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how much attention does a pup need?

(14 Posts)
MissMalteser Tue 21-May-13 15:41:22

We have had our king Charles cavalier for 4 months now (he is aged 6 months) and he is a really lovely, docile pup, fully house trained, no barking at night etc, we really have no complaints.

Got him mostly for dd1 as she has wanted a dog all her life and we felt she was old enough now to really contribute to his caring, but sometimes I feel like he just doesn't get enough attention sad

We are a working household and I am out of the house 9-2 weekdays, he is fine by himself either in the kitchen or the garden while we are out (with toys/radio/food/water etc but even when I come in I just let him out/in depending on were he has been that day, I can't really pay him any one on one attention then with housework/homework and thing's, he gets walked twice a day in the morning then in the afternoon when dd1 gets in and we usually walk him as a family at weekends, also when the dd's are there they spend time playing with him, but every time I look at him I feel guilty, like its still not enough, and when dd1 is at clubs or out with friends I feel like he must feel lonely, despite me and dh being pottering about the house.

I am just wondering what is normal? Or does he need more? He doesn't seem unhappy but I don't know what signs to look for either!

MrsWolowitz Tue 21-May-13 15:56:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MissMalteser Tue 21-May-13 16:15:32

He is definitely walked at least once but usually twice a day, played with by dd's when they are there, and in the evenings he has a bed in the living room he seems to lounge around on while we are in there relaxing (we can't have him on the sofa)
I will sometimes chat with him and he seems to get enjoyment just following me from room to room in the afternoon's, , he has access to the whole downstairs and is always in our company while we are there, but usually by the end of the day after homework/baths/bedtimes etc we usually just flop down on the sofa too exhausted to even talk to each other sad

It feels like mothers guilt in a way!

needastrongone Tue 21-May-13 16:16:03

Mmmm. I have this guilt too and I work less hours than you do, I do fully understand where you are coming fromsmile

However, your dog has a secure home, he is loved, he is walked twice a day, you are there for him. He is happy and content, his needs are being met. Hear any amount of cruelty stories and you might see that your dog is lucky!

We do the same, 2/3 hours walks a day, cuddles and fuss from the DC, cuddles and fuss from us but, a lot of the time, I too need to do stuff and he seems perfectly happy slumped at my feet in the same room as me. I can't remember any of us ever shouting at him at all and he loves us tons!! Dogs seem to be very forgiving.

The only difference is that we train him a lot too, which helps with the bonding. DH does specific training, I tend to incorporate the training into walks, while making a cuppa, in busy situations, so Ddog gets trained but it doesn't eat into too much more time. Clicker training is super for this I find. We also take him to stuff even if he has to be on lead and slot in, for example DD's pony club competitions. So lots of variety even if we have to go anyway!

He's a dog, he's come to live with you, but you sound like you accomodate him anyway.

tabulahrasa Tue 21-May-13 16:58:13

My puppy has limited exercise because if a dodgy leg so I have to entertain him in other ways and if I have a busy day where I haven't done as much with him, he starts mooching round the house bored and finding things to do that he shouldn't to entertain himself...so I think if there was an issue you'd know about it.

yesbutnobut Tue 21-May-13 17:08:38

I think 5 hours on his own is too long personally. To put it in perspective, if you wanted a dog from a rescue they wouldn't re-home to you as you are leaving a very young dog for such an extended period. 2-3 hours is all a puppy should be left. You've probably got a flap so your pup can let himself out but do beware that many puppies are stolen from gardens.

MissMalteser Tue 21-May-13 17:23:31

Thanks for all your advice ladies,
yesbut I understand your advice and it was a worry when we got him as my hours increased literally 2 weeks after we got him, unfortunately we were already very attached and after talking to his breeder and other king charles cavalier owners we thought we would try it and if it was too much we would reassess
However along with the 5 hours per day and the situation outlined in my op I do worry it is unfair of us to keep him, no matter how happy he seems

Floralnomad Tue 21-May-13 17:39:16

Lots of dogs are left alone during the day because they have working owners ,its not ideal but equally if your pup is not stressed about it IMO its not a reason to rehome him. I agree with the other poster who said dont leave him in the garden because of dog thefts ,they're on the increase in our area . Only you know if your dog is happy , he sounds ok from your OP, personally I think these kinds of issues arise when people buy pets because the children want them not necessarily because the adult wants them .

Scuttlebutter Tue 21-May-13 17:43:04

It doesn't sound though as if he's showing signs of boredom or stress. I'd also endorse doing clicker training with him, and how about you and the DC taking him to a few nice local dog shows over the summer? There's usually a fun show on somewhere most weekends from Easter through till September. Lots of nice classes (including for pups) and the DC could have a go at Junior Handler and things like that. It's great fun, and very cheap (usually only £1 per class) and most kids are thrilled to bits if they come home with a couple of rosettes.

topbannana Tue 21-May-13 17:53:41

You could be at home ALL day and ignore your dog which is worse than being out for a few hours and then giving him love and training when you are home. I work nights so our pup is effectively alone all day (though I am only in bed and he does have our other dog for company) He spends a good 4 hours asleep in his cage which he would not be doing if I were around as he would be undoing my laces, chewing the broom, harassing the cat, eating the firewood following me about. Once he's up he's at 100mph but that is fine.
TBH ideally no dog should be left alone. However there is always going to be a time when it is necessary and it is best for the dog to be used to it from the outset. Your dog does not seem stressed or upset by your supposed neglect so don't worry. Dogs that are unhappy have a myriad of devious ways of showing it grin

idirdog Tue 21-May-13 18:22:27

Dogs are incredible adaptable but that is not always in their best interests. A dog that does get enough attention may show obvious behavioural issues but often they just become quiet, flat and stop asking for any interaction.

You can improve your dogs environment in simple ways that are not time consuming. Get an interactive feeder for him to make him work for his meals.

Do start clicker training, when you are doing jobs in the house you can train him to stay, you can train him to take washing out of the tumble drier or washing machine. A few minutes now and again is all that he asks.

At your meal times train him to stay in his bed, reward him at intervals for doing so.

Get your DC to work towards his citizen awards, that will give them some constructive training and they will get a rosette and certificate.

Then it is equally important for him to have chill out periods and that can be when you are at work

yesbutnobut Tue 21-May-13 18:27:24

You can also get a dog walker in to break up long periods. Especially for a young dog, it's good to get them out and about then he'll come home and snooze until you're back.

MissMalteser Tue 21-May-13 19:07:52

Thank you for all your lovely posts and advice it has set my mind at ease and also inspired me to start training him around the house which I would never have thought of before but I can fit around my other tasks, he is a lovely wee thing and we wouldn't swap him for the world, and while dd1 was the main instigator in us getting him, now he is here he is part of the family, and i want to do right by him

yesbutnobut Tue 21-May-13 19:22:37

Cavaliers are lovely aren't they? You never know, you may meet someone out and about who would be happy to look after your pup on occasions - this is how I found my lovely dog sitter. Cavaliers do like company and are very loving dogs (I have 2) smile

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