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Thread: Need opinions - renting house with small courtyard and want to get a dog

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Question Need opinions - renting house with small courtyard and want to get a dog

    Hi everyone :-)

    I'm new here and need the opinions of some experienced dog owners, maybe some of you have dealt with similar situations...

    My partner and I rent a house in Melbourne's north western suburbs. The house has a courtyard out the back which is all concrete, aside from one small strip of garden. We also have nice wooden floors and white walls. I've always had dogs in my life and really want to get one now that we have our own space. I would love to get an adult dog (1+ years) as I don't have an overly busy social life and feel lost without having a pet to love. Our landlords are absolute dog lovers but they feel that there are a few issues with the house that impact owning a happy and healthy dog, including:

    - We both work full time and commute for an hour each way so the dog would be alone for up to 10 hours day (weekdays only). I have considered this and would most likely hire a dog walker to come in around lunch time and walk the dog for half an hour a day. I've suggested installing a dog door so that the dog would have access to the courtyard and garage throughout the day, which leads to the landlords next concern...;
    - As the courtyard is concrete and has no trees, there is little/no shade for hots day, also nowhere for the dog to toilet. Would providing a paddling pool and some kind of outdoor fake grass outdoor toilet help with this? I'm not sure the landlord would feel this is adequate for the well-being and happiness of a dog;
    - Their final concern is the wooden floors - I would have the dog inside at night and on weekends, dogs claws scratch floors and we would be liable to replace the flooring if there is damage from having a dog.

    I love that my landlords number one concern is for any dog I could get, and I completely understand their concerns with regards to damaged flooring. My gut feeling is that it's not feasible to ever get a dog whilst living here :-( I love the house and the area, and with current house prices it's going to be years before we can buy. I'm torn as I have so much love to give, I'm prepared to install dog doors, hire walkers, install dog waste disposal units, find solutions to hot days, walk the dog morning and night rain or shine, provide lots of toys for those hours of alone time, and I've even considered looking into 'claw covers' to protect the floors... but at the same time I can understand that maybe my lifestyle and living situation may not be ideal for a dog :-( Looking at rentals that advertise as possible pet friendly does not comfort me as the houses are usually absolute wrecks that I wouldn't let any animal live in!

    So I was wondering what you lovely forum members think of my situation? Am I dreaming and getting my hopes up in wanting to get a dog?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I'm prepared to install dog doors, hire walkers, install dog waste disposal units, find solutions to hot days, walk the dog morning and night rain or shine, provide lots of toys for those hours of alone time, and I've even considered looking into 'claw covers' to protect the floors...
    Don't forget annual vaccinations, monthly flea+worm treatment and food - it all adds up.

    Maybe if you made a target of about $2000 to $5000 per year and saved that up - you would be into a house of your own sooner. Beware of body corporates (townhouses and apartments) that don't allow dogs.

    So be thinking - packed lunch, shop in op shops, no going out to dinner/movies/theatre more than once every two months or half what you're doing now, no more take away dinner and put that all into a place of your own...

    You probably also want to save up an emergency fund and 6 months of living expenses (just in case you lose your current source of income or some crisis you hadn't thought of - happens.

    I think it might be too much to ask of the current landlords - tho if you had a baby - they can be way more destructive... and harbour way more diseases that humans are likely to catch. Anyway the landlord would not be able to do anything about that. And in some countries - would not be able to stop you owning a pet either.

    I have timber floors and haven't noticed a problem with dog scratches - I think there would only be a problem if she decided to dig the floor which she hasn't. Also - what do stiletto heels do to that floor? - are you banned from wearing those or letting guests in who might be wearing them? (check the agent's and landlady's shoes)

    I keep my dog inside during the day. Outside with only a square of artificial grass to go on - might get a bit smelly - like a men's public toilet. It can be done - owning a dog in your situation. You might want a dog that is 2 years old or older and is calm and laid back. Ie not a herding dog or a hound or a husky.

    But personally - I didn't get a dog until I owned my own home - and then I didn't get one until I was home much more than I was then. Tho I did look after other people's dogs a lot.

    You could consider doing that - offering to be a foster carer for a little dog rescue. Landlord permitting. Tho the rescue might want someone home more often. Or they might not or someone available on weekends might be enough...

  3. #3


    I definitely think that if your situation would allow for a dog if you really want one (which I totally understand) If you adopt an older, lower energy dog as Hyacinth has advised, then leaving a dog for around 10 hours should be fine. I know that all my dogs have survived just fine when I have been out for approx 9 hours/day (admittedly they had a medium sized yard) but if you are going to hire a dog walker to come around lunchtime, and let the dog out for a toilet break and a walk, you should have no problems.

    I do think that providing a dog door and a paddling pool are both good ideas. As for the fake grass toilet - if you walk your dog in the morning and evening, and a dog walker comes in the middle of the day, Im not sure that it would be necessary (but this would depend on the age/size of the dog too).

    Financially you will also need to be prepared for any emergency situations, or damage the dog may cause to the house - but you have said you've had dogs all your life, so Im sure you are aware of this. I also have had dogs on wooden floors, and haven't had a problem. If the dog is walked on hard concrete often, the nails usually get filed down, and often dont even touch the floor most of the time... but if this is a problem, then perhaps you can look at putting down rugs in areas the dog will regularly traverse??

    In the end really I think it just depends on how committed you are, and to me it sounds like you are prepared to make it work

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    I once owned a border collie in a high rise flat. IT can be done.
    Not one of my dogs, i have ever owned in my life, would be interested in the yard as their exercise space. They want new sights and smells not the same old ones in the back yard. So how big/small the yard is, in my opinion is irrelevant.

    I have polished wooden floors in my home. A rottie, a GSD and a bordeaux have not marked it at all. All three can turn a beige wall brown up to the height of my waste when are really muddy though! And the windows look real bad. But its dog nose art and it washes off.

    I have a dog in my rental home, who has chewed up every threshold as a pup. MY tenant is pretty much going to either repair/make good, or i get a nice man in to do it for me, spending their deposit on it. Ive been taken to VCAT by a tenant for this, and won. As it was their dog that had chewed them all.

    Its hassle allowing dogs in your rentals. But never a 'right' to take from prospective families. As i believe any child raised pet less, has been psychologically scarred for life. Kids without dogs is just WRONG

    Children of families that have rented from me have caused more damage.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014


    I guess, as suggested, you would have to find a breed that is happy being alone for long periods. I wouldn't have a clue about this. I have two staffys that would be very unhappy to be alone 10 hrs a day. I am lucky as a stay at home dad I can hang and spend time with them everyday. But that is my situation and obviously yours is different. As alluded to above, to make this work, you have to be committed to ensuring your dog receives the love it needs to thrive, despite your working situation. If that is the case, then go for it.
    Last edited by Ados; 02-26-2015 at 11:41 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011


    We are half in your situation OH commutes to the city and is away for about 10h / day. This means getting up when it's dark to walk the dogs and walking them when it's late and dark again. It also means no meals out, cinema nights, etc. during the week. Because someone needs to feed and walk the dogs and it's not realistic to travel all the way out to feed the dogs and then get back to town.

    Lucky for him I'm working from home a lot. So walking, feeding etc. is largely my job during the week. Unless I'm away - then he resorts to above scenario. Not being away such long hours makes things a hell of a lot easier and to be honest I don't know how if we had dogs if we'd both be working such long hours. It's something you need to think about as it turns a 10h day into a 12 h day easily. Otherwise I agree with the others... maybe an older dog who is used to being alone most of the time. Or two (small) older dogs who have always been together and are used to each others company?

    Have you checked if there are any daycare groups in your area? That might be a better option than a dog walker. We have one on our way to work, which both our dogs love. So if we are really busy and know that we won't have time to walk them on a particular day we'll drop them off there in the morning. They play all day like crazy with the other dogs and at night we pick up two exhausted but happy pooches. It's ideal... if you find a place you and your dog really like. We had to try a couple until we found the right one. The first one was a disaster... And it's not really cheap either.

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