I’m currently renting a room in the home of a dog person who is allergic to cats, and she has told me since I moved in that I could get a dog if I want to. I don’t see myself moving anytime soon, because I’ve been living here for over a year and we’re both happy with things. I used to dislike dogs as a result of several bad experiences in childhood, but I’m okay with them after being around dogs that were nicely-trained (I’m more of a cat person, but she’s allergic). I am quite capable of bonding with dogs, even if they are smellier and higher-maintenance than cats.
**Living arrangements **
I live in a ranch house in a nice quiet suburb. The backyard is huge and fenced, with sunny/shady parts and quite a few trees. Lots to interest a dog! It would stay inside when nobody is home, of course–I don’t believe in tying-up and I don’t want to crate it, because those trappings remind me of animal shelters and make me sad. There are no other full-time pets in the house, but my LL “shares custody” of a dog with her dad. It’s a very well-trained dog, and very nice to humans (I’ve never seen it interact with other dogs, but I can ask). However, it’s some kind of white husky, and is enormous. I’ve never felt threatened by him, but I was wondering if maybe an animal might, due to his size. He comes over a couple times a week, for several hours a day (sometimes overnight, maybe once a month–he sleeps in her room, though). My LL has also fostered a couple dogs before, for up to a week at a time. So, interaction with other animals would be inevitable for my dog, although it wouldn’t be a constant thing. I work full-time, and so does my LL, but our schedules are different. My dog would only be alone in the house for about 6 hours a day, 4 days a week. On the rare occasions my LL goes out of town, the most consecutive time it would be left alone would be 9.5 hours (my work day plus commute). Weekends would be all dog, all the time–I’m a homebody.
[li]Relatively quiet. I know that dogs are animals, and all animals make noise sometimes. But I really don’t want it to whine or bark when we’re both gone during the day, or waking me up at all hours of the night.[/li][li]Low energy. I can walk it in the morning and when I get home from work, and let it out to pee whenever it needs to go. But I’m not a very energetic person. I’m definitely not up to re-structuring my life around the needs of a high-energy animal. I took care of a friend’s Jack Russell terrier puppy for a week while she was out of town, and there is just no way I can keep up with those exercise needs. I can dedicate about 40 minutes of time to walking every day (20 in the morning, 20 at night, just a walk around the block each time).[/li][li]Non-destructive. I will dog-proof my room, but yarn projects and shoes may be left out on a regular basis (and I have several cords and computer cables that cannot be hidden, stuff like that). I do plan to buy chew toys and train to re-direct bad behavior, but I can’t have my stuff chewed up! If this became a permanent habit, I would not be able to keep the animal.[/li][li]Low-maintenance. I would like to do all grooming at home (with minimal grooming needed in the first place). I don’t want a dog that needs haircuts or shaving, but I can handle teeth cleaning and nail trimming and baths (is weekly often enough?). I also would like a dog with a low-maintenance personality. To be happy when we interact, and happy to sleep in my bed, but not needy and whiny if it’s not sitting in my lap 24/7. My uncle has a little chihuahua that whines and scrabbles until it’s sitting on somebody, and I DON’T want this. I want a chill dog.[/li][/ol]I’d like a dog that is smart enough to be trained, but dumb enough to be content with the simple things in life (chewing on stuff, watching movies, playing fetch in the backyard while I sit and read a book). I don’t care what size it is, as long as I can train it. I have looked at lists of high-energy breeds, and plan to avoid them. I want a middle-aged dog, because puppies always get adopted first. Besides, I’d rather have an animal with a known personality and some training under its collar. So, what breed(s) would best suit this environment? And how much should I budget for the initial outlay? What are the approximate monthly costs of food, toys, &etc? Do you all have any general advice on food brands, training resources, and types/brands of toys?
I won’t take on any animal if I’m not 100% certain it would mesh well with my lifestyle. So, if you don’t think I’m dog-owner material, please say so. Thanks in advance!