Getting a dog

(56 Posts)
ILikeToClean Tue 15-Jan-13 21:24:27

I've been stalking the doghouse for over a yr, after reading all the pros and cons we've decided to get a dog. Our set up is me, dh, 2 dd's (10 and 8 yo), have the space for a medium size dog, I work 2 days a wk but PILs come over to look after dd's so dog would be left for maybe 5 hours, so have looked into a dog walker to perhaps come in on those 2 days around lunchtime, depending on dog and their needs. Dh would walk dog before and after work on those days. Main issue is we have a 15 yo cat who is v chilled out but has only ever met one dog (a dachsund who was the same size!), she was curious but not fussed. I have figured out where dog and cat will go in the house, got my head around the extra cleaning and work involved, basically thought of nothing else for ages, and think I've got everything covered! We're looking at a rescue dog rather than puppy, i'll take time off once we get dog, so will dh, just wondering if we need to think about anything else? I know it's a big decision so I guess I just some reassurance we are doing the right thing! Sorry for long post! Any more advice?

letseatgrandma Tue 15-Jan-13 21:55:51

I had to do a double-take to see if I'd written this!

There are some differences actually-but quite a few similarities. I am stalking this forum as well-but have been for less time than you! We also have a 15 year old cat, have DC-11 and 9 and I work 2 days each week with grandparents who look after the DC. I would ideally like to get a dog at the beginning of the 6 weeks summer holidays as I'm a teacher and would have lots of time to settle the dog in.

I am very unsure if it's the right thing to do as well mainly because of the long days I'm at work. They're not long days eg 8-8 compared to a commuter, but they aren't 10-2 short days either! The dog would only really be left from 9-3.30 though as DS wil be back from school by then, and either a dog walker, me (in my lunch hour) or my dad would come in at 12. Would two lots of three hours be too much to be left for 2 days a week? I would be there 100% for the other 5 days!

DH is more concerned about the finances side-cost of insurance/kennels etc, but I don't think that would be a massive amount.

What sort of breed would you prefer?

topbannana Tue 15-Jan-13 21:55:56

Insurance perhaps <shrugs>
Apart from that you seem to have it all covered though your username suggests you could be in for a shock grin
Good luck!

Floralnomad Tue 15-Jan-13 22:18:02

Personally with a 15 yr old cat I'd wait until she/he had gone . Dogs coming into a house very often have a very detrimental effect on a cats lifestyle and many cats either end up living upstairs or moving out altogether. There have been other threads on this topic recently ( sorry I can't do links I'm a technophobe) . Cats and dogs can live harmoniously but IME its better if they come at the same time or the dog is the incumbent pet. Please think seriously about how you would feel if your cat left home. Aside from that your situation sounds ideal .

ILikeToClean Tue 15-Jan-13 22:25:03

Letseatgrandma-I think leaving the dog for that time sounds fine, a lot of friends work 4hours a day and dogs seem ok, I do commute so it's a long day but PILs are there and like you, I'm there the other 5 days. Quite like labs or spaniels,what about you? I think you should go for it, wish I could have 6 wks off to get dog integrated, where would you look for a dog? Good luck!
Top banana - yes thought about insurance but can't really cost that until we know which dog. And yes, one of my main issues was the cleaning but got my head around that and know I won't mind extra work because it'll be worth it!
Thanks for your replies!

ILikeToClean Tue 15-Jan-13 22:36:09

Floral - yes my cat is a concern but it feels wrong to wait until she dies, can imagine dd's, right cat is gone, can we have a dog now then? She's fairly sprightly and could live a good while longer, I don't want to be wishing her time away, iyswim. She'll have her own space with her cat flap and dog will come in/out of another door. She spends a lot of time upstairs, dog won't be allowed up there, she never ventures beyond our garden. Don't you think this could work?

Floralnomad Tue 15-Jan-13 22:48:47

You may find its not an issue but I have several friends who had cats and then got a dog and without exception it has impacted severely on the cats lifestyle , and once you've got the dog you're not likely to say 'oh dear the cats upset the dog will have to go ' . I'm probably too sentimental about my animals . One of my friends had 2 cats ,one now lives upstairs and the other doesn't come in , she's really blasé about it but it would make me sad as before her cats used to be the centre of attention and spend the evenings in the lounge with the family.

ILikeToClean Tue 15-Jan-13 23:02:29

It is a big consideration for me, had my cat longer than dh and dd's! Dd2 adores cat so think she'll probably pay her lots of attention and I've stressed we can't just forget about her. Dh adores cat too so it's something we'll really work on. Thanks for your thoughts, will still keep thinking and getting my friend to bring her dachshund over as she has been doing.

Floralnomad Tue 15-Jan-13 23:08:57

If you're going down the rescue route why not look at fostering first? That way you could see how the cat gets on with a dog but get rid of the dog if it doesn't work . Most rescues use foster careers and Battersea are actively looking for them at the moment at their 3 sites ( you need to live within a 2 hour drive) , I assume that cats do not preclude you from fostering but don't actually know. I'm not trying to put you off getting a dog as dogs are the best pet !!!!

ILikeToClean Tue 15-Jan-13 23:14:47

Not a bad idea, thanks will consider it. I know you're not trying to put me off, there's a lot to consider, hence my year long thinking!

LadyTurmoil Tue 15-Jan-13 23:42:19

ILiketoClean Which part of the country you are in? This rescue is in Hertfordshire www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=463928476989861&set=a.164763153573063.30371.162793817103330&type=1&theater and they are begging for fosters as they have loads of dogs at the moment.

yesbutnobut Wed 16-Jan-13 09:30:56

We got a puppy last year and it really has put my cats' noses out of joint! I love my cats and feel bad that their quality of life has been affected - they do keep out of the way a lot now whereas before they would always been around. However I don't regret getting the dog.

What I did was choose a breed which was not likely to chase - ie not a terrier or greyhound type (probably an over generalisation here and she does chase them anyway). Also a small breed so the dog's not too intimidating (she's about the same size as the cats). Obviously I moved the cats' bowls etc to a private place for them, and they can still go outside via cat flap. I make a point of spending time with the cats, playing with them, stroking them etc so they still get lots of attention. I think they have a better life than a lot of cats TBH.

Fostering first to see if it works with your cat is a good idea, but this wouldn't allow time for your cat to get to know the dog. With ours, a year on things are SO much better than the early days and the cats will now stand up to the dog and are back in the sitting room with us in the evenings. It didn't happen overnight though.

Good luck! I know Battersea are crying out for fosterers at the moment due to dogs abandoned over Christmas. Many Tears have loads of puppies too.

Booyhoo Wed 16-Jan-13 09:37:14

with such an old cat i would hold off too until she is gone.

dcat2 was 1 year when we got ddog and she hates him. she just wont be in the same room as him at all and spends most of her time snoozing up on our beds (which is fine with us)

dcat2 was rescued as a tiny kitten when ddog was 1 year old and is his best friend. they sleep together, play with each other (dcat always gets the better of him even though he's a hulking great 45kg golden retriever now!grin) she even eats beside him out of his dish.

i would wait unless you are pretty sure of how your cate will cope.

Booyhoo Wed 16-Jan-13 09:37:58

sorry that should be dcat 2 and dcat 3

ILikeToClean Wed 16-Jan-13 10:12:01

Thanks for all your thoughts. Re fostering, DH does not want to do it, he thinks it would be more disruptive for the cat rather than have 1 dog to get used to, who will be there to stay. Also, can you foster if you work - not sure how my PILs would feel about having to sort out a dog if it wasn't "ours", iyswim.

Yesbutnobut - sounds like you have done the whole cat/dog integration really well. This is how I am planning on doing it. What sort of dog have you got? I love terriers but think they are a no-no!

Booyhoo - she does not seem like an old cat, that is the thing, I'm hoping she will be here for a few more years and as mentioned before, don't want to be "waiting" for her to go and wishing her time away. My gut instinct tells me she will be fine, she spends most of her days sleeping so as long as the dog cannot get to her and she still gets our attention, I think she will take it in her stride, as she did when DCs came along and pulled her about! She does have the best life of anybody in our house and that won't change!

DH thinks it might be a better idea to get a puppy as it will then be the same size as her - I think that will be too much work though!

And to think - my main concern with getting a dog was the cleaning issue -lol!

Thanks for all your thoughts - keep them coming!

letseatgrandma Wed 16-Jan-13 10:30:23

What small breed did you go for, yesbutnobut?

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 10:34:01

don't take time off when you get a dog, carry on as normal. The dog needs to be brought into your normal family home so it isn't a shock when you return to work.

Also if you use a reputable rescue they will place a dog with you that is used to cats and children (usually)

ILikeToClean Wed 16-Jan-13 10:49:51

Thanks OwlLady, I was going to take time off only so I could then go out and leave the dog for a couple of hours to see how it coped, then a bit longer etc, just so I didn't come back to a distressed dog/cat/house! Also would help to know if we definitely did need someone to come in. A couple of my friends leave their dogs for 4-5 hours and they are fine, I know it depends on the dog. Obviously a rescue will be a big help in choosing the right dog for us so we will take our cue from them too. That is my other obsession, stalking the rescue sites, although we cannot get one until end of Feb so I am trying not to!

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 11:08:36

Crate training is good for a new dog (obviously will depend on age though)

ILikeToClean Wed 16-Jan-13 11:55:51

Yes will probably get a crate if the dog is younger. I think we would like a fairly young dog. Thanks.

yesbutnobut Wed 16-Jan-13 12:30:16

I've got a cavalier king charles spaniel. She does chase/show interest in the cats and my bolder cat is now good at just ignoring her. My more timid cat is more likely to be found upstairs though she's fine when the whole family are at home. The one thing I forgot to mention in my earlier post is, of course, training! My dog does know not to chase the cats but she can't resist sometimes. If you are really determined then I'm sure you can train your dog not to react to the cats - I had a trainer in when I first got the pup and she suggested keeping the pup on a long line in the house and to stand on the line as soon as the pup makes a move for the cat. I didn't follow this through but a more determined owner would do I'm sure.

Final thing (it's all coming back to me!) was when I first got the pup I used a feliway diffuser in the room where the dog spent most of the time (ie kitchen). Not sure if this made any difference though I believe it's meant to.

Since cats can live to 20+ these days I can quite understand why you don't want to wait until the cat moves on.

onlyoneboot Wed 16-Jan-13 13:02:35

our rescue was supposedly 'ok' with cats and she is just that, ok. She chases them occasionally but they can scoot out the cat flap. They tend to sleep upstairs which they did anyway. The main problem I have is the more adventurous/dafter one follows us on walks! Kind of sweet walking along with my dog and cat but lots of roads so I've taken to shutting her in. You're being very wise doing all your research instead of jumping in feet first like I did blush

LadyTurmoil Wed 16-Jan-13 13:23:35

Do NOT get a puppy! Find a rescue that you're happy with, talk to them extensively about what you want/expect/able to put up with. If they're good, they will listen to your concerns and try to match you up with some suitable dogs. Puppies are adorable but they are lots of hard work (more than you ever imagined) and, from what you've said before, I don't think you'd like it! I think that you know more or less what you're getting with an older dog, it might have some issues that will require training but, at least, you'll know size/hair/general temperament from the start. My brother has a little Bichon/poodle crossbreed who has always been very sweet and easy to train. You could look at www.manytears.co.uk. They do have lots of ex-breeding dogs who need another dog for company but they may have some which are suitable and they seem to give fairly good write-ups about the dog. I know they've been criticised on here for charging for follow-up behavioural advice but there's another thread on here about Many Tears, where owners have had positive experiences adopting from them... but there are so many other rescues to choose from if you do a good google search. Good luck! smile

ILikeToClean Wed 16-Jan-13 13:52:57

Yesbutnobut - thanks for the advice about training, yes I would definitely go to classes if I need to. Hopefully we will get a dog that is not fussed around cats though and it won't be too much of a problem, more that the cat might be a bi freaked. What is a feliway diffuser though? Forgive my ignorance!

LadyTurmoil - I won't get a puppy, when I say younger dog I mean around 1yr+, DH and DDs think a puppy would be wonderful but they won't be the ones doing all the work, although I can see where DH is coming from by saying we can then bring a pup up how we want and it will never be bothered about the cat as it would not know any different. But yes, they are still a lot of work and you are right, I am probably too anal to cope!

Re rescues: I have looked at MT, I too have read lots of positives about them. Dogs Trust don't seem to have any dogs that we like that are good with cats, children and can be the only dog, although I will keep looking at them. Our local rescue completely ignores my emails and I can't ever get through on the phone so think we may have to look further afield.

Thanks so much everyone, I do think we are doing the right thing and going into it with our eyes open, sometimes if you overthink (as I tend to!) you can talk yourself out of things and I do still feel apprehensive, but sure that is normal. Like having children, if you thought too much you would never do it!

As I said, end of Feb is when I can really start (MT seem fairly quick with their process), so will keep you posted.

Letseatgrandma - has this helped you too?

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 15:10:08

Instead of emailing the rescue, ring them. They most probably don't have time to check through all the emails or they might not be very email savvy grin

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