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Hi all!

I’ve read already tons of posts on here and one might think I should have found the info I need, but, same as every dog is an individual, we and our situation is, too 

I never owned a dog myself, but grew up with them through my neighbors (where I spend most of my time) and friends and family, also the 2-3 weeks dog sitting was my expertise.
My husband has no experience with pets whatsoever, I think he has that from his mum. “They’re dirty, stinky, useless and only cost money” (he didn’t even kneel or sit down in a sandbox when he was little).
Well, he did change a little already, we’ve only been married for 1 ¼ of a year and he starts to soften a bit in this regard.
As you can guess, I’d really like to get a dog. We have a huge suburban house with a fenced yard, no kids, no other pets. Both of our neighbors have dogs.
My husband is getting to the stage where he doesn’t say “no” anymore, but: “Well, I won’t take care of it, it will be solely your dog and responsibility.” This is fine for me, but I hope that in emergency situations he’ll come around, or warm up to the dog as soon as he/she is with us.
So far to the situation with my husband.

Now to the “minor” problems. We both work fulltime, I am gone from 6:30am to 4:30pm, my husband (if it even matters) is gone from 9am to 6pm. Can, or better to say, should a dog be left alone for that period of time? If not this would not be a big deal, there are tons of dog walkers around our area for a mid-day walk/company.
If getting a dog, I want to get one from the shelter, since I can take time off work to get the dog settled in, but I won’t be able to raise a puppy, thus, I’d go for an adult dog.
Our lifestyle is not the most active one, but we go camping once in a while, and meet up with friends often (all but one have dogs themselves).
So what I would be looking for:
- At least tolerant with other dogs
- Not too smart, but teachable (nothing over the top, but not pulling on the leash, no, quite, off, sit, etc.)
- Up for a game of fetch or an hour walk/hike in the woods, but also a couch potato once in a while
- No big drooler or shadder, this would turn my husband down right away
- Not a big barker (I know, this is also hugely individual dog behavior, but I read that there are breeds more likely to be loud than others)
- Low maintenance fur (if that wasn’t included in the “no big shedder”)
- Size: 20lbs-60lbs
- I love the bulky builds (pit bull, bulldog, mastiff)

I’m not set on a pure bred, if you have suggestions of good mixes that would fit, it would help out a lot!

But next to the breed/mix question: Do you even think that I should get a dog in my situation with my husband not really the pet/dog lover at all? My problem is that I don’t understand the reasons why he resents a pet like that and without knowing that, the only thing I can do is talk, but I’m also a bit concerned that I’ll just get on his nerves and that’s why he’s starting to give in now. I fear that if I really would go forward and get us, or better me, a dog he would hate it and it would create tension and then we all (including the dog) would be miserable.

He suggested me volunteering at the shelter to “get it out of my system”. But since I know myself a little better, I’d find my “dream” dog there and be even more head over heels instead of getting it out of my system 

Thanks a lot for all comments (in what direction ever) in advance.
 

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Well reading your post i would say have everyone who lives in your house 100% on board. You dont want the dog to say become fearful of your husband because they are smart and can sense things.

As far as a dog breed goes, you probably aren't going to find a full purebreed dog there. go with a younger dog maybe 2-3 years old that way its young enough to maybe change their mindset and find you are a good place.

As far as shedding goes short haired dogs shed year round. the longer the hair the less of it you will find laying around but you do have to keep up with it.

Every dog is different you really never know what you are going to get.

I hope this helps.
 

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In terms of getting and actual dog I think a middle aged rescue would be fine. Giving this description to a shelter or rescue could probably get you a decent fit.

But i think the thing you need to do first is have a long talk with yor husband. Pet ownership is like children, it must be discussed and decided on well when two people are married. It sounds to me that your husband hasn't had much interaction with dogs at all. So this *can* be a good thing, rather than him hating dogs outright because of bad experiences. It's very true many people dislike something because of what they've heard, but they feel different when they experience it. I have heard of people who didn't want pets but loved them when a spouse convinced them, and others who resented the animals for years. But like you said, we aren't sure what he is like. However his comment about you 'getting it out of yor system' makes it sound like he expects this to be a passing thing, and really doesn't want to.

But if he's willing to try and get more doggy experience. see if any of your friends might be willing to let you 'borrow' one of their dogs for a weekend or week, maybe check if any have trips coming up. Now ideally this would be a housebroken dog that behaved well. normally I would suggest fostering with a rescue, but since those dogs are often puppies or have issues, I would caution. And if he's willing, go to some dog shows or pet events where he can learn and experience more.

You are smart to consider this and thinking about tension this could cause. Dogs are 10-15 year commitments. 6-10 if you get a middle aged dog. I hope you are able to get a dog, but your husband has to be on board and not hope you'll decide to return it after a few weeks.
 

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My hubby is decidely not a pet person. He dosn't understand keeping a dog in any way, shape or form. I am a dog person. I had the dog years before we met and the dog moved in with us when we married and bought a house. (we didn't live together before marriage) The dog has grown on him alot to the point where he takes her out, or goes out with her when he needs to do yardwork. He is distracted by her yawning and movement when he's working from home but today she wined so he let her sleep next to him. But he is still 100% against dogsitting other people's dogs and strongly dislikes visiting friends or family with dogs.

Granted, he's a big ole softie when it comes to animals. I got ducklings and as per his ruling they were supposed to stay outside in the shed, then he felt bad so it was the basement, and then he decieded that was too cold and they ended up in the back room (fully heated) and then somehow they ended up in the living room and at one point he was holding one and it fell asleep on his chest....

I'd see if you can do a trial run with a shelter dog that you can say yes or no to, not borrow someone elses dog. I know my hubby would probably never have chosen to get another dog if we just babysat, but this dog--my dog--was ok in his book. Really no reason but he got used to it.
 

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I feel like if you're willing to put in a LOT of work and training, and he's "meh, but you have to do the work", that is an acceptable compromise and not at all the same as "no, we don't have time for a dog". You need to understand he might not be there for you during emergencies, and he will likely undo a lot of the work you put in-but if he's open minded and you think he'll learn enough to interact calmly, that is up to you. It's definitely not the same to volunteer or foster, but maybe fostering would help show him how much work you intend to put in-and foster failures can work out well, sometimes. You need to be ready to let that dog go if it doesn't go well, though, so be careful if you do that and think about it a bit more. If you are able to afford a dog walker if he is unwilling to help and vet/other supplies required, I think you can make this work. 10 hours away is too much for sure (plus travel time), so definitely a compromise of him helping or a walker will be required.

You normally can't do trials with shelter dogs-but I do advise you go this route still. If you like pits and are in an area where they aren't banned, I would go with them based on the energy level and your needs-the catch is that they were bred for dog fighting, and you may struggle to find one that is as tolerant of other dogs as you need. DEFINITELY MAKE THIS A PRIORITY, given that fence fighting with both neighbours/vacations/a lot of things in your life will change dramatically if your dog is stressed around other dogs. This can also grow over time, so finding a rescue that is already socialized well is a great bet if they can give you that information. It will be a challenge to find this dog, but I think it'll be the best match for you from what you've mentioned so far.

You may also find greyhounds/whippets work well for you, they fit your description though I think you're attracted more to the opposite type of dog (bulkier frame rather than super narrow, lol). Why not ask a shelter and see what dogs are out there? You can always wait until you've found the right dog that your husband also approves of, at least to some extent.
 

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If you like pits and are in an area where they aren't banned, I would go with them based on the energy level and your needs-the catch is that they were bred for dog fighting, and you may struggle to find one that is as tolerant of other dogs as you need. DEFINITELY MAKE THIS A PRIORITY, given that fence fighting with both neighbours/vacations/a lot of things in your life will change dramatically if your dog is stressed around other dogs. This can also grow over time, so finding a rescue that is already socialized well is a great bet if they can give you that information. It will be a challenge to find this dog, but I think it'll be the best match for you from what you've mentioned so far.
Ok, I agree and don't agree with this. First of all, Pits can be high energy or low energy depending on the dog. Most I've met that are under 4 are very high energy. Many I've met over that are medium to low energy. And as someone who has spent time with, cared for and trained MANY Pits, plenty of them are great with other dogs. MANY are not bred for fighting, and most shelter Pit Bulls are really just bully breed mixes with a huge array of different breeds in there. Also, even some who were bred for fighting aren't well..fighters. It's just that sometimes other dogs don't appreciate the rough and tumble play styles of bully breeds. I honestly don't think it's a challenge at all to find a very friendly, sweet Pit Bull that's good with people and other dogs. Most shelters and rescues are absolutely overrun with Pit Bulls, and the mean ones get put down quickly so the ones who stay there longer are good natured. I do think a Pit mix of some sort would probably be a good fit, but that depends on the OP's husband situation.
 
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Hi BrittaS,

Welcome to the Dog Forum! I commend you for asking questions and doing research now before you bring home a dog.

Based on your limited experience with dogs and your husband's reservations, I would strongly advise you to skip shelters altogether and go with a rescue group that fosters dogs in home settings and would offer you a trial period before you finalize the adoption. Let me share my own story to illustrate this.

I joined this forum back in November of 2013 after I very naively headed out to a public shelter, spotted a handsome face, spent twenty minutes with that dog, and then made arrangements to adopt him. I had absolutely no idea what kind of dog would best suit my lifestyle as well as my skill set (non-existent) and previous dog experience (a family dog). I found this site a week later, and despite my best intentions and much effort, had to conclude that he and I were a poor match for each other. Two months after I adopted him, I rehomed him. Yes, there are wonderful dogs in shelters, and I found and adopted my "heart" dog a few months later from another public shelter. However, with your lack of experience as a dog owner and your husband's concerns, I would strongly urge you to bypass shelter dogs. Like me, you don't have enough experience or expertise to make an informed choice. And, too much can go wrong, turning your husband off of the idea of dog ownership altogether.

The biggest factor that should guide your search is not breed, but personality, temperament, and energy level. A rescue group can help you find a well-socialized, well-adjusted, calm dog that has already proven itself in a home setting with a foster family. You'll want to find a dog that has already received some basic training and has very few, if any, behavioral problems. That's going to take a lot of time, effort, and persistence.

Lastly, since your husband has almost no experience with dogs, I might suggest limiting your weight range to 20-35 pounds. Also, see how your husband feels about bully breeds. Part of my difficulty with my first dog was that he was a young, sixty-pound, fairly high energy, untrained Great Pyrenees mix. On that Thanksgiving Day of 2013, he jumped up on the dining room table. At least it had already been cleared off, but with our lack of dog experience, my teenage son and I were intimidated by his size and physical presence. Many others on this forum would have been able to handle the situation with much more confidence, but we were overwhelmed. That kind of situation would most likely horrify your husband.

I feel that you've got a lot to think about. Take your time in choosing a dog and try to involve your husband in the process. You'll want to get this right the first time. Good luck!
 

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Others have offered up some great suggestions. But I think you should wait until your husband softens up a little bit more to the idea (if he can) and also see if he will participate in the selection of the dog...go to shelters with you and discuss the personalities of the dogs you both are interested in. Get him involved in the process...maybe with him feeling like he's invested a little time and thought into choosing a dog he'll be more apt to communicate/connect with it.

Stormy
 
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Thank you all so much for your great advice and welcome!

I had a talk with my husband Monday night (the night before writing the first post), where the "volunteer at the shelter and get it out of your system" came up.

However, last night at dinner he (oh boy, was I surprised) started the conversation about how it would make sense to get a dog which is around knee high, so he/she wouldn't jump on the table (not that that's a hurdle for the dog necessarily, since there are chairs as well, but I didn't tell him that... :) ).
He seems to understand that it is an important thing for me and not just a phase (mind you, I talked about how I'd love to have a dog since we met at several occasions).
Also he actually suggested a trial time. Search for a dog that would fit us, take him/her in to foster and then see how it goes.

As for the breed, as said, I am definitely not set on a pure bred, not at all, a mix would be totally fine with me, but as said, I really like the bulkier frame better.


@Kwenami : Luckily the 10 hours include the travelling time, but I agree, it is still too long. You say that shelters normally don't do trial runs (which I can understand and not understand), but to proceed anyways. How am I going to get a shelter to agree to a trial run? My biggest argument would be: We cannot adopt a dog without knowing if it is working out, but would be willing to, if we get the chance to foster and see if its a fit and good situation for all of us (including the dog).

@SusanLynn : I don't think I understand 100%. So Rescues are different than shelters in that they only foster dogs in homes and thus can be more accurate with their evaluation of the dog, whereas in shelters the dogs are kept in kennels and are only taken out for walks and play (hopefully) ? Is this the difference and the reason why they know more about the dog?

@StormyPeak : Yes, well, it is definitely not my intentions to go by myself and present him with the "end result". The dog would have 0 chances with him then.

Thank you all again for your great advice and help!
 

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@SusanLynn : I don't think I understand 100%. So Rescues are different than shelters in that they only foster dogs in homes and thus can be more accurate with their evaluation of the dog, whereas in shelters the dogs are kept in kennels and are only taken out for walks and play (hopefully) ? Is this the difference and the reason why they know more about the dog?
Hi BrittaS,

Let me explain more. Although there are a few private ones, most shelters are run by cities and counties, and the dogs are either picked up as strays or were surrendered by their owners. Particularly for the strays, the staff will have very little knowledge of the dog's history. The dogs are kept in kennels, and a dog's behavior in a kennel in a crowded shelter does not always indicate what the dog will be like in your home.

Here's, for example, a typical listing of dogs at a public shelter:

Dogs

And, this is a typical description: "My name is DIAMOND. I am a female and I appear to be a Pit Bull Terrier. The shelter staff think I am about 5 years old. I have been at the shelter since Oct 04, 2015." That is not a great deal of information, and as someone inexperienced with dogs, you can easily misread a dog's personality and temperament. For example, you may come across a dog that seems calm in the shelter, but is really fearful and shut down. This article explains more:

Adopting a Dog: Some Dogs are Easier Than Others | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

As I said, I spent twenty minutes with my first dog at the shelter before I filled out adoption papers for him. The shelter volunteer tried to be helpful, but she had no real knowledge of the dog. She was just really happy to be placing a dog in a home. In retrospect, I wish that someone would have pointed out the obvious: I was not the right owner for that dog, and he was not the right dog for me.

Rescue groups are private, not-for-profit groups. Some take owner surrenders, but they generally pull their dogs out of the public shelters. While some rescues keep their dogs in kennels, many foster their dogs with families who can tell you about the dog's true personality and behavior. Here are examples of rescue groups:

Forte Animal Rescue | All-volunteer 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

The Dexter Foundation

Notice how the descriptions are more detailed and the application process much more thorough. A rescue group like this can help you and your husband find a much more suitable dog than you'll be able to do on your own.
 

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You say that shelters normally don't do trial runs (which I can understand and not understand), but to proceed anyways. How am I going to get a shelter to agree to a trial run? My biggest argument would be: We cannot adopt a dog without knowing if it is working out, but would be willing to, if we get the chance to foster and see if its a fit and good situation for all of us (including the dog).
You're asking great questions, and let me elaborate more on this:

Where I live (southern California), the city and county shelters are huge, and they do not offer trial runs. I adopted my first dog from a municipal shelter. The adoption was final, and when I realized that I needed to find him another home, that shelter would not even take him back because I lived in an adjoining city. The next alternative I had was to place him in my local high kill county shelter where owner surrenders are very often euthanized. I couldn't bring myself to doing that, so after great effort and much luck, I finally succeeded in placing him in a private, no-kill shelter from which he was adopted by a more suitable family.

A few months later, I adopted my current dog from another public shelter, and because he had kennel cough, I wasn't even allowed to spend time with him in the play yard before I signed the adoption papers. Not a single staff member or volunteer talked to me about his behavior or history, and all I had to go on were my own observations and interactions with him through the bars of his kennel. I was just really lucky to choose a happy, well-adjusted dog.

This is why I'm recommending that you work with a rescue group. Reputable rescue groups often require much more thorough applications and home visits (as opposed to shelters which will check your driver's license), but they will often give you two weeks to make a final decision, and they will take back the dog if it doesn't work out for you.
 

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Ok, I agree and don't agree with this. First of all, Pits can be high energy or low energy depending on the dog. Most I've met that are under 4 are very high energy. Many I've met over that are medium to low energy. And as someone who has spent time with, cared for and trained MANY Pits, plenty of them are great with other dogs. MANY are not bred for fighting, and most shelter Pit Bulls are really just bully breed mixes with a huge array of different breeds in there. Also, even some who were bred for fighting aren't well..fighters. It's just that sometimes other dogs don't appreciate the rough and tumble play styles of bully breeds. I honestly don't think it's a challenge at all to find a very friendly, sweet Pit Bull that's good with people and other dogs. Most shelters and rescues are absolutely overrun with Pit Bulls, and the mean ones get put down quickly so the ones who stay there longer are good natured. I do think a Pit mix of some sort would probably be a good fit, but that depends on the OP's husband situation.
I didn't mean that to be an 'all pits aren't great with other dogs' - just that it CAN pose a great challenge, especially depending on what area you're from. Since we don't know the OP's area, I was hopefully preparing them for the worst case scenario with how much work it would be. There's a reactive one on my street right now that's driving me nuts (we keep having to run into the road) and they aren't my favorite breed, but I have nothing against them. You just need to prepare for the worst when it comes to how much work you need to put in, just in case :) Regarding energy, all dogs can be high or low energy-pits tend to be somewhere in the middle, and finding a dog with the energy level you want from a shelter isn't as difficult as say finding a low/medium energy malinois, or border collie.

Thank you all so much for your great advice and welcome!

I had a talk with my husband Monday night (the night before writing the first post), where the "volunteer at the shelter and get it out of your system" came up.

However, last night at dinner he (oh boy, was I surprised) started the conversation about how it would make sense to get a dog which is around knee high, so he/she wouldn't jump on the table (not that that's a hurdle for the dog necessarily, since there are chairs as well, but I didn't tell him that... :) ).
He seems to understand that it is an important thing for me and not just a phase (mind you, I talked about how I'd love to have a dog since we met at several occasions).
Also he actually suggested a trial time. Search for a dog that would fit us, take him/her in to foster and then see how it goes.

As for the breed, as said, I am definitely not set on a pure bred, not at all, a mix would be totally fine with me, but as said, I really like the bulkier frame better.


@Kwenami : Luckily the 10 hours include the travelling time, but I agree, it is still too long. You say that shelters normally don't do trial runs (which I can understand and not understand), but to proceed anyways. How am I going to get a shelter to agree to a trial run? My biggest argument would be: We cannot adopt a dog without knowing if it is working out, but would be willing to, if we get the chance to foster and see if its a fit and good situation for all of us (including the dog).

They don't normally do trials as it can lead to too many foster homes for the dog, and lots of work on their part in comparison to one foster who will commit to taking the dog on until they find that permanent home. Some DO allow this, and foster failures. You can do a lot of research from the previous fosters, since they will know what you're looking for - and also what items you will need to work on yourself. There will be lots of training time required by you, no matter what dog-there will be something you need to work on because it annoys you in particular. Some rescues DO allow this, but they're farther in between at least in my area. Look around, see what you find locally.

@SusanLynn : I don't think I understand 100%. So Rescues are different than shelters in that they only foster dogs in homes and thus can be more accurate with their evaluation of the dog, whereas in shelters the dogs are kept in kennels and are only taken out for walks and play (hopefully) ? Is this the difference and the reason why they know more about the dog?

Rescues tend to be fosters for dogs that are taken out of the shelter environment. This means someone is living with the dog-rather than the dog being kenneled all day, minimal exercise if at all, and only being let out to clean cages. That gives you a MUCH better idea of how the dog's temperament is in a home. The difference is that someone is putting a lot of extra time into rescue dogs. Shelter dogs mostly have unknown or partial histories and nobody to interact with (a typically awful situation to be in, but no fault to the shelters-they have a hard job and take on a LOT more dogs, with much fewer staff!!), whereas a rescue dog is showing you their current behaviours and temperament right now.

@StormyPeak : Yes, well, it is definitely not my intentions to go by myself and present him with the "end result". The dog would have 0 chances with him then.

Thank you all again for your great advice and help!
 

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@Kwenami, @SusanLynn,

Thank you so much for this great info!
We are located in the NW suburbs of Chicago.

Following your recommendations for rather looking at rescues and not necessarily at shelters, I browsed around to see if there is something in the area and I already found a couple of rescues that I’d consider approaching with our “wish list”. And yes, mostly the descriptions are more lengthy, detailed and give a lot more info.
What I am a bit wary about with rescues: Since the dogs are mostly in foster homes, which is wonderful for them, for me as a potential adopter, it is not as easy to meet 2-3 dogs at the same location. The shelter gives a better opportunity for this. But, I guess this is made up by the people really knowing the dogs and only making appointments with the families/dogs that would suit best.

@StormyPeak : I think I will make a visit to our local shelter with my hubby, and let him look around, so he gets a bit of a feel what is out there and also, maybe, understand my love for the bulkier types of dogs. Getting him gently more and more in the right direction 

@SusanLynn , you said you might recommend limiting the weight more to 20-35lbs. Can you elaborate on that? I understand that the strength of the dog grows with weight and thus less weight might be better for a beginner to handle, but doesn’t that also depend on the dog’s character? Like playing rough or being more gently, being well behaved on the leash or pulling like crazy? Is this a suggestion to rather be “safe than sorry”? (I’m asking because most Pit mixes I looked at today were 40-50lbs  )

Once again, thank you so much for all your help and advice!

Britta
 

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@BrittaS It's true that it takes more time on EVERYBODY's part to adopt through a rescue, but I think this is a more secure option for you and you'll appreciate the work you put in when you get a dog that suits your lifestyle :) The more work you put in, the easier the change is going to be and the easier you'll be able to understand your dog's needs. Glad to hear there's lots nearby and that the search is starting off well!
 

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@SusanLynn , you said you might recommend limiting the weight more to 20-35lbs. Can you elaborate on that? I understand that the strength of the dog grows with weight and thus less weight might be better for a beginner to handle, but doesn’t that also depend on the dog’s character? Like playing rough or being more gently, being well behaved on the leash or pulling like crazy? Is this a suggestion to rather be “safe than sorry”? (I’m asking because most Pit mixes I looked at today were 40-50lbs  )
When I came across my first dog, the Great Pyrenees mix, I was in the mindset that I wanted a Lab. I visited three shelters in the course of a weekend, and when I didn't find a suitable Lab, I convinced myself that the Great Pyrenees mix would be the "perfect" dog for me. He really was a striking dog with soulful eyes. I thought I wanted a larger dog too because I adored my neighbor's Golden Retriever.

What struck me about his size (sixty pounds) was the amount of space he and his crate occupied in our family room. Because he was destructive, we used baby gates to keep him confined to that room, and suddenly the house seemed so much smaller. I wanted a dog that would complement and add to my family's life, but everything about him - his size, his energy level, his need for exercise and training - quickly took over our lives, especially mine. He was far too much dog for me to handle.

For you, a larger, bulkier dog might be what you are looking for, but I think your husband may just be very overwhelmed with a bully breed, especially if you end up with a younger one. Shelters are full of adolescent, untrained pits because their owners tire of them and dump them. I'm sure that my Great Pyrenees mix had been kept and ignored in someone's backyard. When he was found as a stray, he had horizontal wounds across his front legs that indicated he might have been confined. Since he was quite a digger, I'm sure he freed himself and his owner never bothered to search for him.

Despite all of my efforts, I never felt entirely relaxed or comfortable with that dog, and that's what I'm worried about with your husband. He doesn't want a dog, and so if you insist on one, it should be a dog that he feels at ease with. All of these factors combined - size, energy level, personality, and behavior - will matter greatly.
 

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My hubby is decidely not a pet person. He dosn't understand keeping a dog in any way, shape or form. I am a dog person. I had the dog years before we met and the dog moved in with us when we married and bought a house. (we didn't live together before marriage) The dog has grown on him alot to the point where he takes her out, or goes out with her when he needs to do yardwork. He is distracted by her yawning and movement when he's working from home but today she wined so he let her sleep next to him. But he is still 100% against dogsitting other people's dogs and strongly dislikes visiting friends or family with dogs.

Granted, he's a big ole softie when it comes to animals. I got ducklings and as per his ruling they were supposed to stay outside in the shed, then he felt bad so it was the basement, and then he decieded that was too cold and they ended up in the back room (fully heated) and then somehow they ended up in the living room and at one point he was holding one and it fell asleep on his chest....

I'd see if you can do a trial run with a shelter dog that you can say yes or no to, not borrow someone elses dog. I know my hubby would probably never have chosen to get another dog if we just babysat, but this dog--my dog--was ok in his book. Really no reason but he got used to it.
In your situation I would probably apply to be a foster (Our local SPCA does both short term and long term, as short as a weekend) so that you can see if your husband changes his mind. Also this gives you a chance to see breeds/mixes you enjoy the most.
 
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@StormyPeak : I think I will make a visit to our local shelter with my hubby, and let him look around, so he gets a bit of a feel what is out there and also, maybe, understand my love for the bulkier types of dogs. Getting him gently more and more in the right direction 
There are really two hurdles that you are trying to clear with your husband:

1) Getting a dog
2) Getting a larger, bulkier dog

Between the two of these, I'd argue that the first one is the far more important one. You need your husband's buy-in on getting a dog. Having a dog, any dog, will be a significant change to your family, your lifestyle, and your home.

I understand that you'll be providing most, if not all, of the care, but you'll want your husband to enjoy having a dog. For example, will your husband enjoy going with you on walks with the dog, or will you be walking your dog alone while he's at home spending time on his computer? When I brought that Great Pyrenees mix home, I imagined that my teenage son would enjoy spending time with him and the dog would bring our family closer together. Instead, the dog took me away from my son. I was walking the dog alone, taking the dog to the dog park alone, training the dog alone, and so on. I feel alone and missed spending time with my son.

If your husband is indeed warming up to the idea of getting a dog, then I would hope that you might let him begin to explore what kind of dog he'd like to have instead of limiting the selection to one particular type of dog. One book that helped me greatly in selecting my current dog was:



I began to look not at individual breeds, but categories of breeds such as working dogs, hound dogs, gun dogs, and terriers as well as their traditional functions. Getting a descendant of the Great Pyrenees line of dogs made no sense for me. Without mountains to cross and sheep to watch over, he was lacking a purpose and a job to do. I also realized that my original choice of a Lab also would not have fit my lifestyle either. What I originally wanted, and didn't realize it, was a companion dog. I wanted a small dog that would curl up next to me on the sofa, and with that new knowledge, found the most perfect, lovable Pekingese-Shih Tzu mix.

Besides a book like this, another way to be exposed to dogs is to head over to your local Petsmart if they have a doggie day care. My local one does, and one can observe all of the dogs through the glass window. Spend some time observing the dogs with your husband and let him point out which dogs appeal to him the most. Going to parks, especially dog parks, will also give both of you a chance to observe dogs and possibly talk with their owners. Dog shows are another way to explore a variety of breeds or breed types.

The main problem with heading to a shelter to look at dogs is that you can easily start thinking about adopting a dog before you are ready to select one. Like me, you might see a handsome face and convince yourself that this is your "perfect" dog. Yes, I actually used that adjective to describe the Great Pyrenees mix before I brought him home. It's far too early for you to get emotionally attached to a shelter dog when your husband is just warming up to the idea of getting a dog in the first place.

To make this work, I'd suggest compromising about the second point. The more your husband can give input on what kind of dog he might enjoy without being steered to a particular type of dog, the more likely you'll get your dog and that the dog will become a family dog, and not just your dog.
 

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There are really two hurdles that you are trying to clear with your husband:

1) Getting a dog
2) Getting a larger, bulkier dog

Between the two of these, I'd argue that the first one is the far more important one. You need your husband's buy-in on getting a dog. Having a dog, any dog, will be a significant change to your family, your lifestyle, and your home.

I understand that you'll be providing most, if not all, of the care, but you'll want your husband to enjoy having a dog. For example, will your husband enjoy going with you on walks with the dog, or will you be walking your dog alone while he's at home spending time on his computer? When I brought that Great Pyrenees mix home, I imagined that my teenage son would enjoy spending time with him and the dog would bring our family closer together. Instead, the dog took me away from my son. I was walking the dog alone, taking the dog to the dog park alone, training the dog alone, and so on. I feel alone and missed spending time with my son.

If your husband is indeed warming up to the idea of getting a dog, then I would hope that you might let him begin to explore what kind of dog he'd like to have instead of limiting the selection to one particular type of dog. One book that helped me greatly in selecting my current dog was:

The Dog Encyclopedia: DK Publishing: 9781465408440: Amazon.com: Books


I began to look not at individual breeds, but categories of breeds such as working dogs, hound dogs, gun dogs, and terriers as well as their traditional functions. Getting a descendant of the Great Pyrenees line of dogs made no sense for me. Without mountains to cross and sheep to watch over, he was lacking a purpose and a job to do. I also realized that my original choice of a Lab also would not have fit my lifestyle either. What I originally wanted, and didn't realize it, was a companion dog. I wanted a small dog that would curl up next to me on the sofa, and with that new knowledge, found the most perfect, lovable Pekingese-Shih Tzu mix.

Besides a book like this, another way to be exposed to dogs is to head over to your local Petsmart if they have a doggie day care. My local one does, and one can observe all of the dogs through the glass window. Spend some time observing the dogs with your husband and let him point out which dogs appeal to him the most. Going to parks, especially dog parks, will also give both of you a chance to observe dogs and possibly talk with their owners. Dog shows are another way to explore a variety of breeds or breed types.

The main problem with heading to a shelter to look at dogs is that you can easily start thinking about adopting a dog before you are ready to select one. Like me, you might see a handsome face and convince yourself that this is your "perfect" dog. Yes, I actually used that adjective to describe the Great Pyrenees mix before I brought him home. It's far too early for you to get emotionally attached to a shelter dog when your husband is just warming up to the idea of getting a dog in the first place.

To make this work, I'd suggest compromising about the second point. The more your husband can give input on what kind of dog he might enjoy without being steered to a particular type of dog, the more likely you'll get your dog and that the dog will become a family dog, and not just your dog.
Thanks a lot for all these suggestions. Unfortunately my husband is not a big reader, but I am, so I'll just have to summarize the book for him :)

Yes, I know that the first part is the most important one and I can also relate to your statements, why it might be harmful for getting my husband to agree to get a new family member. Space wise it shouldn't be a big deal.

The good thing about going to the shelter this weekend would be that we are not able to adopt a dog right away, since we're heading out for a long weekend next week, that’s exactly why I would only go this weekend, because I know that I just can’t adopt on the spot. But when there (if he agrees to go), I should let him guide and see what his preferences are, you’re right. He knows I like the bulkier ones, and I actually have to say, I have no idea what he would prefer. The only thing he said: not higher than knee.

It is really helpful to have someone with a story that didn’t turn out “like a dream”, thanks so much for sharing in several posts. Yes, I want to avoid to totally turn my husband off by the wrong choice of dog. And to be honest: smaller dogs have their advantages when going on trips as opposed to “my choice” of dogs as well.
“Breed finder” on the internet, where you can test what breed would fit your lifestyle, always come up with puggles for us, though not a breed, maybe we should look in the small dog department after all. 

Thank you!
 
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That book is full of pages and pages of photos of every breed imaginable with very little text. What helped me is how the breeds are grouped into larger categories. I found myself flipping between the Spaniels and the companion dogs with no interest whatsoever in the livestock guardian dogs! I think that kind of resource would help your husband be able to articulate what most appeals to him.

Shelters in my area (southern California) are huge, but the breed selection tends to be limited to pit bulls, huskies, and GSD for large dogs, and chihuahuas, terriers, and poodle mixes for small dogs. These are the kinds of dogs that are dumped or are never picked up by their owners when they get lost. The more sought after breeds such as Golden Retrievers or French bulldogs are rarely available at the shelter. The best way to adopt those would be through a specialized breed rescue.

One caveat about viewing smaller dogs at the shelters is that they often tend to be filthy and matted. My local shelter has volunteers who help groom the dogs, but they generally look awful when they first come in. This might really turn off your husband since he's already been conditioned to believe that dogs are "dirty." Your husband is also going to come across feces in the kennels as well since the dogs, even if they are housebroken, have no other place to go.

Dogs at shelters are also often very stressed, and shelters can often be very noisy and overwhelming for dogs and first time owners. I'm not sure that you will want your husband to walk past kennel after kennel of barking pit bulls. Again, a place like Petsmart with a doggie daycare or a training area might give him a much better impression of dogs.

I would suggest that you go to the shelter yourself to scope it out first. Remind yourself that you are getting a general idea of the availability of dogs in your area. After rehoming my first dog, I visited countless shelters and saw hundreds of dogs until I was ready to adopt again.

Lastly, I'm curious why you're interested in the bulkier breeds. Do you have a lot of firsthand experience or are you admiring them from afar? Twice you've mentioned that your husband would be open to a smaller dog. Maybe a puggle-like dog would be a good compromise. :)
 

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It is really helpful to have someone with a story that didn’t turn out “like a dream”, thanks so much for sharing in several posts. Yes, I want to avoid to totally turn my husband off by the wrong choice of dog.
BrittaS,

Precisely because I want you to find a dog that you and your husband will love on your first try, I'd like to share just one more cautionary story. This member has a few threads, but I'll just post links to the first and the last. He's no longer active on this forum.

http://www.dogforum.com/general-dog-discussion/county-shelter-vs-pet-rescue-205882/

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training-behavior/urgent-no-choice-but-return-shelter-208242/

I would especially recommend closely reading his long post on the second page of the latter thread. I don't know if he ever tried to adopt another dog, maybe not.

When one brings home a new dog, the hope is that it would be a life-long commitment to the dog. Therefore, the selection process is hugely important. You'll want to be well-informed and well-equipped to make sure that your new dog is going to make both you and your husband happy.
 
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