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Thread: Cage setup with dog...thoughts?

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    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Cage setup with dog...thoughts?

    Hey all,

    My girlfriend and I moved in together and we also have a dog. She is a pitbull mix (I'm going to say labrador given her constant need for affection), and she has displayed a high level of interest in the guinea pigs such that we haven't been comfortable introducing them together yet. She doesn't seem to want to kill them, but a 60 lb. dog who's not aware of her own strength (and a tail known to leave bruises on shins) makes me want to play it with caution. She's not aggressive, either. She'll wait by the baby gate but otherwise doesn't seem to try getting in, though she'll bark if she spend too much time there. If she smells them she's interested, if she sees them she's very interested.

    Right now we're keeping them in our bedroom but this situation is kind of untenable mostly because we have no room for anything else and we both get seasonal allergies that get worse with the hay. So here's what we're thinking of doing:

    1. Our house is a single-story home with a finished basement. My girlfriend and I plan to put our "workspaces" down in the basement.
    2. Put the guinea pigs in a cage on an elevated table next to one of our work desks. The dog is athletic enough to jump on the couch but I don't think she'd be able to climb a table.
    3. Get a cage cover for the cage. The cage will also be in a corner so that there's no risk of it getting knocked over.
    4. The dog will only be allowed in the basement if one of us is also down there.
    5. Any sign of aggression by the dog will get her a trip upstairs.
    6. There is a window in the basement should give the guinea pigs at least 6-7 hours of sunlight per day, but we'll have a lamp for them if necessary.

    Does this sound like a viable setup? My girlfriend and I plan to spend time down there doing work which will put the guinea pigs near us. We can have our dog with us during that time and closely watch her. If we go upstairs we'll bring the dog with us and the guinea pigs can live and operate in peace. The only things I'm concerned about:

    1. They will get some sunlight, but since it's a basement level it'll only be for a few hours a day, and it'll be more like an overcast of sunlight as opposed to anything significant.
    2. I don't think the dog would be able to climb on top of the table. She's athletic enough to get on a couch, but I don't think she'll climb up a sufficiently high table. But if she could...
    3. Even if they're safe, my guinea pigs might be scared out of their minds.

    Any thoughts on this? Does anyone else have a setup that allows their guinea pigs to cohabitate with a dog, even if they don't actually get along? I'm also guess maybe we should slowly get the dog used to them before putting them out in the open...

  2. #2
    Cavy Slave CrystalCavy's Avatar
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    Re: Cage setup with dog...thoughts?

    Just an idea, but do you think you can rub some of your dog's scent onto the veggies before you feed them? This way, they might be more comfortable with the dog if they associate the smell of the dog with food.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Cage setup with dog...thoughts?

    Actually, @CrystalCavy, I wouldn't suggest that at all.

    The pigs will get used to the dogs. My pigs hid at the back of the cage when they first saw a dog, and now they go nose to nose at the front edge of the cage. Barking doesn't faze them in the least.

    @onefutui2e, closet shelving makes an awesome cage lid, and will hold quite a heavy dog in case the dog decides to jump on top. You can clip it down with carabiners if you're worried about it sliding off. Do, however, fasten the cage to the table so it doesn't get knocked off.

    But unless you're going to spend a good bit of time down there, the piggies may be lonely. Isn't there someone on the first floor you could put them?

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner ThePigAlchemist's Avatar
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    Re: Cage setup with dog...thoughts?

    I agree with @bpatters that a table and a lid are the way to go, unless your dog is super determined to get at the pigs.

    My dog and pigs really like each other. I never let them directly interact just in case, but they'll say hi through the bars. I crate my dog when I'm not home, but other than that I don't worry about her around them at all. A lot of dogs will stop caring about guinea pigs after they've gotten a chance to sniff and they're no longer something new and unfamiliar.

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    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Cage setup with dog...thoughts?

    Is there any particular closet shelving you can link me to? Also, what kind of dog do you two have?

    And yeah, I'm trying to think long and hard where to put them, and nothing else comes to mind. We have a guest bedroom, but we almost never go in there. The living room...there's one place I can think of, but it puts the cage/table right next to the couch where the dog can theoretically step onto.

    My girlfriend and I are going to finish furnishing the basement. As I said, it's fully finished and we plan to have our workspace down there along with an entertainment area. Once done we're going to take it for "test run" to see how often we actually spend in the area. My gaming PC and systems are going down there, so I can confidently say I'll spend at least half my time there. My girlfriend does a lot of prep work for teaching and she plans to use that space a lot. The only reasons we'd really go upstairs is to cook, eat, watch TV, shower, and sleep. The biggest reason we want them downstairs instead of upstairs is because at this time we don't want the dog near them when we're not around.

    On the plus side, any time the dog hears my guinea pigs going at each other in the bedroom, she barks and they stop. So there's that for now!

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner ThePigAlchemist's Avatar
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    Re: Cage setup with dog...thoughts?

    My dog is an Australian Kelpie. She shows an interest in the rabbits and squirrels outside, but she's never acted predatory toward the pigs.

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    Cavy Slave onefutui2e's Avatar
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    Re: Cage setup with dog...thoughts?

    Oh, cool. Mine never shows interest in cats or squirrels while out on walks. She usually doesn't care for other dogs either unless they first show interest in her. But she also has triggers in that if she sees something as a toy, she'll become fixated on getting it no matter what.

    Anyway, if someone can link to some closet shelving that'd be awesome!

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Cage setup with dog...thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by onefutui2e View Post
    Anyway, if someone can link to some closet shelving that'd be awesome!
    As I'm reading this thread, I'm thinking, "closet shelving is closet shelving.....why doesn't s/he just google it?" Well, after "just googling it", I can see why you might be confused......you get a lot of strange and irrevalent hits. When we here on the Forum talk about closet shelving we mean just one type:

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/ClosetMaid-SuperSlide-48-in-W-x-12-in-D-White-Ventilated-Wire-Shelf-4714/100043835


    It comes in different lengths and widths and can be cut to your preferred size. @bpatters has a similar lid on her cage and can guide you as to construction.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Cage setup with dog...thoughts?

    There's no construction to it. You just choose shelving wide enough to cover your cage (it usually takes two pieces), and lay them on top of the cage.

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