Dog Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Howdy!

My name is Danny, 27 years old and work as a sailor in the Danish offshore Windmill industry. My working schedule is divided into 4 weeks offshore (on a vessel) and 4 weeks off (at home). My girlfriend, Eva (26), is unfortunately physically handicapped, due to a football injury when she was 20. She perminantely damaged the lower nerves in her back. She is still able to walk, slowly, and only shorter distances at a time before needing to rest/sit/lay down. She is unable to work and at the age of 22 went on official "retirement" (disability). Understandably, she can feel very lonely when I'm gone for almost a whole month at a time every 2nd month. We have therefore discussed getting a dog. Not just for social reasons for her, but because of the fact that we both love dogs/animals in general. We have a cat, but we both want something a little bigger/funner.
Anyway, our problem is, when I'm out sailing, she will have to walk this dog, alone, every day for 4 weeks straight. It's not physically possible for her to walk very far, and she is not strong enough either to be able to "hold" onto a full-grown dog/puppy if it gets too excited or decides to want to run out onto he road. A small dog is not a possibility. We have thought about getting a service/working dog, which could pull Eva on a dog cart.
My question to you guys are: Realistically, is this a good idea or not? When I am home, we have no issues at all. I am very energetic and can run/walk with the dog for many kilometres every day. But I'm nervous when I'm not home. It takes time to train a dog, to obey commandoes, and to pull a woman like Eva (she weighs 60 kilos (130 lbs)). Realistically, how long does it take to train this type of dog? And how old before he/she is ready to pull a grown up like Eva? I know it depends on race. We are not picky when it comes to race. We both dream about having a husky or malamute. But we've also looked into the Spanish bulldog.
Any suggestions? Which race would be good for her? How long would the type of training necessary for Eva take?
Any help/tips/advice would be awesome!

Thank u! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
A husky would not be a good choice for your situation (unless it's a senior) they're highly energetic, and known for being stubborn. I would look into service dogs if you can, otherwise opt for an older or calmer dog and enlist the help of a trainer in your area to help you both along.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
876 Posts
I definitely would not look into a husky!! You don't want a sled dog, they're trained to GO as much as pull and may not stop when you ask them to. However there are other pulling/carting breeds out there that are far less .. um, spitz-like, that are also a good big size to hold onto should she need some help getting back up if she falls.

Bernese Mt Dogs, Greater Swiss Mt Dogs and Great Pyrenees have been used to pull carts for centuries. Dobes, Rotties, herding dogs like GSD and Shelties, and all bully breeds also tend to enjoy pulling. And most importantly all of these breeds are NOT known for their stubbornness! ..Except maybe Pyrenees? I don't know much about those.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,613 Posts
I have to third and suggest avoiding a Husky. I think with you being gone a lot of the time, a puppy is not a great idea. Puppies need exercise and attention, and lots of it. I would be concerned that an over-excited puppy could pull her over.

Have you looked into a service dog? :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sabina88 and cos

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,599 Posts
I raised Huskies and raced them, no way are they suited for service dog work.

As others have said, please contact Service Dog Assoc for info on obtaining a service dog. Good luck and keep us updated.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,746 Posts
Hi Danny,

I agree with the others. A husky or malamute is not going to be the right dog for your girlfriend, no matter how much you both love the look of the dog and the exercise that you can provide during the time when you're at home. The idea of a husky pulling your girlfriend along in a cart sounds romantic, but she doesn't have the physical strength and ability that a dogsled musher MUST have to be in full control.

A trained service dog would be ideal. If a fully trained service dog is not available, maybe she can acquire a guide dog that has had training, but hasn't passed the rigorous testing needed to serve the blind.

And, I wouldn't dismiss an older companion dog. I have a terrific senior Pekingese-Shih Tzu mix that is a lovely, happy-go-lucky, low-energy companion, and would be a great fit for someone with your girlfriend's physical limitations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,022 Posts
It's a nice idea to use a dog to pull her but what's not a nice idea is her losing control of the dog and being yanked into the path of a vehicle or dragged across the cement.

Huskies are powerful strong willed dogs. They need a musher who can be in constant control of them and they need strenuous consistent training as they are prone to being a stubborn breed.

I would suggest an older dog that's already leash trained. Get in touch with a good trainer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
For getting around, could your girlfriend get a motorized chair or a scooter? I don't know how expensive they are though. It could also be used for taking a dog for a walk if the dog is well-behaved?

Others have already said that pulling your GF around without physically healthy companion is not a good idea and I must agree. Dogs are always dogs and if it gets some silly idea, the human in the cart becomes an unwilling passenger. If the dog is not pulling, some people use head collars as safety back up (ie. where I live, some big dog owners use these collars to make sure they can control their dogs in any circumstances like on a slippery road even if the dog is well trained).

Puppies are usually energetic, so you should probably look for an adult dog, likely some that has already acquired some training. Sled dogs are not the most trainable breed group. If your girlfriend wants the dog to do tasks, retrievers and herding are your first breed group choices. I would also list calm and social as desirable traits.

One breed surfaced in my head. Samoyed. It is not very big so not pulling your girlfriend but the ones I have met are friendly and cute. The person who has them here also trials in obedience and rally-O so these dogs are not untrainable either. But their coat is quite abundant so if you live in a warm climate, forget arctic dogs.

Lab and golden are more biddable and quite common so you could find an adult dog with the temperament required by your needs. But as young dogs they are too energetic and strong to handle for your GF alone.

My dog is a rough collie but there is also a short-haired variety. Very easy to train, sometimes calm, but enjoys long walks and sports too. Usually friendly. How about that?

Someone suggested Bernese and Dobie and other big breeds. Be aware that many large breeds have skeletal health issues and the dog must be absolutely healthy (and adult, at least one or two years old) to do hard physical work. So your dog may wash out before it even started its job. Also, large dogs are strong and as young and untrained, may prove impossible for your GF to handle.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top