Small dog people!
We're thinking about getting a dog. We're in a townhouse, so we're wanting a small dog - one that is friendly and smart, obedient and trainable. I'd like a dog that can be energetic and also calm, one that doesn't mind cuddling up in a lap without jumping up to try to knock your teeth out. I'd prefer a short-haired dog.
Other than being a good companion dog, we hope to train him to be a therapy dog, so it's important he be trainable and good with people and other animals. My husband is a social worker (he's also working on his LPC) and works with mentally ill and abused older children and teenagers. It can be very hard to communicate with these kids through "normal conversation," so other methods are good to get these kids to open up, such as art therapy. So the dog will be going out with him often, if the dog is able to be trained successfully.
I've just started research on training and certifying a therapy dog and have been studying different small breeds. I'd like a Boston Terrier; they seem to match our requirements, not to mention they're so darn cute and look like tiny black and white Boxers (I've had two Boxers before). :knockedout:
If you have a small dog and think your breed would also work, or have a Boston Terrier and would like to give your experience with them, I'm all ears! :smile:
I lived in a townhouse with, at one time, an 80 pound Akita and a 90 pound Rottie. Later on, 2 Belgian Malinois (44 pounds and 65 pounds). A townhouse is not a bar to a larger dog.
That said, many breeds will qualify for what you are looking for.
Confidence with people and other animals comes from proper socialization more than anything else (although some breeds have a reputation for being intolerant of other dogs - my dear old Akita was like that. Loved people, got on great with the Rottie, was not at all tolerant of other dogs). A good grounding in obedience and proper socialization yields a good therapy dog.
The cornerstone and first major goal for training for a therapy dog should be the AKC Canine Good Citizen test, which evaluates the dog's ability to handle social situations. Therapy dogs then go on to exposure to the unusual stimuli of the therapy environment, like medical equipment, walkers, wheelchairs, etc.
Therapy Dogs International can give you a good idea of what goes into making a good therapy companion: http://www.tdi-dog.org/
Ummmm...I could have written that very statement as it applies to Chrissie and I as well.
Originally Posted by Betty
However, we've decided on a Dachshound. Partly because my wife's Nana had one when she was growing up and partly because a lady at my church had two that were up for adoption. They're approx 4 weeks at this point so we're 4 to six weeks away from picking it up.
Boston Terrier's: Do you own cats? My wife was a Vet Tech at Animal Eye Surgery and many small dog's eyes were victim to a cat that did NOT like the new pet. Beyond that, they would make a good choice.
No cats in the house. I'm allergic to them (my husband's cat gave me asthma-like attacks and we had to give him away) and I'm in the process of getting allergy screened. :icon_neutral:
We do not want a large dog.
well, not a short hair but a good, smart, trainable dog that's good with kids would be a Cavalier Saint Charles (or is it Cavalier King Charles?)
My dad has one and she's a real peach :-)
A Jack Russell Terrier?:scratchchin:
There are several in our neighborhood...they are one of the few dogs I know that act like they're CCW'ing...
Personally, I prefer much larger dogs, but these little fellows have smarts and guts!
How much activity do you want from your dog? Some breeds really need a job to be happy, like agility or at least regular play with their pack (you and your husband).
Are you near any off-leash dog parks? One of the best things there is for socialization with other animals, IMHO.
Also have to put in the plug for a rescue dog. Once you have some idea of breeds, you might check the net for a breed specific rescue near you.
You might have a look at the AKC site for some ideas about breeds. http://www.akc.org/future_dog_owner/find_breed.cfm
You might also find this of interest: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/search.htm
Based on experience (mine and my daughter's) I would look at Dachshund. Read up on them. They come in standard and miniature sizes and are great pets. That's my experience.
My daughter's experience would indicate staying away from Boston Terriers. She has had three and now swears never to have another. Her's have had the eye problems mentioned earlier and major skin problems.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is interesting. I did a quick Google and it appears they are used successfully in therapy. They're "disarmingly sweet looking," which is good. They also appear to have an advantage over the Boston terrier in having more stamina outdoors. It's not mandatory I have a dog that I can take out when I'm exercising at the park, but it would be nice.
I like the Jack Russell terriers, but I think they're probably too high energy. A friend of mine has one, but he also has two other small dogs to keep it entertained.
Our dog will mostly be indoors and travel a lot with my husband. He does a lot of home visits now but in a few years wants to do all his work in an office. I think a smaller dog is more appropriate for our needs - less "intimidating" to bring into someone else's home (of course, other animals in the person's house will be a factor if the dog can be used or not).
My husband is wanting a Pomeranian because they're so soft and fluffy and his boss is wanting to breed hers. I admit I don't like the shed factor and from what I've learned, they can be twitchy on the affection side, which isn't good for therapy. The dog we have must like lots of cuddles.
We prefer to get a young rescue dog because there's a lot of good doggies out there that are one step away from being euthanized because nobody wants them. :frown: Because the variety of available dogs can be limited, I'd like to have a few breeds with the right character traits in mind when we're ready to get one. The downside to a rescue dog is the dog's history; the dog may have been abused and may not recover entirely and be unpredictable. (My late grandparents had one like that, who was rescued from a family where the dad abused the dog. The dog was always wary of men after that.)
I vote for the Dachshund. Theres nothing like a Can do Attiude in a Can't do Body
Consider the Labradoodle! I was always a big dog person, but I researched the breed and found great things. First, they do NOT shed and they are great for folks with allergies. Second, they were bred from Labs/Poodles in Australia for seeing eye dogs (originally). The great temperment of the lab with the intelligence of the poodle.
There are alot of US wannabee breeders (trying to cash in) but the Labradoodle was developed in Australia. You need a multi-generational breeder to get the non-shedding/allergy-free genetics.
I can strongly recommend Rutland Manor Kennels. Check out their website. They are the original breeders and have a wonderful program for purchasing and shipping your dog to the States. Here's the URL:
You can get the Labradoodle in 3 sizes, mini, regular and standard. I've got the mini in "red" and he's just fantastic!
I remember growing up with a Miniature schnauzer, that dog was about the smartest dog in town. (like most dogs females are easier to train) We then got a shnoodle (schnauzer mixed with poodle), fairly smart, both of the dogs were nice, to other dogs and to people, kids, and baby's. and both are great for people with allergies as well.
I have no idea how trainable they are, but my mother has a King Charles terrier(?). Small, friendly, smart, cuddly, obedient... and cute!
We have a Maltipoo, that's a Maltese/Poodle mix.
As she is half Poodle she is very smart and athletic, but as she is half Maltese she is very, very loving and a complete lapdog. She doesn't shed either, we just clip her every 3 months. My wife has dander allergies and has no issues with this dog.
She does look very feminine though, when we moved to our new house I was out walking her and our other dog, met a neighbor and was asked if I was married as they hadn't seen my wife yet. The insinuation was that a heterosexual man doesn't have a 8 pound fluffy dog with a pink leash. I don't care what they think though, the dog loves me and sleeps on my pillow at night. And she's as good a watchdog as any.
I prefer hybrids or mutts as they have less inbreeding complications.