Is a dog out of the question

(147 Posts)
feelinlucky Thu 14-Nov-13 17:12:44

My 11 year old has always wanted a dog. It's just me and him and I know he would benefit hugely from us having a dog. But! I work and I don't know if it's fair to leave a dog on it's own most of the day. Ds is back just after 3 and I guess I could employ a dog walker. I would be happy with an older dog and a type that would be ok for periods on their own. I know next to nothing about dogs but I do read a lot on here and have learned such a lot about the responsibility. Any advice from those in the know would be great. Thank you.

feelinlucky Thu 14-Nov-13 22:55:22

Hi all, thanks so much for your really valuable comments. Maybe I should wait to see if our circumstances change before we get a dog. The consensus seems to be don't and so I'll take that on board. It's been useful to sound it out and get views. Hooray for mumsnet.

Hi OP, just wanted to pop in to say that if yr son is interested in dogs, there is so much he can get involved with. With Christmas coming up, how about "adopting" a dog? Many rescues have this sort of sponsorship arrangement,and yhou often get pics, news from "your" dog, even visits in many cases can be arranged.

There are many dog based social activities - lots of rescues are glad of help and assistance in regularly walking the dogs, and helping with all sorts of social events,like dog shows, fun walks, Christmas events etc. If word gets round he likes dogs and is good at handling, he'll get lots of invites for shows (junior handler classes, and fun classes). Ask around at local dog training classes if he can sit in, or even take part.

Another charity that might be suitable is the wonderful Cinnamon Trust - this is where you commit to walk a dog regularly for an elderly person in yr area, or someone who is v poorly. It's a lovely relationship as you are being of help to both the person and the dog - it's a fine example for your son of doing something to help others.

I guess what i am trying to say is that it isn't a binary have dog/don't have dog - there are millions of ways you can incorporate dogs into your life without actually owning one. All these will also be v good experience if you do decide to adopt a dog at a later stage, and also give you a great way to gently assess your son's real interest and commitment. It's fun to walk a dog on a warm summer evening - on a wet cold Saturday in February not so much! If he is still keen after that, you know he really is serious. Good luck. smile

Ecuador Thu 14-Nov-13 23:33:42

Lovely post Scuttlebutter smile.

Well done OP for listening to both sides of the discussion, so many people just charge on ahead without really taking on board the negatives of which there are many although of course heaps of positives to dog ownership too.

Spero Thu 14-Nov-13 23:34:26

Totally agree that you must be very clear that you can afford the food, vets bills etc as well as having plans in place for holidays etc. there is a lot to think about. You will have to commit to a minimum of two walks a day and you will have to get a dog walker, I quite agree that leaving a dog from 9-3 5 days a week is unacceptable. But with an hours walk and interaction in the middle, I would have no problem, if the individual dog could cope with it.
So if you have sat down and thought it through and are confident you can afford it, both time and money wise, I strongly disagree that working rules you out.

the benefits of my dogs to my daughters are not so much that she gets to play with them but that they are more her friends - they hang out with her and watch telly, they go for walks with us, they sleep on the end of her bed. She can cuddle them when she is feeling lonely. She isn't really into running around with them and chucking stuff for them to chase. They do make walks much more fun, it is enjoyable just to watch them sniffing about and saying hello to other dogs. My staffy is two, so only just adult but she has lost a lot of her puppyish jumping about and we don't miss it!

So again, I don't think an older dog is necessarily ruled out. A lot depends on why your son wants a dog and what kind of relationship he wants to have.

It is this blanket 'NO you work' that pisses me off. It means that no one is looking at the individual dog and what an individual can offer that dog. However loving a rescue centre they can't possibly spend the kind of time with each dog that he will get with a family in a home, even if you are working. Every time I have visited one of those places I feel so sad for the dogs. The little dogs trot up to you hopefully, the bigger dogs often hurl themselves against the fences and frankly look insane and dangerous.

But I think they are just bored and lonely.

Someone posed the question earlier in the thread - is that kind of life really preferable to a home where the adults work? Really?

feelinlucky Fri 15-Nov-13 07:08:23

Scuttle what a fabulous post. I love the sound of cinnamon and will check it out. Thanks all again.

Doghouseisscary Fri 15-Nov-13 21:26:36

I am intrigued by threads like this. Who, really, according to some of the posters on here, is 'allowed' to get a dog? Who can GUARANTEE that they will be home most of the time for the next fifteen years? Peoples lives change.

When I got my dog I worked from home, perfect. Then I lost that job and had to go out to work. FULL TIME! so did DH! over the years our jobs changed, DH and I have had a medley of full time, part time, Maternity leave, 4 days weeks, 3 day weeks, long days, short days between us, with a school aged teen thrown in the mix who was sometimes back at three, and at home in the school holidays, and is now at uni but home in uni holidays.

At the moment Ddog is left at home during school hours in term time, except on Fridays when I am off, and school / Uni holidays. I shoot home at lunchtime to let him out for a wee.

All these changes seem to have made no difference at all to ddog, who has been perfectly happy, relaxed and accepting of all circumstances. Should I have rehomed him as soon as I wasn't working from home?

I think nobody except Farmers wives are ever allowed a dog on here... hope they never get divorced and have to live in a flat and go out to work...

Spero Fri 15-Nov-13 21:28:37

It is always lovely to meet another dog owner who lives in the real world.

mistlethrush Sat 16-Nov-13 09:58:25

DH and I both work full time. At the moment we're lucky that DH works from home - but he's working, so we have a dog walker. In fact, mistlehound has worked out that she's ignored during the day and when I get home with DS she greets us as though she's been on her own all day. If DH does have to work away from home in the future, mistlehound has got used to sleeping all day apart from a nice walk in the middle of the day. I will probably try to spend more time working from home - but as she has an established routine, she will be fine.

Booboostoo Sat 16-Nov-13 11:09:09

OP I think potentially there are two issues here:

Firstly, all dogs are different. Some would be happy with a quieter lifestyle, some would go totally bonkers and you would have a lot of behavioural issues on your hands. Finding an older dog from a very reputable rescue would be a good way to go here as you have better chances of getting the right dog.

Secondly, I think that what you describe is perfectly doable BUT it does mean that most, if not all, of your free time would have to be spent on the dog. So you would need to make time in the morning to walk/train/entertain the dog and repeat that in the afternoon. On weekdays when you are out at work you would need to stay in for the evening or take the dog out with you, otherwise that would really be too many hours left alone. Weekends would have to be doggy-time which may restrict the kinds of activities you could do.

Now I am not saying this is not doable or something you would not enjoy, plenty of people live like this and it's enormous fun and very rewarding, but if you've never had a dog before it's easy to underestimate the kinds of changes it requires in your life and if, once you have dog, you find that you are resenting the duties and changes, it is too late.

Spero Sat 16-Nov-13 15:08:11

Weekends would have to be doggy time? What, the entire weekend devoting to walks and building your dogs self esteem?

Sorry to be rude, but this is nonsense.

Today, my dogs were pretty much ignored from getting up time until 11 due to housework etc. we then went out on our bikes for two hours and they had a great time running after us.

We came home and they both flaked out. They will be snoring for a few hours at least. So I am off enjoying myself. They will get another walk this afternoon and then will be pretty much left to their own devices until bedtime.

Dogs are not children. Neither dogs nor children require constant stimulation and helicopter parenting. They are quite happy to trot around the house with me, or sit in a corner chewing a toy or licking their unmentionables. Both are healthy and happy and routinely left alone for about four hours every day.

Because I have to do other things which don't revolve around dogs.

Booboostoo Sat 16-Nov-13 15:37:10

Which include getting unreasonably annoyed at people on the internet?

I didn't say anything about building the dog's self esteem. I said if the OP spends a lot of time away from home during the week, she will have to spend time with the dog during the weekend. This may be walks, or being together in the house, or taking the dog with her when she leaves the house. A lot of activities are not appropriate for dogs, e.g. meals at some restaurants, playgroups, cinema, etc. and if the OP is used to doing these sorts of things she may have to reconsider her priorities.

Spero Sat 16-Nov-13 18:11:53

It's not unreasonable annoyance.

It's perfectly rational annoyance.

I have had many years of experience of those who work in rescues having what appears to be absurdly high standards and demands before they will re home. So presumably many animals in their care are denied a loving home because only about 2% of the farm dwelling millionaire population can meet their bonkers demands never to go out or leave their dog alone.

The timetable proposed by the op sounds perfectly sensible. The dog will be alone for about 3 hours then an hour with dog walker then alone another 3 hours. Why on earth should the entirety of her weekends then be devoted to the dog? If she wants to, that's great, but she isn't unfit to own a dog if she doesn't.

Booboostoo Sat 16-Nov-13 19:26:54

It is unreasonable a) because you are ranting, and b) because the OP asked for experiences of dog ownership and you seem to think that no one else's experiences are worth reporting. I've not said anything about rescue centres and their rehoming policies (other than to recommend the OP go to a reputable rescue charity), nor have I said the OP should not get a dog or that people who work full time should not get a dog. I merely said that life is different with a dog that without and the OP has to consider whether she wants to spend the majority of her free time with a dog. If you work full time and manage to spend most of your free time without your dog and you are all happy with this arrangement, good for you, but you have to accept that other people have other experiences of animal ownership.

Doghouseisscary Sat 16-Nov-13 19:50:48

...it does mean that most, if not all, of your free time would have to be spent on the dog. So you would need to make time in the morning to walk/train/entertain the dog and repeat that in the afternoon. On weekdays when you are out at work you would need to stay in for the evening or take the dog out with you, otherwise that would really be too many hours left alone. Weekends would have to be doggy-time which may restrict the kinds of activities you could do.

I said if the OP spends a lot of time away from home during the week, she will have to spend time with the dog during the weekend. This may be walks, or being together in the house, or taking the dog with her when she leaves the house. A lot of activities are not appropriate for dogs, e.g. meals at some restaurants, playgroups, cinema, etc. and if the OP is used to doing these sorts of things she may have to reconsider her priorities.

I think all this is very, very odd indeed. If you have a dog, and a job... you can't go to the cinema? Really?

Spero Sat 16-Nov-13 19:56:25

Sorry, not ranting. Will hold my hands up to being rude, sarcastic and annoyed, but finding it difficult to see how I am 'ranting'.

Of course you have to look after the animals in your care. But to suggest that anyone working during the week would then have to devote their weekends to the dog is just insane.

Get a dog walker. Feed your dog. Take it to the vets when it needs to go. Pick up poo. Play with dog occasionally. It is not the end of normal life as you know it to have a dog and to give that dog a very happy life.

Ecuador Sat 16-Nov-13 20:51:14

Spero you are definitely not ranting you speak a lot of sense!

It's a dog for heaven's sake, they don't need entertaining or having to be sat down and explained to why they can't go on a trip to the cinema hmm.

Devoting the weekends to the dog would be very unfair anyway come Monday... very confusing confused. They fit in around you not you around them.

Booboostoo Sat 16-Nov-13 21:42:31

Doghouseisscary I did not say that if you have a dog you can't go to the cinema, but if you haven't seen your dog all week long, you can't spend Saturday morning at the shops, take an afternoon nap and then go to the cinema in the evenings. Life is different with pets, similarly to how life is different with children, and before having pets or children people are not quite aware of the changes they would need to make. Since the OP is in two minds about this and given the huge numbers of dogs that need rehoming every year (I wonder where all these dogs come from if it's so easy having one!) it's worth saying a word of caution.

Spero you are ranting because my post wasn't even addressed to you, it did it relate to the points you made earlier in the post, and you were so preoccupied with rubbishing what I had to say that you didn't even bother to read it properly. Now you clearly have a chip on your shoulder because some rescues have refused to rehome dogs to you - fair enough, why not just ignore them buy a puppy or rehome privately?

Ecuador I am glad you found that having a dog hasn't changed your life at all, for me I find that as plausible as saying that when you have a child it just fits in around you rather than you around them.

Spero Sat 16-Nov-13 21:47:18

Nope. Still not ranting.

As it's a public forum we can address who we like, provided we don't break rules of forum.

For what it's worth, I have a rescue staffy and a chihuahua I bought from a back yard breeder.

No doubt dog lovers will condemn me for the latter.

I have met many people turned away by rescues. A lot of them will go to breeders who may be highly dubious.

The common sense of some of the dog brigade is summed up by the poster last year who was apoplectic with rage when I said my dog fitted around me, not the other way round. I did try sending my dog out to get a job and pay the mortgage but that didn't go so well.

Spero Sat 16-Nov-13 21:48:33

O and yes, my child also has to fit around me.

Because I am the one with the job that keeps this whole show on the road.

Ecuador Sat 16-Nov-13 22:58:58

Booboo, sorry but my life hasn't changed very much by having a dog. It changed a hell of a lot when I had children!

I'm at home all the time so the dog is here, I am here, no change there.

We go on holiday, the dog comes with us, no great change there.

I walk him for an hour or so a day, I walked anyway - alright I have to go every day whatever the weather but honest to god that does me good anyhow.

I may have to plan ahead a bit more, book him into the dog sitters if we are out of the house for more than a couple of house but really it is no big deal.

That's not to say potential owners don't need to think very carefully and it is a big responsibility but personally speaking it has not changed my life massively although of course he has enriched my life greatly - two different things.

feelinlucky Sun 17-Nov-13 04:45:28

Morning smile thanks all. I've considered everyone's views and I'm not getting a dog. All things considered I don't think it would be fair. I'm still going to the rescue centre to see if we can volunteer in any way. This might mean we change our mind but at the moment I don't think it would be fair. We have such a busy life and I don't have a particularly strong support network (although two friends have offered to help). Spero, you've been a very balanced contributor. Thank you smile

everlong Sun 17-Nov-13 08:11:05

OP don't be bullied into thinking your situation can't fit a dog in it.

I know people that work full time. Some have a dog walker, some have a friend relative pop in and let it out for a wee and some do nothing.

I would never advocate someone getting a puppy/young dog then leaving it all day. No way. But an established older dog, one that doesn't have separation issues, that is sat in a rescue centre day after day would be better off with a family like you and your ds. Always.

Booboostoo Sun 17-Nov-13 08:38:29

Spero you seem to think this thread is about justifying your own choices and airing your own views (rescue was wrong to deny you a dog, you were right to buy from a backyard breeder (!!!), caring for a dog means the dog fits around you, etc.) - it is not. It's about giving information to the OP so she can make her own mind up.

Ecuador when you say "my dogs fit in with my lifestyle" it is assumed to mean "it is easy to have a dog because they fit in with any lifestyle", whereas it turns out you mean "I had a lifestyle already suited to a dog, so nothing changed". Surely you can see the difference? The point is that we do not know OP's lifestyle and she does not know what it means to have a dog. If we give her a realistic account of what it is to have a dog (e.g. you need a dog walker when at work, you need to spend a substantial part of your free time with your dog, you need to make arrangements for holidays, you need to set money aside for vet fees, etc.) then she can decide whether her life can accommodate a dog/she wants to make changes to accommodate a dog, or not.

Glad the thread was of help to you OP, circumstances change all the time so you never know you may be able to get a dog in the future and sometimes dogs find you rather than the other way round.

Spero Sun 17-Nov-13 11:57:44

Again, you need to distinguish your own perceptions of my motivations from the reality.

I have never been refused an animal from a rescue. Many others I know have however.

The op has posed a question, I answer from my own experience. If you have a different experience I am sure she will be interested.

But your experience doesn't invalidate mine.

JumpingJackSprat Sun 17-Nov-13 12:11:26

Op would two dogs be worth considering? Double the cost but they can keep each other company. Greyhounds are meant to be very laid back and easy to keep.

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