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Owning a dog/PT work(15 Posts)
How can we make it work?
DH works full-time but is a teacher so lots of holidays. I work PT (3 days - Mon, Tues, Thurs) in an office and PT (2 days - Weds, Fri) at home.
DDs are 12 and 8 and sensible animal lovers. We have an enclosed garden and a large-ish house.
Local dogwalker and doggy daycare person is literally about 5 doors away. She does drop ins, walks and full days - cost increases with each option of course. £5, £10 or £15 I think.
PILs collect DD2 from school Mondays and Tuesdays and are at our house from 3pm onwards but are not experienced with dogs so I don't want to impose on them/expect them to dogsit regularly. DH returns around 3pm on a Thursday when I'm at work.
DD1 back from school each day at 4.30.
So effectively we have three days where a dog would need extra looking after - lunchtime returns not really an option for either me or DH. Is it realistic to figure out a system of doggy daycare which wouldn't break the bank?? or without also asking too much of our parents who may not be overly keen to supervise a pup/dog as well as the children.
Also in this scenario would you go for a pup/young dog or an older dog? How long can it take for either a young or older dog to cope with being left for a while?
We would be first time dog owners and I fully appreciate the ideal scenario is being at home all day - but that might not happen for a number of years and I don't want our kids to miss out on having a family pet. So I'm really trying to figure out how or if it can work under our current circumstances.
WWYD if you were us?!
Dogs are as individual as people and some are happy being left for hours and others aren't happy being left for minutes. Obviously with an older dog you should have an idea of how long they can be left for whereas a puppy requires you to build up to that very slowly.
I use daycare for three days a week and yes it is expensive but worth it. Again some dogs take to daycare but others don't. Equally some have restrictions on the age they will take a dog so that might limit a puppy. Also they have a maximum amount of dogs they can look after so are you certain the local dog carer has spaces as I found I had to ring around lots to find one that could take mine.
FYI I pay £20 a day for mine to be looked after. You also need to factor in boarding, insurance, vaccinations, food, toys/beds/leads and collars. The reason I am mentioning all of that is that you said you were looking for a solution that wouldn't break the bank.
Whether or not a dog will prefer daycare or a dog walker depends on the dog. My first dog hated daycare, but was happy to be left alone for a fair bit of the day, so for her a dog walker worked well. Our dogs now both love daycare.
As for a dog vs a puppy, I would be tempted to go for an older puppy or a dog. Young puppies need looked after all the time, and I don't think daycare with lots of other dogs can do that, and a dog walker just won't be there enough.
We have a similar scenario. I work 12 hour shifts 3 Xs a week and DH works full time Mon- Friday.
Pup goes to doggy daycare on the days I work and loves it. He has been going since he was 13 weeks (5 months now). We had a look at the daycare and made sure they had space before getting pup. We pay £14 per day and he goes for average 11 days a month.
Daycare wouldn’t take him until he was fully vaccinated so we had 5 weeks of needing someone at home. We managed this with annual leave/days off and DS wasn’t working then so he helped out a lot too.
For a pup (up to 1) you would need full daycare when you are working, for a dog who was older you could get away with a 11 o'clock dog walk for an hour from the dogwalker at a minimum but be prepared for the dog to need more company in the beginning and that it might continue to prefer the company.
You'd also be advised to choose a dog who wasn't high maintenance and happy to snore a lot.
Ok, so it's something that's difficult to plan until hypothetical doggy comes along. But an older dog might be likely to need a bit less attention and could possibly cope better with just a walk/drop in. I guess that's been my instinct - it would seem unkind to leave a very young dog unless he/she was super cool with it.
If I had limitless cash I'd happily pay for daycare but 3 x a week would equate to about £180 a month - I don't think we could afford it and DH would be horrified at the expense!
As for breed - DH has said he'd only ever go for a dachshund - not sure how content they usually are with being left/at daycare? I'm more realistic when it comes to breed and would probably rather go for the likes of a whippet which seems more chilled out...don't know if I can persuade DH though...that is if I can also convince him it's logistically and financially do-able!
If you are still going to be relying on a dog walker you do need to consider the breed. Most dog walkers are in high demand at lunchtime and do group walks. Would a dachshund fit in with a group walk. I am not familiar with the breed but would be concerned about finding a walker that could match his size with other similar dogs otherwise you would need to find a walker that did individual walks and these cost more.
If you choose your breed carefully then you probably don't need a dog walker (unless in exceptional circumstances) I'm pt, but on occasions when I'm out of town or have meetings all day we leave our dog all day and he acts no differently to leaving him for 4 hours. Not all breeds are as content I admit, ours simply loves his bed (we've filmed whilst out of the house and he barely moves an eyelid!)
You seem to have thought things through, do some breed research but also consider a mixed breed/rescue as long as it's been assessed carefully for your lifestyle. We chose a puppy at time good for us (eg at beginning of long holidays for you) so we could properly train. That said I left my puppy at home to go to work straight away, might be why he's so good at home alone.
There are so many variables and unknowns - it must be so much easier for people who are at home a lot. I think that's why I don't feel confident about taking the plunge yet - I would hate to get a dog and have it struggle to cope with a dogwalker/home alone or whatever. There are so many threads on here about dogs with separation anxiety or chewing up the house - or worse, people having to rehome because they don't have the capacity to look after the dog. I would hate that to be me!
And yet there are thousands of working households with dogs... people do it all the time! I'm probably totally overthinking things - just feel like I need to know how it would work before we could seriously consider it...
I have found the responses so far really useful though - thank you! Good to know there are others in similar circumstances who've got happy dogs.
I work full time but at home 2 days so a very similar set up. What I found was that I had to alter plans when we got our puppy. I initially thought we could have someone pop in a couple of times a day and then move to a dog walker once a day when he was older. However it soon became apparent that we would have a very miserable puppy if we did that hence moving to daycare. Even now at 2 years old his tolerance for being left alone is around 3.5 hours because I have a camera and can watch him and at times it has been a lot less and he has barked which, if you have close neighbours (we don't), then it can be problematic.
The key thing is to hope for the best but have the means to cope with the worst and for a working household that usually means money to pay dog walkers and daycare.
I know people who do leave their dogs all day. Some do cope but I know others who have had issues and what you don't want is neighbours complaining of noise and or a destructive dog.
Lots of people will say that you can’t leave a puppy at all but in my experience, the sooner you leave the pup the easier it gets. As others have said it depends on the dog. We have a 10 week old GSD at the moment and he doesn’t like us leaving but he is more than fine once we have gone. We have someone pop in for lunch if neither of us are at home and so far so good. The puppy stage is harder than I ever realised it would be but I still wouldn’t change it as much as some days I want to send him off to the pound! Yes an older dog that already has some training and is used to being left may be easier and there are lots of dogs that need saving. For us we wanted the full experience from him being a baby to train him our way but I’m not saying that’s right for everyone.
You sound as if you can be fairly flexible with the arrangements you can make for your dog.
If you are having a puppy you will need to arrange for somebody to be around all the time, if needed, for the first 4 weeks or so. We stayed with ours all the time for the first 2 weeks then gradually built up to leaving him and he has been pretty much OK with this. But some dogs aren't and you won't know this until you get to know your puppy. It sounds as if you've got support available to you but it might be expensive so you will need to decide whether you are prepared to pay out for full day care for the 3 days you work out if the house.
This has certainly helped me get more of a handle on the idea. It looks like we would need to hope for the ideal - Plan A - but prepare for Plan B... although I fear that might prove too expensive to consider...
A bit more thinking (and saving?!) to do and maybe chat to family more about the idea - maybe they wouldn't be as resistant as I think..? In any case, I suppose it feels like maybe the time's not right yet - but I hope it will be soon.
If your concerned about expense I'd steer clear of dachshunds, so many end up with spinal issues & expect the insurance costs will also reflect that. Can be barky and smell a bit, i presume its to do with skin folds.
I adopted my dogs while working full time with a lunch-time visit (lazy greyhounds), but i preferred to skip the puppy stage anyway as I like an easy life & its pretty full on to raise one properly. I also like being able to see what dogs character/ behavior/energy level is with an adult. Rescues try to match dogs to suit lifestyle and experience, whether its a pup or an adult, though you'd need to show a full-time care plan for a young puppy.
Much like breeders, rescues aren't all equal, some are better run & more flexible than others so have to pick equally carefully.
Returning to this thread again as doggy related thoughts keep returning to my mind!
Does anyone have an opinion on whippets and how amenable they are to being left? I understand they love to sleep and are quite chilled out - this might make them more happy than other breeds to be left with a walk and/or visit from someone around lunchtime?
I do like the sound of this breed and what I've read about them makes me think they'd suit us well for lots of reasons (assuming DH could be persuaded to let go of his fixation on dachshunds ). Plus I met one the other day and it had the softest ears I've ever felt...!
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