We have been talking about getting a dog for well over a year. After a lot of research and talking to people, we thought a lab would be the way to go. Our neighborhood is full of dogs everywhere and most of the lab owners suggested getting a dog who is 3-4 years old so we could skip the chewing stage.
I found a beautiful chocolate lab about an hour from us. He's 3 1/2 years old. His family (mom, two teenage daughters) were relocated here for the military and don't have time for him. She said he's well trained (10 or so commands), runs 5-7 miles a few times per week, LOVES kids, and is very sweet and gentle. We went to visit him two nights ago. My youngest son was sick so he stayed home with his grandma while my husband and older two went to meet him. The owner said we could take him for a few days to see if he was a good fit.
The ride was ok. When we got home, he lunged at the door and flung it open. Then he galloped (because I'm convinced he's the size of a small horse) up the stairs and terrified my 3 year old who was sleeping at the time. Since then, the 3 year old has been alternating between trying to be very brave and being terrified. My middle son is indifferent to him because, despite being a retriever, he doesn't want to play catch with him. Plus, the dog chewed up his favorite ball (he has 19 other favorite balls so he'll get over it) and his favorite Darth Vader slippers.
My daughter, the dog whisperer, loves him. The damn dog seems to love her too. He even lets her sleep on him.
He may know 10 commands but he sure as hell doesn't listen to them unless you have food in your hands. There is no way this dog has run 5 miles recently. He's 10 lbs overweight and tires out after a few blocks. He's 100 lbs and I can barely control him during walks. I sure as hell couldn't control him if he saw another animal. Somehow the damn dog does ok when my daughter is walking him (with help). He loves my husband. He's been a bit aggressive when he sees other dogs, which is a huge problem because we love all of the ones around us.
Tonight I took my pillow from him. In fairness, he was having sex with it at the time. He sort of lunged at me but stopped. It was enough that I was startled and my husband jumped between us. After that he bowled over my 5 year old.
Everyone in our neighborhood knows how much my daughter loves dogs so we had about 7-8 of them stop by tonight to ask how things were going. THey were all kind enough to tell her not every dog is a good fit and it might take some looking to find one we can all love. She has been sobbing for hours but understands and doesn't want her brothers to be scared.
So now we are back at square one. It was too big of a jump to go from no dog to a 100 lb Marmaduke. While I'm not anxious to go through puppy stages, I think my kids would do better with a smaller dog who would grow with them a bit. Maybe 100 lbs is too much and a medium sized dog would be better. I'd worry about a small dog getting hurt. So we're looking for a breed that would be gentle but playful, not become a behemoth, and would be great with kids. From a purely selfish standpoint. the less slobber and shedding, the better (but I'll manage no matter what). Plus, if we found one who could run with me, that would be even better.
Any suggestions? Ideas? Advice? I don't really drink but this dog had me reaching for the whisky. I'm ready to give him some too!