1. Will this be your first dog? If not, what experience do you have owning/training dogs?
First of my own, but I was involved with our family lab growing up. I was older when she was a senior, so I am especially sensitive to the needs of senior dogs. I don’t have any experience training, but will have about a month off of work to spend time in classes or working on training/adapting the dog to their new home!
I also fostered a mutt with extreme separation anxiety. She chewed through a plastic crate within an hour, distributed trash all over the house, wailed, etc. Total sweetheart when we were home, except for some scary aggression toward men. I took care of her for about 4 months, but she was a senior so there wasn’t much to be done behaviorally.
2. Do you have a preference for rescuing a dog vs. going through a reputable breeder?
3. Describe your ideal dog.
Gentle giant. Playful and snuggly. Weirdo. Content at home during business hours, and tolerant of car trips (3-5 hours a couple times a year, with as many rest stops as necessary) – I have an SUV so dog size shouldn’t be a big factor here.
4. What breeds or types of dogs are you interested in and why?
Greyhound – I’ve read that they’re low energy and have pretty goofy personalities. I also like that retired racers don’t typically have a history of abuse, so any aggression/behavioral issues may be more predictable. They're used to crating (for car trips, etc). I’m aware they need jackets and have trouble with stairs – more on that later.
American bulldog, lab mixes, or pitties/mixes – only because they’re available from shelters most often. I’m not very well-researched their needs/quirks though, and don’t know if they’d be happy with my lifestyle.
5. What sorts of things would you like to train your dog to do?
Potty trained, “wait” to dig into their food, walk nicely, no jumping on visitors. Ringing a bell on the door to go out would be a huge bonus! Mainly I just want good behavior and anything else is a cherry on top.
6. How long do you want to devote to training, playing with, or otherwise interacting with your dog each day?
I’m a homebody, so I’m happy giving this dog as much attention as it wants in the evenings! And we’ll hang out all weekend. In the short term, I will have a month off of work to devote to obedience/other classes if necessary. I’d like an adult dog, though, so hopefully we can get the basics down pretty quickly.
7. How long can you exercise your dog each day, on average? What sorts of exercise are you planning to give your dog regularly and does that include using a dog park?
Realistically, only 1-1.5 hours of walking every day (short walks in the morning, afternoon, before bed). Dog parks feel too risky, so I personally wouldn’t use one regularly.
8. How much regular brushing are you willing to do? Are you open to trimming hair, cleaning ears, or doing other grooming at home? If not, would you be willing to pay a professional to do it regularly?
I’d prefer a low-maintenance dog grooming-wise. I don’t mind cleaning ears, brushing teeth, etc at home. I would probably pay a professional to trim nails if we didn’t walk enough to wear them down. I can easily make brushing a daily 10 minute end-of-walk activity during shedding season.
9. What size dog are you looking for?
Large or medium.
10. How much shedding, barking, and slobber can you handle?
I grew up with a chocolate English lab with a very thick coat – heavy shedding is my baseline! I’d avoid it if I could, though. I don’t favor a lot of barking (especially living in an apartment), and hate slobber.
11. How important is being able to let your dog off-leash in an unfenced area?
Dog Personality and Behavior
12. Do you want a snuggly dog or one that prefers some personal space?
13. Would you prefer a dog that wants to do its own thing or one that’s more eager-to-please?
14. How would you prefer your dog to respond to someone knocking on the door or entering your yard? How would you prefer your dog to greet strangers or visitors?
I’d expect some barking and general chaos. They should at least tolerate pats from strangers/visitors but I don’t really care about this – only that they’re not aggressive.
15. Are you willing to manage a dog that is aggressive to other dogs?
No, too many dogs in my apartment building.
16. Are there any other behaviors you can’t deal with or want to avoid?
Separation anxiety, aggression
17. How often and how long will the dog be left alone?
Maximum 7am-5pm M-F. That’s the worst case scenario, and I can work at home often.
18. What are the dog-related preferences of other people in the house and what will be their involvement in caring for the dog?
I will be living alone for at least 6 months after getting the dog.
19. Do you have other pets or are you planning on having other pets? What breed or type of animal are they?
No, but I love dogs. I’ve been waiting 6 years to get this one, so I could realistically want another in the future.
20. Will the dog be interacting with children regularly?
21. Do you rent or plan to rent in the future? If applicable, what breed or weight restrictions are on your current lease?
I rent, and will be in my apartment without breed or weight restrictions for 4-5 years.
22. What city or country do you live in and are you aware of any laws banning certain breeds?
I live in the northeast USA. There are no breed restrictions in my city.
23. What is the average temperature of a typical summer and winter day where you live?
Winter averages: 20-40F, summer averages: 60-85F
Additional Information and Questions
24. Please provide any additional information you feel may be relevant.
I live on the third floor – no elevator. They need to do stairs! And as much as I love big dogs, pragmatically it might be best if I can lift them in case of emergency.