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What's best for a family dog if you work?

(77 Posts)
PatTheHammer Sun 22-Sep-13 20:29:58

Just curious I suppose what everyone does when clearly lots of people who work also own a dog.

I've wanted a dog for a while, bought up with labs as hugely loved family pets and love other people's dogs. However, work and then babies came first when I was younger. I never felt it was fair to own a dog when I worked full-time and so did DH.
Since I had the DC I've worked part-time but I still work part of everyday. Now the DC are a bit older (7 and 4) and my youngest has just started school. At the same time I have taken a decision to cut my working hours significantly as I was stressed and DH was promoted so we were not under so much financial pressure.
The DC are desperate for a dog too (not that I'm silly enough to think that they would help at all.....they are far too little) but I really remember my dogs as a child being such a fundamental part of my childhood.

Anyway, cutting to the chase. My working days basically start early but I finish at 1pm. I then have 2 hours till I have to do the school run. These last few weeks I have been thinking that would be an ideal time to walk the dog, if we had one. DH had a back op last year and he is keen to incorporate walking in the evening into his exercise plan so he would be up for taking the dog out later too. We spend a lot of the weekends walking as a family too and it does feel as though we are missing a dog!

Is 8am till 1pm ish too long to leave a dog most days? Not sure we would have much time to do anything other than give a quick walk round the block in the morning so dog would have to wait till afternoon for main exercise. Is this healthy?

There are other practical issues, small garden, need a larger car (which we are getting in December), not really sure what we would do if we went on holiday (our in-laws who are local hate dogs and all my friends and neighbours have their own dogs to look after or small children). me out of it, it's a bad idea isn't it!

P.s: I have got time to commit to training and I don't really want a puppy or a pedigree dog. All dogs considered except overly large ones due to garden size!

MimsyBorogroves Fri 27-Sep-13 17:40:25

I'd have suggested a rescue greyhound too.

PatTheHammer Sat 28-Sep-13 09:11:49

Trying not to get too excited about this afternoon!

Thanks for your PM Mistlethrush, had a quick look at the site and looks really useful.

I will come back later and let you know Moosegrin

PareyMortas Sat 28-Sep-13 09:19:17

Was coming on to suggest a Lurcher, but you've seen the light already. Good luck, you won't regret it.

DameDeepRedBetty Sat 28-Sep-13 09:44:27

Have lurked through thread, looking forward to hearing how you get on. Always so lovely to hear about an adult dog being rehomed!

mistlethrush Sat 28-Sep-13 10:03:30

Being in foster too is ideal - because it almost certainly means that she's already housetrained (something we had to sort out ourselves!)(despite our dog being over 2)

PatTheHammer Sat 28-Sep-13 14:51:36

Just got back from rehoming centre. After discussing it thoroughly they reckon the girl Lurcher is too boisterous and would be destructive in our home if left for long stretches.
However, they had a male 2 yr old at the centre who they thought may be ideal as he was much calmer. He was just getting back from a walk so we met him and he was absolutely lovely! We are booked in tomorrow morning to take him out for a walk and get to know him.

He's such a happy, gentle chap considering he was found as a stray in such a bad condition. He was real skinny and his fur was falling out. they are building him up gradually so he won't be ready for a few weeks but he is making amazing progress. They said he is almost back to ideal weight and having seen a photo of him 3 weeks ago I can see an amazing difference.

He is larger than we thought but DH liked him so fingers crossed!

mistlethrush Sat 28-Sep-13 15:19:22

Lovely ! A large lurcher doesn't necessarily take up a large space if they don't want to...

moosemama Sat 28-Sep-13 15:38:50

Great! smile

I always find dh is a right old grump when it comes to getting a new dog - then he's worse than me once he's met them. grin

He was really grotty about getting Pip, partly because losing Oldgirl hit him so hard, but he's the been the biggest sucker for him since we brought him home and spoils him rotten.

In fact I've just spent a fortune on new collars, leads and harnesses for him and dh didn't bat an eyelid. He actually went for the more expensive of the collars we looked at, whereas if I'd spent the same on me or the dcs he'd have been in a right strop. hmm

Good luck tomorrow and do come over to the pointy hound cushion, nothing we love better than a bit of pointy dog chat over there. smile

PatTheHammer Sat 28-Sep-13 21:31:52

Oh yes collars, leads, toys.....we don't even have a bed for him!

What the hell do we need? I had a quick look in the pet section of the garden centre today and it was all very bewildering, about 700 different types of dog-treat for a start! DCs were picking up loads of squeaky toys that looked annoying and crap.

If it does happen as planned then I think I need a dog personal shopper!grin

moosemama Sat 28-Sep-13 22:02:20

You don't need much. Basically just a bed, collar, lead and name-tag, plus food and water bowls to start with. I would also invest in a bottle of enzymatic pet accident cleaner such as simple solution just in case it takes a day or so for him to work out where the back-door is in your house.

Name-tags have to include your name, address and postcode. There's no legal requirement to include the dog's name and some people prefer not to and no requirement for a phone number, although it's obviously necessary if you want the dog to find it's way back to you should you get separated.

BUT, if you want to go shopping ...

First of all find out if he's been crate trained and decide whether or not you want him to use a crate at home. If you do, I'd recommend having a look here. They're very reasonably priced and we bought our pup's crate from there.

If you aren't using a crate, pick a nice comfy bed. Lurchers like their home comforts so the comfier the better. Cushion/Mattress styles are popular, but lots of people start out with a folded duvet to start with and get something more permanent when they work out if their dog is stretcher or a curler, iyswim. Mine have both. In the kitchen we have traditional plastic dog beds with memory foam matresses and various blankets and fleeces for them, in the living room they have soft beds.

He'll probably come with a collar, but you could get him a new one if you'd like. Lurchers tend to have quite small heads, proportionally to their necks, so either a fishtail greyhound style one (Lurcherboy has one of those) or a martingale would probably be best to prevent the collar slipping over his head. There's an amazing array of sighthound collars for sale and be warned, collecting them can become addictive. grin

You will probably want him on a long-line to begin with until you're sure he will come back when called. Flexi-leads aren't recommended, instead a long webbing line like this or even longer, attached to a a harness is preferable. It's not a good idea to attach a longline to a collar, as they can damage their necks if they hit the end at speed.

The rescue centre will advise you re food and it's usually best to keep them on whatever they're already getting for a while, before gradually changing over.

Toys. Not all sighthounds like toys, but mine both like tuggie ropes and plaits, frisbees and balls. You're absolutely right about annoying squeaky toys that will get ripped up in the first 5 minutes. It may be worth getting a kong to stuff with tasty food for when you have to leave him, as it's a great way of getting them to settle while you're not with them.

Really it's possible to spend as much or as little as you like, although personally the temptation to shop for my dogs is always a little too strong. blush

PatTheHammer Sat 28-Sep-13 22:15:46

Wow thanks Moose......personal dog shopper extraordinaire!

Some of those collars look gorgeous, I could really find myself spoiling him. The urge is even worse as I feel he's had such a tough start and needs some spoiling for a change. I must be realistic though!

moosemama Sat 28-Sep-13 22:30:18

I don't change do I? It used to be baby equipment, clothes and nappy covers, with Tree et al, now I scour the net for canine attire and accessories! grin blush

I was the same with my pup, as he had a very bad start (he was dumped in the gutter at the side of a road at less than 24 hours old). I just wanted him to be warm, comfortable and know that he was loved and would be taken care of forever.

I was very good to begin with though, just a basic puppy collar and one of our old leads, a puppy bed from Pets at Home, a couple of blankets, one or two tuggy toys, a puppy kong and a food bowl.

I've been waiting for him to get big enough for me to buy him a gorgeous collar and as he hasn't got a very narrow head I've been able to buy him a flat collar. Just ordered it today - it's the 7th collar on the list, Spins and Twirls. I've never spent that much on a dog collar before, but really wanted to get him something special.

There's certainly loads of fun to be had choosing collars for sighthounds and if you end up with one that's fine coated and feels the cold, there's a whole world of house-coats, fleeces, jumpers and waterproof coats to shop for as well. wink

moosemama Sat 28-Sep-13 22:31:42

Should have said. There are some links in the OP of the pointy hounds thread for recommended shopping sites. wink

mistlethrush Sat 28-Sep-13 22:38:00

I would get 2 economy double duvets from Asda or similar (sort of £10 ish) and 2 covers that fit them - then you will be able to wash one if necessary. I have several duvets ready to cut into sections so that we have smaller duvet bits that are really useful to put in the car, on things that need to be kept clean etc. The link I gave you has a great option for fleece and cordura covers - these can fit duvet bits too. We have a fleece one that gets used a lot and cordura ones for the boot of the cars.

The same link has someone that does fitted coats - cordura or just waterproof. mistlehound has a cordura one that's fantastic - it was used all last winter and it doesn't look used at all. The same person does fleece coats at a reasonable price - although there are plenty of links on the pointy hounds cushion for others that do them including a MNer.

GingerbreadMoomin Sat 28-Sep-13 22:51:13

Fingers crossed for you for tomorrow!

We didn't get our dog until I went part time after having our little boy, I condensed my hours to make my Monday a really long day and that's when Barney goes to the farm across the road for the day, he loves it there smile On my two other days he gets left for 4-5 hours and goes for a run over the fields for an hour when we get home.

Your children will love having a dog, my little boy gets excited coming down the stairs every morning to see his Barney smile

34DD Sat 28-Sep-13 23:51:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

digerd Sun 29-Sep-13 08:03:14

My niece has a lurcher/cross and he is such a softie. Last time I saw him he sat next to me on the sofa and gently kept pawing my arm for strokes with pleading eyes. Rolled over onto his back for chest strokes.
When he was much younger he did like jumping into the small canal at the back of my garden.

My 2 year-old 5 kilo furry lap dog took a while to settle in with her toilet regime but I did not crate her. She does have a bladder and bowels of steel I've disovered, so it was the move that unsettled her at first which is normal.
Good luck today with the walkies. smile.

PatTheHammer Sun 29-Sep-13 15:59:23

Ok, walkies went well. he is a very friendly boy but will definitely need some training. he wasn't too 'pully' on the lead and responded well to 'stay' when we crossed roads and went through gates and stiles etc.
He was very excited to go out (aren't they all!) but after the first few minutes of sniffing and weeing he had calmed down and was very biddable.
We couldn't let him off lead as he hasn't been tested for recall yet, and since he was stray they think we will have to test this in a very safe area away from main roads and any other dangers/temptations. He did enjoy a little jog on lead with me (which will be fab if he likes running on lead as I would LOVE a dog to be my running partner!).
He was interested but friendly and submissive with other dogs we met. We also happened across a cat. His ears pricked up but he wasn't overly 'pully' trying to get to it. the cat seemed not in the least bothered but kept a close eye (different story if the cat was running I bet!).

So next step is a homecheck next weekend and we have got to wait till he has had some more treatment from the vet before he can come to us for a trial. They have suggested testing what he would be like being left, since although he is very calm in his kennel they don't know if he would be the same in a house.
He was so lovely and adorable I really hope it works out but if they decide we are not best for him and he would be too lonely for 5 hour stretches then so be it. I would rather he had what is best for him and a friendly chap like that will have no trouble finding a home.

bellasuewow Sun 29-Sep-13 16:06:31

Three walks a day and a lovely family to fuss over it the dog will be in heaven and you sound like a very sensible and caring person. Lucky dog that has you as an owner If everyone was like you there would be no need for rescue centres.

WhatWouldFreddieDo Sun 29-Sep-13 16:10:04

Oooh I'm jealous. We have a Bedlington/Whippet X (a Whidlington, obv.) and she is a real softie. But she LOVES to chase - luckily I have learnt her posture when she's about to bolt, and can stop her streaking across 2 fields if need be ...

moosemama Sun 29-Sep-13 16:55:28

He sounds lovely Pat. Is he a smooth hound or a scruffy boy?

If you're interested in running with a dog, have you heard of Cani-cross? There are a few people on here that do it with there dogs and a couple of people who run with their dogs over on the pointy hound thread. They also take their dogs to Parkruns, which is perhaps more accessible.

The rescue sound very good. Home-trials are a great idea, although obviously tough for all concerned if they don't work out.

Wishing you loads of luck with your home-check and that it all works out for you and this boy. smile

PatTheHammer Sun 29-Sep-13 17:16:56

He's a scruffy Moose.....or at least he will be when all his fur grows back! He has the whippiest tail ever bless him!

I've done a few Parkruns actually last year when I was still fit (did 2 half marathons last year.....down to about 2-3 miles now!). Those running leads round the waist look ace smile

moosemama Sun 29-Sep-13 17:29:13

Aw lovely. I'm a sucker for a scruffy Lurcher. grin

Cinnamon, on the pointy thread does Parkrun with her greyhound and has just adopted a Lurcher girl this week so she can do longer runs, as pure greys don't tend to have as much stamina. She's just bought some harnesses and leads etc for running with hers, so should be able to point you in the right direction if/when you want to give it a go.

I am very impressed with your running. I got super fit doing interval training the year before last and dropped 4 stone. Unfortunately, I then became quite ill and have gradually put them all back on and lost my fitness over the past year or so. Just starting to edge back into it very slowly now. Running is out for me unfortunately, but I find lots of walking with my dogs is the quickest way to kickstart rebuilding fitness and I love doing it too, so it's a win, win. smile

CMOTDibbler Sun 29-Sep-13 19:45:05

He sounds lovely. I run with my lurcher (up to 15k together, over that he stays home), and just use a lead on a harness as it gives me a bit more control over his path position - but we run along pavements and he is a bit dim about trying to stop and visit people/bounce at the sight of postmen/sniff.

He loves running, and people wave at him from their cars and several people have stopped me in town to say they've seen us

PatTheHammer Tue 01-Oct-13 16:31:02

Eeeek.....home check done this afternoon and we now have a scruffy, hairy house guest at the weekend for his trial.
Sooo excited!

Must go out and buy things!

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