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Should we take this dog on?

(11 Posts)
MaggieMcGill Sun 30-Dec-18 22:39:08

My dad is disabled and in a wheelchair and lives on his own. Last year against our wishes he got a rescue whippet. There were no home visits done and I still don't know how he was allowed a dog. Anyway, he was admitted into hospital on Christmas Eve so we have been looking after his dog. He's now realise don't that he's not capable of the responsibilIt's and is considering putting it back into the shelter. His dog is lovely and has settled in here, you would think this was his home. However, I return to work again next week and we both work full time. Would it be cruel to keep him here?

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AvocadosBeforeMortgages Mon 31-Dec-18 00:39:29

How does the dog cope when left alone for a full day? Some will tell you that there are hard and fast rules about how long a dog can be left (4 hours is often cited) but IME there are some dogs who can do far more and others who can do far less. I'd strongly recommend building up the time he's left asap - so that the 8 hours on weds comes as slightly less of a shock to him (eg 3 hours tomorrow, 6 hours new years day; 9 hours on Wednesday ideally if would be a slower build up hut it's unavoidable). Could you afford a dog walker?

Would your dad be able to keep the whippet if he either
A) used a dog walker
B) if you lived nearby and had the dog overnight and for walkies?

Finally, do you actually want a dog? They're a massive commitment - and I say this as someone who has a dog that was accidentally acquired from a friend who couldn't look after him any more. Few would judge you at this point in time for saying that you simply hadn't signed up for long term dog ownership.

BiteyShark Mon 31-Dec-18 06:50:04

Do you want a dog? Do you want the life long commitment (in terms of cost and the general tie of ownership) of this dog?

If you answer yes to those questions then you can look to see how the dog copes when you are out. Lots of people use dog walkers or daycare if their dog cannot cope for long periods alone. Would that be a possibility for you?

MaggieMcGill Mon 31-Dec-18 11:20:05

We have discussed getting a dog before but decided against it because we both work. He's not been left on his own since he arrived here on Xmas eve. I'm going to leave him this afternoon for a few hours while I visit my dad so we'll see how that goes. He's such a loving wee thing and it's been great to see him out enjoying being a dog again. He's not been dealt the best start and I'm really torn about putting him back to the shelter.

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pigsDOfly Mon 31-Dec-18 13:50:23

There was a thread on here recently regarding a very similar situation and I was one of the poster who strongly advised the OP to rehome the dog. She clearly didn't want it, hadn't planned for a dog, her family life was really unsuitable for a dog and more importantly, she clearly felt overwhelmed by the whole situation.

However, you sound as if you would really rather like to keep this dog. And whilst working full time does make it difficult, there are ways around that. Could you afford a dog walker or doggy day care? Or is there any possibility of your dad having him for a few hours during the day once he's out of hospital?

I'm very much not in favour of leaving dogs for hours on end but a lot of people who work full time have dogs and somehow they must manage to work it out and this little chap needs a home.

It does sound like the poor little thing didn't have the best start in life. If your dad was able to just take him on without any checks on where the dog was going it sounds like someone just wanted to get rid of him.

If you're prepared for the level of commitment a dog requires, and it is a huge commitment if you do it properly, and you can work something out so he isn't left too long on his own, there's no reason why it can't work.

You have no idea what'll happen to him if he goes back to the shelter. You sound like a kind person and you've clearly already got rather fond of him, so yes, go for it.

MaggieMcGill Mon 31-Dec-18 18:18:28

Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond. So, he was left alone for 2 hours today in the kitchen. I put his bed there along with some toys, food and water. He's been scratching at the wall next to the back door and has made a hole in the wallpaper so he 's obviously not used to being left. He also left a puddle at the door despite being taken for a walk before I had left!

We have both gotten really fond of him and he seems to really have settled here straight away. We could probably afford a couple of days of dog walking/day care. My work is only a few miles away so I could nip back during my lunch hour for 20 mins a few times a week.

I've also been looking at booking a block of training classes as he has no road sense or seems to know what his name is. He really should not have been rehoused to my dad as he's just not well enough to train or walk him. We have told him that he's being cruel but he's lonely too and likes the company. I'm not sure what the wee fellas story was previously but he cowers down sometimes when you raise your hand to clap him. Despite all of that he's really friendly with other dogs and people and he loves attention and belly rubs.

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BiteyShark Mon 31-Dec-18 18:25:49

Oh dear, the problem is for dogs that don't like being left alone it can be a slow process getting them used to it and you don't want your home being destroyed.

Is there any way between you and your dad you could make it work. Could your dad provide company for when you are working but get a dog walker in for some exercise?

If not I think you might have to really decide whether you can commit to him and all that entails. I spend a small fortune on daycare but that was my choice as I knew I had to in order to have a dog and work whereas this is a situation that is being forced upon you.

thereallifesaffy Mon 31-Dec-18 18:27:53

I'm afraid I'd have to keep it! And if the dog can't cope with long workdays I'd find a dog walker. Maybe your dad could chip in if you also promised to visit with the dog

Floralnomad Mon 31-Dec-18 18:33:32

You could always set him up a play pen arrangement for when you are out to reduce the damage to your house , you can get fairly large ones and hopefully he will improve and eventually be able to have free rein . I think a walker a couple of times a week and you popping home for lunch will be infinitely better than yet another new home for the poor chap . Btw I wouldn’t be too concerned about the name thing , our dog is 8 and I’m not convinced he knows his name yet he knows lots of other commands , is very well trained and also knows lots of hand signals ( left / right etc )

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Mon 31-Dec-18 18:41:34

Oh dear, it does sound like there's an element of separation anxiety going on. It's something that can be worked on, but it does take time and (in a vastly oversimplified nutshell) involves working up the amount of time he's left slowly - often starting with seconds not minutes. It's not going to be sorted by Wednesday, to put it mildly.

Do you think your DF will be well enough to look after him in the daytime if he doesn't have to walk him or generally do anything except keep him company?

Training classes sound like a good idea; look for someone APDT accredited (ideally) or IMDT and avoid anyone who talks about pack leadership or alpha dogs (always the sign of someone with outdated ideas and invariably harmful techniques) or who uses punishment ("balanced" and "corrections" being two words that are red flags. Just to manage your expectations, training classes won't improve your dog's separation anxiety; if you want professional help with that you'll need to see a behaviourist (APBC or CCAB accredited).

Teaching a dog its name is easy and you can start tonight - say the dog's name and when he looks at you provide a tasty treat. Repeat so the dog gets the link; 2-3 min sessions are ideal.

pigsDOfly Mon 31-Dec-18 19:20:44

Yes, sounds like it was way too soon to try to leave him for two hours, that will take time and patience.

As far as road sense goes, I wouldn't worry too much about that at this stage. My dog will be 8 years old on her next birthday and I'm pretty sure she has no idea that cars are potentially lethal.

She stops at the edge of the road because I tell her to and is always pleased to be told she's a good girl and get a pat when we get to the other side, but other than that she seems to have no idea. However, as she's always on her lead anywhere near a road it's not something I'm too worried about.

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