I have ended up taking over the care of a seven month old labradoodle. My DH's younger brother bought her despite being really young and not really settled, who knows what he was thinking, and now of course he cant keep her as he is having to mobe and his new flat does not accept dogs. Surprise surprise. The DC are overjoyed, and DH, but I don't know if it is practically fair to keep her, or cruel. She has been with us for three weeks.
DH is out all day from 7 to 7 or 8. I have two part time jobs and am out Monday to Thursday from 7, dropping to the before school club, then straight off to work , then i am home at 11 for about one hour, then out again until 5. It would usually be possible for me to nip home for ten minutes during my break in the afternoon as I'm local. Fridays isn't so bad as I am only out 12 - 5 and again, would probably be able to come back for a quick toilet break for her.
It seems like she is by herself such a long time. I would never have got a dog, but now she is here it feels hard to decide to hive her away. I don't know if she will be unhappy with us. DH walks her before work, and so in total spends about an hour with her in the mornings too, I forgot to include that.
Would she find a better home? We could probably get a dog walker to take her out, but I am m ore worried about her being lonely than not getting enough exercise. Also, in the evenings I can't spend all my time training her or playing because we are doing homework and dinner and baths and bedtime, so she has to busy herself with a chew toy or play in the yard.
With adequate walks and a bustling houseful in the evening then I wouldn't worry too much about her not having your full attention when you are in. Our lab is quite content to just bid about in whichever room we're in of an evening, although a quick game of 'Hide DS' always goes down well from time to time. At 7 months we built in short but frequent training sessions (10 mins or so) for the basics - Sit, Stay, Leave etc.
I think in your position I would get a dog walker for an hour in the middle of the day - company, routine and exercise for her.
Are there any training classes you or DH could take her to one evening a week? Keeping up training is essential if you don't want to end up with a bag of nonsense bouncing round your house.
It does depend if you want a dog in your life though and if you feel you can't take her on permanently then get in touch with a reputable rehoming centre (not RSPCA) and give them all the details they need to decide if they can assess her and take her on.
I don't know of she is happy, she does chew things a lot when we are out but I was hoping that was because she is young still? I don't know much about pets really. I've only had a mouse before, 30 years ago! I have looked for a training class, but we can only do weekends and there is a two month waiting list!
I guess I don't know if I do want a dog in my life. It's a huge thing. But I guess we already have her. I want to do what's best for her really.
Doesn't sound too awful to me Faux. Quite a lot of coming and going so not on her own too long and if you got a walker in during the middle of the day that would give her a bit more company and exercise.
You also have to consider the impact having a dog will have on you and your family's lives. Holidays, weekends, can't just up and go off. It's a huge commitment (particularly given that you didn't actually choose to have the dog) but so rewarding.
If would be best for her if she didn't have to make another move obviously so I think you need to make your decision sooner rather than later.
If you've only ever had a mouse I would also recommend lots of reading, finding out all you can about the breed and training. You'll find a lot of wonderful advice on this site too.
I wouldn't read too much into the chewing at this age. Our Lab took the kitchen apart and she was only ever left alone for 2 hours tops at that age! Kongs stuffed with part of her food allowance might keep her busy and her teeth from round the furniture.
I've seen posters in The Doghouse recommend
kikopup online training tutorials, which might be useful to follow so you can do your own training.
I hope it works out for you, but don't feel bad if it doesn't. It wasn't your choice to get a dog initially and you sound very concerned with doing what's right for her. That's 99% of the 'responsible owner' quotient sorted already.
Do you have neighbours? I'm just wondering if they've heard much in the way of barking/howling whilst you're out of the house. This would be a good indicator of wether she's got much separation anxiety or if she's doing ok all that time on her own.
I think with lots of love when you're at home (doesn't even need to be loads of training, just a bit of attention and playing), it could work and she could have a happy life.
And although I asked if she's destructive, I agree with others, most dogs are at her age so this probably isn't massively relevant.
Destructive at this age - try a treat ball and put some of her kibble in it (take it out of her daily ration). Get a kong toy, mix some kibble with natural yoghurt and stick it in the freezer. Get a deer antler. In otherwords, get lots of things that she is allowed to chew that are attractive to chew too.
Maybe crate training will help you? In that way she will be confined when you are out so secure and unable to chew things (I say this as chewing is annoying enough as it is with a dog that you chose and desperately wanted- I can only imagine how it must be when a dog you didn't actually want chews your house) The couple of labradoodles I know are bonny little things and happy to be in a busy and active house so long as they have sufficient exercise. The times you are out are not ideal but I would leave my dogs for that long if necessary, particularly if a walker was coming in. One thing though, is your BiL likely to want the dog back when he gets settled in the future? You don't want to put in the time, money and energy only to have to give the dog back in a few months time
He said at first would we watch her temporarily, which we agreed to, but then we all realised that it's probably for the best to say she is ours now. He doesn't know when he might be able to take her back so it isn't fair to her, what if it was years?
Ok, yes to a walker, crate training, and reading. I have a Kong that she isn't keen on. I will try yoghurt and freezing it. And a deer antler? Where on earth do I get one of those? Do I need one every day!?
I appear to be going against the grain but no I wouldn't be happy to leave a dog for 4 (7-11) hours, break for a loo visit and then leave it again for 6 (11-5 was it?) hours - I would be even less happy to shut her in a crate for all of that time.
Yes I think she will be lonely, I think she will be bored and I don't agree that after being left alone for the majority of 9-10 hours a day that being benignly ignored in favour of the dc (ofc their needs come first) bar quick training session/cuddles when they are all done for the day will give her what she needs to counteract that.
An hour walk in the morning, the visit from you (I assume you eat or get ready for work so not time for another walk/play, apologies if I've got that wrong) and an afternoon pop in might be enough if you get a dog walker to stop her from going out of her box but I wouldn't do it no. I would look for someone who had the time to met her needs more comprehensively tbh. This isn't a judgment of you, at all, just my own opinion on leaving dogs. I feel many get left for too long and stimulated/walked too little. But I appreciate I am clearly in the minority
Hi Faxu. Glad to hear you've decided to keep her (sorry I think I called her he before).
Most pet shops will stock deer antlers. They're marketed as 'stag bars' in a lot of places. The come in 3 different strengths, depending on how hard your dog chews - pet shop will advise.
My dog has a ball that I fill with a small amount of dry food in order to distract her when I go out. She has to push it around to get the food out. I throw this to her as I leave. She loves it and now will wait for me to go so she can have her ball.
Find a good pet shop. The staff should be able to advise you on what to you need and what might suit your newest family member.