33 answers

Can a Person Who Never Had a Pet Become a Dog/cat Person???

My daughter wants a puppy/kitty and I'm finding myself liking the idea very much, I'm leaning towards a puppy; however I have never had a dog or any other pet and I'm sorry to say I have gagged when I see my neighbor pick up her dog's poo in her yard. The dog is beautiful but I don't know if I could get over the dirty work. I would love for my daughter to grow up with a pet and foster her love for animals, she is very responsible and loving and I think she would be thrilled to take care of her own dog.

What I'm afraid of is to buy the puppy only to have to give it away/sold to someone else later on. If I get her a dog I will be committed just as much as her of taking care of it, I love animals but never had one in my house.

My question is have you ever grown lo to love a dog or cat even when you had reservations about it? Does it make your life happier? Was it much more work than you expected or was it easier than you thought? Is there a type of dog you love to have around your children?

Thank you all in advance, I always get great advice on here and value very much your feedback! thanks!

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So What Happened?™

Thank you sooo much for all the answers I really appreciate the honesty and sharing not only the good but the nitty gritty. I agree that it's similiar to chaging diapers before and after having kids; after I had kids I worked as a nanny so I came to love children (both mine and borrowed) and diapers didn't bother me anymore. I imagine is the same with dogs and cats; I was not thinking about buying from a pet store I would hate to contribute with the puppy mills, it's disgusting how they treat animals.
I was thinking about getting a golden retriever puppy but I realize I was aiming too high for a first time experience; someone mentioned a greyhound, coincidentally we watched a show about greyhounds and they're such a graceful loving dog, I also like the cavalier king Charles Spaniel and the labradoodles are gorgeous (thanks for the link!) I really like the idea of fostering a dog while they find a permanent home, I think we will start with that and hold off the puppy idea for when my daughter is older. She is 8 going on 9 pretty soon but I'll wait until she is at least 10 as someone suggested. I also might get an adult dog instead of a puppy since many of them have already been trained, I honestly thought most pets on shelters were there because of agression issues, I see now that's not the case.
Thank you all again for your input, it really helped me make a decision and not only wait for a while more but also to do more research about rescue dogs in this area. Whatever we get we are committed to keep it and take care of it until the end, I just think I would be missing so much if I never get a pet. I think I want the dog as much as my daugter lol!
Oh I forgot my hubby had an allergy test and he is highly allergic to cats so we can't have cats :o(
Thanks again!!!

Featured Answers

You've gotten lots of good advice. I grew up with animals and have cats, dogs and a rabbit right now. I have also never bought a pet. I just wanted to ask you to consider getting whatever you get from a shelter. They are the best pets! If you buy a dog from a pet store you support the puppy mill business, and it's an awful, abusive business. Don't let pet stores tell you they get dogs from good breeders. They don't. Animal Planet just did an expose' on Petland and where their puppies come from. All puppy mills, even though they lie to customers about it.

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A dog is a ton more work than an outdoor cat. Start with a cat if you have reservations. The only problem with cats is sometimes they have behavior problems, so that can be an issue. But I've had many cats, and only one with behavior problems, and dogs need a LOT of attention.

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I would recommend you do not get a puppy. Way too much work. Get an adult dog. I, too, did not grow up with pets in the house so was very against it. My husband talked me into getting an indoor dog 10 years ago and I can't imagine life without her. She was two years old and housebroken and over all the chewing, etc.

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I love both dogs and cats, but for someone who has never had either, I might suggest starting with a cat. With either one you're going to have to deal with poo. You'll either pick up dog poo or clean out a litter box. It's not pleasant, but it's not as awful as you might think! They've come out with all sorts of good products lately -especially in the litter department!

Cats are loving, but you don't deal with barking or HAVING to take them out for walks. You may have to deal with scratching, and if you get a male -get him neutered IMMEDIATELY so he won't spray. You an leave cats for much longer than dogs too. With cats and dogs -prepare yourself for pet hair! It gets all over the place, but it's just something you get used to eventually -and used to fabric rollers.

Cats and dogs usually help their owners stay healthier and overall happier. They truly have a way of wrapping themselves around your heart! If you go for a dog -I would suggest a small to medium dog to start out with.

Please go to a rescue society or the pound or humane society! Don't pay money when SO MANY cats and dogs are killed every day! My very best pets have all been rescues -dogs and cats both. You can also google the specific breeds you like + rescue and find many groups that rescue and offer those breeds at drastically reduced costs (usually just to cover food and any medical expenses).

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You've gotten lots of good advice. I grew up with animals and have cats, dogs and a rabbit right now. I have also never bought a pet. I just wanted to ask you to consider getting whatever you get from a shelter. They are the best pets! If you buy a dog from a pet store you support the puppy mill business, and it's an awful, abusive business. Don't let pet stores tell you they get dogs from good breeders. They don't. Animal Planet just did an expose' on Petland and where their puppies come from. All puppy mills, even though they lie to customers about it.

3 moms found this helpful

A dog is a ton more work than an outdoor cat. Start with a cat if you have reservations. The only problem with cats is sometimes they have behavior problems, so that can be an issue. But I've had many cats, and only one with behavior problems, and dogs need a LOT of attention.

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I never had a pet (wasn't allowed) as a child, but always knew I wanted a menagerie as an adult. My husband never had or wanted pets, but knew that was part of the deal with me. We have 2 dogs and also had 2 rabbits until recently (one rabbit passed at age 12). My husband has grown to love all the animals, especially the dogs. Now, I do do nearly all of the work myself, so that helps.

Dogs ARE a lot of work, especially early on. If you get puppy, you need to make sure you have some time set aside each day to train him. Also, all dogs will be healthier, happier, and better behaved if you can walk them every day. You could consider adopting a well-trained adult dog ... it will be less work, and you'll already know the temperament. A cat would be a less time-consuming pet, if that is a concern.

Animals are also expensive! More than you may think ... even routine veterinary care is quite pricey, and then if you have an animal with a long term health problem the bills really rack up. Also, dogs can make vacations much more expensive, because you'll need to find someone to watch him or to board him.

Pets have definitely enriched my family's life. Personally, I got more enjoyment out of them before I had kids ... its clear to me now that the animals were an outlet for my maternal instincts. Now that I have 2 small non-furry kids, its more of a chore to care for the pets, and I certainly don't give them as much attention as I used to. Still, my kids (ages 1 and 3) play with them daily and love them very much. My 3 yr-old put on their leashes and 'walks' them around the house and yard, and also gives them commands ... he gets a huge burst of confidence by having two large dogs listen to him. Also, while you can never make taking care of animals solely the responsibility of your daughter, she CAN do much of the care under your supervision. My older son has been feeding and watering all our animals since he was 2, and he both enjoys it and is learning responsibility.

Good luck!

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I would recommend you do not get a puppy. Way too much work. Get an adult dog. I, too, did not grow up with pets in the house so was very against it. My husband talked me into getting an indoor dog 10 years ago and I can't imagine life without her. She was two years old and housebroken and over all the chewing, etc.

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You should consider fostering a dog first. I am sure your local animal shelter needs foster homes for pets. That way if you like the dog you can adopt him and if it doesn't work out for your family you don't have to keep the dog. You just have to make sure your daughter will be ok with giving the dog back.

If you adapt a dog, you will need to give it time. We adopted our dog from the animal shelter and he was a crazy 1 year old dog that jumped on everything and chewed everything, even our molding around the floors. We crate trained him and got a trainer for him. I could tell he was a good dog, he just needed to understand the rules. It took about 6 months and there were times when we considered taking him back. We have had him now for 9 years and he is a great dog!

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i grew up around animals, but it was in the country and they were all outside animals. when i got out on my own i got a cat b/c that was all i could get in my apartment. flash forward to years later, now i have a family and a bigger home and we just recently got our first dog. we agreed we wanted an inside dog. i prepared myself for LOTS of work. but you know what, it's no more work than a cat. she goes outside to pee, which isn't much of a hardship because the alternative is cleaning up puddles. we don't poop scoop because she keeps it in our own yard. and my son LOVES her, and she has really become part of the family. we are still adjusting, my husband never had a dog growing up at all....but in all it is very worth it. just be prepared and realize it will be work. and your daughter (you don't mention her age) may not be able to handle it all. (baths are the worst! but i take those on myself, they're getting easier)

as far as what kinds, i live in an area with LOTS of shelters, dozens actually, and i picked one close to home that had a lot to choose from. i had been planning and watching for months, waiting for the right time. i had a list of qualities i wanted in a dog (size, personality, spayed/neutered, etc), and i went (happened to be on a day they were doing 1/2 price adoption fees) and told them exactly what we wanted, and they gave me a couple to choose from. she was perfect. AND she was microchipped, spayed, utd on shots, on heartworm/flea/tick prevention - AND all for $60. i got a steal. (she's my clearance puppy lol) i would highly encourage going to a shelter. a dog's temperament and personality is usually a lot more important than what breed they are. and of course, those dogs need help a lot more than ones at a fancy breeders that you could spend TONS more for. good luck in your search!

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Do the research. If you are considering a dog, some breeds shed ALOT and some don't shed. If anyone in the house has allergies, you don't want a shedding dog. Some dogs like the teeny tiny yorkies have more health issues. Some breeds are easier to housetrain than others. The AKC has all the breeds and will tell you about each breed.

www.petfinder.com is a great place to find dogs/cats that need homes. They are in shelters or rescues. You can even search for housetrained dogs/cats. That is the biggest hurdle when buying a pet. The rescues are nice because the animals are usually in foster homes and the "parents" can tell you more about them.

Hope this helps.

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I knew a girl that always gagged when she changed a baby diaper and said she couldn't stand it and said she would never have kids herself, well she did have a child recently and guess what? No gagging!! I loved animals in general but I had to think the animal was really cute in order to love it but one day I got a dog that turned into a rescue, I did not know what condition the dog was in before I got it just that the person was sick and couldn't keep it so other relatives were keeping it that weren't allowed a dog, well it was a little shitzu and I had always had medium benji type dogs or cocker spaniels so a little dog was new to me, I picked up the dog and it looked real dirty, I immediately took it home and gave it a bath, it was infested with fleas so I flea bath dipped it. I had to go and get advantage for like $70.00 as they sell it in packs as all the fleas weren't gone after the dip, tons of them. She also had sores all over her body. She was very scared of males and if one got near her, she would defecate on the spot!! Like a bullet shooting out!! I thought you must have to be pretty scared to defecate. I treated her with animax on all her sores, I was not in love with this dog. I felt very bad for it and was angry at the people who had the nerve to sell it for $60.00. They looked like partier's that didn't give a rip about an animal. I took the dog to get scanned in case it belonged to someone and looked for any missing animals in case this animal was not the peoples animal where I got it. The dog hid under the bed for 3 days and slowly came out. I would tell her to come to mama and she thought her name was mama. We actually named her Gracie, as it took a lot of Grace to go through whatever she went through to be that scared! Do I love her now? I can't imagine my life without her, she is my best friend and always so loyal. Can you fall in love with something you thought was so unlovable and ugly? Yes, you can. I did. I guess it was a beauty and the beast type of story. My husband has only had bad experiences with animals and I slowly give him animal therapy where I have him pet the dog, give the dog a treat etc and he says he doesn't like animals but I do catch him talking to the dog now and then.

Good luck on your adventure and I do think it is good for kids to be raised with a pet to be well balanced.

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Well I don't think I can answer your specific questions, but I grew up with animals. At one point in my life we were living on two acre's and had 1 horse, 1 cow, 2 goats, 3 lambs, a billion rabbits, 4 cats, 4 dogs and a couple other kind of animals. I know that is a lot. But I can tell you now that we don't have any pets, I am missing them so much. I hated them while we had them and hated taking care of them. But now i miss their company and with the dog's their guarding me when I'm home alone. Taking care of them as long as they are well potty trained is super easy. Just designate a spot in the yard and fence it off for them and put them their when it's potty time. My mom did a pavlov thing and everytime that they needed to go outside she rang a bell that was on the floor. So about a month later, whenever they needed to go out they rang the bell.
Get a long handled scooper so you don't have to be close to the poo. Depending on the size of the dog is also how gross it is. I can tell you now I prefer to clean up my son's diapers then a great danes doo doo's. We bred teacup poodles and they were a breeze to take care of their messes.
Studies show that having a pet lowers your blood presure (although at times it will be raised).
As for dogs around the type of dog. . .What kind do you want? Hyper active? Calm? Protector type?
With teacup poodles are a hit or miss when it comes to a hyper vs calm. Great Danes are sooo much fun and are great protectors. All of our were giant lap dogs. Our Scottie was an odd one. Really yappy.
Although it also depends one how well bred they are. Although I agree with Julie. Go to a pound. All but 2 of or pets were bought at a shelter and we loved everyone!!

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I can't tell you much about dogs since we have always had cats. Our older cat, they one we have now, is very laid back and not a lot of work. She was declawed by a previous owner and is gentle with the children who are pretty young-- a toddler and a preschooler. As a child I started helping care for my cat at about 6 or 7, just feeding her daily and brushing and playing with her. This cat was born in our home and was with me her whole life and she was a very loyal and affectionate pet. My husband grew up with dogs and one cat but is now very attached to our cat.

You might consider adopting an adult cat or dog from a shelter if you don't want the work of training a puppy or kitten. Babies are a lot of work even if they have fur! I would also consider what breed or size pet would be good with your family and lifestyle.

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A puppy is a HUGE responsibility!!! They chew, pee, poop and you have to train them. If you have never had one before, you will be very surprised with all the work involved. For your first pet Isuggest you try your humane society. We live in Frisco and our humane society (not the pound) fosters their dogs and they can tell you their personality and if they are housebroken or not. It is a great way to rescue a dog. I finally did this a few years ago and we have the greatest dog ever! They do have puppies too if you have to have a puppy. But I promise you its like having a baby and takes lots of time, patience, and energy to go through the puppy stage which can be a year!
Hope that helps,
L.

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Dogs are a lot of WORK! I am a dog person and love them to death but they need a lot of exercise or they develop terrible habits like chewing, barking, digging etc... Do not get a dog unless you are willing and happy to walk it every day, feed it, clean up after it and train it. Training and exercise are a daily necessity for dogs. Also know that vet bills are based on size of the dog. In my opinion it is well worth the effort, but not all people are up for it. Do a lot of research into the breed and temperment of dogs and choose one that fits your personality. Some need much more training, grooming and exercise than others but they all require quite a bit of work. If you aren't sure then adopt from a rescue agency that will take the dog back if it isn't a fit for you. Or dog sit for a few people this summer and see how you do caring for a dog for a week or so. If you aren't up for it you will end up resenting the dog so make sure you want the dog AND the responsibility. Or wait until your daughter is old enough to do the work herself. My favorite breed of dog for kids is greyhound. They are quiet, clean and affectionate. They are inside dogs and cannot be left outside and they sleep quite a bit. They need a walk every day and lots of love!

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Animals are a LOT of work. I have 3 dogs and 5 cats, all rescues.
If you love them, it is not a big deal. But if you only have lukewarm feelings for an animal, it will quickly be too much for you. Just like our human children, haha!

You could consider fostering an animal from a rescue group, if it works out, great! If not, then they already have someone looking for a good home for them. I personally feel it is more resposible to adopt an animal, rather than buy one. There are plenty that need homes and I don't want to support people who are choosing to breed more animals when thousands get euthanized every day.
Good Luck

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I feel bad because I always thought I was a "dog person" and, honestly, I HATE having a dog. She's 5 now and I call her the "medical menace" because she has literally cost us about 5k easily in medical bills over the years. She's a lab and REALLY REALLY awesome around the kids but I can't stand the hair. She's an outdoor dog now (since she was 11 months or so) because I couldn't handle her hair EVERYWHERE in the apt. we were at. I could vacuum everyday and an hour (if that) after vacuuming there was hair all over. My son couldn't crawl without being covered and I JUST vacuumed. We also bathe her pretty regularly (1-2 a month) and she's still stinky when we bring her in (she will sleep in the laundry room now when it's cold/hot). Vet bills are CRAZY expensive (but she's had LOTS of problems too but that could happen to anyone's pet). I HIGHLY recommend getting an older dog from the pound IF you think you really want one. Remember that boarding is REALLY expensive so traveling becomes more cumbersome to find care, etc. for animals. The flea meds I use are $17 a month (but it's a good one - none of the others work on her). The heart guard which all cats/dogs need to be on is about $10 or so a month. You can figure out food costs by shopping. It adds up pretty quick financially. Personally I have quickly discovered that even though I grew up with dogs I am sadly not a dog person. The ONE good thing I like is the protection she offers. She barks at strangers, and being 80 lbs she can be intimidating. The kids love her of course but they are young and have no responsibilities for her (oldest is 3). REALLY do your research on breeds of dogs before getting one too. NOT all breeds are able to be outside dogs if that is important and not all are good with children. Good luck if you do decide to get a pet. I would never get a cat...I have never trusted cats and have NO desire to clean out a litter box every day. Yuck.

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I won't offer advice regarding what kind of pet to get. But I will say that YES it is possible to "become" a dog or cat person. Much like a person who isn't much into babies becomes a fantastic mommy/daddy once his/her own child is born.

If someone else has a pet and foists it upon you (watching your neighbor pick up poo, is sort of the same concept) then it is much different than YOU choosing to take an animal into your life. You will spend much time with it and it will love and trust you for everything and you will bond with it as well. UNLESS you get a pup and throw it into the back yard. If that is an outside plan... don't do it. It's an insidiously vicious cycle that keeps you from spending time with the dog. You put it out b/c of the mess, or when you're not home, and it gets dirty/smelly very quickly. Then you don't want to play with it. Or it is hot out or bugs and you don't want to go out and spend time with it because of those inconveniences. Then it becomes so attention seeking that it literally jumps at every opportunity to spend any time with you whatsoever, so you avoid it because it jumps on you and is unmanageable. It just gets worse and worse until you don't know why you have the dog in the first place.
The only way (imho) to really enjoy the rewards of pet ownership is to take them into your home inside with you. You and your daughter will become your pets family! And it will become part of yours.

I had a cat when I was single, and it was great. Until it began spraying (he was fixed for years before he started this) because of neighboring cats sniffing around my apartment door. Then it was a big mess with the carpet. Otherwise, I really enjoying having him as a companion for several years.

My roommate had a dog at one point, and I HATED it... she did not take the time to properly train the dog to stay out of the trash, stay off the furniture, etc. And the house began smelling b/c she didn't have her spayed either.
So I would never have guessed that one day when my husband and I decided our kids needed pets, that we would opt for an inside dog. And a big breed at that. I ADORE her. We did extensive research into the breed itself and how it would fit into our family lifestyle. Also several different training methods (which is crucial to understand right from the start... otherwise you have to un-teach or re-teach things and that is much harder). We learned about crate training, and how wonderful it can be when done properly. We have had our canine family member for 6 years now (next week actually will be exactly 6 yrs) and I wouldn't trade her for anything.

You didn't say how old your daughter is, but unless she is at least 10 or 12, I would not have any expectations of her having any real meaningful responsibility with your pet. Especially a dog. It will all be on you. A cat, not nearly the same responsibility... even a 6 yr old might be able to scoop the litter, drop it into the toilet and flush.
You could also consider a gerbil or guinea pig. I have heard that they make wonderful pets for children as well. When properly socialized they like to cuddle too.

Oh, wanted to add about scooping the poo... often times dogs' poo is (WARNING: TMI ! lol) big and mushy and very smelly because of a poor quality diet. We started out giving Iams (b/c I thought it was a good quality brand) and our dog went about 3 x a day. My SIL used Purina One, so we tried it... and it made a vast improvement. Now she only goes about once, maybe twice a day, and it is smaller and more compact, (less fillers in the food makes for less waste) and doesn't have the extreme odors, either.
Like people, diet has a major impact on "output". :)

P.S.
FWIW, our dog is a German Shepherd. If you are leaning toward a dog, if you can "deal" with a little hair under the furniture, they are the BEST. Ours LOVES our kids and even babies she has never met before. She is SOOO gentle with them. As a puppy, she was quite hyper. But she did outgrow that and mostly lays around sleeping unless someone is running through the house or goes outside. She never chewed much of anything, either.. which there ARE breeds that are notorious for damaging by chewing. Even when she was teething (and ALL dogs chew then) she only chewed up a few inexpensive plastic toys the kids left lying around... no furniture, no baseboards, no walls, no curtains, no shoes, etc etc. She is SO smart and tidy. She doesn't even make a mess when she eats... she licks up any crumbs that drop on the floor around her dish. She sleeps on the floor alongside my side of the bed (her choosing) and it is such a comfort to have her there. Especially when hubby works late or has night shifts.

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I just got a puppy last week...I've always been a dog owner/lover :-) and knew what to expect. But.. puppies are HARD work. Totally worth it in the end, but they are very very hard work. Mainly getting through the puppy stages, the potty training & chewing & the rowdiness. It can last up to a year! Plus the training. Charlie is 12 weeks:-) Ella is 3 yrs old. I love them, totally worth the hard work in the beginning - but you have to be prepared & be realistic :-) good luck. Oh, and I've always had mixed breeds- mainly German Shepherd/Lab (and probably other stuff in there) mixes and my new puppy is a Golden Retriever/Shepherd mix. They have all been wonderful with children. But you have to socialize them when they are puppies to get that going in the right direction!

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We've always had dogs while I was growing up, but my hubby's family DID NOT. And to be honest, he didn't have the patience for all the care that a dog required because of that IMO. He loved our dog and took great care of him, but he would just get annoyed at how often our dog needed to be walked, groomed, fed (LOL), medical maintenance, etc. He also didn't have the slightest clue how much MESS could be involved. The dog hair drove him bonkers, picking up the waste made him gag (but he still DID IT) and he wasn't prepared for how much destruction a puppy could initially cause until they were properly trained not to chew on things (like rugs and wood trim).

In no way am I trying to dissuade you for getting a pet. It was a joy to have our dog as part of our family. Just wanting to prepare you because they are, in essence, like small children.

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Sure! It is just like taking on another family member. Okay. Not so expensive...a few big differences. You will become a parent to one more...just a bit easier to care for (but don't count on your child to take care of it - YOU will be the responsible one).

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puppies are ALOT of work! You should rescue a 13 yr old dog from a shelter. I've always rescued my dogs, and they've been excellent dogs.

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I didn't read any of your responses, but I wanted to tell you to do research on the breed you might get. For instance, Labs are wonderful family dogs, but they can chew on everything. Leave em home alone and you might be missing a chair when you get home.

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I have had cats most of my life and we finally got a dog in October. We got a chihuahua mix and I am in love. I never would have thought to get a small dog but I'm glad we did. Since she is only about 10 pounds she is easy to manage, doesn't need as much space, has smaller poops, etc. She is a really sweet dog and doesn't do anything bad, like chewing furniture, destroying shoes, etc. We got her from a rescue and she was about 3-4 months old. My vet told me that sometimes it is better to get a puppy or kitten because you don't end up with a pet who has been abused and otherwise messed up. I will say that the housebreaking phase was more work than I expected. Cats are so easy - you give them a box and they know what to do. Dogs, it takes time - about 4 months to being accident free. Good-luck!

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C.,
I read through all of the wonderful answers that people have given you and yes they are correct...dogs or cats are alot of work. I am glad that alot of people say to pick a rescue but seem to be down on breeders. Breeders GOOD ONES any way take alot of time to get to know their chosen breed. They show them to make sure that they match the breed standard, they have hips and eyes tested to make sure that both parents are healthy and as close to defect free as possible. They screen potiential buyers to make sure that they match puppies with the proper owner, they take dogs back no matter their age and stress that fact when you pick up your new puppy. The know the lines that the breed and are breeding to so they know what to expect when it comes to personality, temperament and what they should look like when they grow up (within reason of course). They are there to help in case you have a problem or a question about training, nutrition or just general care. Which ever way you decide to go have a blast with you new addition...you will wonder how you ever got along with out them.

If I can be of assistance please let me know and I will be glad to help any way that I can.

T. Hunter
All Creatures Great to Small
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It doesn't sound like you're ready for the responsibility of a pet. Ultimately the responsibility will be yours even if it is your daughter's pet because you are the adult in the house. Pets are much more work than they seem, especially puppies. It would not be fair to the dog or your daughter to get an animal only to give it away later. I did grow up with dogs, but they were outside dogs(beagles-very loving and gentle in my experience). However, I do not want the responsibility of any pet as a parent of 2 young children. I have told my husband and children that we will never have a pet of our own because I don't want to be responsible for it and because we travel a lot. My husband agrees and my kids will just have to enjoy their friend's pets as they would their own. I'm sure we will have to deal with our kids complaining as they get older, but we'll just explain why we don't want a pet and that they may choose to have one when they are grownups. Good luck with your decision!!

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Hi,

I think you will be great because you care about the dog and you haven't even got one yet! Being a dog owner my whole life, a dog is just another member of the family, and mom has to look after the emotional and physical well-being of them all. A dog feels really hurt if you don't "talk" to him or play with him. He loves to sit by you when you do anything. They really are not as difficult as kids, and far less demanding.

Size is an issue. Most smaller dogs can be grumpy and nip, but fox terriers are full of energy and fun and don't bite. Bigger dogs like labradors are gentle, alsatians and collies are intelligent and need to play. Dalmatians are the most mischievous- do not get them!! The big scary dogs like rottweillers are gentle and protective, (I know you have heard bad things about them, but it's all about how you treat them.) but little kids find them hard to play with.

Finally, whatever dog you get, you have to train your kids to always be kind to the dog. No teasing, no pulling ears or tail, no mocking. No taking their food away while they are eating. Train your dog to listen to your voice, so talk to him a lot, they soon understand quite a bit. Be firm, and remember that he may not always understand you.

The rest is just fun and loads of love, good luck
K.

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I think anyone can become a pet lover. My good friend who never had a dog, was suckered into one of the biggest, hairiest, slobbering breeds out there. Myself as a dog lover, and quite experienced BEGGED her not to do it. But she had alot of pressure in the home. Anyways, long story short, she now ADORES this dog, and honestly it shocks me because again I am a dog lover, and I cannot stand being around this maniac animal. So I guess what I'm saying is yes, you can easily become a dog/cat person if you have an open heart. They do become part of your family. But, you never having pets and seeing that this would be for your daughter i would also recommend you do not get a puppy. They can be exhausting, and nerve wracking. Rescue an older behaved dog, or go for a cat. Depending on your daughters age, I wuldn't count on her helping too much for too long :)

1 mom found this helpful

I have had all kinds of pets as a kid and as an adult....even frogs and chameleons as well as pets with fur or feathers.

Now, for my kids, we have a rabbit. Its a great pet... it uses a littler box which you don't have to 'train' them... and the poop... is easy to clean because it is pellets.
And they eat veggies which I grow in my garden... so I don't have to buy 'food' constantly for it besides hay.

It is a gentle pet, it does NOT make any noise, and you don't have to walk it everyday nor take it outside for exercise. They also do fine indoors. We keep it on our balcony...and have a 'hutch' type cage for it to sleep in as well.
its an 'easy' pet, and good with kids.

As far as dogs v.s. cats.... dogs are higher maintenance and need more attention... like a child. Cats, are more independent and they use a litter box. So that is an added plus. AND you don't have to 'walk' it every darn day. But you would need to take it to the vet for check-ups and/or neutering etc.
If a dog... I would suggest a SMALL dog... smaller poop, and therefore less 'gross' to pick up.
But keep in mind... that having a dog... is like having another "child." And, you will probably be the one that ends up caring for the pet everyday. Unless your child is older... and do it by herself. So there is that added responsibility.
My daughter is 7 and helps with our Rabbit... but I still have to help her care/feed/clean up the rabbit. So, that is another daily 'chore' I have everyday. But it is an easy pet. Which for me, I prefer the rabbit versus having another dog or cat. But if we had another pet, I would opt for a cat. Maintenance wise.

all the best,
Susan

1 mom found this helpful

I got a cat about 12-13 yrs. ago. I had never been especially attached to an animal. Now,I could not imagine my life without her. There is not as much care with a cat though as with a dog.I will always have a pet now as long as I can care for it. She is great company now that I am an empty nester.(Or will be again as soon as my daughter and grandkids move.)

1 mom found this helpful

I can't comment on cats but dogs...can be a lot of work, but they give back big time. Recognize that it will always be YOUR dog, your kids won't be much help at all, and if it is a larger dog it needs exercise every day without fail.

Consider carefully exercise needs and coat type (shedding or not?) as those are the biggest part of the everyday work related to dogs.=

Disposition is also important around kids -- some rescue dogs are snappy around kids, be careful.

Puppies chew and can be destructive -- a 2 year old dog will be calm and still have a lot of tread.

There are a lot of expenses that may come up that you need to consider -- between vet, occasional boarding, food, flea/tick ointment, etc. the all-in cost of owning a mature dog is probably about $600 a year. There are ways to keep costs down -- I actually brought my dog to an animal hospital to donate blood on a regular basis because it was the right thing to do (did you ever consider where they get blood for transfusions?) but an added benefit was free medicals, vaccinations, a 20 lb bag of food each time.

Don't fall in love with looks or image of certain breeds -- labs look great, but some of the most delightful (and smart) pets are the goofy mutts with personality, and they also have hybrid vigor when it comes to hips.

Finally, a personal peeve of mine: drool. Yuck. I don't like it. My doggie has a wonderful dry mouth, one of his best features and he is great all around.

1 mom found this helpful

You don't say how old your daughter is, so I don't know if she will really be able to care for the dog. I am not a big animal person and my older son was not either. My younger son loves animals and begged for a puppy. We finally got one when he was about 4 years old. He loves her, but has never really taken care of her like I had hoped. Dogs tend to bond especially close with one person and that is usually the one that cares for them. So of course our dog is attached to me and follows me around the house all day. I insisted on a poodle because I don't like the shedding and stink of other dogs in my house. The only problem is then you must have them groomed every couple of months at least and that is about $40.

She is a great dog but she does require care - feeding, walking, grooming and vet visits. Also, if you have an inside dog you can not be away from your house for more than about 8 hours at a time. If you work, then the dog would have to be in a kennel all day. Also, when you leave for a vacation or even an overnight stay, you must have a dog sitter! Also, dogs are like children - they have accidents! My dog is well trained, but she has had a couple of urinary tract infections that caused her to have accidents in the house and occasionally they get sick and have diarrhea or throw up! Guess who gets to clean that up, not your daughter. Dogs are a big commitment, so think it over very carefully. You might consider offering to keep someone else's pet overnight or for a weekend and then you can get an idea of the care involved.

1 mom found this helpful

If you like/love your pet, you'll soon get over the yuck factor.
Remember when your daughter was a baby and you scrutinized her poop color and consistency and freaked out at sudden changes? Sure before having a baby you would have also gagged at the mere idea at looking twice in a soiled diaper.
You are very aware of the long term and constant responsibility of raising a pet. I trust you will be a loving and responsible pet owner.

1 mom found this helpful

ABSOLUTELY!!! My mom hated dogs for as long as I can remember. Whenever we would get a pet, she would make us give it up for a barbie or some other bribe. As I grew older and went out on my own, I had pets, however whenever my mom came to visit I had to put my dog away or they wouldn't come over.
Well a few years ago my parents got a yorkie and fell in love, they thought Scarlet needed a friend so they got another maltese/yorkie SueEllen. Mom just loves them! They sleep in her bed, they have outfits to wear for special occassions, and are spoiled rotten!
I am so happy they decided to get a dog, it really helps to sooth the days and yes life is wonderful with a furry friend!

I grown up with animals I have always been a big animal lover. I was alway brought home hurt animals and nursing them back to health. I did vol. work at the SPCA for years and all my pets came from there. Dogs do make your life happier because they will love you no matter what.

Get your dog from the SPCA, rescue group or a good breeder they all make great pets. Always have your dog train you and your dog will be must happier and it helps you to bond. You can go to classes which is a lot of fun or take them to a trainer.

The breed that I like the most is Labs. they are great family dogs. As for any dog mess in your yard just get yourself a poop scooper.

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