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Am I mad considering getting a dog?

(47 Posts)
cottonwool125 Tue 10-Oct-17 10:21:24

I’ve been thinking for a good few months that I would like to adopt a rescue dog. I’ve been researching breeds, looking at different options (e.g whether to rescue or get a puppy). I think I’ve finally settled on the idea that I would like to adopt a retired racing Greyhound. I’ve always loved Greyhounds, and after researching their temperament, behaviours and ‘lifestyle’, I think a Grey would be the perfect dog to fit in with my family.

However, I have a few concerns. I don’t want to jump into anything too quickly (even though I think my heart has been set). I have done lots of research online, however I wanted to ask some opinions from those who have perhaps owned Greys, or just dogs in general!

I have never owned a dog before. I have been around animals a lot growing up, however- my grandparents have always had dogs (albeit tiny terrier types!).

I live in a 2 bedroomed house, and I am allowed one dog or cat, as long as I let my landlord know in advance through writing, so don’t think this’ll be an issue. My house is a fairly good size- nothing fancy, but a decent size. I have a relatively large living room, kitchen and bedroom. I have a fully enclosed garden, with high fences. It’s not a big garden, admittedly. Maybe 10 metres from back of the house to the fence? (I’m awful at estimating sizes so this may be completely out! grin). Grassy area as well as some patio/pavement. I live on a quiet estate, not too close to any main roads. There is a specially designated dog exercise area about a 15 minute walk away from my house.

I work 16 hours per week, normally split into 3 4-6 our shifts. The rest of the time, I am at home, or at places where the dog could accompany me. Would this be too much time to leave a dog alone?

I would be able to commit to 2 walks a day, no problem. I’ve read that Greyhounds don’t need particularly long walks- would a 20 minute walk and a 30 minute walk be enough on a day where I am at work? On my days off, I will be able to take the dog for longer walks if needs be (even though they are famously lazy grin)

Now, this is the part where I am unsure. I have a DS who is 15 months. He loves animals, as most toddlers do. He is very gentle with the animals we see out and about, in the park etc. Keeps his distance unless I say it’s okay to stroke the dog. I just know that he would absolutely love a dog at home. I never had a dog growing up, but was always something I yearned for. Would I be silly to get a dog alongside a toddler? It’s just me and him at home, so he would be coming with me on most of the walks, unless he is at nursery.

Sorry that this post is so long! Any advise/pointers or encouragement would be greatly appreciated. I think it’s feasible- however as I have not owned a dog before, there may be things I’m forgetting!

NB I have also considered the cost of insurance, feed etc and I would be able to afford this.

Greyhorses Tue 10-Oct-17 10:25:24

I have two dogs, one who is a puppy and a toddler of the same age as yours. It's worked out brilliantly for me and it's meant we get out a lot as a family.

It's been hard particularly with toilet training and a toddler but if your commited I see no reason that a child and a dog can't work.

The hardest part is keeping everyone separate when I'm busy, but we solved that with a baby gate and teaching the dog to settle in the kitchen when I'm not supervising them as I would never leave them interacting without me being right there.

DueNov Tue 10-Oct-17 10:29:59

Always had dogs but everyone thought I was mad for getting a puppy 2 months before baby is due. Best decision ever! I already had one dog who needed a friend. It's made them both very chilled. Your work hours are fab for dog owning. I work full time but come home in my lunch time to see then let them out etc. Be warned though. Once you have a dog you'll most likely always have a dog. A house is no longer a home without one!

kangamam Tue 10-Oct-17 10:32:55

I think it depends on the dog as to whether the toddler was a problem. I have a 3yo and we have had a dog since her birth. She can be a bit rough with him cuddling him etc. I will always get her off him straight away and she is learning with time, and I never leave them alone...but it does help that he is very tolerant and won't really flinch if she does it and just stays still. I know some dogs might not be so tolerant of this though so it would be worth discussing this with the rescue centre.

It is hard as you can't just get up and go to the toilet etc...But she loves him and we do have some lovely walks the 3 of us!

cottonwool125 Tue 10-Oct-17 10:34:57

Greyhorses thank you so much for your reply!

That’s a good point about keeping them separate at times- a baby gate across the kitchen door might be a good idea. Then toddler/dog can be separate if I’m cooking etc.

DueNov You were very brave getting a puppy just before your baby was due, but it’s lovely to hear that it’s worked out so well for you!

I have no plans to be fully time in the near future. May increase hours slightly when DS gets more funded hours at nursery next year, but probably no more than 20 hours a week.

I’m hoping that my home becomes a home that’s always got a dog! The issue will be stopping at one grin

Spudlet Tue 10-Oct-17 10:35:06

With the right dog, that could work really well. They'll need to be a gentle, laid back soul (as many greyhounds are!) and you'll need to work out a way of keeping your child and dog separated when you can't supervise (baby gate, crate etc). I haven't been to the loo without a child, dog, or both accompanying me in two years confusedgrin. But a good rescue will match you up with the right dog for your family. Sounds like it will be a lucky hound 😊

cottonwool125 Tue 10-Oct-17 10:38:17

Kangamam thank you for your advice. That would definitely be something I would discuss with the rescue centre. I know that no dog can ever be completely, 100% trusted. However, I’ll be making sure we choose the most docile, relaxed dog possible. I’ll be taking DS to visit in the rescue centre too, so I can gauge how the dog feels around a little person!

I’m looking forward to the walks most of all I think. Will do us all good! smile

cottonwool125 Tue 10-Oct-17 10:41:32

Spudlet thank you grin. Greyhound was the dog that stood out after a lot of research. As I said in a PP, I know no dog can be completely trusted and they’re all different, however they seem to be renowned for having a calm, gentle demeanour. A distant relative has had 2 Greyhounds over recent years, and they were so gentle with their then toddler. I think this has stuck in my mind and probably swayed my decision!

So pleased with the positive responses on this thread- I think I’ll be filling in an interest form later, and may be paying some visits to rescue centres this month. Would love to get the pooch home and settling in before Christmas.

DueNov Tue 10-Oct-17 10:42:19

The issue is definitely stopping at one. We have two yorkies. The parents of them are my dad's dogs so it's lovely taking them round and see them all play together.

First yorkie is a year old this month. And he was so clingy to me pregnant. Very over protective. Would not leave me alone, would even sit on my lap on the loo😂

Getting him a friend has been a God send, they're so much more chilled and entertain each other. They're still mummies boys but not 24-7 haha.

Tbh puppy has been fab at training. Few accidents not on the puppy pads but not many!! Just need to get him to learn to go outside now. He does go outside but on his pad outside 😂

Yorkies are fab family pets. They love children. Well all of the yorkies we have ever owned has! But I have heard grey hounds are lovely family pets too. Good luck! Best thing you'll ever do. I have nephews age 1-11 and they all have a good cuddle with the dogs and my dad's dogs. So lovely x

Greyhorses Tue 10-Oct-17 10:45:49

I have two dogs, one who is a puppy and a toddler of the same age as yours. It's worked out brilliantly for me and it's meant we get out a lot as a family.

It's been hard particularly with toilet training and a toddler but if your commited I see no reason that a child and a dog can't work.

The hardest part is keeping everyone separate when I'm busy, but we solved that with a baby gate and teaching the dog to settle in the kitchen when I'm not supervising them as I would never leave them interacting without me being right there.

Flippetydip Tue 10-Oct-17 11:04:47

We've got a greyhound - had her about 5 months. She's SO low maintenance I can't tell you. Limited shedding, low exercise needs, so calm around the house. We are all totally besotted with her - particularly DH who was the least keen to get one.

However, she's growled at the kids (6 and 8) a couple of times - which has worked fine as it's been their warning to back off a bit. We've watched a short video on dog reactions and they're a lot better now. However, I'm not sure how that would work with a 15 month old. You would have to be hyper vigilant and not leave them alone together which is easier said than done I would imagine.

The other thing to note is that greys is that they are not in general (or maybe it's just ours) majorly cuddly dogs. She's adorable and likes to be in the same room as we are but she's not overly affectionate. That said, it is still early days so she may change. She tolerates fussing and stroking but doesn't come looking for it. She does enjoy a good scratch behind the ears though.

See if you can get a grey that's been fostered by a family first. I know Hounds First do. Might be worth getting in touch with them.

Sorry, I know that was a bit of a ramble. Do PM me if you want to, I could merrily chat about greyhounds all day long!

cottonwool125 Tue 10-Oct-17 11:18:39

Flippetydip thank you for your response! Your dog sounds like a sweetheart smile

You had a thread about the growling recently, didn’t you? I was lurking with interest! Did it end up being just a one off?

That’s good to know re Greyhounds not being overly affectionate. That doesn’t really concern me, as I think it’s more the company and the other benefits the dog would bring to the family that I’m looking forward to, as opposed to having a dog to cuddle all day long! Obviously dog will get a lot of love, just not with constant petting/cuddling smile.

I’m hoping that getting the dog while DS is relatively long will mean that he adapt to the dog quickly. I’ll be making sure they aren’t ever left alone, and that he knows the dogs bed/feeding area is out of bounds in regards to stroking the dog or giving affection. There’s an alcove in my living room that would be a lovely cosy spot for the dogs bed, that he never really goes near anyway.

I’ll definitely look at Hounds First, I hadn’t actually heard of them. Hadn’t really considered getting a dog that had been fostered first, but it does make sense.

Spudlet Tue 10-Oct-17 11:18:54

I think it's fair to say that at least 50% of your training will be for the child in this scenario. It's probably even higher with me because we'd had ddog for a long time before DS rocked up! DS will go through phases of finding ddog fascinating - a few weeks ago he went through a phase of wanting to swat the dog's identity tag to make it jingle, for instance. So you have to be ready to step in instantly and nip that sort of thing in the bud. I have spent hours physically interposing myself between them to act as a bodyguard to ddog, and endlessly reinforcing 'kind hands, gentle hands' ad nauseum. It's worth it, because there are times when they play nicely and it is lovely. And when we read stories, ddog hops onto the sofa and snuggles up with us both to join in. But it's basically a case of being constantly vigilant whenever they are together and always being ready to step in.

In our case, ddog is (and has always been) allowed onto the sofa, which gives him a place where he's safe from being accidentally trodden on. However, he doesn't guard the sofa (and DS is not allowed to climb up with him, he has to choose the other end).

cottonwool125 Tue 10-Oct-17 11:21:09

DueNov Yorkies are such lovely dogs! My grandparents had one for about 16 years, and now have a Yorkie cross. Very sweet dog, incredibly loyal to my grandmother in particular.

It’s lovely that your dogs get to go and see their parents regularly! smile

Love hearing all of your stories about your lovely dogs grin

Flippetydip Tue 10-Oct-17 11:38:17

Cotton yes I did have a thread about the growling. She's not done it recently but I suspect that's actually because the kids have been reading her cues better which is what we all wanted in the first place. We'll see, I'm still being uber-cautious about everything.

The other thing to be aware of is that greyhounds are BIG dogs. I'm still not quite used to her being the head height of all the kitchen counters and the kitchen table...you can see where that's going can't you?! That said, they don't get under your feet because they're so calm and not skittering about everywhere.

Where abouts in the country are you? We're in the SW and got ours from the RGT sanctuary in Cornwall but I recommend having a look at houndsfirst.co.uk/ and foreverhoundstrust.org - both of whom I think, do fostering.

Oooh I'm so excited for you. Just be aware of the first week being wonderful and then the next two weeks being "what the heck have we do, this was a dreadful idea" and then it's just normal (or at least that's what I found. I was ready to take her back after two weeks!).

Ours was a dream, slept through the night with no crying (we crated her for the first month, she's now on the sofa the WHOLE time), no weeing indoors, no barking. Lovely lovely hound. I would thoroughly recommend it smile

cottonwool125 Tue 10-Oct-17 11:44:29

Spudlet I’ll definitely take that on board. Most of our time at home is spent in the living room, where I’m planning on keeping Dogs bed. I’m hoping that’ll make it easier to watch them both carefully! As a PP poster suggested, ill probably look into getting a gate for the kitchen door in case I need to cook/go to toilet (downstairs loo is off the kitchen), so they can be kept separate. Will be emphasised as well that Dogs space is HIS space (which may be tricky at first to teach a toddler but I’m sure we will get there!)

Dog will probably be allowed on the sofa. DS tends to only ever sit on my lap on the sofa, or sits/plays on the floor, so hopefully won’t intrude on space.

Getoffthetableplease Tue 10-Oct-17 11:44:58

I've got my first retiree years ago pre family, I absolutely adore them. When ds1 was born they mainly ignored each other until about weaning stage when the discovered an easy beg for food, ha! Our son was so used to him they were fine together the majority of the time. Greyhounds are definitely sofa/bed lounging creatures of comfort and boisterous noisy kids can really freak/unnerve them. We had to teach ds about giving the dog space and leaving him when sleeping etc. He was a really gentle kid but still very young and did get the odd growl. The real trouble was during play dates as an older toddler though. I would always have to keep the poor dog separate mainly for his own safety as he was a very large, very delicate attraction who definitely wasn't keen on strange child attention. Our old boy passed away and we adopted another retiree, could not be without a four legged companion and despite his aloofness with ds, he was very loved by him. Everything has been fine, they are very low maintenance as far as walks etc but they are more like having a giant sleepy cat in the house than a tumble around playful dog so that does seem to come with it's own challenges with over zealous little people in the house! You could always speak to the greyhound trust about becoming a foster home for a short while, then if it works out you keep pup and if it doesn't then you will have been very valuable in showing them a house and family and all that brings (they are totally clueless off track, everything is new!) before they go to their forever home?

cottonwool125 Tue 10-Oct-17 11:50:58

FlippetyDip That’s brilliant news smile glad the kids have adapted so quickly and are giving your dog her space! It must be so exciting for them still having a new member of the family, can’t blame them for wanting them to giver her an overload of affection grin

Yes, I’ll be making sure that worktops in the kitchen are kept food free from now on- no fresh baking or food out of the oven to be left on the top, or I expect it’ll be hoovered up wink. I’ve always wanted a large dog- I love small dogs (DS grandad has Dachshunds and they’re brilliant), but I’ve always been more drawn to larger dogs. If I had the space, I’d have something ridiculous like a Great Dane grin

So glad she settled in brilliantly for you! Did you have to buy a crate for her? Would you recommend getting one? I wasn’t planning on it, but if it was a massive help for the first few weeks, then may be worth considering.

I think the first few days adapting to a new lifestyle will be my ‘what have I done’ moments grin but I’m so excited! Mostly for DS as I know he will just adore a dog.

Flippetydip Tue 10-Oct-17 12:11:15

I totally advocate the crate, only because it's brilliantly useful now if you need to do things like bring shopping in so that she's not threatening to run out the front door. Or when the kids are getting ready for school and we take their friends and there are 4 of them, she gets way too over excited about the thought of going out so we stick her in the crate for 10 minutes until we're absolutely ready to go out.

She goes in her crate so easily - it's also where she goes if she's feeling a bit unsure. The kids are not allowed to touch her in there or even to stand by the crate - it's her space. The downside is that it's bloody massive!

Not sure how long we'll keep it. In terms of cost, we got it off gumtree for £25 so not too bad. It's a large rather than an extra large - 42" I think - which is fine for a bitch as they're a bit smaller than the dogs.

And yes agree with getoffthetable more of a cat-in-a-dog-suit than an actual dog. Kind of a dog without all the stress of a dog!

Bambinho Tue 10-Oct-17 13:14:18

I have 2 greys, yes they are addictive and being a member of several greyhound groups on Facebook I am being forever tempted by a third! Won't happen due to car space though.

Both are very laid back but my first is a bit aloof and cuddles are on his terms only. He's developed anxiety over walks recently (may start a thread about it) but fine in the house. Second one I got in January is more clingy and will have cuddles all day long including lots of head kisses which the other one won't allow. Basically, what I'm saying is they are all different and you need guidance from the greyhound rehoming place on the right dog for your situation.

A stair gate is a great idea, got one for my first because of existing cats in the house but it also gave him a quiet place of his own. Saying that, the second one hated being locked in and chewed through the gate!

I don't think your working hours are a problem, I leave mine at home occasionally for up to 6 hours and they're fine - just need a walk as soon as I get back. The age of your DS may be of concern though, you need to discuss with the rehoming place.

cottonwool125 Tue 10-Oct-17 14:10:14

Getoffthetable glad to hear another positive story about adopting, and that it’s gone well for you smile

I like the idea of fostering a dog, especially as they won’t have lived in a home environment before. This is probably a very silly question, but do you always get the option to adopt the dog you foster? Or could they potentially still be up for adoption through the centre, and be adopted by another family? Think that would break my heart sad

Building respect between the dog and my DS will definitely be the main focus when bringing the dog home. Teaching DS as best I can that he doesn’t approach or fuss the dog when he is sleeping, or in his own space (dog bed, crate etc). I’m hoping that DS gets used to him quickly being so young. I think as long as I stick to my guns and reinforce that it’s the dogs space from day one, and that the dog doesn’t always want to be petted, he will adapt. He’s been around dogs before as his grandad has dogs. He’d stroke them for a minute or so, and then something else would grab his interest and he’d toddle off somewhere else! It’s definitely something that I’ll discuss before hand with the rescue centre though. That was the part that was niggling the most. FlippetyDips advice about the crate was brilliant- I’ll definitely look at investing. Where do you keep yours, just out of interest? I’m thinking if we did have one, it would probably need to go in the kitchen, near the back door. Unless, I put it in the space where the dog bed would go, and put the bed inside?

Bambinho I’ve heard that they are very addictive, and that once you have one, you normally go back for another grin.
I’ll definitely invest in a stairgate, and potentially a crate.

Think the next step is probably contacting my local rescue centres, and going down for a visit and a chat!

How long does the adoption process tend to take? I don’t have a particular time frame- it may take a while to find the perfect dog. Would hate to rush into choosing one, to then find it wasn’t a great fit for our household.

What is the general order of events too re adopting? I’ve read about it online, but it would be nice to know first hand experiences too smile

Flippetydip Wed 11-Oct-17 13:28:22

Our crate goes in the dining room - we're fortunate to have a reasonably sized house -albeit mid-terrace - but even so the crate is a bit of an eye sore. Still, I can't get too worked up about it. I'm not sure you can be overly house proud and have a dog.

DH teaches music so the dining room is also his teaching room and occassionally the hound will go and lie in whilst he's teaching which is quite sweet.

Flippetydip Wed 11-Oct-17 13:32:56

Oh and sorry, general order of adopting for us was:
Several long phone calls with the lady that ran the sanctuary
Home check to basically ensure that the garden was secure
Some places will insist on meeting all the family - this one didn't.
All go down to meet the hounds (I honestly don't think I'd been that excited in my entire life the week before), she'd picked out four that would suit us.
Put hound in car, come home and that was it!
Very straightforward.

cottonwool125 Wed 11-Oct-17 18:40:13

Flippetydip thank you so much for all of that information! It’s so sweet that your dog likes to sit in with your DH’s music lessons grin

I emailed a couple of rescue centres local to myself last night. I have an appointment to go and chat to one of the centres on Saturday afternoon to look at and walk some of the dogs! I’ll be able to bring DS too, and they said we can see how he interacts with the dogs, and how they are with him. I didn’t expect it to happen so fast. I’ll then be subject to home checks etc, which fingers crossed should be fine. I also have another centre to ring this evening once I’ve finished work which also sounds positive. Eek, it’s so exciting! grin

I’ve been looking at the dogs on their websites- trying not to fall in love with them all. Theyre all so gorgeous. Wish I could give them all a home sad

Flippetydip Fri 13-Oct-17 10:11:21

That is really exciting! Let us know how it goes tomorrow.

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