Good news and advice needed on preparing for a dog

Good news and advice needed on preparing for a dog

I am happy to report that, officially, Rob has accepted and started another job.


We are feeling all sorts of things – relieved, blessed and excited that we were able to get through the first real challenge in our marriage. I hope all those other sure-to-follow challenges are resolved in such a short time. We are so lucky.


I also have more exciting news – we're going to give ourselves about a month to settle into a new routine, and then we are going to get serious about adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue.


A dog, guys! I've been wanting one of my own (although don't tell my nephew-dog, Grover) for pretty much as long as I've considered myself an adult. I love my cat, but I am excited to have a pet I can take on walks or play fetch with in the backyard.


In the meantime, Rob and I are enjoying discussing names and I've been researching some DIY projects that involve dogs.


These include things like collars, treats and toys. I even started this weekend by making a fluffy dog bed, a bag-holder for newspaper bags to take on walks and a braided denim dog toy. I've also been browsing the ASPCA's website - they have a lot of good information for adoption prep.


So I have to ask, since I know at least some of you readers are dog owners – what's the best way to prepare for getting a dog? I know about the early morning walks and the occasional, inevitable not-so-pleasant surprises you don't notice until you step in – we do a lot of dogsitting and already have one pet.


But what else should I consider when I think that we might be owners of a sweet adult dog in about a month?


Photo: I can't wait to join the ranks of CU dog owners. This photo is of Karen Koenig, left, displaying a painting she helped Archie, a French bulldog, create as Archie's proud owner, Jordonna Hall, of Champaign, is all smiles during the Champaign County Humane Society's annual Mutt Strut at Hessel Park in Champaign, Ill on Saturday, May 7, 2011. Photo is by Heather Coit


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DEB wrote on July 11, 2011 at 11:07 am

My advice is don't take advice from people you don't know. The mesh of your lifestyle and personality with the dog is really important, perhaps most important. I like goldens and labs, but they may not be right for you. You've probably done your research, but if not, check out the personalities of the different dogs.

I am not sure about our shelter, but where we adopted they allowed us to "dog sit" our potential adoptee for several days so that we could get to know it outside of the shelter environment. Many dogs really change once they leave. I would recommend this, if possible.

The biggest thing for us was that we weren't prepared for how much more difficult travel becomes. Going away for a few weeks is a really big deal now, and going away for a weekend on short notice is not really an option anymore. Think about how you will handle it when you get the call that beloved Aunt Margie died and you should go to the funeral the day after tomorrow (meaning you have to leave tomorrow because it is a long drive).

Meg Dickinson wrote on July 11, 2011 at 11:07 am
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Those are great thoughts - thanks! We do have a pretty good idea of the breeds we'd like, but we're allowing some flexibility for mixes. We're definitely mutt people.

And the travel thing is good to keep in mind, as well. I have talked to two different people about dogsitting, but that's probably something I'll want to review again before we actually adopt.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 11, 2011 at 11:07 am
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"Mutt strut?"

Well it's good to see mutts celebrated. Inbreeding creates problems.

My advice follows that theme. Consider the bloodlines. You can't be too choosy when you're adopting; but it's good to know about the tendencies of breeds. WAY too many working dogs are now kept as pets. It's cruel, and crazy, to confine an animal bred for working.

No rats living in your baseboards? Don't get a terrier. No flocks meandering astray over your acreage? Avoid herders. Don't want to terrorize your friends? Eschew guard dogs

Reader2 wrote on July 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Hello Meg, so glad to hear you want a shelter/rescue dog; they most often make the best pals because they're so grateful you "sprung 'em from da slammer." You might even want to consider fostering one or two before actually deciding on a lifetime commitment (rescue groups are delighted to help you do this).

But first, make sure you have your cat's signed permission! (Close neighbors' agreement, optional.)

Then, please check out the faces on Danville's all-volunteer CARA (Citizens for Animal Rescue and Adoption) website, (or any other local shelter's page). Better yet, just go there and see eye to eye which little orphan strike's your fancy (and heart, as well as ears) the most. So often, it's just love at first sight...
Best of luck to you all.

Meg Dickinson wrote on July 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm
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Thank you! I think we're the only people on the block who don't have a dog, so the neighbors are cool. And our prissy cat has been around dogs plenty, so we're not envisioning it to be a problem. We do hope to adopt a dog that's been crate trained, so leaving them alone won't be an issue. And the fostering is a good idea ... but I'm afraid we wouldn't be able to return the dog.

Thanks for the websites, too.

algon wrote on July 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I will refrain from offering advice on planning for a dog, since you convinced me on a Wednesday to get a dog, and we had him on Saturday. That's the irresponsible way to it; of course, now I don't know how I lived without him.

So on a superficial note, I vote for "Sully."

prairiegourmet wrote on July 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Meg, get some professional advice from my daughter. (I think you remember her from childhood. ;-D) The biggest problems are people get the wrong breed and the dog isn't socialized enough. You can message Jean through her facebook account; I know you're facebook friends.

Meg Dickinson wrote on July 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm
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Great idea - thanks!

Mary "Tief" Tiefenbrunn wrote on July 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm
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Hi Meg - What exciting news!! Your local shelter has quite a large population of dogs at the moment, so I hope you'll check us out. I agree with many of the comments already made. While breed certainly matters, every dog is an individual and there are exceptions to every generalization -- so keep an open mind.
The absolute best advice I can give you is to adopt your dog at a time when you can enroll in a training class immediately. Even if you already "know how to train a dog," enroll in a class. It gives you structure, strengthens the bond between you and the dog, and provides you access to knowledgeable people in the event you're having trouble at home. (Even professional certified dog trainers enroll in classes whenever they get a new dog!)
My second best advice is to read Patricia McConnell's book, "The Other End of the Leash." She is the best author/trainer/ethologist who specializes in canines. Her book is a pleasure to read and will help you better understand your new canine and how to be his/her benevolent leader.
Sorry for such a long comment! Best of luck - I look forward to the photos and stories to come.

Meg Dickinson wrote on July 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm
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Tief, I was looking at your website when I saw this comment. I've actually been browsing it every day for months. I'm so glad the time is finally right for us to get a dog. Thanks for the book recommendation - I'm going to start on it soon, before we adopt. And that's great advice about the class, too. I've already been in contact with Carole at the CU dog training club. Grover took the canine good citizen class with her and I swear he loved her more than my sister and me combined. Their next session starts in September, so I'm hoping the timing will be almost perfect.