January 31, 2005


My husband wants a dog. He's wanted one for a long time, but I've been dragging my feet. Dog-owning is a lot of responsibility, and it leaves little room for weekend trips and spontaneity. I have spent a fair amount of time this year dogsitting, and it requires a good deal of work and patience.

I watched my friend's dog for a month at Christmas, and I got him back when she went home for her brother's funeral. I think her dog thinks I'm his new owner. This is the fourth time I've watched him, and he's finally settled in. He doesn't follow me around four inches from my feet anymore. He doesn't beg to sleep with me anymore. And all of a sudden I am more OK with having a dog.

My husband and I spent a long time disagreeing on breed: he wanted a big dog and I wanted a medium-to-little dog. He put his foot down at "yippy" and I put my foot down at "shedding." We found a breed we can agree on, and the breeder near our house will even have a litter of Tibetan terriers sometime this spring.

In a few months, we might be the proud owners of something this cute:


Any advice for first-time dog owners?

(By the way, if looking at photos of new puppies makes you as happy as it does me, then check out this site.)

Posted by Sarah at January 31, 2005 09:13 AM

I just posted a picture of my new puppy! (pick him up next week) Being a first time all by myself have to train and such owner I know what you're saying. I'll send you any of the stuff i get.

I wanted a smaller, non-yipper that doesn't shed also. I'm getting a Shih Poo - cross between shih tsu and poodle. No shedding and I'm told min. yipping.

I think you made the right choice.

Posted by: Tammi at January 31, 2005 12:55 PM

Ohhh, he's cute!

Posted by: Sarah at January 31, 2005 02:27 PM

Shih Tzus are very nice. They are medium small, don't shed much, and not very yippy. Plus are cute.

Posted by: Tom at January 31, 2005 03:37 PM


I have evil friends. (not really, it just sometimes seems that way LOL)

Last year I lost both of my cocker spaniels. One was 14 and one was 15. I swore up and down I didn't want another dog, it just hurt too much to lose them.

Two weeks ago, one of my friends sent my hubby pictures of a darling Australian Shepard pup. She is now laying at my feet, chewing on a "kong ball"

Hubs won't be home for another 4 1/2 months, so he gets daily puppy pictures, and I get house training duty..

Actually, she's darling, and silly and a lot of fun, but I forgot that having a puppy was like having a toddler in the house. :)

Some tips.

Read as much information on the breed as possible. Find an online message board and talk to as many owners of the breed as possible. The more you know about your breeds traits and instincts, the better it will be for both of you. It's much easier to work with an instinct that it is to work against it.

Crate train. I can't emphasize this enough. I used to think it was "mean" to put dogs in a small space at night, I was sooo wrong. Crates become their den, a place of their own. They feel safe. Crates are also a huge help with house training, as most dogs won't soil in the place they sleep.

Our pup freely goes in and out of her crate during the day, it's where she goes when she's sleepy (or when she's stolen a toy from our older dog, and wants to hide it..LOL)At night, she climbs in and I shut the door.

Baby gates are also helpful if there is an area of the house that is off limits. I don't like her to have free run upstairs since I am downstairs all day.

Other than that, lots of love, lots of chew toys, lots of patience, lots of praise and lots more love..

Posted by: Tink at January 31, 2005 05:40 PM

As an owner of several Yorkies, considered by many to be yippy, let me tell you terriers are terriers, some may be yippy some may not. All are intelligent, lovable, happy companions. As long as the name ends in terrier they are pretty active dogs. And any dog that has a coat is going to shed. If it is a coat with an undercoat it will shed more and seasonably, that is just the nature of being a mammal. Hair gets renewed. But some are worse than others. I think your choice of a dog is very cute but be prepared, it is a dog, it will shed and it might yip. And listen to Tink, crate train. I never did but my dogs are spoiled and in a thunderstorm think my head is the best place to be. My sister's yorkie on the other hand, crate trained, thinks a crate is a nice place to be and a refuge in the storm. Good luck with the puppy.

Posted by: Ruth H at January 31, 2005 06:12 PM

Sarah - I've been delaying getting another dog for 2 yrs. As you know I have a Maltese but to be honest she's not a yipper but she is vewwwy needy and almost obsessive compulsive on the licking. But in trying to quell my desire for another dog I keep checking out a kennel here in MN that whose specialty is mixed breeds. They try to breed for the best of two breeds. Ex. eliminate the hip dysplasia or hair shedding. You might want to take a look they have labradoodles, schnoodles...etc. http://www.mixedbreedpups.com/ They do business nationwide. I myself am looking for a repeat of my last dog who died after 15 yrs. She was a bigger cockapoo (28 lbs). But I'm even looking at some of the pups who are up to 50lbs. I still have no idea when or which I'll get but this mixed breed definitely has appeal.

Posted by: Toni at January 31, 2005 07:42 PM

Definately crate train. Works like a charm. But, depending on the pup, be ready for a few nights of crying if they're insecure.

DO NOT paper train unless you want the dog messing in the house for the rest of its life. If you paper train in expectation of putting the pup outside later, it will be much harder.

Posted by: Drew at February 1, 2005 01:42 AM

Does this mean I'm going to be a grandma?!?!


Posted by: Nancy at February 1, 2005 07:05 AM

Congrats!!! We have four mini Dachshunds. They are yippers but I love them. Well this won't be a Lewis!! They are adorable. You will have fun. They grow up quicker than childern and they don't talk back. Good luck. It was fun meeting you. Keep my baby girl in line. I'm glad she has such wonderful friends. Cindy French.

Posted by: Erin's Mom at February 1, 2005 02:31 PM

Agree on crate training, baby gates. Definitely understand your hubby's point of view re: tiny dogs ;-)

I have some somber advice, too, though. We got 3 (I know, I'm crazy) lab puppies, and one passed away at about 4 months old -- very hard on me and the wife. He had some problems with worms, and though he seemed to be responding well to treatment, they had damaged his intestines enough to kill him eventually. Deworm early and often. Also, and I'm not sure this actually had anything to do with it, but better safe than sorry -- unsupervised outdoor playtime, even in a fenced yard, should wait until they've got all (and I mean *all*) their shots. I've had a good experience with "pet insurance" -- basically, it amortizes the cost of puppy care over the first year of their life, and you save quite a bit over "retail".

We miss our lost little boy, but we've still got his brothers to keep us company. Good luck with you new family member.

Posted by: James at February 1, 2005 10:38 PM

I have only owned a few dogs, but my mother-in-law is a breeder (big dogs - long hair, would not meet your wishes! www.terv.com) - and crate-training is a definite MUST. Dogs like knowing they have a safe place. We once had a dog go Through the screen door in a rush to get to his crate!! The worm advice is good, too - and find a vet who doesn't charge an arm and a leg for shots and stuff.
One of the books I like the best on raising puppies is "How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With". I suggest reading it through before you get the pup, and then going back through the appropriate places as the puppy grows. They all have phases, just like kids - and this book is pretty good at helping you recognize and deal with them!
I'm envious - that little duffer looks like a fun breed :-)

Posted by: Barb at February 2, 2005 06:24 AM

My mother-in-law has a Tibetan Terrier, they are really cool Dogs.
They learn very well and are friendly, I don't know if you have kids but these dogs are great with them.
The only issue I have ever had with the dog is that he doesn't like my wifes Pekingese and attacks it every time they bring him over.

Love the blog by the way, just found it.

Posted by: RavenLike at February 2, 2005 05:44 PM

My wife Abigail and I picked out our new dog "Bruce" from the animal shelter here in Portland, OR. He was listed as a "Mastiff Mix", and he is a dear, loving, protective, and intelligent dog. Although there is something to be said for looking at breeds, Abigail and I had very good luck looking at dogs instead.

When I was trying to figure out what kind of dog Bruce was, I looked at a lot of mastiff web sites. The best breeders I saw were at this web site: http://www.boxer.bigstep.com/businesspartners.html;$sessionid$1K4WJHQAAAIX1TZENUEUTIWPERWRJPX0 They have a dog called a Nebolish Mastiff that looks to be a great "large dog" without the shedding and hip problems that plague the standard purebreeds. I emailed them and their response was very good. They value the health of the dogs over the purity of the breed; since I am not inviting a breed to share my home...

I love having a large dog with a strong protective instinct. I am working at getting back into the Naval Reserve and I had to have a dog that would protect my wife when I am deployed. I know it is a worry to have around a dog that is large enough to knock you down; but if the dog can't knock you down, he can't knock down a bad guy.

Tip: Talk to a good vet, and ask the vet for the name of the best obediance school in the area. Then take your dog to obediance training from puppy training through at least intermediate. Trained dogs are happier, smarter, and much less damaging to the furniture, regardless of size.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at February 3, 2005 11:41 PM

Looks like everyone got the crate training rec in before I saw this *grin* and Patrick is right - do obedience classes... dogs actually love them because you are giving them your undivided attention for that time. We had a Border Collie for 17 years... she was wonderful and I miss her so much. We aren't going to get another dog at least for a while, but she was well trained and the sweetest thing ever. I hope you have as much success with your new puppy!

Posted by: Teresa at February 4, 2005 04:08 AM

Well, crate training is MUST no matter what kind of dog you get...

We are partial to showing and breeding terriers - Soft Coated Wheatens and Tibetan Terriers... we raise them in the house and by the time they leave, they are crate trained and ready to love. Crates give you and the dog piece of mind that they can't get into too much trouble while they are in there and everyone is more happy when all interaction is good.

Posted by: Earl at February 9, 2005 07:45 PM