Anyone with a Chihauhua??(51 Posts)
I was wondering if anyone could give us some advice, especially if any of you have a Chihuahua.
We would really love to buy a Chihuahua puppy and have thought long and hard about it however we would like to know once and for all if it would be cruel of us to get one. We think we already know the answer although we are told differently by others…
We work long hours, we leave the house at 7am and get home at 6.30pm Mon-Fri. Is this really too long to leave a dog on its own? We work far away so there is no chance for popping home at lunch times etc.
People have told us that the puppy will learn that its routine and that they wont have any concept of how long they are left for if it is done from a young age. We wouldn’t have a cage for it and it would have free roaming of the house. We have a large, secure garden although I would be nervous to think of the dog getting stolen or something if someone were to break over our fence?!
So, is it cruel to get a puppy if we aren’t home much during the day? We don’t want to get a puppy if it will be lonely.
Please do not get ANY dog if your out all day. So very unfair on any dog.
Yes that's what we thought too. We have been discussing this for 3 years now and we have had a few people tell us recently we are being silly and that they leave their dogs and work the same hours as us.
I just wanted to confirm we are doing the right thing and not potentially missing out if 'loads of people do it'.
We still wont get a dog. x
You are brave asking this question on Mumsnet. I would ask the same question on a specialist chihuahua forum if you want a wider spectrum of experiences and less dramatic responses.
Mumsnet is not a fair representation of most dog owners. Most people have to work and people who do work have dogs, otherwise only the rich and retired would have dogs.
Remember there would not be dog walking and dog sitting and doggy daycare services if only people who could spend a couple of hours away from their dog were dog owners.
Also those who say they never leave their dog for more than two/three hours a day most go stir crazy confined to their home.
Dogs do adapt to your routine but you may wish to break up their day using a sitting or daycare service.
We have a chihauhua and work. Is a dog walker out of your budget? Ours pops in at lunchtime on the days that im in work. We have a crate for her although the door is never closed, when we come back to the house she's usually sleeping in her crate quite happily.
The problem with puppies is that you need to be around to toilet train them. I work full time although it's a mixture of at home and in the office. I spent the first month with the puppy full time at home getting him used to be left alone and toilet training him.
I am not out for as many hours as you so I only do daycare for half the day. If I was out with your hours I would put him into a full day at day care. Whilst day care is great it does cost a lot plus you still need to spend time with the dog when you get home. Something to think about when you are tired from working and the puppy still wants entertaining or decides to wake you up in the night.
I agree it's acceptable to have a dog and work!
Do consider seeking advice out with this forum though
Also can you afford a dog walker?
Thank you Tammy, that has given a bit more hope. We would have a dog walker - we have already looked into that, its just that its still a large portion of the day that the dog would be alone.
I will go and ask on a specialised forum, I want as much advice as possible so we know we are doing the right thing. I would feel horrendous if anyone told me I was cruel if we made the decision to get one. xx
Do as much research as possible. Puppies in particular are very hard work. They do restrict your freedom and require a lot of training from behaviour through to toilet training.
It's pretty exhausting.
Prepare for to have a poo and wee accidents and to be bitten as the pup goes through teething. Your furniture, clothes and shoes are all at risk!
Seriously the best people who can advise you on the temperament of your preferred breed are those owners who have a chihuahua. Seek them out as they are best placed to tell you about issues such as anxiety, need for human interaction etc when left alone and for longer periods.
Remember the dog fits around you and not the other way around.
For me having a set routine has worked best.
Chihuahuas have been bred to be companions - they don't do well alone and are difficult to toilet train. It's unlikely that any dog would cope with the hours you describe, never mind a chihuahua.
People will tell you it's ok - what they mean is that as long as your dog is alive and not displaying its distress through destructive behaviour or vocalising, then its distress won't bother you. It will however be distressed.
It depends whether your desire for a dog trumps your desire to give a dog a good life.
Remember the dog fits around you and not the other way around.
This attitude is why separation anxiety in dogs is endemic in the UK.
You have a legal duty of care (to say nothing of a moral responsibility) to provide for your pet's needs. It's up to you to select a pets whose needs you can meet, not to expect an animal to cope with the decisions you make for your own convenience.
One of DPs relatives has a chihuahua, it was bought as a puppy by another family member and left alone all day as you would have to do. The dog was given to DPs relative as the first owners couldn't cope with the destructive behaviour that developed because the dog was constantly left alone. Even after years of being looked after all day by relatives elderly neighbour while the relative is at work so the dog is never alone it is still a nightmare behaviourally, very anxious and clingy.
Yes, lots of people leave dogs for extended periods of time while they are at work, but it isn't nice for the dog, they are pack animals so need social interaction, not just one walk with a dog walker and evenings and weekends. And yes to be honest I do think it is cruel and selfish to get one if you plan to leave it alone for the majority of its life.
Also with little dogs like chihuahuas a fall from a high sofa back for example could really hurt them and if left alone it could easily happen. I think you have to accept that currently you are not in a position to have a dog as you can't provide a nice life for it with your working hours. A rescue wouldn't allow you to rehome a dog with your working hours, and a decent breeder wouldn't sell a puppy to you either. So that's tells you whether you getting a dog is in the animals best interests. There are plenty of other animals that you could have as a pet that would be more suitable, such as a chinchilla who would be awake in the evenings when you are home and sleep during the day when you are out. They live for up to 20 years old and are wonderful pets, and just as cute as a chihuahua.
It's the dramatic responses from people like Vet which is why I tend to avoid mumsnet for dog/puppy advice.
Like I said seek out specialist forums and speak to trainers to make sure this is the right decision for you and your family.
I am the leader of the pack as far as my dog is concerned which is why she is confident and not anxious. She fits around me. Period!
Also make sure you go to a good/reputable breeder. A good breeder should be able to tell you whether your family is a good fit or not. A good breeder will want the pup to go to an appropriate home and will advise what you need to do to maximise the dog's quality of life. Dogs really are a blessing.
Also most Owners who work and have dogs/cats etc aren't in breach of the Animal Welfare Act.
It's also not a breach of the Animal Welfare Act to make sure your dog has a set routine which suits you and which gives the dog certainty, comfort and boundaries.
I have 2 Chihuahuas, only planned on one but the first would literally starve himself for days and vomit bile rather than eat dog food, (and believe me, we tried everything ) but then when he stayed with my DP's parents (with 2 dogs) he would magically wolf down whatever was offered, and indeed, now we have the other dog he eats normally.
He also had horrendous separation anxiety and would yelp so loud you could hear him down the street (I'm talking about when just going to the local shop, not being left for an extended period of time).
Chihuahuas are incredibly sociable and need to be with their 'pack'. DP works shifts and I'm part time so ours aren't left alone for long periods.
Honestly, I wouldn't get a Chihuahua if I were out for that long. Even with doggy day care you'll only be spending a couple of hours with it and it's not fair. They really do bond to their owners and are very needy, I've never known dogs that are velcro-ed to your lap like they are. It's a bit easier with 2, but I had trouble doing things around the house with the first one alone, he was scratching at my leg constantly to be picked up like a toddler!
of course you cant get a puppy if youre out for 12 hours a day. That would be really unfair to the dog.
Have you thought of getting a couple of cats instead. Theyd be company for each other, and usually dont need quite as much human interaction
It is not a "mumsnet" thing that you shouldn't work full time and have a dog. It is basic animal welfare, as supported by vets, RSPCA, PDSA, Dogs Trust, etc. A dog should not be left for more than 4hrs and welfare organisations are now making it clear that a dog walker or someone popping in to loose the dog out once a day is not enough.
The vast majority of dogs are stressed when left alone - although the majority of owners don't realise at all (watch the secret life of dogs on All4). Just because a dog doesn't destroy the house, it doesn't mean dog is ok being left.
"Most people have to work and people who do work have dogs, otherwise only the rich and retired would have dogs."
Or full time carers, part time workers, people who have full time childcare that doubles as dog care, people who work from home and people who work different hours from their partners... I'm sure there are plenty of other set ups that also mean someone is usually in.
I'm sorry I can't believe you're actually seriously thinking of getting ANY dog when your lifestyle is the way it is.
No. You should definitely not get a dog.
A cat, yes. But stay away from dogs.
Ok Sparkling chill! geez! 'but stay away from dogs' LOL!
This site is absolutely ridiculous! everyone just wants an argument and to be nasty! would you talk to your friends and family in this way?!
Yes we were seriously THINKING about getting a dog and we have been doing a lot of research and as you can see if you bothered to read - I have agreed that now would not be the best time! I haven't gone out and just got a bloody dog without thinking have I!?
I wont always work these hours - only for the next year, we have waited and discussed for 3 years so another year isn't too much drama! I only came on here to ask because I was getting conflicting answers from people in real life!
I'm not bothering with mumsnet anymore! most of you on this thread have actually been so lovely and have raised really valid points but reading things like 'stay away from dogs' is totally rude and uncalled for!
Leader of the pack, to a species that is not a pack animal yep, that works!
If you know you'll definitely have much reduced hours around a year down the line you could start looking for a good reputable breeder now, making it clear you know you can't whilst you work long hours, but will be reducing your hours next year and wanted to start finding the right breeder, so they can tell you when they have pups due, after your hours are reduced.
It can be tricky finding the right breeder, so gives you time to find some you are happy with. Good starting places are KC Assured Breeders (totally different to having pups KC registered) and breed clubs & shows.
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