Good dogs for older people?

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bendog
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Good dogs for older people?

Post by bendog » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:30 am

I'm planning to help my Nan find a dog.

She hasn't ever had a dog of her own because she worries it's too much work. But she loves dogs, loves looking after Bendog and her friends Parson Russell terrier. And I think she's changing her mind about getting one!

The obvious choice for her would perhaps be a terrier? Since the two dogs she sees most regularly and likes the best are terriers. But I worry they may be a little too independent.

My Nan is 71 but very active, lives alone, has a huge garden and is home most of the time.
When she's looked after her friends dog she's walked it for two 45 min walks a day, mostly off lead on fields, but also around the duck pond in the village and stuff.
But she doesn't want a dog she'll have to do a lot of training with.
She also goes on holiday for a few weeks a couple of times a year, but I expect I'd be able to look after the dog then.

She wants a smallish dog, that doesn't shed much, and will be relatively calm in the house. I don't think she's keen on "lap dogs" ie. shih zus, chihuahuas etc.
She has a lot of visitors so it would have to be friendly.

I was actually thinking a Staffie?
Would that be completely crazy for an old lady!

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minkee
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Re: Good dogs for older people?

Post by minkee » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:39 am

I may be way off here - and it may cause trouble with the inlaws if I'm not! - but isn't Sasha a bit of a solo-dog? As in, likes the company of people, but would mostly prefer to not be around little Poppy-shaped pests and so on. Could that be a solution?

I know Sasha has some issues though - are they all skin related? Could you trust your Nan to feed her ONLY the things you tell her to feed her? (for eg. I saw a lady with a dog who was telling me how her dog WAS on a diet, and showed me the special food he was having.... ignoring, probably not even realising actually, the fact she'd fed him half her digestive biscuit only a moment before).

The other thing to consider is that terriers can live to a ripe old age. At 71 she's still fit and active... but we have to assume that at some point she'll start slowing down, and won't want to do 2x 45 minutes EVERY day for the next.... 16 .. 18.. 20?! years. Plus puppies are HARD work, as you know. So perhaps rehoming an older dog (if Sasha's not a good option) would be preferable.

The first breed that sprang to my mind was a Clumber Spaniel. I have no idea what the breed are REALLY like, I just know one, with a old dear owner, and they both have a head of apricot hair and plod along together in perfect harmony. This isn't the image that springs to mind after reading about your Nan though :)

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minkee
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Re: Good dogs for older people?

Post by minkee » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:56 am

To add another angle to the mix - my friend who's approaching 60, but also in pretty poor health, has a Chinese Crested (which are those hairless dogs, but she has a furry version called a 'powder puff'). And I have to say I think this dog is lovely! She plays really well with Scout (so I'm thinking would be able to get along nicely with your terriers) and is about the same size as her, but furrier. They don't moult (I'm guessing when people say they don't moult, they really mean they don't moult MUCH), but would need a bit of grooming just to not get matted. She has an AMAZING temperament, really soft, loving, placid. She's a little wary of strange dogs, but happy to play with dogs she does know, and with a massive smile on her face while she does it. She also doesn't have that standard 'poofy' look of your usual toy dogs (I'm thinking of poms). She really, really loves people.

The reason I suggest one of these over a terrier is simply that after having been out for an hour with me and Scout, she's ready to go home, and visibly worn out. Whereas Scout could go and go and go.

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However, I have no idea how common they are. Perhaps you could track down one that didn't get on at being shown, or has finished having litters - one that is trained and mostly happy but of no further use to their 'boss'.

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Nettle
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Re: Good dogs for older people?

Post by Nettle » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:14 am

I usually recommend a cavalier king charles in cases like this, but you will need to put some work in to find a really good breeder, as there are serious health issues in the breed. That doesn't mean all of them - but definitely steer clear of pet shops, puppy farms, free-ad puppies (would be sensible anyway). Cavvies have the sweetest natures and love as much walking as they can get but are not driven the way working dogs are. I think a terrier would be way too much. Staffies are very people-friendly but clumsy and bulldozerish, so not IMO suitable for an older lady, and as her first dog. And Staffs don't like other dogs as a rule, which brings its own problems.

A middle-aged whippet might be an alternative. They are quiet and dignified and just need a quick polish in terms of coat care. Young ones are whizzy but as they age they calm down.

All dogs shed (except hairless!) and all dogs need training, so be sure she can change her attitude to that (she sounds a lovely person but I am a bit sensitive to negative attitudes and will have to/must not at the moment :lol: )
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Ari_RR
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Re: Good dogs for older people?

Post by Ari_RR » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:18 am

I would consider a cat. A lot less work and commitment.

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JudyN
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Re: Good dogs for older people?

Post by JudyN » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:52 am

An older woman I know has a smallish saluki x lurcher. He's very peaceful and although not let off the lead very often, is very content. If it wasn't for the size I'd suggest a rescue greyhound, though they do fold up into a very small space!

I'm assuming you're thinking of an older dog as a puppy would require so much work. Are there any really good rescues near you who foster the dogs rather than keep them in kennels, and make an effort to match the dog to the owner? It may be that with an older dog, you're better off looking for a particular personality rather than a breed.

You do realise that if it doesn't work out, you're going to end up with another addition to your pack? :lol:
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

bendog
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Re: Good dogs for older people?

Post by bendog » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:15 am

Yep, would definately not be thinking of a pup. More like a nice middle aged rescue (and preferably one thats lived in a home before) maybe a 4-5 year old dog.

Minkee Sasha needs a bit too much work in terms of her barking and stuff and she isn't worried about biting if someone annoys her! I couldn't really risk her with my Nan.

Sorry Nettle, the shedding isn't really an issue - just that she wouldn't want something like a Lab that gets hairs EVERYWHERE! If you notice I said doesn't shed MUCH - not doesn't shed at all! :lol:

She's still only in the considering stage at the moment. But she's been looking after her friends 18month old Parson Russell b*tch for a week and managed fine (and thats a dog with virtually no training) and I think she is missing having a dog around now she's given that one back! She obviously wouldn't mind doing some basic training (sit, down, stay etc) although again, ideally an older dog would know the basics.

But she wouldn't handle a dog with loads of "issues" so it would have to be reasonably people friendly (dog friendly isn't quite so important) - although again if she did end up with a "problem" dog she would follow my (i.e. your!) advice on how to help fix it, rather than rehome.

She's becoming more and more dog centric. When I first got Ben it was - he can't come on the sofa, can't go upstairs. Now he sleeps on the bed with her when he stays over! Was the same with us as kids though! I wasn't even allowed to touch the (white) wallpaper in the house incase I got muddy fingerprints on it- my little brother is allowed to do virtually anything!

And although she's 71 she's probably in better shape than me! She did the Dales Way walk about 3 or 4 years ago which is an 84 mile walk and took her about a week (though staying in B&Bs along the way not camping!) and goes to keep fit classes twice a week, and swimming most days.

A whippet isn't a bad idea if I can find a nice one but she might want something more cuddly!

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Nettle
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Re: Good dogs for older people?

Post by Nettle » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:07 am

Whippies might look spiky but they are very snuggly! :lol:
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Sarah83
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Re: Good dogs for older people?

Post by Sarah83 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:13 pm

I'd second the Cavalier suggestion, wonderful little dogs. Might be worth trying to find a good breeder who's got a dog they've run on or something if you're concerned about health though, as Nettle said some of the health issues are pretty severe.

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Ari_RR
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Re: Good dogs for older people?

Post by Ari_RR » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:35 pm

I've been thinking of an animal for my mother too. Yeah, we love dogs and all... but walking/training one in rain/snow/cold, or when you feel tired, or sick, or just a bit off (which older people do from time to time.. heck, I do too from time to time ! :wink: )... This can be a chore I wouldn't necessarily want my mom to be stuck with for years.

We saw something at a show recently... British Shorthair.
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Jindo
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Re: Good dogs for older people?

Post by Jindo » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:40 pm

Why not take her to a local animal shelter? :D

Or maybe a french bull dog?
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doggiedad
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Re: Good dogs for older people?

Post by doggiedad » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:12 pm

is there a breed of dog that you don't have to do a lot training???? i think she should pick a breed
that's highly trainable and give it the proper training.
bendog wrote: But she doesn't want a dog she'll have to do a lot of training with.

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