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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2004, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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Question Time for a dog - PLEASE HELP!

Hello,
I've just joined these forums so I hope I'm posting in the right area?

I'd like to know your opinions/experiences of having a puppy/dog in the following situation. Please read ALL my post before giving your much appreciated advice, thanks.

My partner and I were both bought up with dogs and 18 months ago purchased our first home(we're 30'ish if this helps).
Now we're settled we would like to get our first dog together but I have been stubborn so far because we both work 9-5, mon-thurs meaning the potential pooch will be alone for up to 8 hours 4 days of the week and up to 6 hours on a friday.

We've researched our situation thoroughly but find conflicting information everywhere. Some advice says get a puppy so it will learn our routine or crate the pet whilst out, some say a dog can't be left for that long full stop and we are psychos for thinking of getting a pet!

We have a large brick shed which could be left open onto our 40ft grass garden which is enclosed by a 5ft wooden fence. I thought the dog could use it as a den/run during the day (a sheltered, secure and safe environment) and bring the pet in when we get home. There's plenty of woods/parks nearby for walks too.
Our dog loving retired neighbours say they will help out by popping in to take him/her for a walk daily or at least keep an eye on poochy. They want to help much more but I think the dog could get confused who the owner/leader is so I've restricted the idea to lunchtime walks and tossing alternative toys into the garden to keep rover amused.
We would also take turns with a day off work each week for the first 6-8 weeks so we're there more often to begin with.

The animal rescue homes say they wouldn't place a dog with us because we both work, but who is at home all day long in this day and age? Peoples situations change too. I look at people I know with dogs and they are in the same situation as us but didn't give it any thought, so what's the right thing to do or best way forward?

Any dog we get musn't be too noisy as we live in a terraced house.
We wanted a beagle but after researching the breed we found they get lonely quickly and bay, and are hard to train. So, we're looking at a labrador(had them before) or a cavalier kcs at present. Any advice on this subject would also be appreciated although we're not keen on many toy or large dogs. Mixed breeds are fine too.
It seems hard to find a +1yr old dog(rescue homes no go) so a puppy is our only alternative, which is fine for us, but is it fine for puppy?

We are big dog lovers and would see our responsibilty through, but want our dog to be a happy, loyal companion and the above info is stopping us making our decision and giving a dog a loving home.

Thanks for reading...I look forward to reading your replies.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2004, 01:00 PM
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If you are willing to be there for the dog and take the time it needs then I don't see a problem with it. People have dogs and both people work all the time. That to me is not a bad thing.

However, I would suggest not leaving a puppy outside all day to its own devices. Too much can go wrong in a short time. I would suggest crate training, and taking turns each day coming home at lunch to let the puppy out for potty breaks.

Labs can be very vocal as well, but not quite as vocal as a beagle.


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2004, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice - I hope I get more....
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2004, 06:41 PM
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I am in a very similar situation, in that me & my fiance work 5 days a week, and Dante is often left alone for 8hrs/day. We were concerned at first, as you are, but Dante is fine. The most important thing is rutine. Dogs live by it. If you are going to do it, stick to it. Don't feel bad when the puppy whimpers as you leave, he's going to. It may take a while but it will end. We were told by many a good folk, to ensure when you are leaving and when you arrive back, not to make a big deal out of it. If you act excited, upset and worried, the pup will pick it up too. I would also suggest not leaving the dog outside while you are gone. Especially a young pup. It is best for them to be confined to an area, either a crate, or a room. Dante freaks out if we are gone and has run of the house, but is fine if we leave him in the bedroom. I would suggest the kitchen or bathroom as a good palce to start, until the puppy has his toilet training down pat. If those rooms don't work for you, then crating would also be a good solution.
Also, as for finding a dog, try smaller shelters, or more rural ones. They are often more understanding (I have found) then the big city ones.And would be more likely to adopt you a dog.
On the breeds, my experience has only been with Dante, and he is a mix. I highly recomend them

Hope that helps!!!

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2004, 10:40 PM
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If you are committed to having a dog in your family, then please don't give up your search just because you've been denied by a couple of rescues. Based on the amount of time both of you are away from the home, I would highly recommended an adult dog, and forget about the idea of a puppy. Puppies are very demanding of your time and attention.

Although your neighbor's offer is very kind, don't rely on it, who's to say after a couple months they might get tired of helping. I think it would be fine to let them come over and play if they want to, but don't take on a responsibility thinking you will always have help.

Please don't give up going through a rescue. It's just a matter of finding the best dog for your particular situation.

Do some research on specific breeds you both agree on as far as looks and then look at the typical temperment/characteristics of the breeds and see if there is one or a couple that you both agree on. Read your newspaper, look at the classified section of petfinder.com if you want to avoid a rescue. There are tons of adult dogs out there who need a good home. Determine what problems you are both willing to take on and what problems you want to avoid completely, such as barking, will they be okay with children, if you don't have children around that might not make a difference.

The best part about finding a rescue who will work with you is that most rescue dogs are coming from foster homes and they should be able to tell you a LOT about the specific dog you think you might like. If you get one from a pet store (and I beg you not to even consider that option!) or from a personal ad, or the pound, you may end up taking home a very wonderful addition to your family, or a wild card with a lot of baggage and behavioral problems.

Once you get a more solid idea of what you are looking for in a dog, then research rescue groups. Some will be local, but there are also rescues that work nationwide and will transport an animal to you (with or without additional cost to you). I would recommend contacting a few rescues and just explaining your situation and what your looking for. They may have a dog that they feel would be best suited for you or if not, they may at least keep you in mind for the future.

The rescues that I know of and have had direct contact with lately are getting new dogs in almost every day, so you may find the "perfect" dog for you very quickly.

Another plus about going through a rescue is that most will make sure the dog has up-to-date vaccinations and be spayed/neutered prior to adoption.

I wish you the best of luck!!

~Chalupa, Lady, Moxie, Paiseley & Boozer~

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2004, 11:15 PM
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I, too, recommend an adult dog. One that is at least two years of age. By about age 2, most dogs (excluding large breeds) are full grown and will be settling down a bit as they mature with age. I think that a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel would be more suited to your lives, being fairly active dogs who will love the walks you give it, and at the same time not needing as much as say a Lab or Shepherd or something of that sort. Other quiet, not-so-big breeds include Basenjis (who do not bark, but will yodel) and Australian Cattle Dogs (ACDs were bred to be quiet so as not to startle the cattle they herded, and were prized by cattle rustlers because they were able to use the ACD to quietly herd someone else's cattle away in the dead of night.) Both Basenjis and Cattle Dogs are independent, so they will do fine alone, but can be prone to mischief. (ACDs especially, since they are intelligent dogs bred to think on their own and be able to act on their own.) All three breeds will need proper stimulation or they could become loud or destructive while you are away.

I do not think you are in a situation that requires you to stay away from dog ownership. You just need to find the right dog for you and your partner, that is all. Good luck!

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your time guys, I really appreciate all the positive advice.
More welcomed...
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 03:36 AM
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I think an adult dog would be best for your situation.

Puppies require so much time, energy, and long-term training that you may find it taxing to have one within the first week of bringing him home!

From my experience adult dogs usually learn faster (house-training and so on) and of course have better bladder control.

A shelter rescue is a great option. You could try and press your case with the shelter that rejected you, or as others suggested, shop around for another shelter.

Also, in America sometimes breeders have adult dogs that are retiring from the show ring that they are willing to give to a good home. This isn't so common in Finland (where I live now) and it may not be common in England, but you could still do some research there, too, and see what comes up.

And if all else fails, there are cats. (Which are just as lovely as dogs and have just as much personality!)



Good luck and keeps us posted on your search!

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Well, you have all been very helpful and I think we will start looking more in depth about breeds and training so we "have a plan" to follow when our new companion arrives.
The opinions here and elsewhere do seem to agree that leaving a dog alone while at work is fine in a routine which makes me feel a whole lot easier about a new addition.
You have all helped us make the most difficult decision....

A dog seems the obvious choice but I have still been unable to find anybody advertising anything but puppies here in the UK...but it's early days...
No doubt I'll be on these forums regularly asking how to stop my dog eating my shoes or something!!

We're quite struck on labradors at present, I'm going to speak to a couple of people I know who have had labs in similar situations. The noise factor worries me a little though, don't want him barking all day while we're out although I have found some useful info regarding noise reduction which basically entails being more stubborn than the dog until it relents(could be a challange!) and not making a fuss when leaving and arriving home! All part of the training i suppose?

There is a breeder in our area who breeds about 3 breeds of dog, has a vet and grooming service, does this sound like a reputable breeder? When we called there was no one there which I thought was a bit dodgy?!?! Appointments only!

Thanks again everybody.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 11:29 AM
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Hello and welcome to PawTalk!

IMO, I think you two would do fine with a puppy. You sound like you understand the responsibility, time & energy that will be involved. My husband and I have brought puppies into our house and we both work, we've never had a problem. It's all about how you do it and to be sure your committed to what is best for the puppy. Sure it's a lot of work, but the rewards are wonderful!

I agree that ya'll should do some research on breeds and figure out which one would fit your lifestyle.

And I'm with Chrisanne... crate training is a must, IMO.

I wish you the best of luck in your search in whatever you decide. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask away!

~ Jodi ~

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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I was thinking labrador because they are easy to train, about the right size for us and puppies are available everywhere. Any training tips/links/books(especially barking/lonelyness tips) would be appreciated as would any lab experts/experiences advice.
Thanks again people.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 02:43 PM
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I've the fortunate circumstances that allow our family to be home almost always so handling pets while having to leave the home for several hours a day is not something I know much about.... OUTSIDE OF KNOWING PEOPLE DO IT ALL OF THE TIME and are still able to successfully love their pets w/o incident So I just wanted to wish you the best with picking the dog that's perfect for you and thank you for being wise enough to research first

I believe Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, and Whippets are all medium/larger dogs that are known for being pretty quiet...

Retrievers are also excellent well mannered dogs...

Rottweilers can be VERY MELLOW dogs and actually handle being left indoors all day pretty well. They are SOOOOOOOOO LAZY that they actually may appreciate the peace and quite lol. The key is making sure that you take them out for at least one hour a day to run and exercise etc...

I wouldn't be too quick to admit defeat on adopting a dog in need either. Though some of the organizations can be a bit strick the city societies and pounds as well as several of the adoption agencies do allow working families to adopt dogs. The dogs need loving homes more than anything else and most would gladly choose a 16 hour a day family over euthanasia ...

Again, I've never had to do it so I'm speaking from assumptions here but I think if I were in your position I would be watching the papers and the adoption agencies for a well mannered young adult dog just to ensure the least amount of stress with the most amount of return for both you and the dog. I'm a person who likes instant gratification though lol With a 1 to 3yr old trained dog you can skip right to the loving part w/o the hassle of training the pup and contrary to the popular saying ... you CAN teach old dogs plenty of new tricks

- Deb

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 02:47 PM
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I'm not totally sure I'd trust that breeder you found, Humphrey. It's usually a bad sign when a breeder specializing in more than 2 breeds. Breeding takes up a lot of money and time, and it's not easy to devote your time to carefully breeding more than one breed for the betterment of that breed. However, they may be some of the few who just LOVE three different breeds and wants to better each breed through careful breeding. There are certain things you can ask and look into that will tell you if they are a responsible, reputable breeder.

I believe there's a few good sites on finding responsible, reputable breeders. I don't know any off of the top of my head but I can look them up if you like.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-05-2004, 03:37 AM
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Generally, most good breeders have one and possibly two breeds that they specialise in. Three breeds is a lot of work! However, the breeder you found might be getting out of breeding one breed (if so, ask WHY) or maybe just has a championship stud dog of one breed that she does stud services with, or something else even.

No matter what it is, you should ask why she breeds three breeds of dogs.

The thing that got my attention, however, is the appointments only! Why should you have to make an appointment with her just to talk about the POSSIBILITY of attaining a dog? If the breeder is not readily available to you in the evenings (considering she may work), then you should have some concern over that.



I found you a list of the top 10 (but it goes to 79) easiest to train dogs. Labrador is #7. It's a good choice of dog, but I thought you might like to see this in case you want to research some other breeds (just supposing)--and this will give you something to start with.

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