Dog questions - overprotective owner?

(34 Posts)
Doggyhug Thu 24-Jan-19 23:45:54

I could do with some advice please from dog owners in the questions below.

1) how long is OK to leave a dog alone occasionally? I don't mean for work etc, but for special events, or going on an occasional outing somewhere that's not dog friendly?

2) is it normal for a dog to NEVER be let off a lead? This is a bit of a side point tbh, but I am concerned about the poor mutt's quality of life if I'm honest.

Sorry if I'm being a bit cryptic here; I'm trying to work out if someone is being unreasonable, but as someone who has never owned a dog, I could do with some input please.

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Thu 24-Jan-19 23:54:03

1. Depends on the dog. Mine isn’t keen on being left. Some can’t be left at all and some are fine for 4 hours ish.
2. As above. Depends why not. I didn’t let mine off lead in public for a year. Giant breed and concern about her damaging her growing self!

Kennycalmit Fri 25-Jan-19 02:20:02

1) it depends on the dog and the lifestyle they’re used to. Some dogs can be left longer than others. If your dog is hardly ever alone yet suddenly it’s being left for 6 hours then yes that is cruel.
If however your dog is on its own for 6 hours each day then chances are it’s probably used to it

2) I personally think dogs need to have off lead exercise however I am aware that due to a lot of circumstances that isn’t always possible such as aggression, poor recall etc however if the puppy is raised properly it reduces the chances of having those problems.
If the dog isn’t allowed off lead I don’t understand why owners insist on walking them round a field.

It’s a tough one. It depends on the individual dogs circumstances I guess.
Is the dog happy?

BiteyShark Fri 25-Jan-19 05:20:41

My dog is ok being left for around 3 hours. We don't leave him longer than that and he goes to daycare in the day or I get someone to dog sit at night. He has to be left because I work but equally I pay for care and sitters because I can.

I always let my dog off lead because he's a working cocker and it would be miserable for me and him to be on lead. I am fortunate as I live in places I could walk him with very few people when his recall was shit as a teenager. If it's the choice of no life or a life on lead though I think the lead is ok for some dogs as there as many other things you can do to tire them out (my dog is panting hard and knackered after a short training session).

BiteyShark Fri 25-Jan-19 05:23:56

And if your OP is because you are trying to work out if an owner who never leaves their dog and only walks on lead is unreasonable then I wouldn't think to criticise them.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on dog ownership and how to bring them up. We all do it differently and as long as the dog is happy and cared for it's up to them as to how they do it.

Justagirlwholovesaboy Fri 25-Jan-19 05:26:42

Depends on the dog

1). Previous dog max of 6 hours alone on occasion was fine, puppy 2 hours

2). Previous dog never on walks off lead as was would chase anything, terrier bread so for his safety. Puppy assessing and will see. Extendable leads are fine for this

Right now without saying more you sound very judgemental as a non dog owner, drip feed time maybe?

Disfordarkchocolate Fri 25-Jan-19 05:33:55

Very dog department
1) Current dog is elderly and fine all day but this is changing, getting a bit clingy to his 'Dad'.
2) Current dog is very rarely off the lead, he was a rescue and never learned to ipck up dog language properly. Owners of 'just being friendly' dogs can't understand this and our dog gets stressed.


Disfordarkchocolate Fri 25-Jan-19 06:54:34


Screamqueenz Fri 25-Jan-19 07:04:18

1) for a special event I would leave ours as long as they could go without needing a toilet break (so about 6 hours - but there are 6 of them, so I don't think they get lonely.
2) all rescue and never off lead for the sake of other animals in the vicinity.

statetrooperstacey Fri 25-Jan-19 08:05:47

I would leave my dog for a full day for a day out or wedding etc,this is rare tho. but we have a dog flap into the garden and he has cats for company. He is let off lead but I know of a lot that are never off lead. It's a shame but usually for good reasons and it's not cruel I don't think .

thegirlsallgrowedupnow Fri 25-Jan-19 08:51:48

My girl is left at home quite regularly for 2 or 3 hours during the day but for a full day out I would book her into our dog sitter. She is always crashed out by 6 ish in the evening anyway after two walks, ball play, sniffing games etc so if we go out for the evening she waves us off from the sofa relaxing with the radio.
Many dogs stay on lead for very good reasons. We meet quite a few around our way whose owners don’t realise are reactive and a couple who are so boisterous and untrained that I often wish their owners did keep them on lead☹️ At the other end of the scale, I have a friend whose springer pup chased pheasants once and who has never been offlead since.

Doggyhug Fri 25-Jan-19 08:56:20

We are just trying to work out how to ever see grandparents who have a dog.. And whether it's us that need to be more accommodating, or if they are being OTT.


(1) don't like the dog travelling with them for longer than very short journeys
(2) won't leave dog ever for more than 1.5 hours) usually much less, around 30m. Its an hour each way to us, therefore they can't come to us, we have to go to them.
(3) they won't do anything if its not dog friendly when we do go down.
(4) have to do everything together as a couple, so one person can't do something with us whilst the other stays at home with dog.
(5) things that everyone could enjoy, like exploring castles, going on walks together etc, are declined be wits either too far for the dog to travel (ie more than a short hop), or because they involve too much walking for them.

We have 2 toddlers. They've never even been to a park with them. Never pushed them on the swings. Because they refuse to go to parks even where you can take dogs because being outside is too cold. They happily talk about walking the dog on FB though, so it's only too cold to spend time with grandchildren.

We've invited them to lots of places, but lots of places that toddlers like to go (like petting zoos) dogs can't go to, they refuse. They can notionally get a dog sitter (and have done so occasionally), but there always seem to be reasons that it doesn't happen.

So it's basically sit in their house with 2 lively toddlers, or they don't see eachother. The toddlers get bored of just sitting in a house, and it's filled with floor level China ornaments etc. Also the dog isn't well trained, and although small, quite boisterous. They don't try to control interactions between children and dogs at all saying that the dog 'wouldn't hurt a fly'. They refuse to take the dog even out of the room when my little boy was crying after being knocked off his feet by the dog jumping up.

The single time they've agreed to do anything involving the children, it was visiting an indoor play area and cafe (special event, not soft play) with them, but they turn up with the dog even though the website clearly stated no dogs were allowed. They got really upset when they were refused entry with the dog. They did eventually put the dog in the car for an hour, but really tried to lay the guilt on thick to us.

I don't feel unreasonable in feeling we are low priority. Which is why this wasn't an AIBU about the whole situation. But because I don't know what's typical for dogs, I don't know if I am also being too harsh on them, and we want to gather some thoughts on what' normal' dog owners do before we talk to them.

The lead thing is much more secondary, and to me it seems to be a symptom of how anxious they are with the dog. I feel a bit sorry for it because it lives (IMO) a very claustrophobic life. But it's not being maltreated, and that's their business really. It just struck me as a bit odd that even in designated dog walking fields etc, dog is always on a lead. Dog is on a lead or carried even just outside their own house or MIL has a panic attack about it running away.

I'd like them to be able to come out with us for half a day together locally. Maybe spending 3-4 hours together, without it being some kind of military operation (which invariably means it doesn't happen).

I guess ultimately the problem isn't that they can't leave the dog but that they just have very little interest in spending any time together unless it's on their turf, on their terms. The dog is an excuse really.

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Fri 25-Jan-19 09:00:24

If the dog hates the car then of course they won’t want to do long journeys.
If the dog is used to them both being home all day it may get distressed if left.
A dog that doesn’t have good recall shouldn’t be off lead. This dog doesn’t sound particularly well trained at all.

roundtable Fri 25-Jan-19 09:12:43

In the US all types of different dogs can be registered as emotional support dogs - meaning they can travel most places with them. Sounds like their dog is unintentional providing some sort of emotional crutch for one or both of your parents. Unless they were self aware enough to realise you probably won't get any where with them. Sad situation, it must be frustrating.

Have they always been 'clingy'? Or has it started with the dog? Was the dog pre or after children?

yearinyearout Fri 25-Jan-19 09:22:14

How old is the dog? Most dogs should be fine for around four hours, but it’s important to build up gradually from when it’s a puppy, so if they have never left it they can’t suddenly leave it for four hours. If they’ve brought this dog up to be pampered and cosseted they’ve basically made a rod for their own back (and yours!) and it seems they won’t be willing to start adapting now. YANBU at all to want them to spend time with the grandchildren. The best you could hope for is to visit them and suggest they start popping out locally for short periods of time, and gradually build it up to longer trips. From what you’ve said though, I wouldn’t hold out much hope!

Doggyhug Fri 25-Jan-19 09:24:13

roundtable, they've always found reasons why they can't go places, and I don't know if it's just selfishness (they still manage to go to things they want to go to) or a genuine problem.

Saying that, it is an emotional crutch, I agree.

I have a cat who doesn't like to travel, so I totally get that. But as far as I'm aware, it's not that the dog struggles with travelling, they just don't think it's appropriate /something they want to do. Same with leaving the dog. It's more about their anxiety than his.

The dog was post grandchildren. They've had it about a year. I'm not anti dog, I just think it's a really sad situation.

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Fri 25-Jan-19 09:35:58

As far as I’m aware?
Honestly? Maybe they don’t particularly want to drive to yours. Maybe they find going out without the dog stressful. You won’t know unless you ask

roundtable Fri 25-Jan-19 09:36:45

Sounds like they'd always have an excuse with or without the dog. Sad but they're the ones that are missing out. flowers

adaline Fri 25-Jan-19 09:40:59

1) Depends on the dog, age and breed. My dog is only left alone for an hour or two but that's mainly because he doesn't need to be left longer than that at the moment.

2) Again, depends on the breed and how well-trained the dog is. Also depends if they're fearful, reactive or prone to biting or running off. I have a beagle and his recall can be absolutely shocking, so we only let him off-lead in enclosed fields or at the beach because he'd catch a scent and disappear otherwise.

BiteyShark Fri 25-Jan-19 09:50:31

As harsh as this sounds perhaps their dog is their world whilst your children are yours and they are happy with that. I could choose to do things and put my dog in daycare but unless it's something I really want to do I won't and decline the outing or invite.

missbattenburg Fri 25-Jan-19 10:02:41

Purely from a dog keeping pov...

1) I don't often leave Battendog because we have the kind of house where someone is almost always home. A dog that is left infrequently won't be used to it so you cannot go straight from someone always being there to leaving him alone for an hour or two. It needs to be something the dog slowly gets used to.

2) Some dogs never go off lead. I don't really think their lives are the worse for it, if I'm honest. Or at least, I don't think it is the use (or not) of a lead that makes the difference. If longer, trailing or extendy leads are used and the dog is still allowed or encouraged to explore its surroundings on lead then I cannot see an issue. A lovely walk across fields on a (safe) extendy lead would still be a great experience for the dog.

Doggyhug Fri 25-Jan-19 10:07:19

BiteyShark, it's harsh but true. Its a shame though when they go on about how much they want to see the grandchildren, and how the liker see them more often etc, but then put barriers up.

Incidentally I've just remembered tha although thy won't go out wit them now because its too cold, they won't go out with them in summer because its too hot, and they don't like going places in school holidays or weekends because its busy.

They like the concept of a close relationship, but dont seem to want to put in the effort :-(

OP’s posts: |
spot102 Fri 25-Jan-19 10:27:18

To be fair, I wouldn't want to hang around in a park this time of year, its freezing!! Brisk walk, fine. Or warm café in park, no problems. But I'm surmising toddlers (and/or gp) won't do brisk walk, and warm café won't like dogs!
Think dog is a bit of an excuse, but they seem to become like children to some people. Had an aunt a bit like it. Its understandable (just) but can be irritating. Try not to take it to heart and do what you can, without getting stressed.

Doggyhug Fri 25-Jan-19 10:41:45

spot102, I'd totally agree with the park thing, if they were otherwise OK with it. But it's too hot in summer, too cold in winter, too busy at weekends, we work in the week etc.

They chose to buy a dog that they walk whatever the weather, but conditions need to be perfect before they'll spend similar time with GC!

The park is just an example though - the same applies to any place that isn't their house.

OP’s posts: |
FaithFrank Fri 25-Jan-19 10:51:04

My dog never goes off the lead in public. She is a rescue, not friendly to other dogs and her recall is not as good as it should be.

This isn't a dog issue, is it? It's a gp issue. Disappointing as it is, I think you are going to have to adjust your expectations.

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