Any tips about dogs in Taiwan?

Here’s my situation:
I have lots of money, and a decent amount of time,working only 24 hours a week. But that doesn’t matter, because there’s no way I could get a dog this year since:
A) My room is on the 7th floor and
B) My room is small. Very small.

But I want to be ready when I do adopt a dog. I see lots of people in Taiwan have dogs, but I have yet to see anything I’d consider a dog-sized home in Taiwan. In Taiwan what is “normal” and what is the real “ideal” for raising a dog in terms of apartment size (in ping).

I assume my room is like 5 pings. It’s basically a bed, some crap, and a bathroom. Not much to it. I can’t imagine how bored anything but the tiniest of dogs would be in this place. I feel horrible because I was so excited to adopt a puppy, and even made some plans to do so, but then I realized exactly how small my room was when I got here. I was led to believe it was bigger…

I want to know how I can keep a dog happy and healthy in Taiwan. I’ve done dogsitting but I will be a first time dog owner. I know it’s a serious life commitment, and I’m not taking the idea lightly. I’ve been thinking this over for a long time now, and I see myself wanting a dog when the time is right. When that time comes, I want to be ready.

How often do you take your dog to the vet? Can you recommend any vets in Neihu, especially Xihu? I live near a park, which is great, but if my dog needs to pee,I can’t imagine living on the 7th floor is a good situation for either of us.

I’m open to adopting any age so long as their personality and mine are matched. I want to be sure when I walk out the door with that dog that that is the dog I’m going to keep… I don’t like the idea of doing a trial run with the dog, because I don’t want to have the dog feel like it was abandoned, especially if it has been abandoned before. I’m not too big on looks or breed as I think all dogs are beautiful, but I’m not looking for a super girly dog. Basically, no poodles, pugs, or chihuahuas (an unfortunate preference since they are the smallest and would fit best in my tiny apartment). Dachshunds are ok though.

So any advice on how to keep a dog happy and healthy in a Taiwanese apartment, how big that apartment should be, what floor, etc… would be appreciated. I look forward to hearing from you guys.

The floor isn’t a concern. If you get a pup, carry him or her downstairs so he or she can learn to pee outside and not in the elevator. Do this until the dog is old enough to wait.

Re. the size of your place, that’s usually not a concern if the dog gets enough exercise. I have a huge place with a very big covered patio and garden, and the dogs spend 95 percent of their time sleeping or lazing in one spot. But I’m not really sure how big 5 ping is. If the dog can’t move around comfortably, that would be an issue.

If you can walk the dog three times a day, with one of the walks being at least 45 minutes (yes, even a small dog), and the dog isn’t too big (up to small medium, like a beagle), I’d say that you would be OK in the short term. Certainly, if you adopt a dog from a centre or rescue centre, he or she wouldn’t have much more space than your room anyway. But look for a place that’s a little bigger, for your own comfort as much as the dog’s, as you’ll be in close confines together.

Make sure the dog is tired out before you leave him or her alone at home, too. And have a clear idea of all your responsibilities, including expenses in caring for the dog and shipping him or her out with you should you leave.

For my first year and a half in Taiwan, I refused to get a dog because my flat was so small. When my first pup “happened” to me, however, I simply adjusted. She learned to hold it or to wee on the balcony; she also had a “pee-pee” corner covered in newspapers when she was smaller and couldn’t hold it. She didn’t suffer for lack of space, but I had to ensure that she got out at least twice a day, for at least 40 minutes at a time. There was a deserted park where I took her at night to run without her leash. She seemed very content and happy, and she grew quite large (about 25kg).

Dogs are a lot like children; they’re bouncy and adaptable! They can adjust to all manner of circumstances as long as you’re willing to make concessions for them. And the concessions are a small price to pay for the sort of devotion and love your dog will give you.

Re. your other questions and points:

Vet visits–I take my dogs to the vet once every year for their rabies vaccinations and every four years for their 8-in-1 shots. That’s it. The first year, you’ll need to go plenty of times, because of a series of vaccinations in puppyhood and one more a year later (every four or five years is more than enough for the boosters, except rabies, which is yearly by law). You’ll also need to get the dog neutered in the first year and microchipped. You may also have some diarrhea issues when you switch diets, which you should get checked out with pups. Also, ask marboulette what blood tests to get done to be on the safe side. You will need to buy heartworm preventives and give monthly or every six weeks (if Ivermectin). If you feed your dog a healthy diet and don’t let him or her get into any accidents, you won’t need to visit the vet much at all. I have seven of my own dogs, and after recovering from whatever ailment lead me to rescue them in the first place, I’ve only needed to take the clumsy one in for cut pads and a twisted leg. My dogs all get natural food (raw meat and bones with veg, fish oil, garlic, etc.).

You do need to learn how to train your dog (and yourself).

Personality–As well as personalities, you need to make sure you share the same level of energy. This is really important. You want a dog who is as active or as lazy as you are.

Trial run–Don’t get into feeling sorry for a dog and keeping him or her for the wrong reasons. It’s better for you both that, should you be in a position to choose, you have time to see that everything works out the way you expected. This is for the dog’s happiness as well as your own. Many rescue orgs let you try the dog for several weeks before making a decision.

Dachshunds–not a bad choice, as they’re not barkers by nature, but do give the dog some kind of way of either getting onto or under your bed for a little more space and variety when moving around in your tiny place.

I would try and get away from the idea of dog ownership. There are lots and lots of dogs out there that are owned but not adequately cared for. Visiting, feeding, watering, combing, bathing, debugging, massaging, walking, training, socialising other people’s dogs would all be very worthy things to do.

There are also animals in need of rescue that need less space. Cats, rabbits, guine pigs, mice, fish, tortoises, birds etc. etc.

p.s. I don’t think chihuahuas are girly at all.

I’m allergic to cats, and a little to rabbits, but not dogs. My girlfriend hates mice, and forgiving me for not getting to excited about fish. Thanks for your suggestion. Actually, thank you EVERYONE for your many great tips and advice. I still want a dog but I will get one when I’m ready.