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Soon to be dog owners, we hope - but what about the guinea pigs?

(7 Posts)
traviata Sat 14-Feb-15 14:47:57

After many months of discussion, we have decided we'd like to adopt a rescue dog. Neither DH nor I have owned a dog before, but we're committed to doing lots of research, and to training and properly caring for any dog we get. DC are 11 and 13, DH is at home all day, etc.

However, we're not sure what to do regarding our 2 guinea pigs. DC say they would be very sad for them to be re-homed, but would accept it if we had a dog that couldn't live with them. We've only had the GPs a few months, so I can see that it looks as though we regard them as dispensable, but the truth is that we should have got a dog in the first place. DH was still prevaricating at the time, and for various reasons the guinea pigs (who we re-homed) seemed like a good choice. They are about 18 months old, so will probably live for several years. The DC have been excellent and reliable about caring for them, so this has helped us make our decision about getting a dog.

The GPs live in an indoor cage plus enclosed run during the winter, on the floor of our conservatory. For the summer, they have an outdoor hutch in the garden plus enclosed run. Both these areas would need to be accessed by a dog, we could not keep them apart. There is nowhere else for them to live.

I have read posts from others who have both GPs and a dog, but could it really work in practice? Even if we tried to train a dog to leave them alone, could this be done? And would the GPs just suffer continual stress and fear?

DH is particularly attracted to terriers, especially JRTs; I've read enough to say to him that they are often not recommended as first dogs anyway, but they seem especially unlikely to adapt well to leaving the GPs alone.

I like whippets and lurchers; could they co-exist better?

If we approached a rescue while we still had the GPs, but explained we would be willing to find a new home for them, how would that go down?

We are more than happy to provide the cage etc so they would have some familiarity in new surroundings.

singalongsong Sat 14-Feb-15 15:03:34

I have rabbits, cats, guineas and rabbits living alongside a dog. It took extra work to train the dog, and requires extra care/supervision to ensure the dog doesnt stress/hassle the smaller pets but I don't agree with rehoming animals as though they are an object. You made a commitment to the GPs and if you choose the right dog and do the relevant training they should be fine.

mumofthemonsters808 Sat 14-Feb-15 15:06:18

We got GP's when our Labrador was 4 and he has never shown much interest in them. When they are on the grass in their run he approaches and sniffs them and then lies alongside the run and seems to guard them. As soon as the GPs go back in their hutch and we take the run off the grass he then eats their poo, being the charming devil that he is. When I agreed to mind my sister's tortoise, I thought he would be fine with it, he bloody hated it and hounded it, to the extent that he had to be kept in the house, he really objected to it sticking its neck out. So I really wouldn't like to say, it all depends upon the dog. I think a dog could be trained to ignore them but it would be a lot of work and as you say it does not take much for a GP to get stressed.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 14-Feb-15 15:11:32

Give the guineas plenty of hiding places in their run and cage. Ime they spend all their time in their igloo in the run anyway.

One of my dogs showed a bit of interest in them if he spots one come out from under the igloo and ran round the outside of the run barking in circles. However he seems to have realised that he will be told off and brought inside for such behaviour and has stopped it.

When they're in the indoor cage the dogs haven't paid them any attention at all. One of my dogs is a terrier type.

traviata Sat 14-Feb-15 16:54:40

Thanks all, I'm feeling much more optimistic about making it work.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 14-Feb-15 20:06:53

Guinea-pigs are prey animals so even if the dog does leave them alone they will know that it's there.
Some breeds are keener and pointies are amongst that group.

But as sing says you made a commitment to the piggies so they should be equal in the great scheme of things.

I don't think animals should be rehomed unless their are health issues or moving house makes it impossible to keep them. Children losing interest or another animal over taking them isn't a reason IMO.
I'm sure a Dog rescue would give you advice on how to keep the two species harmonious.

traviata Sat 14-Feb-15 20:14:29

you are right; it isn't a good reason for rehoming them.

will have to talk to rescues.

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