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Could I be a Responsible Dog Owner?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'd like to rear a husky, but I know next to nothing about dogs. Before I get a book on the subject, I'm wondering if the veteran dog-owners out there could provide me with some perspective. Here are my vitals:

- Downtown Toronto. Lots of green space around. Beautiful summers, but fairly long and heavy winters.
- I live in a condo that is just over 1000 square feet. I have some fairly valuable items, including expensive rugs and furniture.
- I'm single and I work. I'm usually out of the home by 7:30ish, and not back until about 6. Weekends are mine.
- I'm mildly allergic to cat dander (have owned several over the years), but have no long-term experience with dogs.
- I'm in good health and I exercise, so I'd be prepared to walk the dog in the morning and when I return.
- Otherwise stable.

My gut tells me to get a husky, but my intellect tells me it's not a wise decision at this point - at least not until I find a live-in S.O. or move into a home. Any thoughts? Even if I don't end up getting a dog, I'd love to know how I can expect one to shape/re-shape my lifestyle.
post #2 of 11
no, you don't have enough time during the day
post #3 of 11
As bkstone said dogs are pack animals and as such need companionship. Almost no dog will be happy spending ten hours a day alone. And a puppy requires even more constant attention to teach it the basic set of manners and how to be a good dog. With respect to how dogs affect your lifestyle well... there is something innate about the relationship between dogs and man. Dogs seem pre-wired to please and protect their human companions. They provide unconditional love and do not judge you by your faults. The emotional attachment to a dog can be as strong as to another person and most people find that dogs become a part of their family, literally. IMO the people that find their relationships with their dogs the most rewarding are the ones who understand their dog's desire to be a companion and feel the same way in return. The down side to getting a dog is that it will require time, money and emotional commitment. The up side is the opportunity to spend time with a loyal and loving friend for the life of the dog.
post #4 of 11
My concern would lie more with your choice of breed than anything else. While breeds like huskies most closely resemble their wolf brethren (making them less prone to health problems due to breeding), they are high energy, assertive and therefore probably a bad idea for first-time dog owners. I think you'd be doing yourself (and the dog) a huge favor if you stayed away from huskies until you have more canine experience.

That said, while it sounds pretty vanilla, Labradors make great first-time dogs. You live in a cold climate but you are active and Labs thrive under those two conditions. They're very trainable, loyal, and friendly, though you have to monitor their diet pretty carefully (they can pork out pretty quickly).

I think there's also some online quizzes you can take too that help narrow down a good breed for your lifestyle. You might want to try those.
post #5 of 11
I'd also like to add that if you feel like the dog won't make it 10 hours without a bathroom break then you could always hire a dog walking company out to simply let the dog out around lunch time and maybe take it for a 10 minute walk.

Also, regardless of which breed you choose, make sure the breeders are responsible and knowledgeable. My brother-in-law and his wife got a golden retriever puppy, but for some stupid reason the breeders let them walk away with the puppy at only 5 weeks old! Puppies need a full 8 weeks or more of time with the mother for behavioral reasons. As a result, the dog is just off. It needs constant attention, has a persistent whine, even when it's happy and it tries to get in your lap, even though the dog is fully grown. What a mess of a dog.
post #6 of 11

Random.

 

Husky is not a bad choice but it would be better if you were a runner versus a walker.  Even better if you had a bike/blades and a harness and let the dog pull you.  Backpack with weight as well.

 

They are not much healthier than other breeds - the Husky in Canada had been bred from about 8 dogs and the studbook is closed.  Look hard for a breeder.  Go visit as many as possible.

 

They blow their coats so be prepared for massive amounts of hair a couple of times a year.  Barking as well.

 

If you want to get laid more get one with light eyes or eyes of a different colours.

 

12 weeks is a better time to get a puppy than 8 if you can find a breeder that will hang on to the pup for that long.

 

10 hours alone will not kill a dog but will be tough on a puppy.

 

Say goodbye to drinks after work with office mates.

 

That said, if you can alter your lifestyle a cool single guy with a cool dog is cool.

 

Good luck,

 

lefty

post #7 of 11
OP from your post I understand you have no prior experience owning dogs. So - whatever you do:

(a) Understand that the first few months may be very tough, as the puppy could proceed to piss and shit and chew it's way through your condo.
(b) Understand that owning a dog is a tough responsibility, forget any idealized/ imagine scenarios of Fido devotedly sitting at your feet.
(c) Understand that you have to give love and patience to get love back. There are no shortcuts. As compared to cats, dogs are very high maintenance.
(d) Understand that once you adopt the puppy, it's a downright mean thing to send it back, unless you or the pet has some real physical/ other issues. So it is for keeps.

But once you get past all of that, owning a dog is one of life's pleasures. But you have to get past that.

Given how you've described your lifestyle, it's going to be tough. Are you a patient guy? Can you come back from a hard day at work to find that, for the dog, the day has just begun? Can you take the dog (many dogs need exercise or they turn dull/ sullen) for a walk day after day after day....and weekends? Can you come back home day after day after day at the same time because that's the time the dog has to go for a walk? What will you do on Friday evenings if/ when you hit the bar?

In the absence of other information I would say you should wait to move into a home, find an SO etc. Because, I refer to my point (d) again: Understand that once you adopt the puppy, it's a downright mean thing to send it back, unless you or the pet has some real physical/ other issues. So it is for keeps.
post #8 of 11
A quick note on exercise: dogs can be apparently trained for the treadmill. I work out late in the evening and a couple brings their dog in there for his daily walk when everyone who might be offended by a dog's presence is gone. They let him run for 15-20 minutes while they stand there, talk, give him attention, and chill. He looks happy as an be while doing it and can't be more than a year old.

Edit: if you are attached to your rug or furniture, I'd either move it somewhere temporarily when you get a puppy, or avoid it completely. You're going to have to be super vigilant about any nice shoes, belts, etc. that might make for good chews toys as well.
post #9 of 11

They make treadmills for dogs (slat mills) but many states/provinces consider them dog fighting paraphernalia and are banned.  Also loud as hell.  It makes sense if you have a lot of dogs to exercise but it's kind of nutty to exercise one dog on a treadmill.  Go for a walk or run.

 

lefty

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefty View Post

They make treadmills for dogs (slat mills) but many states/provinces consider them dog fighting paraphernalia and are banned.  Also loud as hell.  It makes sense if you have a lot of dogs to exercise but it's kind of nutty to exercise one dog on a treadmill.  Go for a walk or run.

 

lefty


I agree completely on the going for a walk or a run, but it's good to see that at least the dog is getting exercise, and can work if you're running short on time for the day and can't work up a sweat, or simply aren't capable yourself of running for half an hour. I hate seeing cooped up dogs in tiny apartments that have no chance to burn off any energy all day.
post #11 of 11
If a husky sees an open door he will run away for a while and return as long as he knows his way back. Best not to have one in high traffic areas because of this.
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