planning for a pekingese!
February 16, 2011 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Planning for a Pekingese! Future lion-dog owner seeks advice and information! :)

I have wanted a Pekingese since I was in grade school and did a project on them. They sound just like me- small but brave, stubborn, and intensely loyal. They're also so goshdarn cute! I only like small dogs-- big ones scare me and all the ones I've encountered are quite jumpy and just not for me. My parents were not pet people and I had allergies growing up so I've never had a pet aside from fish and a (very small) lizard. I hated not having a furry playful pet when I was younger but realize that my parents made the right and responsible decision in not letting me getting a pet vs getting one hastily and then giving it away like so many people do.

I still have my heart set on a Pekingese and have recently started doing research again. I plan on waiting until I graduate college (this year!) and have a steady job. I live in a pet-friendly building in NYC but do not know how much longer I will live in this building after I get a "real" job. But I still like researching and being prepared. I have done a lot of research on the breed, but I have a specific few questions that I haven't seen answered on Google:

1) Bladder issues: How long can (adult) Pekes hold it? I will likely have a 9-5 job like so many other people in this fair city. Since Pekes are so small, will it be able to hold it for 8 hours like other adult dogs can? I am not interested in a puppy. I would like to adopt a Peke from a rescue (although I have read that they are very picky) so that it would be socialized properly, housebroken, etc. but am also open to Petfinder and (less so) Craigslist. I would still like a young dog, maybe 1 or 2 years old since I would like to have this dog for a good long time! Will an adult Peke be able to hold it for 8 hours or is its bladder function still as limited as puppys would be?
2) Age: I know that I don't want a puppy, but at how many months does a dog stop being a puppy? At what age does it become an uphill battle to train/housebreak a dog? What would be the best age range to look for?
3) Walking: Another reason I love Pekes is because they are supposedly very low energy. I like to walk for fun and to save money, but I'm no big exerciser myself. How long do Pekes need to be walked? I know 2x a day, 15-30 minutes depending on exercise needs of the breed is pretty much standard, but does that differ for toy dogs? Especially ones with short, bowed legs like the Peke? Also, I was thinking that it might be best to train the dog to use a litterbox so it can go while I'm at work or something and also because I read that small dogs often don't want to go outside in the winter and Pekes are highly susceptible to heat-related illnesses. I would still walk the dog, just not walk it so it can do its business.

I know this is long but I want to make sure to get everything out! Thanks for helping me plan and be a responsible future Pekingese owner! :)
posted by lovelygirl to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My family has two pekes (short hair) that I grew up with. First of all, I think you're making a great choice. They are cute, rarely bark, and seem happy to mill about the house and receive the occasional belly rub. I can't speak to the bladder question because we have a yard and a doggy door and they just go whenever they want. However, regarding the walks, our dogs are currently 13 and 15 years old, and look quite annoyed whenever you force them to walk 500 feet to the mailbox and back. When they were younger, it seemed like a brisk daily walk around the neighborhood was plenty. They never liked to play fetch, but do like tug of war. They get a big kick out of storming to the door whenever there are visitors to squirrels outside.

Pekes, despite their thick coats, are ridiculous with cold weather. The older one liked playing in the snow, which we would let her do until one day her joints locked from the snow and she just fell over and laid there. Lesson learned. Now that they are old they aren't quite as frisky, and have trouble with their spines (need to be gently picked up, set down from couches, beds, etc.). But they are still very affectionate and thrilled whenever we get come back to the house.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 9:40 AM on February 16, 2011

You probably don't want to get a dog until you are sure of your living situation, dogs arent so easily traumatized by moving and such, but you want to make sure you are in a place where you can reasonably expect to be able to provide a stable and healthy home for the dog for the next 15+ years before you commit to one.

Also, no litterbox, thats just wrong. There are pee pads you can get if you want to go that route, but in my opinion if you can't commit to being around enough to make sure the dog can do its business you might want to reconsider ownership.
posted by BobbyDigital at 10:15 AM on February 16, 2011

I disagree with BobbyDigital about needing a single house for the next 15 years. I know very few people who've stayed in any one place for more than a couple years, and their dogs are perfectly fine and well adjusted.

I do agree with him about leaving your dog alone for so long. Hours and hours alone? THAT'S what will make your dog neurotic, imo.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:50 AM on February 16, 2011

I have a 15-pound, 14-month old pekingese mix - he's half poodle (a much higher energy breed) so not all of my experience will translate.

1. As far as bladder, my pup can hold it overnight (~9 hours) just fine. Our schedule is to walk him for 20-30 minutes at 7:30am, 2pm, 7pm, and 10:30pm. That 7pm walk could probably be skipped for potty-purposes, but he needs the extra exercise. A healthy but small adult dog should be able to hold it for 7-8 hours, but for anything more you either need to come home during lunch, hire a walker ($15/day), or to paper train. Just a warning though - my 15 pound dog produces some pretty good sized pees and poos, and the pee pads don't do much to absorb smell; I don't know that I would want to paper train any dog bigger than 8 pounds or so.

2. As far as age goes, small dogs generally mature faster than big dogs. Ours came to us at 4 months, was fully housetrained by 6 months, stopped with the endless-puppy-energy at around 8 months, and will now cuddle on the couch at night instead of wanting to run all over the apartment. At 14-months, he still has a lot of puppy-like playfulness, especially in his play with other dogs, but the more frustrating parts of puppyhood are over, leaving only the cute bits:). I've heard that 2-years is the general line between puppy and adulthood. I don't have any experience house training adult dogs, so don't have any advice there.

3. Energy will likely not be a big issue for a peke, but attention will. Plan on spending a good portion of your evenings and weekends playing with him, cuddling, grooming, etc. Also, does that 9-5 include transit time? Can you come home at lunch for a quick walk and game of tug-of-war? Or otherwise afford a walker to come walk and play with your dog? A bored dog will find things to do (i.e. chew) while you're not home. I know I make this sound like a chore, but it's really not. My new favorite weekend activity is getting a coffee and spending an hour or two at the dog park watching him run around and play. And I still go out and leave him alone for an evening every once in awhile, but I make sure he gets extra attention and exercise before and after.

I wouldn't worry about waiting until you own a home to get a dog (I'm guessing that 80% of the dogs in the city wouldn't be there if everyone took that advice). But take a look at Craigslist and see what apartments are available in your price range and neighborhoods, then look again to see how many go away when you limit your search to dog-friendly places. It's not a big deal to find pet friendly apartments, but you are making a commitment that could make future apartment searching a little more stressful.
posted by twoporedomain at 11:15 AM on February 16, 2011

Not a peke owner myself, but have owned many small dogs in general. I would also reccomend, do not carry it around if you can help it. Make it walk around on it's own 4 feet when you can instead of carrying it. I know the temptation to carry a cute fluffy dog around is really, really strong. But little dogs get nutty when they're carried all the time. They start thinking that they are much larger than they are when they're always at eye level with people, and it can lead to aggression problems.

The nastiest little dogs I've ever been around were ones that got carried all the time. The nicest, coolest, chill little dogs I've been around were ones that were forced to walk on their own and live on the floor (instead of in beds, on couches, on laps ALL THE TIME.. not that a good sunggle will spoil a dog, just... a dog that's always "up" thinks it's tall when it's not. ) whenever possible.
posted by RampantFerret at 11:27 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ps. My parents tried to litter-train their dog (a chihuahua so different, I know) and it NEVER took. It can't differentiate litter-pad from carpet or books or newspapers. It just went everywhere for years until they invested the time in conventional outdoor potty training. And once they trained it to go outdoors, it was fine.
posted by RampantFerret at 11:29 AM on February 16, 2011

Personal experience: make sure s/he is properly socialized. I was around a few Pekingese as a kid (they were popular in the 1970s among family and friends) and they were all snappy. Granted, I was a child but I wasn't that (flighty, quick moving, loud) kind of child and still got snapped at.

PS: Good on you for wanting an adult rescue!
posted by deborah at 12:23 PM on February 16, 2011

This might not be an issue, but are you sure you're still not allergic? Please make sure before adopting. I found out a year ago that I'm allergic to cats...even though I've lived with cats my whole life with no problem. I had to make some tough decisions (because I have two cats) and ended up deciding to commit to giving myself a shot every week for a few YEARS so I can keep them. I was also very very sick for 18 months straight and the shots took 8 months to take effect. So you might want to save yourself some heartache by finding out beforehand if you still have allergies.
posted by FlyByDay at 5:43 PM on February 16, 2011

FlyByDay- I was never allergic to dogs, just cats! But the cat allergy went away too luckily :)

Thanks everyone for the advice! I was considering doggy daycare at least once a week depending on cost and coming home from work on my lunch break but that's just something I can't really plan until I get there.

Yay for learning! lol :)
posted by lovelygirl at 10:17 AM on February 17, 2011

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