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Working Full Time - Can I make a Dachshund and a Ragdoll work in my household?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by cib24, Apr 2, 2017.


  1. cib24

    cib24 PetForums Newbie

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    Hello everyone, I found this forum through a lot of online research over the last few days with respect to raising and keeping dogs and cats, and the forum seems to be a great resource for several different types of information.

    So here is the situation.

    My wife and I are buying our first flat and fortunately it is a rooftop flat with a very large terrace area (it's about as large or slightly larger than the flat itself) that can fit numerous sheds, plants, fake grass, etc. which makes it feel like a real garden. The current owners that are selling this flat to us have a cat with a little doggie/cat door to let it go outside and roam around. In addition, the flat is a 3 minute walk to a park and a nearby doggie park so it is really easy to ensure a dog and/or cat can get the exercise they need in the mornings or evenings.

    We have always wanted a pet or pets but naturally given we have always been renting a flat until now it was not allowed, and the flat we are currently in doesn't have the outdoor space like the flat we are buying has so there would be limited room to roam around and it felt a bit wrong to confine a dog or a cat to a tiny two bedroom apartment.

    My wife personally wants a Ragdoll cat as her family had two growing up so she has a lot of experience with them and she enjoyed them as companions. I personally want a miniature or rabbit Dachshund as the latter half of my teens and college my parents had two miniature red short-haired Dachshunds and they were amazing dogs (I also grew up with a German Shepherd, Golden Retriever/Spaniel mix, and a few different American Shorthair house cats).

    However, we both recognise that there is one issue that we will have to face and work really hard on (potentially) in order to have even one pet, that isn't a fish, in our life. We both work full-time and we cannot come home at lunchtime (too far) or leave work at a consistent time due to the nature of our jobs. On a standard day we are out of the house from 8:30am - 7:00pm, but sometimes we can work later until as late as 2:00-3:00am when things get crazy. Fortunately, both of us haven't had to do that on the same days so one of us is usually home by 7:00pm (and in the summer sometimes earlier).

    We know that animals can have isolation or separation anxiety if you are gone for more than a few hours and know that this is something we would have to really work on early in their lives and possibly find funds for doggy/kitty daycare (a cat less so as they seem to be able to entertain themselves easier). The pets we grew up with were never more than a few hours without someone in the house as we were kids so weren't gone all the time.

    So, the reason we are thinking of it now is that the new flat has decent space inside and a large terrace/garden that the dog and cat can use to sunbathe, watch the birds, and go to the toilet (in the dog's case) to keep themselves occupied. In addition, we have my wife's brother-in-law coming to stay with us for 9-10 months as he goes back to school for a Master's Degree, so he will be hanging around the flat a lot and can train the puppy and kitten and work with them while we are at work. In addition, we can have our parent's come and stay for a few weeks and do the same to help train them when they are babies. Our hope is that with good training we can ensure the dog and cat (or just one if that's all that makes sense) will learn to be independent, etc. so it does not suffer from isolation or separation anxiety.

    What is the community's thoughts? Is our lifestyle too difficult to have a dog or a cat because of the 9-11 hours each day during the week that we would be at work? Or can we invest in good training when they are a puppy and kitten to make them independent? We recognise that a large part of it will also be our continued commitment to a good schedule in the mornings and evenings in terms of playtime, walking, etc. so they enjoy their time with us when we are home.

    Thank you and I look forward to the advice.
     
  2. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    Basically you can't routinely leave a dog up to 11 hours. 9 hours WITH a decent break in the middle (which you'll have to pay someone to come a do), fine for an adult dog that is happy to be left provided it's needs are catered to in the morning and evening. But 11 hours routinely isn't fair in my opinion unless someone can look after the dog for a chunk of the day.

    A puppy of course is a different matter and would not work in your present situation.
     
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  3. cib24

    cib24 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for the quick reply. Totally understand and we are researching care options, whether that is a daycare centre or having someone come by for an hour a day and weighing up the costs.

    Of course a puppy requires a lot of time initially which is why we were thinking of using family to help us through that time period, specifically my brother-in-law who will be with us for 9-10 months, and thus getting a pet while he is here is the best opportunity.

    However, perhaps a cat is a safer solution? Or still not a solution?
     
  4. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    Would your brother in law actually want to look after a puppy? Especially if he's supposed to be studying? In the nicest possible way, puppies are very demanding time wise, all consuming I'd say for the first couple of months at least until you have a bit of routine going and the pup is (hopefully) toilet trained. The idea of puppies being these sweet little things that just cuddle up on your lap and want to play is pretty far removed from reality
     
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  5. MontyMaude

    MontyMaude PetForums VIP

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    I wouldn't even contemplate a dog in your lives whilst you are working those hours, I not sure I would even recommend a cat to be honest, especially rag dolls that are such companion cats and that need/crave human attention and company, if you were to get cats maybe look at rehoming an adult pair that are bonded so they at least have feline company throughout the day, as again it wouldn't be fair on young kittens to be left for that amount of time and then have you sleeping for a good chunk of the time you actually have to spend with them.
     
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  6. cib24

    cib24 PetForums Newbie

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    Yes, we have discussed it with him and he is quite excited about the opportunity and he raised one of the ragdoll's and has experience. It's a Master's Degree. You go to class like twice a week for 2-3 hours and take a midterm and final. My wife and I have done them before and they aren't really that time consuming if you make sure you keep on top of assignments and study consistently. Plus, he's naturally gifted in his field of mathematics so I doubt he will have many issues on his end.

    Having said that you make a good point, which is why we are also considering getting our parents involved in the puppy or kitty raising process and having them around to be there for the animals and help train, exercise, take them to classes, etc. if required, and also train them to be alone gradually.

    Of course we know that puppies are a lot of work, hence why we are doing so much research into if we can make it work, using family members to help out and/or training and daycare courses so that if we do it, we do it the best we can given our lifestyle.

    But I totally understand if it's just not practical and this was my first thought when we began considering it, but I thought it was best to research into it as much as we can before we make a final decision.

    We were also hoping a cat and dog growing up together would reduce the chances of isolation or separation anxiety, and ragdoll cats are very social and playful with other pets which would help the dog out. Still, perhaps a cat only is the way to go rather than trying to get a dog if we can't make it a good enough environment for the dog. Or, we just get a few fish...
     
  7. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Cats need attention too. Also, how would you keep the cat from trying to escape this roof top garden? She could be seriously injured or killed trying.

    Your lifestyle does not seem suitable for puppies or kittens. Animals need commitment and attention on a daily basis. People who are gone 10 or 12 hours a day are not really the type who should have pets.

    One thought is to visit a rescue or shelter and see if there are any older bonded pairs who need a home. Cats, or cat and dog, already bonded (usually dumped together), already past all the puppy and kitten stuff, middle aged or older might be best.

    As far as your choice of breeds based on childhood memory, discard that kind of thinking. Growing up with a pet of any breed or species does not make one an expert on that breed, or on animals in general. Parents do most of the work, generally speaking. It's very very different when the pets are your responsibility. : )
     
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  8. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    Oh wait, you want to get a puppy and kitten at the same time? Noooo, that will not work. Puppy will harass the kitten relentlessly and the kitten will soon get fed up with having a puppies needle teeth sank into it and will quickly resent the dog.....

    An adult cat might work in your situation. Kittens actually do need company and won't be happy being left up to 11 hours a day....
     
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  9. cib24

    cib24 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks a lot guys. This is good advice and I'll be sharing it with my wife. These are sort of the responses I was expecting but we felt it was best to consider all of the options and get feedback from a few owners and perhaps people that do work full time and have pets.

    Perhaps older pets that are bonded is a realistic alternative. My German Shepherd and Golden Retriever/Spaniel mix were very closely bonded that even when you would take one of them to go get groomed, the other would whine until they came back home. A bond like that could be a useful thing if they are to be left alone.

    But anyway, I'll pass this advice along to my wife to consider and we'll do the research into how much it costs to have someone come by for an hour or two each day and/or how much daycare costs. It's probably more expensive than is sensible though so we may need to consider other pet options if a dog or a cat won't work.

    Perhaps a snake although my wife wouldn't like that too much :D At least reptiles are far more independent and a snake is relatively easier to care for in terms of its diet requirements and the fact that it lives in a cage.
     
  10. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    Have you thought about chinchillas. They are quite happy during the day as they are fairly nocturnal but they can be a lot of fun to have out for exercise in the evening. Preferably you need 2. Maybe 2 males that can be castrated when they are a bit older or sometimes you see adverts for a pair of chinchillas with the cage and accessories when someone has lost interest. If reared properly they can live nearly as long as a dog and they are very affectionate. That odd day when you might both be working into the night will not bother them at all so long as they have regular excercise in the house. Not on your roof garden though, you would lose them fairly quickly. Or what about ferrets. You could build an outdoor enclosure on your roof with lots of activities for them, tunnels and things and you can take them for walks in a harness if you want to. With plenty of stimulation they make fantastic pets. Again 2 males which are castrated would be sensible.
     
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  11. elmthesofties

    elmthesofties PetForums Senior

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    Regardless of whether or not a dog or cat has separation anxiety, it's not nice to be left alone for 11 hours a day with nothing to do. I'm not a particularly sociable person and like my own company a lot of the time, but it doesn't mean I'm happy to be locked inside for a huge portion of my waking hours without a job or tasks to get on with.
    I would totally eliminate a dog, no matter their age or breed or bonded status, personally.

    I can imagine that a pair of slightly semi feral cats could be a decent match, as it sounds like you've got a fairly quiet home and they often like their own space and quiet. They should be able to keep each other company, too. It just depends on whether or not you'd actually be happy to have an animal that doesn't really like humans that much, and will probably never become a proper lap cat. (although, really, it'd probably be unfair to adopt a proper lap cat anyway) I'd do a lot more research on that if it appealed to you, though, as I don't know enough on it to make a confident suggestion. Maybe some cat experts will come along and say that it's a terrible idea, but it might be worth looking into, even if just to eliminate it.

    There are lots of other options, depending on what you actually want from a pet. I knew someone who used to really enjoy designing insect cages, for example. They'd decorate them with aquarium decorations and things, like mini temples and ruins, and have a themed setup. (there are some really interesting looking species out there, like domino cockroaches, jewel beetles, and leaf insects, so there can be beautiful results) Of course, that's probably not most people's cup of tea! It really depends on what you're after. We don't really know what you want in a pet so far, as you've not said much beyond your work hours and home.
     
  12. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    When OH and I worked full time we had two kittens from the same litter and that worked fine.

    They had each other for company when we weren't around and we gave them lots of attention and cuddles when we were. They were very happy and contented cats and lived to 19+.

    Ours were indoor/outdoor cats once they were fully grown (although we lived in a house in a very quiet area) and had a cat flap for access during the day and shut in at night.

    Personally, I wouldn't take on a dog (particularly a puppy) in your current circumstances.

    Dogs are a huge tie and we waited until I was not in full time work and it has been really easy.

    We had a couple of rats in between the cats and the dog (for my DS ;)) and as they are caged it does make it easier. They do need some free ranging time but we tended to do that in the evening. They are fairly short lived too so (I don't mean this in a callous way BTW) it isn't too long a commitment should circumstances become a bit tricky for any reason.
     
    #12 Lurcherlad, Apr 2, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
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  13. applecrumlin

    applecrumlin Oh Help Oh No it's a Gruffalo

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    Plenty of people work long hours and by paying for pet care, they make it work.
    My biggest concern, as lorilu has pointed out already, would be the safety of a cat on a roof terrace.
     
  14. The Wild Bunch

    The Wild Bunch Owner of dogs and referee of children

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    We have 3 cats and we have always had a dog. We pick up our new puppy at Easter. I work part-time and my hubby works split shifts so works 4am till 9.30am and goes back at 3.30pm until 8pm so the animals are alone for all of an hour between me going and him coming back. Two of my cats are mogs and are quite happy to do their own thing. Our other cat is a Persian and is a Velcro cat. Very devoted to his people and not keen on being left alone. He likes to potter around but spends much of his time following me and hubby round the house or snuggling us at any given opportunity. Ragdolls are exactly the same and wouldn't do well if left to their own devices.
     
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  15. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    I would probably rule out a dog in your situation. You could potentially make it work if you had loads of support from other people and could afford daycare, but that could get pretty expensive. I agree that two adult cats who are bonded could be a solution, but I would be extremely nervous about you being on a rooftop terrace - cats can be little daredevils and it only takes one lapse in judgement :(

    We have two cats who we've had since they were kittens. They are brothers and really enjoy each other's company so we don't feel bad if we are out all day - they spend most of the time sleeping anyway :rolleyes:

    I've also had rats, which are great fun. These should be kept in pairs as they are sociable creatures, but they should also be fine with your work hours. You can train them to do tricks too and they are ever so friendly.

    Hope you find a solution.
     
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  16. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    A pair of adult cats could work or probably a pair of kittens if you will have someone around for some of the time during the day as they will need more feeds than adults to begin with.

    If your terrace doesn't have easy access to floor level or adjoins a busy street or other dangers then perhaps look into cat proofing the terrace so that the cats can enjoy the outside space without risk.

    Other options might be a pair of adult rescue house rabbits. I am not familiar with rabbits but this poster had a similar situation...

    http://www.petforums.co.uk/threads/advice-on-getting-house-rabbits.7098/

    Or similarly house guinea pigs.

    If you want a pet with character but it doesn't need to be cuddley then perhaps some of the more charismatic fish like puffers or cichlids.

    However if you do consider fish please ask forcmore information on the forum as they need far more specialist care to start with than most pet shops advise.
     
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  17. cib24

    cib24 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks guys. Having discussed it with my wife and thought more about it I think a dog is out of the running now (shame). Cats still might work and getting a bonded pair that are 1-3 years old might be best compared to raising kittens. I understand the concern about balconies and that's definitely on my mind but I guess I figured it was alright since cats aren't generally stupid and know not to jump, and I guess this line of thinking was reinforced by the fact that the current owners of the flat we are moving into have a cat that goes outside all the time and sits along the balcony railing (it's about 1 foot wide actually) and watches the birds, etc. and seems to understand not to jump. Still, it's a concern so I'm not entirely sure about cats.

    Thank you for the alternative pet recommendations. Insects are not going to be on the Agenda because we desire something that is at least a bit social (semi-feral cats was an interesting suggestion but perhaps difficult to tame enough for us). I'm thinking pet rats might be the ticket from my initial research. Social, easy to care for, can leave them alone while at work so long as you buy them in pairs so they have a companion, etc.
     
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  18. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    No cats aren't generally stupid, but they might slip, especially if they are paying more attention to birds. My childhood cat fell off a window ledge from the first floor at my old house and hurt his leg (he'd made his own way up there and slipped). Thankfully it was nothing serious and cleared up after a few weeks, but if he had fallen from higher up then it would be so much worse. I would look at ways to ensure that your cats cannot get up onto the railings in the first place.

    I think you have made the right decision though regarding the dog.
     
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  19. MontyMaude

    MontyMaude PetForums VIP

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    Yes, cats aren't stupid but not to do a disservice to the Ragdoll breed I don't think they are the brightest most agile cats and most if not all cats have the odd whoopsie now and again and misjudge a jump, which could have tragic consequences on a roof top terrace, you could look at cat proofing it with a net style fence like this freestanding one.
     
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  20. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Administrator
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    My brother had a cat in his 15th floor flat with open balcony , she used to perch on the narrow balustrade to watch the pigeons ! I was terrified for her but she lived to a ripe old age and died of natural causes. That fencing looks fantastic , If I ever get another cat I would have a run made with that in the garden.
     
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