Medicare represented a big decrease in available funds. I did plan for inflation, but I never realized how the present resession would strain my pet budget. I am committed to feeding only top quality food, the likes of which are never sold in a supermarket. All my animals are nutered and all are kept current on shots and at least annual physicals. Occasional illness or injury visits are unplanned expenses. I expect I will outlive my dogs, but the cats are young and have a long life expectancy. For that reason I have made arrangements for their care if anything happens to me.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 12:35PM
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I got a mutt from the shelter. He's little, about 4 or 5 years old. A trainer is going to come to my house to do a visit before I get and help me get things set up for him. Then she'll come by another time once he gets here. Once I get comfortable with him, I'll get another dog to keep him company during the day. The shelter said that they get lots of dogs in Feb/March when the Christmas puppy cuteness has worn off. Surely by then I'll be able to handle two.

Thanks for the advice. There's learning even in the sarcastic comments.

Oh and his name is Roscoe.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 6:32PM
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Yay! You must take some pictures - I'll post them for you if you don't know how. Just email me thru Garden web and I'll reply with instructions.

Yay Roscoe!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 6:38PM
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Congratulations on your new fur baby :-)I can't wait to see pics. And Good for you getting from a shelter.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 11:34PM
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