Letter from dog warden today re. Excessive noise. Mortified.

(48 Posts)
Schmoozer Thu 13-Dec-12 16:59:31

My fifteen year old lurcher has an outside kennel all warm and snug, she has the run of the garden whilst we are out at work most of the day,
She wears 3 coats, and i know she stays warm and dry,
Basically she is outside when we are out because she needs wees and poos quite often in her old age, and needs access to the garden.
We have never had a problem with her woofing while we are out,
We have a year old shitz zhu too who is also with her, and since we have had her, she annoys the lurcher at times, by trying to get her to play nudging, her, jumping etc..
And the old lurchers response to this is really loud woofing.
Which entertains the little, hence more woofing until they get fed up,
Well they must be annoying the neighbours, we got a letter, and now we are facing the prospect of keeping two dogs cooped up indoors for long periods, when they used to the run of the garden, and one is elderly and needs to go....
Nightmare. Any ideas ???

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 13-Dec-12 17:16:12

Rehome the little dog to someone who has time for her, let the older one indoors and have someone call in midday to give some company and a loo break.

PartridgeInASpicyPearTree Thu 13-Dec-12 17:24:29

What D0oin said. It's not fair on either of them, the little one to be left bored all day or the big one to be bothered by a much younger bored dog all day. They must both be very frustrated.

NatashaBee Thu 13-Dec-12 17:30:43

You can't leave a dog all day - even if it didn't need letting out for the toilet for that long. You need to get a dogsitter in or come home at lunchtime at least.

TheCrackFox Thu 13-Dec-12 17:37:08

You can't leave a dog all day and you are being completely unfair on your dogs and your neighbour.

You need to at least get a dog walker in to give them a walk during the day.

You can't be completely surprised if you leave them alone all day?

Floralnomad Thu 13-Dec-12 17:43:26

Rehome the youngster and get a dog flap fitted for the old one. I never quite get why people get a new young dog when they have an elderly dog as very often the older one doesn't enjoy being harassed by a puppy.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Thu 13-Dec-12 18:00:44

i'm not surprised there is barking. i'd shout too if i was left alone outside to entertain a yappy youngster all day with no breaks.

slambang Thu 13-Dec-12 18:06:35

Is the kennel heated?

Schmoozer Thu 13-Dec-12 20:33:17

I don't Believe the young one needs rehoming,
We are out 830 am til 3
They have a good walk, and company with us the rest of the day,
They are well fed, and loved,
The younger one has just finished puppy school and starts junior school in the new year, she gets tons of attention, just not school hours,
I think a better home, where someone is available most of the day, is just not attainable for most dogs, ideal, but if that was thought to be the only acceptable option, a lot more dogs would be languishing in dogs homes...
We cant get home at lunchtime, we work too far away from home,
All our holidays all year round are organised so the dogs come with us, I think, on the whole, they have a good life.
Clearly we cant keep leaving them in the garden, too much barking, i will have to get out of bed earlier, and take them for a morning walk, and settle them into the house until we get home. Ive been thinking for a long time, i need to walk them in the morning, so i will action that now.
Unfortunately we cant install a dog flap, we only have pvc glass doors.
So thats not an option.
No the outside kennel is not heated, but it is hand built, thick, porch over the entrance, see through dog flap door, so the draft doesn't go in, full of dog bed / blanket, really cosy, and she often chooses to go out there rather than stay in the house with us, when it gets a bit rowdy. She is Definitely warm and dry in there.
Do you really think we are being unfair, and need to rehome ??!

NatashaBee Thu 13-Dec-12 20:38:22

I think you need to break the 8.30-3 in half and check in on them mid-way through that or pay a dogsitter. Older dogs are happier to doze all day (although probably need to get outside for the bathroom) but a younger dog must be bored being left for so long.

FromEsme Thu 13-Dec-12 20:40:27

I think 8.30 - 3 is too long to leave a young dog, yes.

Could you get someone in at lunchtime to let them out?
Since you asked, I do think that it's unfair to pair the dogs together with such a big age gap. The poor older dog will just want to be left alone and the little one is probably bored.
I don't think that re-homing is the answer though no.

judefawley Thu 13-Dec-12 20:43:09

Dog day care?

I'm at home most days, this would drive me slightly bonkers.

SDTGisAChristmassyWolefGenius Thu 13-Dec-12 20:43:40

Could the old lurcher stay in the garden/kennel, whilst the younger one stays indoors, with a dog walker going in to see them both at lunchtime?

didldidi Thu 13-Dec-12 20:47:54

So they don't even get a morning walk either?

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 13-Dec-12 20:48:16

I don't think rehoming is on the cards.

What you do need to accept is that 8.30 til 3pm is too long. I appreciate that you are there the rest of the time, but to be honest, it'd probably be better if you left them 9 - 1 and 2 - 5. They'd be quieter, toileted and happier.

You can't help that, though. A longer walk may tire them out a little in the morning but it's not likely to significantly change the noise. Is it possible at all to get home to them at lunch? If not, look into either a doggy daycare type place that could look after both dogs, or someone to pop in once or twice a day to toilet and play with them.

To get a dog warden letter the noise must have driven someone mad, so I wouldn't risk another complaint. If there are no friends and family nearby who could go in, could you pay a neighbour to pop in? If not, try calling around a few people to visit at home. See if you can get a good rate - and don't be afraid to barter. Then try doggy daycare. You'll get a discount for having two dogs and some can be very cheap, but you'll have to factor in the cost of getting them there and picking them up.

At least with a daycare, you can ensure that your younger dog gets plenty of fuss, and your older dog can toilet as often as necessary, and will be able to sleep. They do do training etc too, so it could be very beneficial.

Schmoozer Thu 13-Dec-12 20:53:58

We dont work near enough home to get back at lunch
Im a nurse, i dont even get a lunch break,
The only way would be dog walker going in to break up the day.
Bloody hell, thats going to cost me a fortune sad
Well somethings got to crack, cant keep doing what we are doing, and dont want to lose them.
Re the age gap, we had a second dog who died about 18 months ago, she was 8, the old dog really didnt like being on her own,
So the puppy was to be her company, puppy as opposed to older rescue dog, as we also have 5 yr dd and wanted to be as sure as poss re breeding, temp of parents etc...
For the most part old doggie seems quite settled with pup, lets her sleep on her bed etc, but does need to be able to get away, when she has had enough, which she has space to do.
I understand there are dog day care places but if its anything like child care fees we wouldn't afford it. I think dog walker going in, will be most realistic way forward.

Have you got a neighbour or friend who's at home that might help you out?

PseudoBadger Thu 13-Dec-12 20:58:20

I get up at 5 (sometimes before!) to walk my dogs if I'm at work all day. And then they get a walk in the afternoon/evening too. And I'm lucky that my parents are here with them all day when I work. But if they weren't I'd pay someone, rather than lose my dogs. I hope you get something sorted.

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 13-Dec-12 20:58:59

Don't get too upset about prices yet.

I worked in a few different doggy daycare places when I was training in veterinary science.

They will barter on price to try and outdo each other. So get a quote, and use it to lower other quotes. Then see if you can lower it again. It's time-consuming, but some people would get hundreds off by doing this (and we had some people with 6 - 7 dogs!)

A daycare might be cheaper than a walker. Try both, and see if they are affordable options.

How well behaved is the pup on her own? If you gave her some intellectual toys (the proper ones - they last forever and should keep her entertained for hours!) with treats for rewards, would she bark? If she barks when she's lonely, that won't work, but it could be a temporary solution for now. Could you speak to a neighbour, explain you are doing something new, and keep her inside tomorrow? Put your old dog outside, as normal, and if you are sure she is warm enough she'll probably sleep. The young dog won't be able to wind her up, at least.

You'll just need to make sure your pup doesn't get bored or she may bark or howl anyway, and then your older dog will probably join in.

poncyettia Thu 13-Dec-12 21:02:31

May I ask - what exactly did the letter from the dog warden say? Is it just to say they have received a complaint or is it telling you that they have already gathered evidence that the barking is a nuisance? There is a world of difference between the two.......

Schmoozer Thu 13-Dec-12 21:02:39

No, we dont have someone who could pop in,
Family other counties,
Friends all work, neighbours ; nothing more than nods, and hello
No real rapport with neighbours as basis for asking favours,
Just not a particularly communicative area, as opposed to anything else.
Well i do appreciate we have been annoying, but now its come to a head, things will change,
Dog walk am.
Local mobile dogger going in during the day.
Home at 3.

Schmoozer Thu 13-Dec-12 21:04:47

The letter said they had received a complaint,
And they hoped the issue would be resolved, if they received further complaints they may start evidence gathering.....

Schmoozer Thu 13-Dec-12 21:11:12

Pup doesnt woof at all, as far as i know, that is,
She plays with toys, chases birds, digs my garden up sad
Etc. etc.
The old girly woofs when pup is on a wind up mission.
The old gal woofs really loudly which incites the young one to jump and dance about excitedly, which makes her woof more, when old girl has had enough of this, she goes in her kennel and pup gets on with something else, because old girl wont her in her kennel, pup has her own.
So its a bit of a game that they play, i guess if lurcher was younger they would tear around together.
When we are there, we intervene and distract pup and get her to play with us, or whatever,
When we are not there, i guess this loud behaviour, could go on for sometime, and has obviously been bloody annoying.

slambang Thu 13-Dec-12 21:13:24

I think 8.30 to 3 is manageable for some dogs. Our terrier is on her own for exactly those hours and snores the entire time on the sofa. I sometimes come home at lunchtime and she doesn't even get up to acknowledge me until the proper time.

But I'm a bit shocked that an old dog is outside in this current weather for that long. It's bloody freezing. Barking may well be a warming up exercise or an attention seeking 'let me in please' tactic.

Bring them inside. Keep them in a room with a washable floor and get a dog walker if you possibly can.

poncyettia Thu 13-Dec-12 21:15:13

Ok its sounds like a normal standard letter - what you need to do is give the dog warden a ring and see what the complainant said. I'm not saying that the dogs aren't barking but if the complaint alleges that they are barking say at 4pm then you know its not true as you are there iyswim.

The council is duty bound to let you know they have received a complaint against you regardless of whether there is any foundation to the allegations.

However it does seem that you aren't that surprised to get the letter which does suggest there is a problem. If the younger dog is upsetting the older one, is there any way the younger can be left in the house to give the old one peace?

differentnameforthis Thu 13-Dec-12 21:29:07

Going on holiday with you doesn't mean anything to them. They are being left for over 6hrs a day with nothing to do. You admit that the younger puppy entertains itself by antagonising the older dog - which in itself is unfair.

They don't have a good life day to day & that is why you have received a complaint against them. It takes some time to get a complaint like this escalated to the point that the dog warden gets in touch, it usually involves diaries being kept over time etc, so don't fool yourself that this is a short term issue. Dogs barking is absolutely awful when it is constantly in the background.

Also, please be aware that keeping them inside may not fix the issue. Little puppy will still want entertaining, which ultimately means that he will still antagonise older dog, which = barking! So keeping them inside isn't going to solve the problem. Although unless crated, the puppy may find entertainment value in wrecking your home.

Schmoozer Thu 13-Dec-12 21:32:16

No, we have really gone to great lengths to ensure they warm and dry out in kennels, and have some really good quality coats

Not surprised about letter, tbh.
Ive always assumed there will be a bit of barking every now and then when big pigeon is on bird table, dustbin men go past that kind of thing, but assumed it would be pretty intermittent and shortlived, as when we are home.
Neighbours are very keep self to self,
One neighbour had only one conversation with us, to moan about my dp's scooter being started up occasionally ...
So not really the friendly type.
I will ring dog warden, but still initiate changes as discussed.
Thanks for input folks.

Schmoozer Thu 13-Dec-12 21:38:00

Coming on holiday with us is significant to them i Beleive because on a regular basis throughout the year, they are with us 24 hours, different walks, beaches, sniffs, stimulus etc..
Holiday time for us includes the dogs as opposed to we go on our jollies, and they go into kennels.
However, i do concede that day to day existence has been somewhat lacking, and can be improved.
I wouldnt crate for long periods.
I will work on providing / rotating toys to reduce destructiveness risk in place of being able to roam the garden.

differentnameforthis Thu 13-Dec-12 21:42:52

They are dogs, they have no idea what going on holiday means & probably have no memory of it. It is irrelevant here to be honest, because it does nothing to improve the situation.

But your holidays do sound like fun grin

Your priority should be to get the old lurcher indoors as soon as possible. The temperature here has not got above freezing all day. Even with a coat on, being outdoors is no place for a very elderly sighthound. angry Frankly, that's bordering on cruelty. In this cold weather, they could be susceptible to a range of illnesses, including chilblains on their ears. If kennel is not heated how are you controlling humidity, parasites etc? What is the minimum temperature out there? At least with doggy day care they'd be warm and well cared for. And putting in decent care arrangements is part of the financial package of owning a dog - if you won't budget for that, then you really should rethink your commitment to ownership. Most kennels where dogs are kept for boarding etc purposes will have a minimum temperature of 7C with sleeping temps of around 10C but bear in mind that older dogs (LIKE YOURS) are less able to regulate their temperature.

LoveDogs Thu 13-Dec-12 21:58:26

I wouldn't worry about the older one being outside in this weather as our old girl is now 14 and she insists on going outside at night when it's the coldest, she has 2 nice warm coats and we have given her 2 different kennels, not wanting to use either and would prefer to lay outside in the pouring rain, it's her idea of heaven and she comes indoors in the morning as bright as a button smile

We also have a younger dog, she's 3 and she does the same to our older dog, but she only tends to do it when we're at home I think their both attention seeking.

I would do as others have suggested to get a dog walker in, we very often have dog walkers that advertise on our local board and their always very competitively priced.

Schmoozer Thu 13-Dec-12 22:11:24

Thanks lovedogs
Ours does have a couple of coats, my favourite is the fleece one that covers tummy and does up with velcro along the back, really snug, and that goes under a more gortex quilted one.
She often chooses to be outside when she could be in, and i often go out try and tempt her in with a gravy bone, touch her tummy, check under the coats, feel her bony long legs that i worry about, and they really are warm !
She is certainly not chilblained,
No parasites, all good, apart from old age, weak bladder, that is related to being old neuteured bitch, shes on meds for that,
Kennel not damp, it must get enough air going through, clean dry fleece over waterproof big dog cushion ........the kennels fine, its the being left that is not.

LoveDogs Thu 13-Dec-12 22:15:45

We have the same coats there lovely aren't they, we have exactly they same with our old girl and she's also on meds, even though she hates them.

Schmoozer Thu 13-Dec-12 22:21:20

Yes, hates the meds !
Grits teeth !!
Earns self a markie though !

Canidae Thu 13-Dec-12 22:28:45

I expect the outside noises are part of the problem. I know my dogs would bark at people/cats etc if left outside.

Can the lurcher stay in the kitchen (washable floors) and if the shitz zhu is bothering her then keep her in another room?

If they are inside maybe you could set up a video recorder/webcam to see what they are doing. I did this when my golden was a pup and was getting used to being left to see how she settled.

Lastly, do they have anything to entertain them selves, toys/kongs?

Schmoozer Thu 13-Dec-12 22:31:03

Yes, will leave lurcher in kitchen, washable floors,
Early breakfast,
Then walkies now,
Yes, lots of toys, could do better with rotating them for interest sake.

TwoSillyHatsWithBellsOn Thu 13-Dec-12 22:35:39

I was on the other side of this, with neighbours whose dog barked incessantly every second they were out. We did the normal, neighbourly thing of going round and saying 'excuse me, I think there's a problem...' rather than calling the dog warden. They had no idea the dog barked constantly while they were out, obviously because they weren't there to know. I think you may be underestimating how bad this really is and how much noise your dogs are making (purely from my own experience). It isn't just that the noise is annoying, every time I heard barking I was aware that a dog was distressed, it's horrible to be experiencing that 6 or 7 hours a day and knowing there's nothing you can do about it.

Getting a dog walker in might be a good start but I think daycare is a better option. Have you considered just sending the younger dog?

Schmoozer Fri 14-Dec-12 17:26:08

Progress report ;
Got up super early,
Dogs had Brek
Walkies in pitch black and rain !
Settled them together in kitchen with toys and cardboard box sealed with treats in for puppy to wrestle with
Came home no accidents cardboard box destroyed , treats ate,
Spoke to dog walker today she will start in new year
Walkies in a bit
Weekend phew ! Feel like I can sort this out now !

Sounds great,glad you have got things sorted. Hope you have a good christmas.

mute Fri 14-Dec-12 21:52:22

What a shame. I feel for you having all the people moaning at you for the time you are away. Most people work similar hours and dogs manage fine. All I can suggest is a different kennel and run for the pup so it can't get to the older dog. That way they can still both be outside (where I believe dogs should be in the day when people are working) enjoying fresh air watching world go by.
If they are out all year round they don't feel cold aas long as they have a draft free shelter.
Also set up a video camera for when you are working to see what really goes on.

If you know which neighbour made the complaint it may be worth popping a note in the door to let them know you've made some changes....

I don't think keeping a dog outside in a kennel is cruel at all, as long as they are used to it - yes, putting an inside dog outside suddenly isn't on, but otherwise with the provisions you've made it they would be fine. I think we forget the origins of dogs - they are bred to live outside, and not be indoor pampered pets.

I have 2 horses and am constantly being asked why the small one doesn't wear a rug - he's a Welsh Mountain pony with a brilliant coat of his own, he's used to being outside, he has access to shelter and extra feed on the rare occasions it's needed - and how cruel I am not to keep him in a nice warm stable! We project so many of our own feelings on to our animals we can sometimes forget they are a damn sight tougher than us. Our cats are out every night, they can sleep in the porch if they want with a fleece blanket in a box, but don't choose to as far as I know. I've had people telling me I'm cruel for that too.....

Frosty, nowhere did I say in my post that I think it is cruel to keep all dogs in an outdoor kennel. Using your equine analogy, which is a good one, a Welsh Mountain pony will almost certainly be happier being outside in the winter and as you say grows a wonderful thick coat. However, would you be happy if this was a veteran thoroughbred? Say I had a 25 year old ex racehorse how would you feel then? This is an elderly lurcher. Lurchers are any dog which is a greyhound cross, so by definition will have a body fat percentage well below the norm for other dogs. This dog will, as it ages, lose the ability to regulate its temperature so well, and will have a very low percentage of body fat and very possibly a very thin coat and thin skin. I do a lot of voluntary work with sighthound charities and no reputable charity will home where a sighthound is going to be kept outside, especially one so old. You might remember the 2010 John Lewis Xmas advert - it was rightly criticised by many animal welfare organisations for showing what appeared to be a deerhound lurcher in an outdoor kennel during snow. However, one of my closest friends is a farmer, has Border collies and they live in the barn very happily for most of the year - no welfare issues with that at all, since their coat and physiology is different. It has nothing to do with being pampered and everything to do with basic animal welfare.

Scuttle - I don't think I said that you said it was cruel - some posts were impyling that it was, and I did say that putting a dog outside when it isn't used to it is not on. I have a TB and last year he lived out, fully clipped out with proper rugging, food and shelter and was a much happier horse for it - more laid back, fitter and generally easier to handle. This year due to our house circumstances he is in at night and out during the day and he is hating it (and me with him). Grumpy, tricky to ride and foul in the stable just for starters. He goes in at 8pm, out at 7am and is ridden minimum 4 days a week but he is still so different from last year. Outside they can move about to keep warm, stuck in a stable they are vulnerable to drafts and can't keep themselves moving. My vet has always said under rather than over rug when outside - they can regulate their temperature much that way.

The poster has specifically said that her dog has several coats on, is in a draught proof and water tight kennel, has access to the outside if it wants it and I am assuming it is well fed. It may not be ideal (and obviously isn't if the barking is disturbing people) and I am not advocating that every dog gets chucked outside, nor that one size fits all, just that in this case, welfare wise I don't think it's as bad some people seem to think.

Anyway, what I've just said is irrelevant as they've been moved indoors!

BeataNoxPotter Mon 17-Dec-12 16:51:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Schmoozer Tue 15-Jan-13 18:23:46

Update :
Spoke to dog warden who said the complainer wasnt sure what house the noise was coming from ! The warden heard a dog woofing in the background and said it sounded like a lab not a lurcher, but to be fair its got to be hard to distinguish over the phone !
When we explained we had lived at same address with dogs for ten years without complaint, dog warden was impressed with that and said she had asked the complainer to write a log of noise over 3 months and post it to her.
Dog walker started first week in jan
Coming in each week day, dogs having 45 min run each day with her, and usual evening walk with us and additional morning wizz round the block.
Have been leaving them in house remainder of time, which i think is a shame as i think it be loads more entertaining for them having run of the garden, yes even in this weather, because as pointed out before,
Elderly lurcher wears several coats, has cosy kennel and and every time i feel under the coats and touch her tummy, its really warm,
With correct things in place, outside is preferable i think, when we are not at home, but .....
Leaving them in, due to neighbour,
Thanks for all your comments.

Schmoozer Tue 15-Jan-13 18:27:31

P.s. spoke to a few neighbours.
Basic feedback i got was, yes hear them woofing at times, but not for long.

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