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Thinking of getting a dog, have a few questions......

(20 Posts)
DrNortherner Wed 17-Sep-08 18:35:36

We have 1 ds who is 6. Dh works full time but is a chef so arying shifts, I work 4 days but am home at 3.00pm. I am home weekends, dh is home often 2 days in the week.

I have never had a dog before.

What I would like to know is:

What dog would be best breed for a dog who would somtimes be taken for a good run around (woods/resevoir etc) but sometimes might just have a few trips per day to local park?

How often can a dog be left alone?

If you have one, how much of a commitment to a family are they really?

Any advice much appreciated. Am off out soon but will check back here later.


bella29 Wed 17-Sep-08 19:39:06


Dogs are a very big commitment, probably the biggest of all pets in that they can't be left for more than 4 hours at a time, and for much shorter periods when they are young. Have a look at the other thread 'thinking of getting a dog' & see what countrygirl says - I think she really does put it quite straight.

It is not fair to get a dog if there won't be anyone at home,even if that's only on certain days, and you'll most likely end up with a dog with behavioural problems as a result.

I'd recommend a cat...

veedub Wed 17-Sep-08 19:48:37

Hi I'm sort of with bella on this one. BIG commitment, we have a black lab and always have to factor in when we go out how long she will be left and have started to holiday in britain (caravans) so she doesn't have to go in kennels.

On the plus side though she is gorgeous, the kids adore her and i have made loads of friends through dog walking. So I wouldn't say don't get one as I think it's great for kids to grow up around dogs but just be aware that they are quite demanding and it rains ALOT here which is not the best for walking.

Good luck whatever you decide

mcfee Wed 17-Sep-08 19:58:17

I think count it the same commitment as having another child. Except one who less people will be willing to babysit for. (I too have a black lab, surely THE most attention seeking breed in the WORLD!)

beanieb Wed 17-Sep-08 20:04:43

Hi there - no tips on a breed (I had a border colllie/Corgi cross and he was wonderful) but I know some other stuff...

We used to leave our dog at home all day when at work but we fitted a dog flap so he could get to the garden. He was fairly small so it was just a small flap and wasn't a security risk.

They are a big commitment and should be walked regularly and at least twice a day. I would get up an hour early so he would get a good walk around the park. The biggest bind is going away - it can be hard to find people prepared to look after a dog so unless you have funds to put a dog into a kennel it's worth thinking about who might be prepared to look after him/her.

I used to take mine everywhere and he was very good at car travel but of course it makes journeys longer because you have to stop for water/walks.

Wouldn't be put off though - they are great pets and get you out of the house more than you might otherwise.

overthehill Wed 17-Sep-08 20:26:54

I think dogs are wonderful pets for children to have, and when they're a bit older they can take the dog out themselves. On the basis that rescue centres (eg RSPCA, Dogs' Trust) are full of them, I would recommend that you look there first. Obviously some will have been badly treated and not suitable for a house with children, but the place will tell you clearly which ones would be OK - and crossbreeds can often be healthier and have a better temperament than thoroughbreds. At our local RSPCA you can take the dogs out for walks, which can give you an opportunity to 'try them out'.

I agree that dogs are hard work, especially in the initial stages, but it's more than worth all the effort. We had a wonderful faithful family friend from the RSPCA for nearly 14 years and now have another who's been with us just over a year and is equally loved (although no dog could ever replace our beloved one who died last year).

Unless we go abroad, which isn't very often, we take our dog with us, and although it's harder finding holiday cottages that take them, we've always managed it in the end. Our friends who drive across to France do take their dog, which of course is now much easier with pet passports.

We also have a friend who likes taking him out and so he gets plenty of exercise. He does sometimes get left for more than four hours at a time, but we leave the radio on for him(!) and he seems fine and just sleeps the hours away.

DrFunkenstein Wed 17-Sep-08 20:27:54

Sounds like on some days of the week your dog would be left alone from 9am (ish - the time you leave for work) until 3pm? If that is the case then it really wouldn't be fair on the dog.

Dogs shouldn't be left for more than 4 hours or you are likely to get behavioural problems. Some breeds are generally no good at being left at all.

Lurchers and greyhounds are generally very laid back and one of the easiest breeds.

Dogs are a huge commintment. It's not the walking and feeding - it's more the facts like

the cost of kennels can double the price of your holiday.
People who say they are happy to dog-sit will find an excuse not to in the end.
Weekends away need to be dog friendly. Gardens must be secure and poo needs to be cleared away from the lawn all the time (and disposed of somewhere)
Lots of people just don't like dogs so you may have to change where you go when you go out - think parks, beaches etc.
What will you do if you go out for the day? The dog can't be left in the car or at home all day.....
Your house is likely to smell of dog
Your bins may well be regularly emptied and their contents spread all over the house (esp the beds)

They are well worth it though - if your working hours were less I'd recommend one for sure.

DrFunkenstein Wed 17-Sep-08 20:29:56 fact, I'd recommend two.

beanieb Wed 17-Sep-08 20:39:28

Wanted to say also that I was never a dog person until we looked after a friends and then after he died got our own. I don't have him anymore and I really miss the excercise and just getting out early in the morning to the park come rain or shine.

If you are really committed to making him/her a part of your family it can be great. I had many brilliant camping holidays with my dog.

He was 8 months old when I got him and we were lucky that he got on well with my cats and had also had some training. We got him from the pound which meant paying about £50 and I think we were very lucky to get a dog with a good nature.

newpup Wed 17-Sep-08 20:41:42

Just repeating that dogs are fantastic pets but an awful lot of hard work. We have a 17 week old lab puppy and we adore her but she is abit like a toddler!

I would not consider getting a dog if I knew I was going to be out for large parts of the day, dogs like company and while it is okay to leave them for a few hours it is not fair to consistantly leave them all day!

If you do decide to get a puppy, be prepared for the hard work, house training, behaviour training and chewing!!!

However, that said, dogs are loyal, rewarding pets. I grew up in house full of pets and it was the dogs that gave us the most pleasure. As a child nothing beats that warm, furry cuddle. Our family dog, was my best friend and licked away my tears many a time! They will love you unconditionally but you need to be able to take proper care of them in return.

everlong Wed 17-Sep-08 20:44:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tink123 Thu 18-Sep-08 17:34:32

Our dog ( a springer spaniel) was a bigger committment than i realised and very hard work when first got him. He is rarely left alone more than 2 hrs and he gets at least 2 miles walk most days, but that has been a positive cos i save money as I do not go shoppin etc so much and the walks have improved my health

Def buy a crate

I love him to bits, he is like the second child i never had. DD (almost 6yrs) loves him to bits. DH still moans on he prefers cats but still has a soft spot for him.

inscotland Fri 19-Sep-08 12:10:23

I absolutely do not agree that you cannot leave a dog for more than 4 hours or you will end up with behaviour problems. Tosh!

Yes, don't leave them all day everyday but ocassionally leaving them is fine but not ideal. If you are leaving the animal from 9-3 then that's ok as far as I see it.

You should however be around as much as possible when you first get your dog to help him/her and your family settle in together.

I also don't agree that your house will smell of dog either - not if you look after it properly!

flowerybeanbag Fri 19-Sep-08 12:14:44

We do leave our dog for longer than 4 hours occasionally. But the fact that it's occasionally is key I think. Up to 5 hours we've done, but not often. Plus he is not a dog that needs lots of exercise at all, and spends most of the day sleeping anyway, so he's fine with it. If he was more boisterous or needed a lot of exercise I might be more reluctant to do it.

I certainly wouldn't do that every day though. Particularly for a puppy. Especially at the beginning the more you are there the better. I was there for ours all the time at the beginning, when he was being house-trained, then gradually started leaving him for 30 mins, then and hour, increasing it each time.

granarybeck Mon 22-Sep-08 20:36:16

If you're dh has variable hours, you may be able to get a dog walker on some days. We have used one occasionally, and the dog gets a really good walk with other dogs which completely wears him out.

I agree about getting a puppy only when you've got time to fully 'settle' him in, school hols or something. It's really worth being there all the time for the initial toilet training etc, makes it much easier. Though our vet reminded us that in early days was importnant to leave him a bit too so he got used to it and wasn't a shock when he did need to be left.

Would recommend pet planet website to research breeds. We did loads of research, spoke to loads of dog owners when out walking, always happy to talk about their dogs!

Getting a dog is a big commitment, but having now had ours a year, I really love it, love getting out for walks when never would have done before. (and I really wasn't a dog person before!)

binkythebullet Mon 22-Sep-08 20:45:41

I think it varies according to breed. I have a black lab and a collie x - neither of whom would be happy with the lifestyle you describe. Likewise, unless you can be at home most of the time getting a puppy wouldn't be fair. It would trash your home,and then it wouldn't be able to understand why you were cross X hours later when you walked through the door.

Why not talk to the Retired Greyhound Trust people? I think a retired greyhound may suit; they need short bursts of exercise, not massively long walks, they're generally sedate with kids (like all breeds will vary from dog to dog though) and are generally quite happy mooching about at home. I love greyhounds, we very almost got one - unfortunately our collie took a dislike to the one we were considering homing.

How could you not give Drifter a home :wink?

[ Drifter]

Dogs are a massive commitment, but I wouldn't be without mine.

binkythebullet Mon 22-Sep-08 20:49:07


bella29 Mon 22-Sep-08 22:03:21

I cannot possibly get another dog but Drifter looks lovely...

katch Mon 22-Sep-08 22:17:45

Has anyone mentioned Border Terriers? Small, cute and willing to please but full of character. Not lap-dogs (they were bred to run with the hounds and dig out foxes/rabbits/whatever), they're quite tough but sweet-natured. Ours gets a half-hour walk from me in the week, but will happily go for 1 - 2 hours at weekends. She is occasionally left for about 4 hours, but rarely more. I don't think a dog is a cushion to adorn the furniture, as I'm sure you don't.

Ronaldinhio Mon 22-Sep-08 22:30:35

Message withdrawn

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