Hi, I am a parent of autistic twins in Florida. I would like to know, as dog owners and dog lovers, which breeds of dogs that you would recommend for our family. I have been considering the Norewegian Elkhound but my only concern is that it may be too hot in Florida for such a furry dog.
I would like a dog that is good with kids. My kids are not aggressive (though many autistic children are). They are tolerant of dogs. My daughter used to be afraid of dogs but seems to have overcome that in the recent years. Their exposure to dogs has been limited to dogs of family members, friends, and dogs we meet on the path in our subdivision (which has a dog park, BTW!).
I do not want a dog that is too "barky" (barks all the time at the slightest thing) yet I would like a vigilant watchdog as well as good family friend. I want a dog with triangle, stand-up ears since I don't want to have to clean those droopy ears (yuck).
Please do not suggest the Lab. My sister had one and it was as dumb as a rock. I also used to live next door to one that barked it's head off all night.
I feel that a good-quality, well-trained dog would suffice. Autism service dogs cost as much as a car. Then what if it got hit by one? There goes all your investment. So I would like to get a dog and train it myself, or have it trained and ideally, have it trained to respond to commands in another language (preferably Chinese, Korean, or German). I realize to the dog, it's only the sounds that matter and the dog has no clue what language you're speaking! The language is just a serieso f sounds that the dog responds to.
I am a stay-at-home parent so the dog would not be locked up nine to five. I don't want to go to the pound as I do not think I would make a good choice there.
I have a cat who is 14 years old and I will not part with him till he parts from this earth as I love him very much.
We live in a house with a large yard, near a nature trail and near a dog park.
I would suggest an older dog that maybe a breeder is going to retire. The reason being so that you will not have to work with training a new puppy. For example, my breeders are all house trained and have been worked with extensively. I have rehomed many dogs and found that they are all still doing quite well.
Most, not all, shelter dogs have been abandoned or mistreated and that's why they end up at the shelter. I think you are wise to avoid that route.
Golden Retrievers are great and they are large enough that they can't be picked up and carried around. There is a family in our church that has an Autistic child and they have a Min Pin. They got theirs from a very reputable breeder who had retired him from breeding.
Best of luck in whatever you decide and those twins will love a new dog for sure!
(Not too sure about the cat thing though...my Bostons hate cats but hopefully you can find one that will get along.)
"A word to the wise ain't necessary, it's the stupid ones who need advice." -Bill Cosby
I think a good quality battery operated one should suffice. They require no training, tolerate kids and cats, and don't care what language commands are given in. They only bark if the bark button is pushed. I had one as a child and loved it, although my cocker spaniel named Buttons hated it. If the new ones are too expensive you might be able to find a good used one that someone traded in for a living, breathing companion animal. You might want to start watching for sales on batteries, or consider the rechargeables, though that should be the only maintenace expenses they require.
I will agree with Golden Retrievers, and I will put a plug out for the Australian Shepherds here. I have seen many of them becaome service dogs and most of them are very trainable. The are also tolerant of kids and other animals. Our aussies love the cat we have and the cat even attempts to eat out of the dogs bowls (which we discourage) The dogs just know better and leave the cat alone...one dog tolerates the cat and the other loves to play with the cat...the funniest thing is that cat plays back! Hope it helps!