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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I want to start off by saying that I am not a first time owner. I've owned several dogs in my life and always take really great care of them. We give them the best, most nutritious foods and plenty of exercise.

We have our eyes on a dog right now... A Rhodesian Ridgeback x Great Pyranees. Obviously this dog will be big, and will need plenty of exercise due to the physical nature of the breeds.

We live in an apartment, a nice one though that is very well suited for dogs, with plenty of open outdoors space and people walking their dogs all the time. My girlfriend works in a place that actually lets her take her dog to work (The company is Zynga, their logo is a dog!), so the dog will always have human interaction 24/7.

We are not indoors people, and even though we live in an apartment, the dog won't be an indoors dog except when we are. We hike, a LOT. All the time. Twice-3 times a week, we do 5-10 mile hikes. We also of course will go on long walks with the dog every day.

I just want to make sure that the dog will be well suited.
 

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How old is the dog? If he's in a shelter, it might be hard to tell what his exercise needs are, but if he's in foster care, then the foster family should be able to give you an idea.

I don't know much about Great Pyrs. Rhodesians are high energy dogs with a good "off switch" that are typically calm inside the house. They are not big barkers (which is good for apartment living) but will bark when there is a reason to bark- and it is a LOUD and strong bark too!

Several long hikes plus daily long walks sounds like a decent exercise plan. If either of you like to jog, Rhodesians LOVE to run and can typically run for quite a long distance if they are in good shape (like humans, dogs need to condition up to longer distances both running and strenuous hiking; no running with a dog until he is physically mature at about 18 months old)

I got Chester when he was about 2 years old. He was calm inside the house from the beginning but DEMANDED intensive daily exercise. We usually ran 4-5 miles, 5 afternoons per week (some flat, some hills), walked 30-40 minutes each morning before work, and on weekends would run 7-10 miles on one of the days and hike for a few hours on the other day in addition to a 30-40 minute walk. He also would do a little "zoomies" running around my fenced yard at night. Now at nearly 5 years old, we do about 4-5 miles of hiking each evening and a hike plus a walk on weekend days, and once a week is dog training class for 1-2 hours (plus the 1.5 hour hike before class). He would gladly run, I'm the one that quit running.

Rhodesians are hounds and usually have a strong prey drive. Many are not suitable for homes with cats and basically none are suited to be around small animals like rabbits. Rabbits etc are food, not friends! It took me about 8 months to get Chester to the point of not trying to kill cats on sight. He still has a high prey drive for them, he just will respond to commands to knock it off. Training for off-leash can be difficult, the drive to run fast and track scents and prey is hard to counteract.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She is 4 months old. She is also in foster care. This is our first time adopting a dog in foster care. Both my girlfriend and I are VERY committed to making sure we take good care of this dog. We absolutely will exercise and play with her every single day, and she will never be away from human contact. We are meeting her and the foster family for an hour tomorrow.

While we hike a lot, not as much as you though... however, I feel like this will motivate us even more! We are both in very good shape and want to continue to stay in shape. A dog like the one we are looking at will make us even moreso ready to go on long hikes! One of the one things that stops my girl or I from doing so is because we would be going alone. An animal companion will make me feel good when she is out on the trail by herself, and will let me have company when I go hiking. Austin is a VERY pet friendly city with VERY long trails and good hiking all the time. I definitely anticipate a lot of physical activity for this dog.

I guess what we were worried about was everyone saying that a rhodesian ridgeback, much less a great pyranees, are not good appartment dogs. Yeah, she won't be an outside dog... perse. But she WILL Be outside, a LOT, doing the things we love to do.

I really, really, really hope it could work, because we are falling in love with this dog before we even meet her (we've seen videos and researched the breed a lot).

We are definitely planning on feeding her the BEST food and doing obidience classes as well.

How old is the dog? If he's in a shelter, it might be hard to tell what his exercise needs are, but if he's in foster care, then the foster family should be able to give you an idea.

I don't know much about Great Pyrs. Rhodesians are high energy dogs with a good "off switch" that are typically calm inside the house. They are not big barkers (which is good for apartment living) but will bark when there is a reason to bark- and it is a LOUD and strong bark too!

Several long hikes plus daily long walks sounds like a decent exercise plan. If either of you like to jog, Rhodesians LOVE to run and can typically run for quite a long distance if they are in good shape (like humans, dogs need to condition up to longer distances both running and strenuous hiking; no running with a dog until he is physically mature at about 18 months old)

I got Chester when he was about 2 years old. He was calm inside the house from the beginning but DEMANDED intensive daily exercise. We usually ran 4-5 miles, 5 afternoons per week (some flat, some hills), walked 30-40 minutes each morning before work, and on weekends would run 7-10 miles on one of the days and hike for a few hours on the other day in addition to a 30-40 minute walk. He also would do a little "zoomies" running around my fenced yard at night. Now at nearly 5 years old, we do about 4-5 miles of hiking each evening and a hike plus a walk on weekend days, and once a week is dog training class for 1-2 hours (plus the 1.5 hour hike before class). He would gladly run, I'm the one that quit running.

Rhodesians are hounds and usually have a strong prey drive. Many are not suitable for homes with cats and basically none are suited to be around small animals like rabbits. Rabbits etc are food, not friends! It took me about 8 months to get Chester to the point of not trying to kill cats on sight. He still has a high prey drive for them, he just will respond to commands to knock it off. Training for off-leash can be difficult, the drive to run fast and track scents and prey is hard to counteract.
 

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The only Great Pyr I know is an apartment dog. And my house is only 800 SF and Chester is an inside dog.
I am not a fan of "outside dogs" and think that regardless of the size of your house or apartment, the dog needs exercise and training with it's owner. Dogs sleep the day away inside anyway.

I think you will do just fine and should get the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So we went visit the dog today. Poor thing... she is truly a rescue dog. They found her last week as a stray. She's got a LOT of ridgeback in her, the ridge on her back is perfectly pronounced, she's beautiful. Unfortunately, they think she was hit by a car recently, a few weeks ago. The vet told the foster people that her eardrums are ruptured (but she can still hear). She's got a persistant head tilt, which was extreme last week when they found her but which has apparently improved since then.

The question I have is, do you think she'll always have that tilt? Or does the improvement thing suggest that it will resolve itself as she grows? We want to take this dog in, we feel if we can bring her back to full and complete health, she'll be a very rewarding companion.

What do you think?
 

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The is a question for the vet. But, I'd say generally anything that is improving has the potential to continue to improve.
You could also ask the vet if he thinks that if it doesn't improve 100% will it affect her negatively? If she ended up with a slight head tilt that didn't affect her at all, no big deal.
 
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