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Can I have a dog if I work at home? Plus general dog advice needed.

(27 Posts)
areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Mon 25-Apr-16 10:07:22

OK, so my dd 11 desperately wants a dog and I think it would do her a lot of good. The rest of the family (me, dh, dd2 9) all love dogs too and are keen.

HOWEVER, I am really concerned about the practicalities. I work from home, so am around to keep the dog company, but I would be sitting at my desk often working to a tight deadline and my understanding is puppies in particular might not be too happy with this set up and want to play etc.

I also have to go out - usually about 3 times a week for the equivalent of an afternoon. Does this mean organising a dogsitter/walker every time, presumably that would cost a fortune (in London)? I'm pretty sure we could manage a walk of in total about an hour a day and we have a garden so that's not a problem when it needs a wee/poo.

I just feel overwhelmed by all the considerations. I know loads of working families with dogs, so obviously it can be done but how ...? My overall feeling is an older dog, who's more mellow might work out, but a puppy is not on. DH, however (who of course wouldn't have nearly as much to do with it as me) is insistent on a puppy.

Please tell me if we can do this or not and if so how?

TIA smile

CMOTDibbler Mon 25-Apr-16 10:28:28

I work from home, and have two dogs. One was 6 months, the other was a proper puppy when they came to us. Both are rescue. It works for us as both dogs are very laid back (lurchers) so they go out in the morning, sleep till lunchtime when I go for a run with them, then snore through the afternoon till its walk time.
Puppies are a pita when you are trying to work - they need to go out to wee every 15 minutes for a start! They also need a lot of input in terms of training etc.Even a dog of 6 months is much easier to deal with than a tiny puppy - Duggan for instance will be housetrained pretty much before he's rehomed.
Mine are fine to be left alone for 4-5 hours.
Another advantage of a slightly older puppy is that you can see their personality and be sure that they are going to be suitable, rather than finding yourself with a spaniel like dog who wants lots of play in working hours

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 25-Apr-16 10:30:28

Well you'd certainly be very busy for a couple of weeks with toilet training. Puppies need taking out about every fifteen minutes during the day to encourage weeing outside. They do usually get the hang of it but it could be a couple of weeks, it could be a couple of months. And you'd need to make sure you had a safe enclosed area, preferably within your sight so puppy isn't alone, otherwise whilst you're busy working at your desk the puppy will be busy chewing through the cables underneath it. An older dog would certainly be easier but then you miss that bonding stage. Plus with a puppy you know it's background. You'd also be busy taking it out and about everywhere for the first couple of weeks. Puppies have a socialisation window up to about 14-16 weeks where they are learning all about the world and aren't yet nervous of anything and you need to take them out and about and show them everything you can think of so they know what stuff is without being afraid. I probably didn't write that very succinctly but you get the gist. It's a very full on period, those first few puppy weeks. And of course you might not be getting a lot of sleep if it's whining and howling all night for the first few nights. There's been loads of threads with good advice about puppies. Have a trawl back through the Doghouse and see what you can find.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Mon 25-Apr-16 10:40:25

Thank you both for the advice, if the first two weeks are the only really tough bits I'm not so daunted - I could aim to bring a puppy home during school holidays when dds could help a lot, the older one is v mature and would be a lot of use. After that, I've seen that a local business does puppy socialisation, so I guess I could put the pup in that if work was super busy. As a short-term investment I'd be happy with that.

After about four months, could I expect a dog to happily snooze/potter around while I work?

CMOTDibbler Mon 25-Apr-16 10:51:10

It can be a few months that are hard, so don't rely on 2 weeks. As for the age of pottering round happily, its very dog dependant - what breeds would you consider?

Costacoffeeplease Mon 25-Apr-16 10:57:10

I think a couple of weeks is extremely optimistic. You're not going to have a lazy, snoozing dog at 12 or 14 or even 20 weeks. Some dogs don't come out of the various puppy stages until 18 months, so I'd think very carefully about getting a pup. An older rescue would be better

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Mon 25-Apr-16 11:00:24

i'd say a pup is the equivalent of a idea of personal space, little or no bladder control, constant supervision required, pretty constant interaction also required, no sense of danger

so if you have time for all that then go for it!

ChairRider4 Mon 25-Apr-16 11:04:42

It's only now at 16 months do I have a proper chilled dog but that's only because he has 2-3 hrs walk a day

SavoyCabbage Mon 25-Apr-16 11:07:51

We have just got a ten month old rescue dog. She was house trained when we got her. The first few weeks were hard. We got our hog at the start of the Easter holiday so it was all hands on deck. Perhaps you could get a dog at the start of the summer holidays then your dc could crack on with it all.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Mon 25-Apr-16 11:08:13

Yup, I thought a couple of weeks was optimistic!

What are the best chilled breeds? We love spaniels, but I know they're high maintenance; also like dachshunds but I know then can be yappy. Aagh, I'm amazed anyone ever gets a dog with so many considerations ... I do think a rescue dog is the best compromise for us, but dh will need to be persuaded.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 25-Apr-16 11:17:23

Greyhounds are usually very lazy, if you've got the space for one

PerfidiousPanda Mon 25-Apr-16 11:27:51

I work from home too, and have two dogs - I agree that the puppy stage is very hard and if you're usually at your desk/kitchen table on laptop then it is disruptive getting up constantly to toilet them. Also, if you do phone interviews or anything like that, you never know when they'll kick off barking (postie, leaf blowing, imaginary serial killer at the door).

My weimaraner would sleep all day when she isn't on one of her walks and she was pretty lazy from the start. I think they are wonderful dogs. The puppy (8 months now) is much trickier in that she doesn't really nap much during the day but she's happy to wander around, lie at the top of the stairs watching outside, play in the garden, steal socks . . .

This is a good time of year to get a puppy though as the toilet training is just horrible in bad weather.

I agree about greyhounds/lurchers etc - I home check for one of those charities and they are gorgeous dogs who just seem so grateful for any home comforts. There are so many of them looking for good people, so definitely worth considering.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Mon 25-Apr-16 11:50:55

A puppy that wanders around is fine by me, I can see the garden from my office, so she/he could go in and out. I had a friend with a very nasty greyhound, which put me off the breed, but will investigate - I am also going to investigate puppy socialisation services in the area, the best thing may just be to farm it off in the early days and pay whatever price!

PerfidiousPanda Mon 25-Apr-16 12:03:32

I've never met a nasty greyhound!

I wouldn't farm a puppy off though - I do think you need to bond, and those early days allow you to get to know each other so well. The new puppy was very tricky compared to my older dog and I think those early days were so important in getting me to love her. Wouldn't be without her now smile.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 25-Apr-16 12:10:46

Me neither hmm

FFS don't get a puppy to 'farm it out' that's just ridiculous - you, as the owner, need to build a rapport and relationship with it, train it, play with it

I really don't think you should get a puppy

whatevva Mon 25-Apr-16 12:21:26

My neighbour did this.

She took time out initially to do all the early training etc, then dog went to daycare once a week as soon as he was old enough and socialised enough.

Once this was in place, she got her business going, and went out on doggy daycare day. The daycare place would take the dog on other days if necessary (both she and the dog were lovely, so no problems there if there was space).

She was a perfectionist on training, and her DH did morning walks as well. It was terribly impressive, the dog really enjoyed the day in care and slept like a log afterwards.

Bubble2bubble Mon 25-Apr-16 12:36:20

I mainly work from home which is great for dogs. Once they've had a good run first thing they mainly lounge around for the rest of the morning, usually with a door open so they can wander in and out if necessary, and I can work in the office upstairs.

With a puppy though, as others have said, you will get no work done. I have tried working from home with a puppy and it virtually impossible. It's like waiting for the precious time when a toddler goes to sleep so you can get something useful done. All pups are different - some more clingy than others, but turn your back for a second and pup will potentially eat your phone charger, chew the furniture and take your diary for a spin round the garden in the rain.....

You sound like an ideal candidate for a greyhound/whippet/lurcher tbh, though probably not a spaniel ( sorry!)

georgedawes Mon 25-Apr-16 12:41:27

I'd say a puppy would be hard too. A slightly older dog would easily sleep quietly as long as it'd had a walk. My dog is 2 years and will sleep most of the time when she's at home. If you wanted a rescue a foster home should give you a good report on what the dog and it's background is like.

pigsDOfly Mon 25-Apr-16 13:13:58

A puppy will drive you mad if you're trying to work. Leaving it to wander in and out of the garden sounds a good idea but it isn't. It will never learn the difference for toileting between the garden and indoors and house training will take forever.

Some puppies can take months to house train so it could be months before you can relax about it. And as for giving it to someone else to socialise, how are you going to bond with it get to know how it thinks if someone else is doing the work for you? Very bad idea.

A slightly older dog sounds the way to go but be very careful about the breed if all you can manage is up to an hour's walk a day, most dogs need more if they're to be tired and content - so definitely not a spaniel.

Would second a greyhound if you don't want a lot of walking as they're one of the few breeds happy to snooze with a couple of short walks a day.

My neighbour has a one year old lurcher, most laid back dog I've ever come across. Although I suspect that's down to training as much as personality.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 25-Apr-16 13:39:31

There are some positive experiences. wink My lab was toilet trained in a month and round the house is one of the most chilled out dogs I've ever met. He's never been a bouncing biting maniac, he's always been quiet and relaxed and happy to just laze around with us.

The only downside at the moment is that since we've all been home for the Easter holidays he's obviously got a bit clingy. When I took the girls back to school and popped out to do the shopping I came home to a kitchen covered in shredded cardboard and polystyrene. I am working on building his confidence back up though.

MummySparkle Mon 25-Apr-16 13:46:03

Hmm, I didn't think having a puppy was too bad, but then I had. 6month old as well, so maybe the puppy was easy by comparison! If your DCs are both mature enough I would get a rescue dog or put yourself on the waiting list for a rescue puppy. We were looking for a staffie pup and put our names down at dogs trust. A few weeks late we got a call saying a staffie who was brought in had just had a litter and would we like one. Our 'hairy child' is a cross with possibly a lab but we really don't know and he has been a delight. I think we were just lucky with timings, but it's worth doing x

frillyflower Mon 25-Apr-16 15:54:34

Puppies are hard work but it definitely gets easier. We have a Jack Russell who is 8 months old now. He gets a walk in the morning, at lunchtime and afternoon. Even with all this activity he can take 20 mins or so to settle if I start working, but he does always settle and plays quite happily on his rug or has a snooze. You have to do the walks though so the dog can burn off its energy. Our dog can also be left for a couple of hours now after a walk. It's getting better all the time.
You maybe don't need dog daycare - just exercise and training.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Mon 25-Apr-16 16:56:15

I think a rescue dog sounds easily like our best bet and will explain to dh exactly why a puppy is not on, unless he wants to take several months off work to socialise/train it. Really appreciate everyone's advice.

CommunistLegoBloc Tue 26-Apr-16 21:47:37

Get a rescue puppy - six to nine months?

I've got a rescue lurcher. He's got his issues (with other dogs when he's on lead, basically) but he's the most loving, beautifully behaved thing in every other respect. No issues with toileting, someone else had trained him in recall, isn't destructive and can be left on his own. He sleeps most of the time and all he really wants are cuddles and a potter in the garden.

Sneeziemcweezie Wed 27-Apr-16 22:25:14

Rescue dog, not puppy. We have ex-puppy farm dogs and house-trained the first one in a couple of days - with an adult with bladder control its dead easy if you just set them up in a good routine. I don't think I'd want to do house-training with a puppy, sounds like hard work! I work from home and find the oldest dogs want to sleep all day, sometime I can't even get them to go out and wee during the day. Our youngest dog ~18months old wants attention a lot more and thinks I should play with him if the others refuse to because they want to sleep - I've bought various toys for him, but sometimes a cuddle is enough and then he'll lie down and sleep.
As long as you do decent walks, at least twice a day, I think leaving a dog for the afternoon is fine.
The draw-back to working from home with a dog? If it has flatulence like all mine did today after eating something they shouldn't have on the morning walk...

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