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Thread: Thinking of getting my first dog, and i want it to be a gorgeous King Charles Spaniel

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    Default Thinking of getting my first dog, and i want it to be a gorgeous King Charles Spaniel

    Hi Everyone, thanks for reading this in advance!
    I live with my partner in London, we have a small 2 bedroom apartment with a small front garden. I am actively looking to buy my first dog but am a little anxious as to which dog will suit me. I LOVE Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and have done numerous online surveys to see if they are suited to mine and my partners lifestyle. The thing that worries me the most is the fact that i work full time, Monday to Friday and i am out of the house between 830 am and 630pm. My partner works part time as a flight attendant and can be out of the country for us to 4 days at a time. so i guess during that time the dog will be at home on its own for about 8 hours (except of course if it falls over a weekend) so i assume there will be about 8 days per month where the dog will be on its own for about 8 hours.
    Can anyone advise if this is fair on a dog? How active are they in that sense? I am thinking of getting an adult dog rather than a puppy...
    What else do i need to know about this dog to make sure it fits our lifestyle?
    Any advise is much appreciated!
    thanks!
    Ben

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    Hi and welcome -- and good for you for taking the time to ask such important questions before you get a dog.

    There's a fast answer to your question I am afraid, and I suspect it is one you already know: there is absolutely no way you could get a puppy with that schedule -- a pup cannot be left alone for such long hours. You would never have a housetrained dog as you need to be there full days at least for the first few weeks -- so you are right to be approaching this from thinking about an adult .

    The second aspect on whether it is fair for an adult dog? The answer again is *probably* - no -- or at least not without MAJOR adjustments/cost as you both have either long hours or unpredictable schedules -- the only way you could do this would be to use doggie daycare every day as if you are out 8:30-6:30 and your partner is away, this isn't 8 hours -- it is 10 hours. That's a horrific stretch and no way a dog could hold itself from needing to pee/poop all day every day for so many hours or even 8 tortuous days out of every month (imagine having to hold it for 10 hours yourself every day at work -- wouldn't you dread going to work?) -- and really you would only see your dog and your dog would only have companionship for a couple of hours a day before you'd go to bed. A dog needs at least an hour of daily active exercise -- vigorous walks and play, not just a trip around the block. If you eave home at 8:30 you'd need to allow at least 45 minutes extra in the morning to manage a dog -- feeding. walks etc. A cavalier cannot be outside alone all day in a garden either-- because being this alone is cruel: it can cause severe anxiety and damaging behaviour as dogs, especially this breed, are very social and intelligent and will be bored stiff and miserably lonely; it is too cold in winter; and this is a commonly stolen breed, so it is too risky.

    You need to also consider what happens if your dog is sick -- it could not be left alone daily for 8-10 hour stretches. Be sure to research this breed carefully -- it has a very high risk of heart and neurological conditions at some point and so people do need to consider whether they could give the time to a dog needing regular medications. It's really critical for you to read not just surveys on what breed is right for you (which are generally pretty light and fluffy on real issues!) and read up on the breed, its real characteristics and its potential problem areas, including health. Cavaliers for example are NOT dogs that manage well left alone all day especially not a single dog. They do tend to gradually have significant health costs as they have endemic breed health problems that can be expensive (many of us have cavaliers with the debilitating neurological condition syringomyelia which requires medication every 8 hours or so or the dog can be left in pain, and such dogs really do need people around during the day to monitor them. Sadly this isn;t a rare condition -- three of my five lifetime cavaliers have had it).

    All of this is not to say you could not manage an adult dog if you wished to make the arrangements and sacrifices. First off: you do need to recognise that getting s dog is a decade+ commitment and will totally change your social life. You cannot just head off for drinks or dinner after work, or take off at the last minute for the weekend, or vanish for the whole day on weekends when you have a dog that barely sees you anyway due to work schedules. This is not something people tend to think about, especially younger people who like the idea of the occasional companionship and imagine walks in the park and countryside and not the daily responsibility.

    But assuming you are ready to make that major life change -- then you COULD work out owning a dog IF you come home daily for your lunch hour to walk your dog or hire a daily dogwalker or use daycare every day. I know people who do this -- but it is costly, just like childcare; and you need someone trustworthy enough to enter your house and collect your dog to take them out, if using a dog walking service.

    And even then I would be asking -- is this really much of a life for the dog who sits alone without its actual owner, almost all day every day?

    If you are really sure you want to give the time and effort to a dog, then do be sure to read up on the breed health issues and read our Considering a Cavalier post:

    http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/s...ING-A-CAVALIER

    and here's some good advice to consider on whether to get a dog -- some realistic idea of what you will need to be thinking about:

    http://dogs.about.com/od/becomingado...getingadog.htm
    http://www.petforums.co.uk/dog-chat/...realities.html
    http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/beforeyoubuy.htm
    http://www.petmd.com/dog/care/evr_dg...g#.UPvrLo6GjzI
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Leaving 2 together when you have to might be an answer, although you would need toilet facilities for them when you aren't there. If you garden is securely fenced a dog flap might be an answer.

    Show kennels occasionally have one or more adults who have finished their show/breeding life and need to be rehomed as pets. Rescue dogs frequently have issues requiring the investment of constant time and supervision, so you would be unlikely to find that avenue suitable.

    Take great care while making any searches. Whatever you do you must avoid all those newspaper and internet for sale rehoming sites. You can never know what you are getting and could easily be paying in advance for a permanent seat at the vet's. Preloved is typical of those.
    Warmest wishes
    Flo & the ByFloSin Cavaliers
    Rebel, Winston Alexander,Little Joe & Holly Poppet
    Birmingham, UK

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    Thanks for your advise, i wasn't expecting such detailed answers so i really appreciate that... i left my post pretty vague with regards to the extent of my research, i have looked into this a lot and which ever way i look at it, there is no real answer to owning a dog that fits into a busy lifestyle. I guess ill just have to be one of those people that comes up and pets your dog in the street because they dont have one themselves! i admire those that can afford the luxury of giving their dog all the time in the world, sadly with mine and my partners work schedule it seems unfair and selfish to potentially leave a dog alone for that long even if it is a few days a month.... i read the links you attached, very insightful - again all paths seems to push me away from the idea however much a would love a dog!

    Thanks again!
    Ben

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    I think you are taking all the right steps to ask the right questions and do your research, that shows you will be a good dog owner when the time is right. I had to wait many years tl my work schedule could suit having a dog. But the time eventually came! It will come for you too.

    I have to say I am a total opponent to the 'leave 'em at home alone with a dog flap' school of thinking myself. I know of dogs stolen from supposedly secure gardens -- high walls, locked gates, several gardens in. These are not deterrents in a neighbourhood where few are home in daytime, or where your neighbours you may not know, whose gardens might touch upon one's own at 5 or more points (two next door, three to the back directly and at angles) may be the one who take the dog and sell it on/use it as dogfight bait/stray it out miles away as it barks annoyingly at home alone in a garden.

    Dogs that can go outside at will are also ripe for ending up being the source of complaints to dog wardens (or perhaps being stolen!) simply because they are barking nuisances. In most places unresolved (eg bring them inside!) complaints can ultimately result in a confiscated dog. I love dogs but would HATE to live near anyone who had flaps so their dogs could go outside and bark their heads off half the day when no one is home, dig under the fences, etc. Two dogs with access outside just end up being a chorus much of the time. I think people tend to totally underestimate how annoying their dog's barking can be, aggravating neighbours up to many houses away.

    I think if you cannot be home all day some other arrangement needs to be made. Personal view but one that comes from in the past living near dogs who come and go inside at will all day and bark bark bark bark bark when outside... . Those are bored dogs whose response to boredom (yap yap yap yap yap yap) should not be inflicted on the rest of us.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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