I am brand spankin' new, and just joined because I have a rather important question, and there seems to be bucketloads of sound advice here.
So here's the thing--some friends of our are trying to rehome their 5 y.o. golden. They just had their fifth child, and they are overwhelmed and feel that they do not have enough time to spend with the dog. We were thinking about adopting a senior dog from the local shelter, and when they found out, they decided that we are the PERFECT people for their dog. And as much as I really want to help them out, I am quite far from convinced. In fact, I'm inches from telling them to find the dog a different home. That said, I want to make sure that my husband and I are not being wussies and that our decision is sound and not rash. So if you have the time, I'd appreciate it if you would analyze our situation and let us know what you think.
It is just my husband and I (we are in our late 20s), we have a nice 1800 sq ft house with a .25 acre fenced backyard. We are gone from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. weekdays for work, but are mostly around at night and on the weekends. We have 2 established cats who are not used to dogs but are exceedingly self-confident and not at all shy or skittish.
A decent yard (I don't know what size). Mom, toddler, and baby home all day. Older children (8-14 ish) home after school.
Dog came to our house to visit for the first time last night as a test. We were assured repeatedly that the dog (5 years old) is very calm and highly trained. We said we were very worried the dog wouldn't be happy and get enough attention, since we are gone all day at work. They believe that the attention he gets at home and on the weekends will more than compensate for the lack of attention he gets now. I think the poor dog will be heartbroken and missing his family and deathly lonely during the day. I can't imagine the cats would be a good substitute for us. That said, we are very devoted to our animal-children (totally not into the "owner" thing) and would intensively train and exercise doggy daily (1-2 walks/day). So maybe that's enough???
Lifestyle aside (as if that weren't enough of a concern), last night's meeting went HORRIBLY. "Calm" puppy dog burst through our front door unleashed, bouncing off the walls and thrilled to PIECES!!! to be somewhere new. He was wiggling all over, whining, beside himself excited (to the point where I was worried he was going to break everything in sight, including my glass-front bookshelf). One of the cats ran up her 7 ft cat tree and was perfectly content to stare at the dog with contempt, but the other, freaked by the dogs behavior, immediately jumped on the dog, attacking it tooth and claw. I realize this was not a good way to introduce them (I was not actually in the front room when they arrived, had no real idea when they were coming, and my husband was clueless--trust me, things will be very controlled next time). We immediately got the cat under control and put him in another room until he calmed down. In the meantime, the dog (which of course hated being attacked but just cowered the whole time) returned to bouncing off the walls and running from person to person (the dad brought all 4 non-baby children along :/). After a while (half an hour, the dog doesn't like to listen), the dog and cat calmed down reasonably. The dog was laying down, just panting and behaving, and we carried the cat back into the room. Staying quite far away, we just had them in the same room together. Kitty did fine as long as the dog was quite. We set him on the floor and he cautiously walked up to the dog, sniffed his paw, walked away, and seemed okay. He hopped into my lap and purred. Someone stood up and doggie said OH BOY, person is MOVING!! and immediately went nutso again. The cat immediately freaked and tried to attack the dog again.
So in a nutshell: Their family has a lot more people and always someone home, even if the dog gets no attention. Dog is NOT well-trained, despite what the current family claims, but I'm fine with training, as I really enjoy training dogs. But I've never worked with a hyper crazy wrecking ball before, and I'm not sure I want to (they swear he's fine until new people come to visit). Our cat wants to kill him every time he gets excited.
I'm thinking this sounds like a terrible fit. Doggie won't be happy without all his people and being home alone during the day. Cat wants to kill hyper doggie. The current family, however, is CONVINCED that this went really well??? and are all geared up to give him to us. The dad even said the dog really "took" to us (looked to me like he just plain likes everyone). I don't want the poor baby to get mauled all the time, even if the current owner believes he's totally fine (those claws have to hurt, and I'm worried about his eyes).
So I say NO. IF we get a dog, I think it should be older, totally calm, and relatively independent. Hence the senior rescue idea. They think everything is a total go.
Do you all think 1) the dog would be okay with our work schedule and 2) I could train it to calm down enough that the cat would not attack it?
I am open to any and every suggestion. Breed types, don't get a dog, buy a stuffed dog.... I want to hear your experienced thoughts. This family is desperate to give us this dog, and I hate to disappoint them. And the dog is overweight, undertrained, and theoretically neglected. We could get the weight better under control (and groom him) and train him, but I'm not sure we can calm him and make him happy. I want what is best for this dog.
Thanks so much for your time!!!