How do I convince my husband we need a dog?

We’ve been sort of idly talking about getting a dog, nothing serious until early this morning. Our backyard was broken into and though nothing was stolen, we were seriously shaken up. That’s when I seriously started looking into getting a dog for not only companionship but protection as well. Or if not protection at least to scare the poop out of any would-be thieves and catburgulars.
Now I’m not sure what kind of dog I even want to get but I do know that we’ll probably end up going to a shelter or rescue group to get the dog, since we don’t believe in buying dogs from breeders or going to the pound (we’ve had bad experiences at the local pound before). I Googled “animal rescue groups in North Texas” and found lots and LOTS of rescue groups, humane societies,etc with all kinds of different dogs. The kind of dogs I am most drawn to at this point all seem to be Pit Bull or American Staffordshire terrier (I don’t know the diff between these two breeds tbh) mixes between 1 1/2-5 years of age.
I know that PBTs have gotten a bad rap as being overly vicious, hard to train, etc but I am willing to do whatever I have to to have a properly trained dog. One of my friends is a dog trainer at a local Petsmart so I’m sure she’ll be able to help me with training issues and behavioral issues.
Another problem that would need to be worked out is what to do about our two resident kittys, Rumpleteazer (who is about 4 1/2) and Buttercup (2 1/2). Other than occassional chance meetings at the vet’s office, neither one of them have ever been exposed to dogs in their entire life. We are worried how they would react, esp Rumpleteazer who is more set in her ways and more prone to schedule/enviromental changes than Buttercup (who we suspect wouldn’t care one iota).We are worried it might upset her too much and cause her to have a complete and total mental breakdown which would lead to either being heavily medicated or being put down.
Another issue would be where the dog would live…either primarily OUTSIDE in the backyard or INSIDE with us. I am thinking it would probably live outside while we are not at home and inside when one of us is home to watch the dog and make sure it isn’t harrassing the cats or vice versa.
Another issue is can we afford it. I know that certain shelters make sure the animal is fixed and up to date on shots,etc before it is adopted out but some don’t. Neither one of us knows how much vet care,food,supplies, etc per year it would cost for this kind of dog.
Also…neither one of us has ever owned this type of dog. I have briefly owned a lab mix and CG owned several dogs throughout his lifetime but none of them this big nor of this type. The last dog he had was a schnauzer/terrier mix…very small.
We would probably have to go through an extensive screening if we were to make the application to adopt a PBT,I would imagine. But we have a nice home and are both very patient,loving people when it comes to animals. I’m sure we’d make great PBT owners, given the right help and advice about these dogs.
We don’t mind the furniture/carpet getting slightly messed up.We are not in the least bit overly houseproud at all. I don’t mind taking the dog out for a walk and picking up poop. Or spending hours in an obedience class. Or tossing a Kong/tennis ball/toy a gazillion times in a row. I’m worried that if we get a dog, we won’t have as much time to spend on giving attention to the cats which would upset them, esp Buttercup who is a petting/scratching whore.She is very needy and wants attention constantly and I’m afraid if I don’t give her the attention she needs something bad will happen.
I really do want a dog,Dopers. I"m just worried about what will happen when/if we bring one home.


Get a cat :smiley:

I’m confused. The title to this thread says “how do I convince my husband that we need a dog?” but the OP just gives a lengthy rundown of obstacles to getting such an animal, without really mentioning the husband at all. Is he an obstacle to getting a dog or not?
I really have no advice for all the other problems. But as for any opposition from the husband, there really is no marital conflict that lots and lots of oral sex can’t fix. :wink:

A dog is great protection for your home. Criminals won’t want to take the risk of robbing a house protected by a dog. Even if it’s just sitting there, wagging its tail when the criminal approaches, he has no way of knowing whether the dog will go nuts if he tries to enter. It’s better just to move on to an easier target than worry about a potential dog attack.

Now, about the expenses.

I can’t say much about the costs of dog food. I’ve been getting mine free for a long time, but I will suggest not going the “cheap” route with your dog’s food. There are some pretty nasty chemicals in some cheap dog foods. (A search on the 'Net will tell you more about that, if you’re interested.) Cheap dog foods also sometimes skimp on important nutrients.

My vet bills for my dog run about three hundred per year. My dog has some minor health problems which requires a prescription-- your bills may be significantly lower. Some vets are cheaper than others for vaccinations. Call around.

You can also save a lot of money by learning to clip your dog’s nails yourself, and take care of whatever grooming he needs at home. Buy your pet’s heartworm/flea medicine from other sources than your vet.

Don’t be surprised if your cats are very hostile to a new dog in the house. It might take them a while to make the adjustment. Just make sure you give them plenty of attention, so they know that they haven’t lost their status.

Bad idea, for a lot of reasons. The last time I worked in a day practice (a year or so ago) a lot of the places that were selling heartworm preventative were doing so unethically and often illegally. It was nothing for them to pester us for weeks on end about writing a script for a dog that we’d never seen. Or one that hadn’t been tested or on preventative for the last six months. Besides, these places weren’t getting their supplies from the manufacturer like the vet clinics, so I don’t know where they were getting them.

And don’t even get me started on the flea products that are packaged to look like Frontline. Mostly they’re just concentrated flea spray, and they poison animals on a regular basis. If I never see another pyrethrin toxicity again as long as live, I’ll still have seen way too many for a lifetime. Trust me, just suck it up and buy the stuff from someone who’s looking out for your pet’s best interests.

Food and vet care are the two places where doing things the cheap way will often cost you more in the end.

As far as costs go, that’s going to vary greatly by the size, breed, and medical history of the dog you get. We have roughly 100# of dog in our house, and we go through a 50# bag of dog food every month or 6 weeks. (I’ve started mixing some canned in to whet the new one’s appetite, as she’s still rather thin, so this mucks with the estimates some.) We use Dog Chow, and the big bag goes for about 15 around here. Factor in 3 cans or so a week at .45 each.

Vet care at a minimum for a young, healty dog with no accidents (yeah, right!): vaccines every year, heartworm testing and prevention, and worm check every couple years. When I was in a day practice, the vaccines (with checkup) were $60, the heartworm check was $25, and worm checks were $15. These prices are greatly variable by region and by individual vet.

Pit bulls as a breed aren’t really prone to any problems in particular, which will tend to save you money. Animals that are prone to chronic ear infections, joint problems, skin problems, what have you can really rack up the vet bills in a big way.

Personally, I don’t like to leave my girls outside for any length of time at night. We had someone drug our dog before trying to break into our house when I was a kid, and I just couldn’t live with myself if someone hurt the dogs trying to get to me. If someone’s already been in your yard, that might be something to consider.

If you do get a dog, there’s going to be an adjustment period for everyone involved. You, the dog, the cats, everyone. Most of the time it works out all right.

Let me chime in on costs - depends what you do, depends what you feed, depends on the health of your animal.

There are lots of factors you can’t control…

For example, Zap has cost me very little all year - she has had her physical last year and all her shots… and nothing more. She’s been healthy, no accidents, nothing. 64$ (CDN) for a year in vet care.

Valen however has been sick, and he has an old injury which requires some constant care. He has cost me a little over 600$ (CDN) this year in vet bills. This year may be less.

If your dog gets hit by a car, or needs emergency surgery to remove a sock he decided to swallow, you have to be ready to help him out… n’ then, there are toys, supplies, grooming fees, dog-school fees, licenses…

On the issue of food - as everyone said - it varies greatly. My guys are on Fromm, and have been doing well on it. In Canada, a 33# bag is about 50$ + tax. We go through one every month and a half or so. It’s probably one of the most expensive foods out there, but boy has it made a difference in their digestion, ermmm… production…, and their coat. Not to mention joint mobility for my old dog. :slight_smile: I find they eat less of it, too.

Food is tricky. It can contribute to existing health issues, shedding, digestive disorders, etc. I think it’s the one place where I wouldn’t cut corners…

:slight_smile: Elly n’ the dogs
Zap n’ Valen (n’ soon Spanky, too!)

Well…my husband needs more convincing than I do to get the dog. I have wanted a dog for a very long time but the particular type of dog I’ve been lusting after (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) doesn’t often turn up in rescue groups and after talking to a few breeders via email…we realized it would be too expensive to acquire even a pet-quality puppy.
We would’nt skimp on dogfood or vet services, we’d do the same as we do with the cats. The cats eat IAMS and the dog would probably eat IAMS or something similar. We’d probably also take the dog to the same vet as the cats, whom we trust immensely. Having worked as a part time groomer before…I know how to clip nails and groom a short haired dog. Grooming wouldn’t be any problem. Any anti-flea/heartworm/parasite meds would most likely ALSO come from the vet because I know better than to buy that stuff off the rack at a petstore.
If we do end up getting a dog…it’s Rumpleteazer I’ll have to worry about more than Buttercup because since the death of our resident alphacat Precious (who was also her best friend…they would spend hours playing and socially grooming each other)two years ago,she’s really become the alphcat and would freak if she lost even one BIT of her status as top cat in this house. Like I said, she is more sensitive to changes in her status,enviroment, etc than Buttercup. Buttercup, knowing her extremely laidback personality, would probably go “Eh. So what? It’s a dog.Big fat furry deal.” and get on with her life of sleeping, eating and being an attentionwhore.:stuck_out_tongue:

Just a quick thought…pitties do not make good outside dogs. And they tend to suffer from separation anxiety. I would definitely not recommend an inexperienced dog owner getting a pitbull. Not that they are bad dogs, I like them, and I have fostered them in the past, but from everything you have posted I don’t think that breed is ideal for your situation.
Another issue is the cats…pitties are not good always good with small animals. I know some are, but I have seen what they can do, it takes seconds and ta-da, no more cat. And there isn’t really a warning.
JMHO I used to work for an HS (I now run my own rescue), and at any given time we had 75% more pittbulls than all other breeds combined.

If you are inexperienced with dogs I’d recommend against a pit bull – though I met a LOVELY one yesterday while volunteering at a pet adoption (the owner brings her to the store every weekend for socialization) who actually loves kittens. She had a great time greeting a couple of kittens. She’s also a very sweet, well-behaved dog, whose owner obviously has done very well by her. But a pit bull who has not had good training and socialization can be an accident waiting to happen – and I gather this dog’s kitten fetish (not literally!) is unusual.

I would not get one, because they are big and strong and in the wrong situation can be unpredictable, though they are not necessarily the awful creatures people think they are. And if your husband does not want a dog, a rescue most likely will not give you a dog anyway – one of our questions is, “Does everybody in the household want this animal?” If the answer is no, then no deal, sorry, you’re not getting it from US.

There are other breeds that are highly protective but don’t have the reputation pit bulls unfortunately have. If you decide you all do want a dog you might want to look into them.

Any big dog can be intimading, even our wussy golden retriever and not-so-wussy lab-golden mix. They have most impressive barks, for one, and the sight of them charging towards a new person on their territory (though it’s just to get petted) is impressive. Together htey are a lot of dog!



:smack: :smack:


I really oughta preview.

Go with a Bulldog, instead.

Formidable bite, intimidating appearance, & a lot more of a family dog than a Pit Bull.

Also, less of a lawsuit magnet if he does bite somebody he oughtn’t.

Ugly/cute, too. :slight_smile:

Nix on the bulldog thing, that is if Bosda is talking about the walking genetic messes known as English Bulldogs. American Bulldogs are generally quite a bit healthier, but still not for the novice owner. English Bulldogs are very nice pooches, to be sure, but they can hardly take five steps without sounding as though they’re about to keel over. Also, you can’t get a much better “family dog” than an AmStaff or an APBT.
I absolutely adore pit bulls, of any variety. American Pit Bull Terriers are a bit taller, leaner, and more proportionate than American Staffordshire Terriers, in general. APBTs tend to have a higher prey drive (watch out for the kitties) and are very healthy dogs so far as genetic afflictions go. AmStaffs tend to have less of a prey/fight drive, as they are not really actively used for fighting anymore. Both are extremely affectionate breeds who adore people, need a lot of socialization and training, and come packaged with a whole effing lot of social stigma. Don’t be surprised when people cross the street with their small children when they see you coming :frowning:
I wouldn’t ever reccommend leaving a dog outside when no one is home, but especially a pit bull. They love people so much, they’re more than happy to walk off with pretty much anyone. Oh, by the way, they make lousy guard dogs. Well, that’s not true. They’re certainly a visual deterrant, as anyone who doesn’t know dogs will probably not break into a house or yard containing a strange pit bull, but if a person did come in to the yard, many pits would respond with a wagging tail. The other issue(s) with leaving them in a yard alone are escapes, separation anxiety, and theft.
Pit bulls are dogs, and they have a very high prey drive. If your pit did escape from the backyard and started chasing and killing cats, or got into a fight with another dog, you’d likely either have a dead pooch or a very hefty fine, or both. I love pit bulls, but I am also aware that they are dogs. Dogs chase and kill small furry things. Pit bulls are dogs with a very long history of being bred for prey drive and fight drive. Don’t put your dog in a situation where they are likely to fail, it’s not fair to anyone, most especially the dog.
Secondly, they adore their people, and being stuck alone in a yard all day is miserable for them. This could likely lead to separation anxiety, which would in turn lead to a dog that spends all day either destroying things, or finding ways to get out of the yard. See previous paragraph.
Finally, skeezbags love to steal pit bulls, :mad: especially in certain parts of the country, where dog fighting is still prevalent, or when a punk just wants a badass looking dog. Don’t expect cops to spend a lot of time and sympathy looking for a missing pit bull.

Keep the dog indoors except when you go out to play, under direct supervision. Invest in a good quality crate. Keep the dog and cats separated when you’re not directly interacting with them–this goes for any new dog added to the household, but especially for any breed with a high prey drive, and triple for large terrier breeds. Again, don’t put your dog in a situation where they are likely to fail. This is easily accomplished by crating the dog when you are out of the house, and keeping an eye on it when you are around.

As I said, I really love pit bulls–I’m firmly convinced they’re one of the best possible ‘people breeds’ out there–but they do take a lot of work that some other breeds don’t, and you have to be prepared for the stigma of owning one of “those dogs” :frowning:


Whiterabbit–it’s not so much that he doesn’t want a dog, he’s open to the idea of getting a dog someday. I’m just convinced that after the break-in on Sat morning that someday is now.
Mixie–thanks for the good argument. I’ll use that on my hubby when he gets up from his nap about letting the dog run loose in the backyard all damn day. I want the dog to either have the run of the house or, barring that, at least be kenneled during the day when we are not around to supervise play and interaction with the two kittys.
It seemed when I looked at the websites of the local shelters,HS, etc a LOT LOT LOT of the dogs up for adoption were either AmStaffs, PBTs or PBT mixes.
I am aware of what would happen should we choose to own a pittie and said pittie escaped and did something bad. I am fully ready to take on that responsibility, just as I would if my cats (who are completely equipped, weapons wise) bit or scratched somebody who visted my home.
Thank you for all the advice, Dopers. Now at least I have something to discuss with my husband as to why/why not we should choose breed X for our future dog.
Oh…and we are also going to Petsmart (for cat litter as it turns out) in about an 1 or so and I know they do adoptions then. It may turn out that the group there this afternoon may have the perfect dog for us and we’ll come home with a something. Don’t rightly know yet.
We’ll see what happens.


I lived with someone who had a dog.
We came home to find the front door ajar. My housemate didn’t care about any of the items taken – except for the missing dog. Found it relatively quickly; the burglars had locked the dog in the garage. The dog didn’t really enhance our home security.

Where I live now, burglars are afraid of dogs. That’s why the burglars routinely poison or stab dogs as a prelude to burglaries. Though sometimes they do it just out of spite.

Crummy world we live in.

BTW, glad you’re concerned about the cats’ safety. You might also need to worry about the dog – I know of one dog who was nicknamed “confetti” because the cat would slice the dog’s nose to ribbons every time the dog got near. (Which was once every several months, after an expensive trip to the vet and a long recovery time)

I don’t know how much luck you’ll have finding a pit bull at a Petsmart adoption; the dogs the group I voluteer with adopt out come from a local shelter (which, among other charming things, has a seven-day in-out policy; if they’re there a week, they’re killed), and I know a lot of shelters have policies to euthanize pit bulls, PERIOD. (I think it’s because of fear of lawsuits if they adopt out a dog that turns out to be human-aggressive. Never mind that the golden retriever rescue group my mom works with has had to put a few dogs down for that same reason, and goldens are normally some of the sweetest dogs known to humanity. :rolleyes:) I can ask if our group has ever adopted out a pit bull; I’ve only been working with them a few weeks, and I’m much more of a cat person, but they sure do have some cute pups.

However, good luck, and I hope you find a great dog.

Do you have young children? If so, don’t get an aggressive dog like a pit bull.

In a past job, I remember talking to a crime prevention officer who stated that it doesn’t matter what sort of dog you have: their primary function when a break-in occurs is not to attack the burglar but alert you or your neighbours to their presence. Assuming the burglar is prepared, then an attacking dog is a dead dog. Burglar offers protected arm, dog goes for arm, burglar uses other arm to kill dog with weapon. If you want to down the intruder then you need two (or more) dogs.

Have you considered lower-maintenance alternatives like burglar alarms? They can be set to ignore such as cats and if your house starts emitting the sound of a battleship klaxon, you and your neighbours will hear.

qts–no kids…just the two cats. Our trip to Petsmart is put off till tomorrow cuz CG isn’t feeling too well due to allergies. We have considered burgular alarms and have had burgular alarms in the past (at a previous apt where there were several attempted break ins). I know they can be set to ignore the cats but being the animal lover I am, I’d rather pet a living thing than a cold piece of plastic.:slight_smile:

Thanks for the encouragement,whiterabbit.:slight_smile:


Why would you want an aggressive dog? If you’re still fizzed with the recent break-in to your yard, wait until you’re back to normal before deciding on something this important.

Times are different now, and anyone with the cojones to break into somebody’s home is also likely to have a gun AND to use it. Your best defense is not an attack dog. It is one who can hear someone around the house and will bark incessantly to alert you to danger (or a falling leaf, or a squirrel…).

While it’s calming to believe that some Pit Bull will save you by shredding an intruder, it is also as likely to shred Aunt Bertha or the neighbor’s kid. Is it worth it? You said that someone broke into your back yard, but nothing was stolen. I don’t know if it was some evil-doer, some kid retrieving his baseball, or some drunk trying to find their way home. Your dog may not care, and treat them equally.

My point is that if you want a dog, get a dog, but do it for the right reasons and not out of fear.

SouthernSky–well seeing as the break-in occured around 6 AM, I doubt it was some kid retrieving a baseball. And I highly doubt it was a drunk trying to find his way home. Our home is set at the back of the development, blocks and blocks from the nearest likker store.
I realize that anyone attacking our house would most likely have a gun. I live in Texas, and guns are as commonplace as cigarettes and cars around here.
I don’t know whether or not we are going to get a pit bull, or any dog at all. All I know is that while I did want a dog before, I want one even more now. Cats aren’t all that good at waking you up when there is an intruder.:smiley: And CG is open to the idea of getting a dog.
After talking to him last night over dinner, he is semi-against getting a PBT or PBT mix but not against finding some other kind of mix (or purebred if they are available…not that we care) from one of the local shelters. We are going to talk more about getting a dog when he comes home tonight from work. I feel there is definately a dog in the future but I have no idea what kind it will turn out to be.
I realize now that I probably acted rashly in heading right for getting a PBT or an AmStaff. I wanted (at first)a big,scary dog that would really scare the poop out of any would-be attacker. PBTs and AmStaffs really do that, because they are big dogs and have bad reps for being fighting dogs. I know going right for a type of dog I’ve never even really been around was a bad idea now. I’m glad we haven’t gotten (and probably won’t get)a dog like that because I’m not sure I"d be able to handle it tbh.
Again…thanks for all the advice,Dopers.
We’re gonna keep looking and hopefully we’ll find the right dog for us.