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Old 02-15-2013, 09:53 PM
PawsibleDogs PawsibleDogs is offline
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Default Roommate Hunting?

So I'm hoping to move to another, much larger city in the next month or so, and given my budget will probably need to find a roommate (or more than one) -- even the studio apartments I could possibly afford are still in relatively sketchy areas. I'm planning on moving with 2-3 dogs (Merlin and Potion for sure, Dewy will depend on whether I can find a "3 dogs are OK" arrangement + how well he copes with the change).

This will be my first time living with someone other than family... do you have any roommate searching tips? Questions to ask? Stuff to talk about in advance? Especially dog-related stuff... My top two concerns after whether I can afford it are the "safety" of the area and whether or not it's a good fit for my dogs. Roommate not being an ax murderer is definitely preferable...
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:47 PM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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Just bumping for PD. She and I have discussed some pet-related basics (what ground rules are for how people interact with the other roomie's pet(s), what the other person would do if there was aggressive behavior toward the other dogs or roomies, etc.), but it's been a very long time since I had a roomie, so I'm not a ton of help.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:46 PM
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I am not much help either because I would rather live in a sketchy area then have a room mate ... But I have roomed at other people's houses when theyhad a spare room a couple of times & one time it worked out BAD & one time it worked out really good, the guy was a breeder of jack russels (a good one) & I used to help him with his kennel ... It was fun
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:58 PM
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I won't be of much help, but I have been living with roommates for the last two years. Both times, however, it's been with friends that I have known for years.

The first thing I can think of as far as dogs go, is that I actually prefer people who don't love dogs. Obviously not referring to those who flat out dislike dogs, but I like people who are wholly ambivalent towards them. They ignore my dog, will acknowledge his presence once in a while or pat him if he goes to them, but generally pay no mind to him. This way, I don't worry about them teaching him bad habits, trying to take him for a walk when I'm not home, feeding him treats or food he's not supposed to eat, trying to "train" him, etc.

I do also explain to them certain reactions or behaviors that come from my dog and demonstrate if I can. Especially if those reactions could be interpreted as "aggression". Example: if someone rings the doorbell and knocks on the door, and for SOME reason I'm not home and my dog is out (which he shouldn't be)... he may charge at the door barking. That is not an aggressive reaction, that is him being excited. Ask him to go to his crate should that happen. Another example: if me and roomie are walking together with my dog down the street, I explain to him that my dog may bark at other dogs. This is reactivity that we are working through, he just gets a little overexcited. This is not aggression.

People who aren't dog savvy sometimes will see one behavior, immediately file that under "aggression", and then generalize and decide that the dog will act that way under all circumstances. I don't want my roommate handling my dog, but I don't want them to be nervous about or misunderstanding him, either. So first I establish that no, my dog is not dangerous, and then explain how they should handle the situation.

My personal ground rules are typically
- don't feed him
- don't take him outside the house
- don't try to remove food or toys from his possession. If he does have something you want that he's not supposed to have, just tell him to drop it.
- ideally, just ignore his existence. My dog is a very easy dog to live with, he will sleep all day regardless of whether or not I am home. He doesn't ask for anything, is never obnoxious (well, at home), and never goes looking for trouble.

I also ask what my roommate's rules would be regarding furniture and dogs. My dog is a couch hog and regularly sleeps on couches and beds, but if my roommate is uncomfortable with that, I am willing to keep him off furniture. I will let them know that it will take a while to train, and that they are allowed to tell my dog "off" if he's caught hopping on.

Also, vacuuming/cleaning. With a double coated breed on my part, I know I'll be contributing to most of the mess on the carpet and floors. My roommates and I have always been "ehh" about keeping the house spotless, so we never really assigned each other any chores specifically, but this depends on your roommate. I did end up doing most of the vacuuming and basic cleaning chores as a courtesy, but my roommates always did their part as well. What I don't want is a roommate assuming I would do all the cleaning because I'm the one with dogs in the house.

I'm not sure what else I'd really ask potential roommates outside of dog stuff and how rent/utilities/deposits will be split. When I e-mailed a few people about rooming with them in the past, it was just to get to know them, their occupation, hobbies, how long have they been in the area/why are they in the area, how long do they plan on living at the apartment, etc. It's much easier for me because I'm a college student living right outside of campus, so almost everyone I spoke to also studied at the university.

Best of luck!
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:33 PM
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I can't help out too much with the dog side of things or the "finding" part of things, as the roommates that I've had have all been easy to find, because I'm a college student living near campus. That said, I've had two - one was randomly assigned (my freshman year) and one was a friend. To be perfectly honest, the random roommate worked out much better. We became friends and I am now planning to live with her again next year. The friend turned roommate? We've had our issues and are now more roommates than friends. We coexist, but she's not easy to live with and I've had to do a lot of adjusting to make it work.

The things that have caused contention in my roommate situations that you may want to discuss:

1) cleanliness - are you messy or neat? Do you keep your clutter to your own space or does it tend to spread. Are you one who always keeps the kitchen clean and the dishwasher loaded or are you a "dump them in the sink til it gets full" kind of person? Does it bother you if your roommate doesn't have the name sense of cleanliness that you do? As a sidenote, even if you are a neat person, just since you'll be moving in with dogs, I'd avoid self-proclaimed neat freaks. Dogs shed hair. Dogs spill water. Dogs track in dirt. Even if you're great about cleaning it up, I can tell you that some people (such as my current roommate) would be in a tizzy and anything and everything "dirty" will be blamed on you, even if it's not your fault.

2)significant others - do you have one? Might you get one in the future? Do you ever just have random people over? Do you mind if your roommate does? Again, this is something that I've gone through - I have my own bedroom, don't get me wrong, but my current roommate does not like it when my boyfriend spends the night. We never discussed this before rooming together because it wasn't applicable then, but it would have been better if we'd set down some guidelines before it ever even became an issue in the first place.

3)social life - do you like hosting parties? Having a friend or two over now and then? Do you mind if your roommate does? Some people are naturally more introverted and like being alone at the end of a long day. I know that my roommate will shut herself in her room whenever I have people over (just a friend or two). That's not fair to her to do on an every day basis, but at the same time, it's been a problem for me, because I like to be around people in the evenings and it's not fair to me to never be expected to be able to have a friend over. Keep in mind, if your dogs bark whenever anyone comes to the door, it might be a problem for one of you if there are constantly people over.

4)groceries - do you want to keep them totally separate? Totally shared? Only share long-term items like spices, oils, etc? There's nothing worse than thinking that you're buying a pile of groceries just for yourself and having it disappear in half the time because your roomie was thinking tey were to share. I've seen both ways work - though typically, those who entirely share were good friends to start and have similar diets. Me and my current roomie - we keep our own stuff for the most part, but share spices, baking goods, eggs, and milk (because I don't use many of the latter two, so if I do, I'll grab some the next time I'm out).

As for the dogs - I'd definitely address that you have them and make sure your future roommate is more than just okay with that. You don't need a roommate that loves dogs, but I would be skeptical of someone that has never lived with a dog and is okay with, but concerned about having one in the house. I think my perfect situation would be with a self-proclaimed "dog lover" who really has just grown up with dogs and likes to pet them. There are a lot of people out there like this. You say "do you like dogs?" and they'll respond with "oh, I love them!" but aren't anywhere as "into" dogs as most people on the forum. If your roommate has never lived with a dog, you don't know how they'll handle alarm barking, or shedding hair, or any other things that people who know dogs don't necessarily even think about.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:45 AM
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My only pieces of advice; stay away from couples with a handful of dogs, and stay away from teenage mothers. XD

If you can't tell, I've had some pretty bad (but not altogether terrible) roommate experiences. I've had to kick out 4, now! A cousin, a couple my age with their dogs, and a 19 year old mother of a 4 month old son. Not fun to do... try to avoid it at all costs.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:41 PM
PawsibleDogs PawsibleDogs is offline
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Thanks all

I'm chatting with a woman in her 30's with kids (not sure what ages and how many yet); it sounds like it could be a good fit aside from making sure the kids/dogs are compatible enough. Aside from obvious ground rules (i.e. no kids in my room, no getting my dogs out when I'm not home, kids needing to be respectful of dogs [I would supervise of course]) is there anything else I should be considering/asking with kids in the picture?
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