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Just bought a house - can finally get a dog (greyhound), do I need to wait until after my small furry has gone?

(33 Posts)
VBisme Thu 20-Jun-13 12:59:38

DH and I have finally bought a house. It was agreed that as soon as we stopped renting I could get a dog.

After research I reckon the only dog that we could manage would be a rescue greyhound (we both work days and greyhounds appear to be the only dogs that will be okay on their own for 8 hours at a time - please feel free to let me know if this isn't correct, I'd rather not have a dog than have a dog that was unhappy).

However we have a hamster, she is a lovely, friendly, adventurous little furry and comes out every night for time in her ball and then a run on the sofa with us.

Is it completely impossible for us to get a greyhound whilst the hamster is still with us? (I have a horrible feeling it is). She's been fine in a house with my parents dog, but we kept them seperate (different rooms when the hamster was out and about).

I love my hamster just as much as I would love a dog, she really has a lovely personality so I'm happy to wait if we need to (as in, I'm not about to get rid of the hamster just to get a dog).

Sorry for the long post, I want both, I don't think it's possible, I'm hoping against hope for great stories about greyhounds living happily with hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, rats and cats.......

higgle Sat 22-Jun-13 13:42:11

My rescue Staffie has a strong bladder and is happy with his own company - he was "advertised" by his rescue on this basis and we were frank about our working hours when we took him. Sometimes he goes for his 6pm walk, refuses to go out later on when we go to bed and looks put out to be asked to go out again at 8.30am! When he knows he is going for a longish walk he "fills his tank" by drinking lots before we set out so he has good reserves for marking. A mature Staffie is a great companion.

MissBetseyTrotwood Fri 21-Jun-13 21:41:40

Racers are crate trained, so they don't mess their beds. Most have never lived in a house but it's usually a quick transition to getting them to see the whole house as their 'crate'. This is helped by a strong routine and regular trips to wherever you want them to toilet (and massive treating when they do it where you want them to do it)! We had literally one or two 'accidents' with our first ex racer and none with our second. Neither had lived in a home before.

DH and I both work and our dogs are left for 4 hours at a time. Very occasionally, if there's a problem at work or I need to meet a teacher at the DCs school it's 5. We have a dog walker for when our lives are too complicated to figure out a way to walk them... 8 hours is too long imho. The kennels we adopted from does spot checks on its adopters and they recently took a dog back after it transpired it was being left for whole days. When we were home checked our bonkers, untidy noisy house full of children and visitors was acceptable - what they really wanted to know was how much time we'd be spending with our dog.

Lots of RGT kennels are happy to have volunteers come and walk the dogs at the weekends. It's a lovely way to have a nice dog walk and do something good. smile

tabulahrasa Fri 21-Jun-13 15:17:34

It was me that mentioned housetraining...

Some ex-racers have never lived in a house until theyre retired, some are fine and some like any other dog might react to being rehomed or have spent a bit of time in kennels which knocks them for 6 a bit as far as housetraining goes - that was why I mentioned it.

mistlethrush Fri 21-Jun-13 12:16:09

Ah, sorry, I knew I'd mentioned it and I didn't want people to get my experience muddled as she's not an ex-racer.

cinnamongreyhound Fri 21-Jun-13 11:05:13

I was referring to another poster, mistlethrush, who had said that ex-racers are not fully housetrained.

mistlethrush Fri 21-Jun-13 10:07:07

Cinnamon - my housetraining issues were about my lurcher. However, my great aunt (who was the first UK professional female greyhound trainer apparently, and very soft on her dogs - and found them homes...) used to strip off her double bed in her cottage and put on a waterproof sheet so that the dog had somewhere to lie as the rest of the cottage was too small to accommodate her (this was her last remaining dog that she kept when she retired - I think they were in their 80s when we saw them and the dog). The dog went into a kennel at night. Anyway - my lurcher needed more than 2 weeks to be able to get the hang of housetraining, as she had got used to 'in' being the place that you were meant to do things....

cinnamongreyhound Fri 21-Jun-13 00:59:22

They seemed happy with it and I didn't question it as the books I got before I got her said they were used to being left for many hours at a time. She went from that to having a constant stream of people in the house every day!

Scuttlebutter Thu 20-Jun-13 23:29:38

10 hours shock

That's a long time. sad

cinnamongreyhound Thu 20-Jun-13 22:44:22

Interesting scuttlebutter, when I got Nelly I told then rescue place that I was working and out 10hrs a day and they let me have her. She had my three cats as company and I took a fortnight off when I got her and built up time left.

I disagree about ex-racers not being housetrained, I have only had two but both have been perfect in the house.

mistlethrush Thu 20-Jun-13 21:59:18

A laid back lurcher might be a slightly smaller option than a second grey wink

If you had two, I don't know what Scuttle thinks, but you might get away with someone coming to let them out for a break in the garden for 30 mins rather than a full walk (although a walk would be better).

They do like sleeping a lot - and mistlehound has got quite used to slouching on the sofa most of the day and evening - but she was out first thing, taken out by a walker at lunchtime (I've heard she ran around most of the over an hour she was out) and spent an hour outside with DS and me when we got home - and done some playing this evening with various toys.

DH is at home (working - which explains the walker) which has made things so much easier adopting her - it probably took at least 2 - 3 months before she was fairly safe in terms of housetraining as she'd never been in a house before we got her and thought that you did things inside, not out.... So, 2 weeks wouldn't have sorted that out with her.

VBisme Thu 20-Jun-13 20:01:43

I'm sorry, VB that I couldn't be more positive, don't worry, I'd rather have the truth. I appreciate you taking the time to post.

I haven't given up completely, DH and I are busy searching the dogs walkers and doggy day care in the area, there are a suprisingly large number around!

I take your point about the social requirements of dogs, so we need to think long and hard whether we could commit to 2 dogs.

Have fun with your hounds! grin

Scuttlebutter Thu 20-Jun-13 19:22:27

I'm sorry, VB that I couldn't be more positive, as I am quite loopy about greyhounds (and other sighthounds in general), and think in general that no home is complete without a sofa full of them. Yes, they are very laid back, and they do spend a lot of time sleeping - ours are champion snoozers but they are still dogs - sociable, social creatures who are in need of company and thrive on a routine which includes exercise and stimulation.

I've had a really busy day today work wise (I work from home) and all four have had their daily walk but I've not done nearly so much of the other stuff - grooming, clicker training and just general attention/having fun. I'm now getting the hairy eyeball from several of them (we have four, so in theory they entertain each other) and one is now parked about 3 ft away from me staring at me intently with the "Where's my clicker?" expression. grin

VBisme Thu 20-Jun-13 18:49:20

Thanks Scuttlebutter for being so frank, and I appreciate that your advice comes as an "expert" in rehoming greyhounds.

I had initially thought that we wouldn't be able to have a dog, but the 2 greyhound rescue centres I spoke to in the area (North of England) didn't think it would be a problem. I have been told a number of times that older greyhounds will sleep 16 hours a day, but maybe they're over keen to rehome. (Which is understandable, but not great from the dogs point of view).

We could definitely get my parents to pop in occasionally and as I said possibly neighbours, but I wouldn't want to hold anyone to a daily schedule.

So it looks like no dog unless I can get a dog walker to come out to the back of beyond and afford £250 a month to cover it. I'll see if I can find someone local, but financially it's a big stretch given the new house situation.

Thanks very much for all the advice, it's been very helpful.


Scuttlebutter Thu 20-Jun-13 18:24:54

I homecheck for a couple of greyhound charities. Put bluntly, we would NOT home a dog with you if you wanted to leave it for eight hours and no reputable charity would. A home check would want to look at the precise timing arrangements - many people in full time work are out for considerably longer by the time travelling is taken into consideration.

What we would consider is that you had made proper arrangements for the care of the dog while you are at work - this could include a paid dog walker, doggy day care, regular visits by family or neighbour etc. But these arrangements would need to be demonstrably thought through and costed if you were using professionals.

A dog flap for a greyhound is not a good idea - firstly, it would be so big your house would be open to burglars, secondly your dog is vulnerable to theft if left unattended in your garden. Sadly, greyhounds are often attractive to certain categories of thieves.

Bear in mind that greyhounds while working spend their entire lives with other hounds - so can often find the transition to being a solo dog difficult. It's much easier when there is someone around at home all day to provide company and stimulation. I am very much in favour of multi hound households for this reason, particularly if your hound was being left for such big chunks of time. Even greyhounds who are chilled out and relaxed are sociable creatures who enjoy company during the day and thrive on plenty of attention/dog training/exercise etc.

If you don't have the time or the lifestyle to commit to a dog full time, there are lots of ways you can get involved though. Most greyhound charities will be glad of volunteers for dog walking etc or there's the Cinnamon Trust etc.

mistlethrush Thu 20-Jun-13 17:57:01

I think that if you got someone to come round, even to let it into the garden for 20 mins, your position would not be unreasonable, provided you could offer a good walk first thing and a trip out later. You might want to consider two rather than one though as they'll keep each other company a bit during the day.

mrslaughan Thu 20-Jun-13 17:53:01

My friend who works, her 2 staffies go to her parents during the day - she walks them before and after work, and they chill with her parents during they day..... Is that a possibility?

ILikeToClean Thu 20-Jun-13 17:52:44

I work 2 days a week and have a lovely dog walker who comes in and takes dog for a walk, plays with him etc for an hour, £10 per day. He is only left for 2.5 hours a time though but is a puppy. Older dog could be left for longer. Obviously a kindly neighbour would be great, but good to have a back up plan. I think also it would be fine with the hamster as long as you keep them separate, i.e when hammy comes out for his "play" then dog must be kept elsewhere just for that short time, then hammy goes securely back in his cage (maybe rehome him upstairs or a room which is completely out of bounds for dog). Depends on the logistics and layout of your house, but I think it's doable. Good luck, greyhounds are so sweet!

VBisme Thu 20-Jun-13 16:48:17

We have moved into a very small community, where most people have dogs and / or horses.

I'm sure that once we get to know them one of the neighbours will be happy to pop in and let the dog out. Otherwise my parents are 15 minutes away and love dogs, I just don't want to rely on them - finding a walker is a great idea.

If not I think we will be able to "borrow" the neighbours dogs for an early morning walk or a stroll after supper.

celestialsquirrels Thu 20-Jun-13 16:42:54

No dog should be left for 8 hours during the day at all I don't think. Certainly not on a daily basis. I think either you accept that you are going to have to find a friend to take it out every lunch time, or pay a dog walker, or not get a dog.

Greyhounds are sociable creatures. I also think it would be lonely being left all day.

Just my 2p worth.

LadyTurmoil Thu 20-Jun-13 16:38:47

you could also think about a trusted neighbour/friend who could let the dog out during the day and/or take it for a walk. Another alternative is to pay a dog walker to do it

tabulahrasa Thu 20-Jun-13 16:38:37

A dog flap big enough to fit a greyhound is pretty blooming big, lol - I mean, I'm pretty sure I could fit through one.

I think... 2 weeks isn't really that long, I mean, they'll be able to assess dogs, they may well have had them in foster care and have a really good idea of the personality of the dog as well, but sometimes issues start to appear a month or so down the line.

From what I know ex-racers actually do tend to be fine to be left - but it was just to let you know that it can be an issue.

The 8 hours though, I personally think it's way too long without a toilet break - but if you can work round that somehow, either with access to outside or a dog walker or even just someone popping in to let it out, it's not a deal breaker, I don't think.

LadyTurmoil Thu 20-Jun-13 16:37:56

you could also think about a trusted neighbour/friend who could let the dog out during the day and/or take it for a walk. Another alternative is to pay a dog walker to do it

VBisme Thu 20-Jun-13 15:57:19

Big back garden with yew hedges (2m) both sides and a wall at the bottom - I have never heard of a dog flap, the property is grade 2 listed so I think we'd need to check, but as far as I'm concerned we's be glad to do it.

Frettchen Thu 20-Jun-13 15:51:08

Do you have a secure garden and would you be willing to put in a dogflap so the dog could have access to the garden whilst you're at work?

VBisme Thu 20-Jun-13 15:29:16

Thank you all for your answers, I am going to wait until the hamster has gone, I wouldn't want to risk any accidents!

tabulahrasa would you mind me asking a couple more questions?

I'd be happy (and able) to take leave & work from home for a couple of weeks after we got a dog, and have had rescue dogs previously so I'm not phased by some mess / damage to doors paintwork etc. But do you think it might take longer than 2 weeks to settle in?

Do you think that the info I've been getting from the greyhound rescue places near us (I've contacted a couple), are over-estimating the amount of time that they can be left in order to place dogs? (I have to say they seemed very responsible).

I only had dogs previously beacuse my ex worked shifts so the dogs were never left for more than 4 hours at a time. I looked long and hard at breeds this time because I know our situation isn't ideal for most breeds, as far as I'm aware greyhounds are the only dogs we can consider.

If being out of the house for 8 hours at a time is a no-no for any dog owning I'd rather not have a dog. I'd hate to think that an animal was in distress, I want a dog because I love animals and dogs in particular, if it's not appropriate, (given our work commitments) I'd rather not put a dog in that situation.

If anyone could clarify the point I'd be grateful. (Again, sorry for the long post - I'm just appreciative that everyone on the doghouse forum will have had to learn patience grin)

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