Monday, 27 October 2008

Doggy diversion

Marie has been wanting to have a dog for quite some time now. Having had the company of man's best friend for most of my life, I am content to do without now. However, during the last few weeks Marie's quest for canine company has almost become an obsession.

She started out wanting a medium-to-large dog - something along the lines of a labrador or some variety of retriever. All these dogs require copious amounts of exercise and Marie, of course, would be unable to look after the dog's needs in this area. Additionally our "garden" is just a small patio area. I feel unable to
take on additional time-consuming activities, so I was dead set against having any dog requiring much in the way of "walkies". However, in the (as it turns out, forlorn) hope that Marie would be motivated enough to put some serious effort into walking outdoors, I agreed to getting a dog the moment she was able to walk around the (small) block in which we live.

ince Marie was unwilling and/or unable to progress to this level, she began to accept that her dream retriever would be just a dream. She began to peruse doggie websites for smaller breeds. As a result, I reduced the distance she would have to be able to walk before getting a dog. After a few weeks of almost non-stop internet browsing (in between her extended sleeping sessions), Marie decided to go for a toy dog (also known as companion dogs and occasionally lap dogs, for obvious reasons). Many of these breeds require little or no exercise, so you can see why they would be attractive to Marie. She also considered teacup dogs, the type promoted by Paris Hilton who carries one around in her bag (purse) and eagerly copied by other brain-dead "celebs"; but this idea was discarded when she learned that teacup dogs are really freak animals who cannot usually breed.

Eventually Marie settled on getting a chihuahua. The aforementioned Paris Hilton has 17 of these, both toy and teacup size (see video clip of Paris' dogs), but this had no effect on Marie's choice....I think!

We've already viewed some chihuahua puppies, but Marie intends not to get one until she sees one that she falls in love with. It is also my opinion that Marie should delay having any dog until her medication side effects wear off.

This whole canine caper is a diversion for Marie - a way to take her mind off more worrysome matters. But we all need an escape from time to time, don't we? And if you are an agoraphobic, your choice of escape is more limited.

Btw, the children can't wait to get the new puppy!


Sarah♥ said...

Hi Robert..
I've had Bluebell for almost 10 months now (shes just one year old next month). I would 100% recommend you getting a breed like her, either a Lhasa Apso or Shih Tzu. They have wonderful temperaments. On the internet it said they need only like 20 minutes of exercise...I walk her EVERYDAY, TWICE a day, although, she still doesn't poop or pee outside, only in the garden! I would also like to warn that unless Marie is feeling A LOT better, potty training a puppy is SO very stressful. I was ended up in tears many times. I would stand outside (remember this is in January/February time) in the FREEZING cold/RAIN for up to an hour at a time waiting for her to pee and she'd come in and do it on our mat. The frustration was terrible. I considered selling her on at that point because it was getting too much.

Take a lookie here:-
Some videos of Bluebell from a pup and the last one i uploaded today, she was going mad! WATCH WITH SOUND DOWN. I screech, ALOT on it!

Sweetie pie said...

Ahh..doggies! I was not a dog person, in fact I'm highly allergic to most dogs. I had a friend who owned a Maltese, and I wasn't allergic to it at all! Its a hypoallergenic dog! Didn't even know they existed! I ended up getting a little boy who I adore! He goes everywhere with me (well, travelwise..not taking him to the store or anything!) and he just really became my little buddy. Recently I got a girl because I had planned on going back to work and didn't want Gus Gus to be lonely...and we plan on breeding them. They're such wonderful dogs, so sweet and loving. Sarah is right about Lhasos and Shih Tzus as well...they're bigger then Malteses, but they're so sweet and cuddly. My boy weighs 4 lbs and my girl is 7 lbs! I think Sarah mentioned hers was 12 lbs. Despite their potential for long hair, they don't shed AT ALL, where as Chihuahuas do and can be a bit stinky, bark more and have a ton more energy.

Anyhoo..I hope you guys find the perfect puppy! I think it will be a really great for Maries therapy!

Anonymous said...

I would advise against Chihuahuas. They're known for biting and leaking/peeing when they get excited. Having had one myself I've experienced both firsthand : ( maybe a little terrier instead?

Robert said...

Hi Sarah-

I remember you getting your Bluebell. And I remember you getting a bit (!) stressed about her messing in the house!

I agree with you - Marie needs to be a lot better before taking on a puppy. And the breed?...that's her choice, but I'll mention those breeds to her & let her do some research on the internet.

Robert said...

Hi sweetie pie -

I've told Marie about the Maltese. She doesn't like the fact that they have tear stains and are reputed to be very hard to housetrain Did you find this to be so?

Anyhow, I have a feeling that she now hasn't totally made up her mind about the breed she's going to get.

Robert said...

Dear ? Thanks for the info. Marie isn't so sure about getting a chihuahua now.

Sweetie pie said...

They do tear up, but its nothing that can't be cleaned and its not really that much. Also, you can buy "whitening shampoo" believe it or not! They need to be taken to a groomer every-so-often because their hair does grow...same with Lhasos and Shih Tzus, and the groomer can clean them up perfectly. They're white dogs, they get dirty! lol. If she's worried about the white, a lhaso is probably the better choice.

As for house was hard at first, but its because I wasn't being strict enough! I had no one to blame but myself! But then I just got strict with him (and then again with the girl) and it was sorted out immediately. I crate trained them both. I would take them out side and just keep saying "go potty" over and over, and when they would, I would praise them a bunch and then let them come in and play for an hour or two. Then back to the crate. If they don't go while outside (I give them a 4-5 minute chance to prove they're making an effort..otherwise I'm either freezing or bored!) then I put them strait back in the crate and give them water! Next time they come out (an hour or two later) they are bursting and ready to go! first they will bark or whine in the crate. Don't put up with it. Tell them NO! And be stern. And cover the crate with a blanket. With in a day or two, they will be quiet immediately. Its like getting a baby to sleep through the night, but they are much quicker to catch on. It can seem really overwhelming at first, but you just have to be consistent with the crate use and the play time. It really doesn't take long when you really get down to business.

I hope this helped!

Robert said...

Hi SP & thanks for the info. Marie has been put off by the prices for Maltese here (around $2,000). She looked at its relative, the Bison Frise...but the jury's still out on which one we'll have.

Thanks again.

rosiero said...

Hi. I think I have posted on here before about it not being a good idea for Marie to get a dog until she is better. They are a lot of hard work, need walks (in ALL weathers) and you cannot ignore their needs. They are a living thing, not like a jigsaw puzzle or book you can put to one side. They are not a hobby but a way of life and a member of the family. Unless you can commit, it makes no sense at all to get one. Having said all that, it might be worth looking round some rescue centres to see if you could get an elderly dog which perhaps has been left behind by an old person. The good news is that they might be less interested in long walks, but the disadvantage is that they might cost you more in vet bills!!

Sweetie pie said...

Hey Robert,

My girl is half bichon and half maltese...although she looks more Maltese...but is bigger like the bichon. Maybe looking for a mix like her would bring down the cost? Also, I got my boy maltese when he was 4 months he was considered "old" for the breed and was half price! lol. I think he was the last of the litter to go because he was shy and quiet. Personally, quiet dogs work for me!! The hyper yappy ones will be just that...hyper and yappy ALL THE TIME!

As for the last comment from Roserio....its true that dogs are work...however, small dogs like maltese etc... don't require walking if you have an adequate backyard. My dogs will run circles and wear themselves out all by themselves! If you lived in an apartment or something, then yes they'd need walking. Its my personal opinion that little dogs are great mood boosters for all types of people. But you know whats best for your wife and your family.

Anyhoo...good luck with your decision!

Robert said...

Dear R & SP - Many thanks for your input. I have been around dogs from birth until a couple of years ago. Most of these dogs have been active, intelligent, medium to large size, requiring lots of exercise & mental stimulation. No dog will come to live in our family unless it can be properly cared for. It is with this in mind that I steered Marie away from her 1st preference - retriever dogs - to small, companion dogs.

All the dogs that I have owned have been rescued and over 9 months old, but this is not an option for Marie. It is harder for small dogs to adapt to a busy household with young children, so we will need the dog to be around our family from as young as possible.

Since Marie isn't 100% her usual self yet, and with the busy pre-Christmas season almost upon us, she has decided to delay getting a dog until the New Year.

Thanks again for the comments.

ladythinker said...

I can understand the pull of wnating a companion dog and agree with everyone that it's not such a good idea to commit to dog care if everyone in the household isn't fully fit and able to take part in the care for the new member of the family. have you considered that it might be possible to enjoy the companionship of a dog without the full resposnsibility. I'm wondering whether there might be an elderly or infirm person living nearby who would welcome help in caring for/exercising/providing short term company for a dog. Do search out The Cinammon Trust and see if there might be ideas that you'd all find could be a suitable compromise solution. Best wishes.

Trevor Kenny said...

Consider a Yorkshire Terrier. We had a miniature Yorkie, who was absolutely fantastic. The miniature is a very small dog and well suited for company and sitting on your lap as a very devoted friend.
They can make do with little excercise, ours got most of hers from just running around the garden and chasing the cats.

Robert said...

Thanks for that Kenny. Marie is putting off her choice until after Christmas, but she's going to have a look at these dogs, too.

Robert said...

Thanks ladythinker - we look after one of my daughter's dogs quite often. I think that's what strengthened the desire to have a dog of her own for Marie.

ChickPea said...

Hi Robert - sweetie pie's mention of a crate is a good one. Mr Mutt took to his crate and retreats there most happily whenever he wants his own space. I was somewhat against the idea, I confess - but it really is an excellent thing. I guess it would be perfect for managing a puppy, especially to restrict chewing to the intended things ! But yes, a crate is good (tho we had to find another name for it !). Good luck with the plans - Mr Mutt has brought lots of positive vibes into our household.

maz said...

Hi Robert!
I've inhertied a little dog from my daughter!
Her boyfriend bought it for her for Christmas last year (you know how they say, don't get a dog for Christmas? right?)

We'll it looks like I got one now!

I must admit as my daughter works for long hours and nightshifts to boot,I'm not too surprised I've ended up with it! LOL
I already have a jack russell terrier and bless her she's in what my son calls here twilight years - she's 16!
I guess a puppy around is good company for her anyway!

This puppy is a cross bred, one of those designer breeds and wait for's a ....Jackhuahua!

Miniature Jack russell!
Chuahua x Jack russell...I ask you!!LOL

Must admit though it's pretty darned cute!

I'm not sure I would have got another dog when my little one goes but I guess that decision's now redundant!!LOL

maz x

Robert said...

Hi Maz - I've heard of Jackhuahuas. Chihuahuas are frequently crossed with other (usually small) breeds. as for Jack Russell terriers, they often live till they're 20+, so your girl might have quite a few years left!

sarah said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed

reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Robert said...

Thanks for dropping by & leaving a comment, Sarah. You're very welcome.