Post # 1
This post is very hard for me to write and I’ve been stuck trying to figure out if I should do something and what. Also I’m typing on my phone late at night because this is keeping me up.
My brother had a cat who he absolutely adored that had to be put down at 1.5 years because it had feline immunodeficiency and his immune system had started attacking him. Two years later my brother who is 13 now is still sad about the cat so my parents got him a dog a year ago. Their reasoning was that dogs are more interactive and it’ll get him out of the house. My brother found a black lab puppy (just three months) at a local foster event. It was the first dog that my brother had bonded with. The first few weeks my mom would walk the dog daily and watch TV on the couch with her.
It’s been a year now and I’m worried the dog is being crated for way too long. She’s crated at night when they sleep but also crated when they are at work and my brother is at school. On top of that she gets crated dinner time because they think dogs shouldn’t be around human food. It seems like she’s only out for three hours a day or so. I’m not sure how severe the situation is and plan on spending a whole day over at my parents this week to see what really goes on.
She barely gets walked anymore either just let out into the back yard to do her business. My husband and I come over once every other weekend or so to take her out when the weather is nice (but it hasn’t been nice at all here in the Midwest).
She’s fed twice daily – good stuff too, organic grain free and she gets vet care but she just doesn’t get out much. I’ve approached them about possibly giving back the dog to the foster society but they say it would make my brother sad and so they plan on waiting til he leaves for college in 4.5 years. I’ve also tried talking with them about taking her to dog obedience classes because she is COMPLETELY untrained or taking her to doggie daycare for socialization but they don’t have the time supposedly. My mom said she’d pay for it if I could drive the dog around. My parents live about an hour away so it’s exhausting when I have to grab the dog, take her somewhere, take her back to my parents and then drive back.
I don’t know if I’m being overly nosy or overreacting. This is their first dog and it’s my first too. My husband grew up with dogs but in his family they were just another kid a furbaby. And if I’m not overreacting and this actually is a problem, what do I do? I don’t want to cause bad blood in the family.
Post # 4
From my understanding it is generally acceptable for a dog to be crated overnight and about for half of the day, after that it may be pushing it unless the dog seems happy. You also aren’t there 24/7 so if the dog is just being crated at night, when alone and during dinner I wouldn’t jump to think it is being neglected.
If you want the dog to get out more and they are willing to pay for anything you should take the dog out for a while if it makes you feel better.I also think you should talk to your brother because unless he is working in addition to school there is no reason he can’t bring that dog out or possibly come home for lunch and bring it for a walk – no excuses at all for the weekends!
If you don’t want to cause big problems I wouldn’t make it a problem. You can just bring up that the dog seems to be in the crate a lot or perhaps recommend instead of crating it during dinner they put it outside until they are done.
Since this dog seems to be a big thing for just your brother they should not be keeping it around just so he isn’t depressed, they can just get him a hamster or something.
Post # 5
Honestly, I don’t think the dog is being neglected. Yes, it could be taken on a daily walk or trained properly… but that all takes a lot of time and energy.
There are lots of dogs out there without a home, often put down, etc. I think the lab is lucky to have a home that care for him, feeds him, etc (but not in a sense that you see fit).
I think your brother should invest more time training HIS dog, that way it doesn’t have to be crated all the time. My dog has table manners, and he won’t jump on you or anything when you are eating. I can eat while he’s on my lap and he just sits there. I also work full time, and my dog is home alone 9 hours during the day (sleeping the whole time!). I watch him on a webcam. He used to be crated, but after he was well trained, we let him roam around the house, and he never gets into anything he shouldn’t.
Post # 6
It doesn’t sound like this is neglect in the most terrible sense, but that they are just not being good dog owners. It seems like they didn’t know what they were getting into and like they don’t care that much about the dog (especially if they have a plan to just give it back in 4 and a half years!)
When does your brother get home from school? It seems like he should be walking the dog when he gets home, no question. However, 13 year olds are not known for being the most responsible about these things — this is why when you get a dog “for your kid” you need to know that you, the adult, will be the one who is actually going to take care of it. Not to say no 13 year old is a good pet owner, but this doesn’t sound to be the case here.
I think either your brother agrees to walk her daily, and follows through, or they give the dog back now and they can get a cat which is more low maintenance. Another idea is to hire a dog walker to come during the day, that way you don’t have to drive an hour back and forth (I kind of can’t believe your mom suggested this as an appropriate solution!) and your mom doesn’t really have to do anything extra but pay. However, I like this solution less because it doesn’t really solve the problem that it seems like no one really cares to much about the dog.
Post # 7
@CrazyCatLady13: The crating does not seem absurd to me. Yes, ideally, and to aide with training, the dog would be out more and interacting more with humans. However, for many many folks, that is just not feasible.
We have crate trained all of our animals, which means they were in their crate while we were at work, only being let out at lunch for the first few months, then on their own once their bladders were stronger. At times, we were gone longer than we had anticipated from the house, so they were in the crate for extended periods of time. They have also been crate trained at night, so that they did not make a mess of things around the house while we slept. Most, if not all of our dogs learned that the crate was ‘their’ place, and actually over time would voluntarily go in there to nap, etc when we were home (although the door would remain open!). It has taken up to 3 years with some breeds to trust them to be out during the day, and/or at night without the crate. Your families dog is still pretty young!
As far as training goes, labs can be pretty stubborn if not properly trained. Unfortunately, one of our family dogs was never properly trained, because we were suckers, and she was cute. She was a husky/rott mix. We admit her upbringing was completely our doing, and so her incessant barking, jumping, stealing food when we were not looking, and other ‘bad behaviors’ were entirely our fault!! Does that mean we were neglectful dog owners? No. She was extremely loved, even though she ran the house. There were times our patience was tried, but we had to accept it as our mistake. She is now 13, and has gotten older (not better behaved), and has slowed down. At no point in those 13 years would we have ever considered giving her up or back, because it was our fault. I would hope your parents do the same if/when there is a time where your brother is gone, and the dog is not really well-behaved.
Until then, try to offer support to ‘help’ if/when you can!!
Post # 8
I don’t think the dog is being “neglected” in the traditional sense, however it doesn’t sound like it is being very well cared for either. My dogs go out for two 1.5 mile walks daily, and get two potty breaks as well. I don’t crate, but many dogs are, and for a lot of them, it is a comforting and healthy thing. If the crate is too small, and the dog can’t stand up or turn around, then he needs a bigger crate.
The thing that does concern me though, is the fact that they are planning on bringing him to a shelter in 4 years. At that point, the dog will be considered a “senior” at the shelter, is unlikely to get adopted, and very likely to be euthanized. I deal regularly with shelters and I’ve seen this far too often. Just like a kid, this creature depends on it’s owners for literally everything – including love and a stable home environment – to live. They made a commitment to this dog when they bought it, do what you can to keep it in the family!
Post # 9
My only concern is that they want to give the dog away in a few years! My heart breaks for that dog.
Post # 10
@CrazyCatLady13: I think it’s great that you’re concerned & I agree with the people who say the hard part is hearing that they plan on giving the dog up in 4 years. Maybe by then your brother will be old enough to choose something better for your dog & may even choose to treat him better and take him out more. But if this does happen, please make sure she goes to a lab rescue or for sure a no-kill place.
Also, what about a close friend or family member? Do you think anyone else would take the dog, treat her better and allow your family to visit often?
A lot of dogs are crated. Many trainers and rescue organizations recommend crating as a training method, but I do feel bad for those who are crated too long & super long periods of time are not recommended. I would do a little researach on leash training too. We had to do that with our dog because he chased our cats. (We’re working on our new dog with this too..) It’s just another option for dinner time or other times when they’re home but don’t want the dog running around. Also, do they have a yard? I’m not always one for saying leave your dogs in the yard all day, but I always imagine that’s more fun for them than being stuck in a crate. And it would help the dog get some energy out that he’s not working out in the crate. And if he’s not getting good walks each day, he’s bound to miss behaive. Especially a lab, they have so much energy!!
Post # 11
@CrazyCatLady13: Poor dog 🙁 It’s great that she is fed and has vet care, but not so great that she’s been forgotten and left in her crate a lot of the time. I think crate training is a great idea, but not for all the time. I understand the importance of keeping the dog safe and out of trouble when no one is home (and overnight), but I don’t understand why she can’t be let out in to the yard to burn off some energy at mealtimes. She should be taken for daily walks. It seems neglected in the way that no one is putting the time into it that it deserves, and if obedience training doesn’t start early enough, there’s going to be problems. And the fact that they intend to get rid of her (so sad!) when she’s had no kind of socialisation or training means that it’s going to be all the more difficult to find her a home when she may be unpredictable around other animals. No one should ever get a dog ‘just for’, they are a long term part of the family who need a great deal of attention and stimulation – and if no one can see themselves 5 years down the track playing with her or taking her for daily walks, then don’t get one. And they are far different to cats – cats generally do their own thing and don’t need (or want!) half the attention that dogs need. My parent’s neighbours have this little white yappy dog, and not one of the 4 people living there gives it any attention at all – I’ve never seen anyone take it for walks. It’s just locked in the backyard to bark for hours on end, and now that it’s a mature dog and its behaviour has gone unchecked for so long, it will never change.
If you do have the time, I would recommend taking the lab for walks or to doggy day care where she can meet and play with other dogs – it doesn’t have to be every day. She must get so lonely on her own. I understand that people have to work and go to school, and crating her during the day is probably unavoidable. But when people get home after school/work, there is no reason why she can’t be let out until bed time. She will be eager to please and will learn quickly as long as someone puts the time in. For you family – she should not be a chore, but part of the family that they enjoy spending time with. If you can’t take her during the day, there are dog obedience classes that are held at night that someone in her home should be able to take her to. I understand people are tired after being at school/work, but they need to consider the dog who has been locked up all day and is dying for some company/playtime.
It is a tough situation to be in, you don’t want to upset your family but you also don’t want to see the dog neglected. Who knows – if you can put some time in to her you could mould her into a great, obedient dog and your parents will see how a little bit of time goes a long way, and may not give her up.