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Advice needed about getting a dog

(30 Posts)
KateF Sat 01-Oct-11 12:35:30

I have never been a dog owner but dd2 (10) is dog crazy and I think it would be really beneficial for her to have a dog. However, I work part-time so am out all day 2 days a week and we also have two elderly cats. Could this possibly work? Are there any breeds that are happy to be at home alone for 8 hours? Do all breeds hate cats? I have told dd2 that it's not just about her wanting a dog, it's about whether a dog could be happy with us - she said "ask Mumsnet" grin

clam Sat 01-Oct-11 12:47:39

Are you talking about getting a puppy or an older rescue dog? A puppy certainly could not be left alone for 8 hours - or even half that. We have had this debate and are currently proud owners of a 6 month old pup. I work 3 days a week, but we've made arrangements for SIL to come and visit and walk him one day, and professional dog walkers the other 2.

It might be that an older dog could be left for longer, but I woudl think 8 hours is pushing it.

KateF Sat 01-Oct-11 13:01:28

Thanks clam for replying. No, I wasn't thinking of a puppy as I know they can't be left. Hadn't thought of employing someone to come in at lunch time so I could look into that. I feel very wary as dogs are such a huge commitment but dd2 has learning difficulties and life is such a struggle for her - dogs make her happy so I do want to explore it thoroughly rather than just saying no.

OldBagWantsNewBag Sat 01-Oct-11 13:34:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DooinMeCleanin Sat 01-Oct-11 14:01:00

I have three dogs, one terrier and two sighthounds that live peacefully with my cat, so the cat shouldn't be an issue.

8 hours is far too long to leave any dog alone. Four hours is thought to be the max. A dog walker or family member to call in and walk the dog for at least an hour would be essential.

A rescue dog would the better option. Be honest with the rescue about your working hours and your plans for ensuring the dog is cared for during your working days and they'll match you with a dog that would be happy being left alone for short periods.

Vallhala Sat 01-Oct-11 14:13:36

What Dooin says. Added to that a reputable rescue will offer you an assessed cat friendly dog too.

KateF Sat 01-Oct-11 16:53:12

Thanks very much. Have heard of a local rescue centre with a good reputation so will talk to them and also investigate dog walkers.

MindtheGappp Sat 01-Oct-11 16:55:54

I am fairly sure that my dog has no concept of time. She is as excited to see us after 30 minutes or 9 hours.

It would be different for a puppy who needs to be let out more frequently.

DrNortherner Sat 01-Oct-11 16:56:12

Hi Kate, we got our lab from a charity called Labrador welfare who rehome in the North. As has already been said no dog is OK left for 8 hours at a time. On the days you work can you come home for lunch? If not, a friend/neighbour or a dog walker will be needed. Dog walkers around here charge approx £10 ph.

Good luck!

Scuttlebutter Sun 02-Oct-11 00:19:58

Hi OP, it sounds like your DD really loves dogs. Have you thought about some options which don't include dog ownership? For example, the local rescue kennels would probably be very keen for dog walkers to come in and help walk the dogs. Getting used to the regular commitment of doing this even in the rain and cold and mud of winter might be a very good way of showing your DD some of the commitment required for dog ownership and giving her a taste of helping out at the same time? Maybe say that you'll consider dog ownership after six months of regular dog walking/helping at kennels, when she's got a better appreciation? This level of contact might be enough for her to get her doggy "fix" without the fifteen year commitment of actually owning a dog. If she's still keen after six months then she's probably a dog nut and will cope well with a dog. grin Helping at the rescue might also give lots of good opportunities for discussion about responsible dog ownership, and hte commitment involved.

pinkapples Sun 02-Oct-11 01:07:40

I wud disagree about leaving a pup as we now have the perfect 12 month old puppy who we have had since she was 8 weeks old hubby went sick with her the first week then from then on she was left 5 days a week 6 hours at a time. Not ideal as she was so cute wanted to spend every minute with her but now she is beautiful. She can be left for upwards of 8 hours no mess in the house, doesn't bark as she knows there's no point and so gentle because she lives the time we do have with her.

Elibean Sun 02-Oct-11 09:04:35

Upwards of 8 hours? shock

sad

DrNortherner Sun 02-Oct-11 09:24:13

pinkapples how long do you leave her for if it's 'upwards' of 8 hours?

pinkapples Sun 02-Oct-11 10:56:20

Not that much over mayb 8 and a half depending how busy work is... I go home at lunch for 20 mins or so once or twice a week but I find because she has been used to it she is fab. We have just got her a friend tho now a 14 month old staffy lab x so that helps to now she has someone to play with smile

daisydotandgertie Sun 02-Oct-11 11:47:29

Upward of 8 hours? shock

Doesn't bark because there's no point.

Getting another dog?

Not sure that's an ideal set up for one dog. adding another, especially a young one, IMO is a recipe for disaster.

daisydotandgertie Sun 02-Oct-11 11:53:52

Sorry OP. Got distracted.

With a dog walker of some sort, and an older dog it does sound doable.

Dogs are a life changer - and I expect the responsibility element of it will fall entirely on you. BUT IME, the life changes are all positive.

A good rescue will help - Labrador rescue may well be worth a ring - they have branches all over the country. There are many gorgeous dogs waiting for the right home and an older lab might well suit you and your dd with regard to temperament

Elibean Sun 02-Oct-11 11:54:13

Having a friend to play with might be good, but it does worry me a bit that she's learnt not to bark 'because there's no point'. Not trying to be critical, but just worries me - reminds me a bit of Victorian child-rearing techniques!

Hope both pups are happy anyway smile

chickchickchicken Sun 02-Oct-11 12:23:38

i think scuttle's suggestion is a great. my ds has sn and being around dogs has had such a positive impact on him. of course adults have to be prepared to take on all the extra responsiblity - walks when its raining, expense, worry, fitting days around dogs needs - but the benefits for us outweigh that

i also would recommend an adult dog from a reputable rescue. be honest with them about your dc's needs (i was) and your work commitments and they will match you with the most suitable dog. the better the match the more enjoyable dog ownership will be for you. it is possible to find a cat friendly dog, again a rescue will assess this

i am shocked that anyone would leave a dog for 8hrs. about 4hrs is the total recommended amount by various dog welfare organisations. just because dog doesnt bark or need toilet does not mean it is ok

at various stages we have had a neighbour come in at lunch time, friend call in and walk dogs, and doggy daycare (which is cheaper where we live than dog walker). we drop the dog off in the morning, he gets to spend the day with other dogs in a home environment, has two long walks, we pick him up nice and tired in the evening. it costs £10. this is with a woman who took early retirement to spend more time dog rescuing and the income from daycare is her employment. we were very lucky to know of her as she doesnt advertise (another massive bonus of rescue is that you will hear of all sorts of us mad dog people who may be able to help you at any time)

alwaysanauntie Sun 02-Oct-11 12:41:07

Make sure you also check out the costs and can afford the expense of owning a dog. I think ours costs upwards of £100 per month for food, toys, regular vet bills/worming/flea treatment - factor in an extra £20 a day for kennels if you go away and can't take dog.

As for leaving on their own, we have staffy x jack russell and she's on her own in house from 8.30am to 5.30pm 5 days a week BUT before I get slated - we have a doggy flap in the back door so she has access to sitting room (her bed is the sofa and she has lots of toys) and can get out into the garden if she needs the toilet or just to run around, PLUS we have lovely neighbours who often walk her in the day or the grandkids throw the ball for her so she does have other human contact. Also we've had her from a puppy and built up to leaving her for that long, but I know plenty of other full time workers with dogs who do the same, so it's not unusual for dogs to be left on their own all day.

Finally, if you go down the rescue route make sure you find out what the dog's background is, as there are some that could never be left on their own as they've had very traumatic histories. However dogs are good at getting over the past if they're in a loving and caring environment and feel secure. Just get as much info as you can to help decide. Another option may be to borrow a friend's dog for a trial, will give you and daughter a taste of walking at 6.30am in the dark and rain etc! Good luck

oldandcrabby Sun 02-Oct-11 22:50:12

Awaysanauntie give good advice.
Volunteer dog walking is a really good idea for you and dd, it will may take the gloss off her obsession with dog owning or bring you round to the delight that a dog can give. Although dogs can have a transformative effect, especially on sn children. I always think that every child needs a dog to confide secrets to but if you acquire a dog, get it and her to training classes. I would recommend CAPBT trainers every time.
If you volunteer at a good, local, reputable rescue to walk dogs, you both will get an idea of the range of rescue dogs available and it may open eyes to the responsibilities involved. Be prepared to have your heartstrings wrung though and to say no, if it is not the dog for you. If you are set on a particular breed, most breeds have a rescue arm. As with other rescue, you may have to wait and but you may have a better history.
Dogs and cats: I had one cat that became semi-detached after getting on well with the puppy for 18 months. They used to share a bowl but suddenly, the cat was scared and moved upstairs and for cuddles next door. I think the dog saw the cat in the garden and played pouncies. Quite managable, it is amazing how useful a baby gate can be. The other cat, a burmese, knew she was the centre of the known universe and was cool. My current cat, a tortie that was 'given' to me by vets had a broken pelvis and they had to amputate her tail (RTA). When I took her home she had to be contained for 3 weeks to allow the pelvis to mend. I put her in the living room in a dog crate and she could see the dogs and they could see her. It has worked well. Mind you she is a naughty tortie and immensely self-possessed, she still plays in the traffic! But it is a good idea to keep a distance when introducing a new member of the family and to give each their own private space when you are out,
If you get a dog, it is worth employing a dog walker on your work days unless you can rely on friends. Take up references or go on recommendation, there are a lot of people taking this up in the recession. Ask about their experience with dogs, do they volunteer for a dog charity or have they done any training in dog behaviour.
I wish you well

Beamur Sun 02-Oct-11 22:57:45

Some dogs can quite happily be left all day. But not all.
My dog is getting on a bit now and snoozes a lot during the day, but has excellent bladder control and would be fine for 8 hours on her own. It doesn't happen that often though as both DP and I work part of the week from home and other people - kids/my Mum are also about, so she is rarely alone for that long, but if she was I wouldn't worry.
We got our dog as an adult rescue and she is fab in the house and with people and kids - very well behaved and gentle, but had not been well (or at all) trained to walk on a lead and had very poor recall - it's better now but still not great.
I think having a dog is a great pet for an older child, it can be a very rewarding relationship for them both.

DooinMeCleanin Sun 02-Oct-11 23:02:28

How can you tell if they are happy? I'd not be happy if someone locked me in a house alone for 8 hours with no access to the toilet, no company and no entertainment. Why should a dog be okay with it? They're sociable, intelligent animals. They need company, exercise and games.

BeerTricksPotter Sun 02-Oct-11 23:10:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beamur Sun 02-Oct-11 23:25:30

Well, maybe she is miserable and asleep! You may be right, for all I know my poor old dog could be fed up, but she doesn't bark, or chew, and has seemed pretty happy with this arrangement in the 7 years we've had her. There are people around a lot of the time, but there are occasions when she is left all day.

KateF Fri 14-Oct-11 11:35:35

Thanks for all these helpful messages. Thought I would pop back and update you. We are going to start volunteering at the local rescue centre this weekend so we can all get a bit more familiar with dog care and dd2 can get a weekly doggy fix grin. Perhaps eventually there will be a dog there that we can adopt. dd2 does go to a Companion Dog class with a friend of mine in school holidays (it's on a Friday afternoon unfortunately) and helped out with their Dog Show in the summer. The lady who runs the class allowed dd to show her dog in the best local dog class and they won a rosette - it's dds most precious possession, along with the stinky dog treats she keeps by her bed. The child truly is a dog nut as someone put it!

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