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I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: Bo
Date: February 02, 2013 02:35AM


Our little family is on the verge of adopting our first dog. We've had the idea on the radar for about a year, casually thought about it for six months and been somewhat actively looking for the past month or so. I had a dog for a short while as a child but this will be the first for my wife and 10 year old son (first pet for that matter). They have definitely been driving this train, and while I have been slow to hop aboard, I am all for it as long as we can do it responsibly.

We've met the dog a couple of times at a local rescue shelter and all feel this could be a very good fit. He's a Bichon Frise (mix perhaps?) about three years old. He's very affectionate, seems pretty mellow and doesn't appear to be a yapper. In three visits to a pretty chaotic shelter we have yet to hear him make a sound. Not clear whether he is fully house trained or not...some indication that he is. I believe he belonged to an older person who could no longer care for him but not sure about that. I think we're in pretty good shape as far as the house is concerned. Fully fenced yard, single level.

So now a few questions for the dog lovers here:

1. Any general advice for a first time dog owner that you wish you had known before getting one?

2. We don't have any dog "gear" at all right now and are not fully sure of what we need vs. what would be nice to have. Can people recommend things that they like? Dog dishes, leashes, beds, other stuff? Links appreciated (Amazon prime would be ideal).

3. Any favorite online resources for information and purchases?

I'm sure this is just the beginning of many more questions...but let's just start there!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/22/2020 12:29AM by Bo.
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: M>B>
Date: February 02, 2013 02:42AM
Just hug and love all things will follow!!!
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: billb
Date: February 02, 2013 04:34AM
One more needy 4 year old craving and requiring attention all the time every day.
If you don't have the time day in and out, don't do it, but if you do by all means DO!

We prefer stainless steel dishes as many don't recommend plastic, but I've had plastic in the past.
Stainless cleans easy.
They need a few toys, just like you do.
Some chew, some don't.
Attention. They're pack animals and actually being/feeling a part of the pack rather than just another thing on its own left to it's own devices is often the key to preferred behavior.
Have fun !!!
They often behave like 4 year olds, but most are much smarter. In some ways at least.
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: WHiiP
Date: February 02, 2013 06:01AM
He must get his exercise on a daily basis. How much depends on the breed and how much exercise he get in the yard with hard core antics; chasing a stick, ball, etc.; running along with your son. So, daily walks (two) may be necessary.

Find a vet.

You may need a doggie carrier. Whomever feeds him will be his favorite in the family. Find out all you can about his recommended diet.

Treat him nicely.

Enjoy years of unconditional love... usually, only the dog participates in this way.


big grin smiley



Bill
Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Carpe Vino!

Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire.
— David Rains Wallace
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: Randalls
Date: February 02, 2013 07:03AM
What they said. The faster you learn to communicate the better. It will know your language and moods. Learn the dogs for walkies, bathroom breaks, playtime, dinner time. You will have a fun and lasting relationship.
Oh yeah, warnings
1. Keep the dog in a safe and secure environment. Don't leave it outside unattended where it can get napped or run off.
2. Treat it like a small child, meaning don't expose it to objects or foods that can be hazardous to it's health (chocolate, shoe strings, small objects it can choke on...common sense stuff.
3. Frontline is a good medication for fleas, heart worm etc.
4. Keep the toilet lid down.

I did NOT want a dog when my family adopted a mutt over 14 years ago, but Rosie has turned in to a fine and loving family member.




______________________________________________
"Outside of a dog a book is man's best friend....
...inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
Groucho
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: February 02, 2013 07:25AM
High quality food - if the first ingredient is corn walk away unless you like picking up poop. My doggie get Nutro - good value for the dollar, but there are many other fine products out there (and there are many overpriced ones too)

That dog is very cute, so be prepared to have your ability to be in a bad mood ruined by that little doggie face.



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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: mjgkramer
Date: February 02, 2013 08:23AM
Some other foods that are bad for dogs:
Grapes
Raisins
Almonds
Chocolate (it killed a friend's dog)
Onions (cooked or raw)

Do a web search for a complete list.
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: dmann
Date: February 02, 2013 09:31AM
Crate train.
Crate train.
Crate train.

Most important lesson I learned and the first one I pass along.

Beneficial for SOOOOOOO many reasons, but first and foremost I can travel with Cooper dog. When we are in a hotel or someone else's home, I can crate him when I have to leave him alone and there are no issues and no worries about him being in a strange place. If I am having workers in my house he can be crated away from the noise and potential danger.

He is pretty well behaved, but the opportunity to sneak food is too strong for him to resist, so he is often crated when I am entertaining friends and family.

Other than that, find a good obedience class and have as many family members as possible attend each and every session. Make sure you are all on the same page with commands and expectations so the pup is clear on the rules.

Have fun!!!
D
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: February 02, 2013 09:32AM
Add Broccoli to that list.

I don't know if it is harmful to the dog, but it certainly effects air quality of your home for 24 hours or so.



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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: February 02, 2013 10:12AM
Looks like an adorable doggie! If he's the one you want, don't wait too long or he'll be adopted by someone else.

Lots of good advice above, I second the part about high quality dog food, it's worth the investment. Obedience classes are a good idea too, I think they help owners more than dogs.

Good luck, and enjoy! Dogs are pure joy.
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: February 02, 2013 11:21AM
Bichons are very nice doggies... very snuggly, and protective of their Pack. He will be a nervous baby while he gets used to his new Pack. Boys tend to be more territorial than girls. Our next door neighbor has had male Bichons for 15 years.

Welcome to the joys of pet parenting !

Ed: Oh, and they are 'matting' doggies instead of 'shedding' doggies. So you'll need to brush and brush again.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2013 11:23AM by cbelt3.
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: sekker
Date: February 02, 2013 12:03PM
We went with dog kennels for sleep time for our dogs. This was new to me, but I'd do it again.

The kennels are their safe place - sleep at night, avoid the other dog, etc. We never use them for punishment.

This means a safe environment for them and us at night.

Otherwise, enjoy!
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: Bo
Date: February 02, 2013 12:54PM
As usual, you guys are a wealth of knowledge and insight! Some follow-ups...

Exercise:
Can a dog this size hike for any distance? We're close to open space and I try to get out for at least 3 or 4 miles several times a week. We have also committed to each other to be vigilant about getting him exercise as a family. That with a well suited yard and dog park down the block should give us plenty of opportunity.

Vet:
I assume it makes sense to choose a vet before we actually need one. I'll ask our dog friends who they like and check out local reviews.

Diet:
Thanks for the tips here! This is the one I'm least familiar with and need to read up on. We'll talk to the shelter as well to see what they recommend.

Crate/kennel training:
I think I like this idea a lot but not sure how it all gets implemented. Need to read up a bit.

Obedience/communication:
We've discussed this and know that we need to establish consistency as to what the dog is and isn't allowed to do. I think an obedience class will help us a lot and perhaps the dog as well. Not real sure if he's already done this or not but suspect we'll find out pretty quickly.

Thanks again!
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: February 02, 2013 01:24PM
Advice gleaned from watching The Dog Whisperer, which in my own experience, I have found to be very good: when you bring the little guy home, don't just take him straight from the car into the house. Take a half-hour to hour walk with him around your neighborhood. Walking builds trust and the bond between you quicker than anything else I know. It also reduces the likelihood of the dog coming into your house the first time and either hiding or running around like crazy.

Have some small treats on hand to reward all good behavior. Zukes training treats are great for this: tiny but satisfying.
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: Carm
Date: February 02, 2013 02:19PM
Things to consider.

Doggy door if at all possible and train them how to use it, most of them come with instructions on training them.

Crate them if you must. Most people do. Some breeds like to have their own private space.

Harness that goes over the chest for walking and car rides (personal preference here).

If it is used to being around other dogs, expect the pup to cry or whine if left alone during the day. We got around that by getting two. (we got a brother and sister boston terrier breed) and my wife did that when she got her lab mix. Their caretaker a lab mix has gotten used to them.

As for hikes. Expect the dog to get tired and be prepared to carry it. One of my pups get tired really quickly and just takes a break. I have to carry him the rest of the way. This is with a small walk around the neighborhood.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2013 02:22PM by Carm.
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: February 02, 2013 02:22PM
The biggest issue will be acclimatization. This is an adult doggie who has lost his "Pack". He will be hesitant to join yours.

Long walks ? Um... Bichons are hardy little guys, but they have short legs. AND he's used to being caged and not exercised more than 'run around'.

A walk of more than a quarter mile may tire him out pretty quickly. Build him up slowly.
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: February 02, 2013 02:28PM


Charlee Bears. These are the best dog training treats anywhere! Amazon has them for $7.42 upto $12.50 a bag with Prime but Trader Joe's sells them every day for $2.99 and Petco for about $6. These prices are for a 16 oz bag and the plain old liver flavor is the favorite.



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2013 02:52PM by Jack D..
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: davemchine
Date: February 02, 2013 06:13PM
My kids talked me into a dog this year. There are several things I can suggest.

1) Decide if you want a puppy or not. If you get a puppy it kind of ties you down for a few months while you work out the potty training.

2) Do crate train as it gives you a lot of freedom to leave the house and not have it be tore up when you get back.

3) Get a vet right away and do everything necessary, shots, id pellet, spay etc.

4) A lot of people recommend getting one from the pound but I had multiple bad experiences. Sometimes the dogs are at the pound because they have problematic behaviors that would take a lot of time and effort to straighten out. So I applaud those getting dogs from the pound but be away it may be more work.

5) You will need a dog bed, harness, walking leash, lights if you walk at night, dog dish, hair brush, shampoo, toys, nail clipper and file etc.

6) The dog will pee and poop inside. We try to limit the dog to downstairs where we have hard wood but she does go on the carpet sometimes. We bought a nice cleaner to take care of that. [www.amazon.com]

7) Choose a dog with the activity level that matches your family. I chose a low activity dog (pug) because I can barely walk anymore and pugs get tired after a short distance. :-)

Above all realize that a dog is a huge time commitment. They require a lot of attention and love and if they don't get it they will misbehave. If you choose to leave the dog outside please be considerate of your neighbors and pay attention to barking. Another reason I like my pug is she barks very softly. She sheds like there's no tomorrow though.



Ukulele music I couldn't find anywhere else.
[colquhoun.info]
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: Randalls
Date: February 02, 2013 06:48PM
You need a pet BACKPACK! Walk that little sucker till he gets tired then pack him up. Maybe put a iPad Mini in the pack with a few doggie apps.;)
[www.petbackpack.org]
[www.bichonfriseguide.com]
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: Bo
Date: February 02, 2013 07:16PM
Well we did it...we are now dog owners!

It's been an interesting day. My wife has been in LA with her ailing mother for the past week. The last two days have been tough as her death was imminent. She left there for the drive home to the bay area this morning knowing it would be the last time she saw her. She got a call from her sister that their mother passed away peacefully at about 2pm. When my wife got home, we sat and had a good family cry then went to the shelter and adopted the dog we've been interested in.

My wife and son are thrilled! We took ka jowct's advice and took him immediately for a neighborhood walk when we got home, then into the yard for a few laps around the property then finally into the house. Seems well mannered and comfortable on a leash. Still don't know what he sounds like as he hasn't make a peep yet. So far he has been making the rounds with the three of us and cuddling up to whomever is closest...again, super affectionate.

Keep the tips coming and any more product recommendations as well. I think we need to look into crate options and see what's available.

Thanks all!
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: graylocks
Date: February 02, 2013 09:09PM
got this crate from Amazon four years ago for my schoodle puppy. he's about 22lbs now and it's plenty roomy for him. at the time this was a lot cheaper than buying locally.

Midwest Life Stages Double-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate



If you want to fix our country, work with us in the states. statesproject.org

"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2013 09:10PM by graylocks.
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: sekker
Date: February 02, 2013 10:46PM
Congrats!

In the end, when our dogs were out of the teething stage, we purchased wooden kennels. They were not more expensive than furniture, and they look great in our living area.

My immediate advice is to get everyone on a walking schedule.
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: February 03, 2013 11:34AM
Congrats and enjoy the newest member of your family.

Sorry for your wife's and family's loss too. I hope the dog will be good comfort for all of you.

The foods I give my dog are Blue Buffalo Wilderness and Natural Balance Ultra (both dry kibble.) I also give him a Greenie a day, and make homemade peanut butter treats for training (or tiny pieces of pepperoni sticks.) I've made chews from dried sweet potato too, and the pet store has duck chews that he loves. You'll find out what your little guy likes, but I definitely recommend doing some research on food.
There are a lot of good choices for healthy, high protein foods, some of them are only a little more expensive than the stuff in the grocery store.

Here's a good rundown on dog good, a non-commercial site written by a vet. I found it educational:

[www.dogfoodadvisor.com]
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: iaJim
Date: February 03, 2013 12:14PM
[bichon.org]

You will find some good information here.

We've had three bichons, and we love them. You will want a slicker brush and a steel comb. They do require some grooming.

As others have said, feed a high quality food. Bichons are prone to runny eyes and skin problems. If you feed good food, these problems are not a big problem. We feed Natural Balance duck and potato, and our dog has thrived on this. I think their fish and sweet potato is also good; that's what we fed our previous bichon.

Find a gentle groomer, and ask them if they cage dry. If they do, don't leave your dog there. Your dog can be burned by those dryers. We had to find a new groomer when our dog was uncomfortable for a week after grooming. They need to be brushed dry.

You have chosen a cute, wonderful dog. Enjoy!
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: graylocks
Date: February 03, 2013 12:23PM
Costco now carries 2 grain-free brands of kibble (Kirkland/Nature's Domain). dogfoodadvisor gives them a 4 star rating.



If you want to fix our country, work with us in the states. statesproject.org

"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: February 03, 2013 01:50PM
Are you sure no one in the family is allergic to dogs?
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Re: I think we're getting our first dog, looking for guidance!
Posted by: iaJim
Date: February 03, 2013 01:56PM
Bichons are a very good choice for a family who has allergies if that is applicable.
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