Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??
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Thread: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

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    Question Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    Hi Everyone,

    Eight months ago, I received a beagle as a gift. I had not anticipated receiving a dog, but, regardless, I thought things were going well... Until a new neighbor moved in who is constantly making passive-aggressive remarks implying that I am not doing a good job of caring for my puppy.

    A bit about my situation:
    - I'm a university student, cross country runner (very active), completely financially stable, living in a spacious bachelor apartment close to 2 dog parks
    - Half of my week is spent as follows: take the dog out for one hour in the am (either on a run or to the dog park), leave for approx 6 hours to assist research or volunteer, take the dog out for another 30-60min, maybe run errands for an hour, then study at home with the dog at night
    - The other half of my week: take the dog out for an hour, study at home (or perhaps at the library, gone for 4-5hr), take dog out for another 30-60 min, perhaps run an errand or two, do a training session with the dog or play some fetch, then work from 8pm-2am (which I do part time, 2-4 shifts/week, and am otherwise at home studying at this time)

    Reasons why my neighbor seems to have an issue with my dog rearing:
    - my age (easy to stereotype, but I am always here for the dog, and have supported myself and lived alone since age 16 - hence, the company of the dog is nice)
    - beagle cries for approx 2-3 minutes when I initially leave (not always, but enough I suppose.... when I first got him I was at home all day almost 7 days a week for 2-3 months because of health reasons, so maybe the odd routine change has something to do with this?)
    - she doesn't have children, and must work from home (if at all) because she never really leaves except to walk her dog (some kind of collie/terrier) 3x a day
    - my beagle has an extremely excitable temperament (esp around her/ her dog because he recognizes the smell)

    While I don't have a cookie cutter 9-5 schedule, I have a basic framework that I stick to and am always here to feed/walk the dog no matter what. We've also completed two levels of obedience/tricks classes. And on the odd day that I do skip research/on Sundays he just sleep during the day... Anyways, those are my justifications to her concerns. I don't want to give up the dog, but if I am not fit/doing a good enough job I most definitely will put him up for adoption. He deserves a great home. Am I not around enough for a dog?

    I would love some very honest answers about whether or not I am a fit owner (and perhaps some suggestions on things that could improve if it's not bad enough that I should give him up)! Anything would be helpful at this point.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by lm203; 04-05-2011 at 07:44 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    I don't think you are a bad owner, the person who moved in is a bad neighbor! Don't let them get to you so much.

    It sounds as if the pup is getting a good amount of excersize, even if it does have to stay alone for 6 hours. Does your dog seem happy? That would be a good way to dertirmine how you're doing It sounds like a good situation to me. Some of the things the neighbor was saying though, well, Beagle's tend to be excitable(or at least the ones I've been around XD), plus s/he is still a puppy, so it makes sense. The age thing, I wouldn't worry about it. I'm only 14 and most of my friends and stuff come to me to find out things about dogs, so you should me fine there XD! My one Shih Tzu, Bailey, cries when I leave as well, but only for a bit. I think he's just trying to convince me that I don't want to leave, and since your dog does the same thing, I would guess thats it. Its possible he has slight(and by slight I mean barely there XD) seperation angziety, but I wouldn't worry about it much now, only if it gets worse.

    Good luck dealing with your neighbor

    ~IJMB

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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    I think your a fine owner, your neighbor needs to chill out. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think your puppy is just crying because he doesn't want you to leave. Although, it may be anxiety so I would keep an eye on that. I would probably spend more time with your puppy, maybe get into some agility (don't buy jumps/poles yet, try brooms and chairs). Try hiking with your dog, maybe when it's a little older. My dog loves to hike, but be careful with the paw pads (use booties).
    Anyways, don't give away your Beagle because your neighbor doesn't like how you do things. But I would spend more bonding time with your puppy, especially since he's young.
    I'm no expert,so correct me if I am wrong

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    Senior Member BrittanieJo's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    I think that dog has a great life! He's going on two long walks and you are there in the evenings (or vice versa) I'm sure working and taking breaks to play/do some training. If you wanted to improve even more perhaps you could look into puppy classes to help the puppy with socialization and enjoy some extra training time. I would say your schedule is very similar to mine and my husbands and our dog is happy, healthy and starting her second round of dog classes because we enjoyed puppy classes so much. I would politely say to your neighbor thanks for the advice and to butt out. Keep the dog you're doing great!

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    Senior Member ThoseWordsAtBest's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    I can't imagine giving a care about what some neighbor thought. 1. My dogs are my dogs. 2. I do right by them.

    If these two things are true to you, then I can't imagine why you would even consider any thing she had to say.

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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    It sounds to me like you are doing a great job with your dog!...Ignore the naysayer!

    Chelle

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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    If all dogs were as poorly cared for as your dog, the world would be a much better place.

    Do you do a kong or something when you leave? My girl ONLY gets kongs when I'm leaving so if she sees me heading for the freezer it's basically, "I don't care where you are going Mom but get the heck out and give my YUMMY!!" She doesn't even notice that I've left.

    Don't know your neighbor but I'd bet dimes to dollars that her 3x day "walks" are potty breaks and not real exercise.

    Bottom line: keep the dog, ditch the neighbor. (Probably not a possible alternative but you get the idea.)
    I hate it when villains quote Shakespeare.

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    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    First off, are you sure he only vocalizes the first couple of minutes after you leave? You may want to ask some of your other neighbours if they hear him.

    Other than that, no you are doing fine. It's very possible that your neighbour is one of those "I would never have a dog unless I could work from home" people. There are many. They don't know bupkus. You provide more physical and mental stimulation than many dog owners, most likely INCLUDING the neighbour who is being a passive aggressive PITA. These are the same types who say they won't have a dog without a backyard etc.

    Ignore the neighbour. Find out if your dog is showing signs of separation issues (tape recording or videotaping his behaviour while you are gone can be great). If he is, then come back here and we can give advice on that...otherwise, you seem to be doing just fine.
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    you need to tell your neighbor to mind their own business and leave you alone! You are making a huge effort to be a great owner and your doing a great job at it for how busy your schedule! We had that same barking and whining issue with our puggle-notice half beagle and we had to buy the "bark off". there is one that is a machine that makes a high pitched sound when they bark, but that didnt bother her a bite. So we had to get her a bark off collar that the trainer in her obedience class suggested. That worked! Maybe look into some products to help with barking! Good Luck and please keep your pup! Your doing fine!
    My Little Defender

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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    Thank you so much for all these helpful answers!!

    ThoseWordsAtBest- That makes sense. I suppose I care because I've never owned a dog before and started to wonder if I really was doing a poor job. There really never seems to be a time that I run into her and she doesn't have something to say. Living right across from me makes it a little tricky...

    CassieLovesMaggie & BrittanieJo- More bonding sounds great! Thanks for the suggestions

    Bird-Dog- Sometimes I leave treats before I go (and this doesn't always seem to make a difference unfortunately), but having an extra special toy/kong is definitely worth trying!

    Cracker- Just today, I ran into her partner(?) and asked him specifically if the whimpering is something that really disrupts him (he said no, it's a faint noise), and if it goes on while I'm gone (no, just sporadic). He really gave me the impression that the cries - and occasional howling - only happen when I leave. I've also waited on my floor for about 15 minutes to see how long the crying goes on for (this is how I determined a couple minutes) and whether it starts again after stopping... And there has not been a single time where I have come home to any cries/noise whatsoever. I don't really run into any other neighbors (unfortunately) probably since she's the only one who is always there, but it would be a good idea to ask if I do or perhaps try out a tape recorder... I guess what I really don't understand why a few minutes of crying maybe once a day or every other day should be so unsettling.. I definitely hear her dog bark now and then...

    kelliejh- Did that help with whining or barking, specifically? I've only heard my beagle bark maybe twice since I've had him so it's really more of a whimpering issue.

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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    Quote Originally Posted by lm203 View Post
    Thank you so much for all these helpful answers!!

    ThoseWordsAtBest- That makes sense. I suppose I care because I've never owned a dog before and started to wonder if I really was doing a poor job. There really never seems to be a time that I run into her and she doesn't have something to say. Living right across from me makes it a little tricky...
    Sorry, I didn't mean to come off short to you! I am more frustrated there are busy bodies like your neighbor out there. People like that set out to make other people feel bad and that aggravates me, especially when it works.

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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    Oh no - not a worry at all!

    I'm trying to figure how I ended up so concerned about what she thinks too. I wasn't at first but it's really just gotten to me lately. I feel like I need to impress her.. And I'm certainly guilty of trying! haha

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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    Sounds like you do a great job to me. Some people just like to bitch about anything they can. My only suggestions: Perhaps leave a noise machine or tv on through the day to muffle any whining/crying your dog is doing. And I make tiny peanut butter and treat sandwiches for my dog when I leave him for more than a half hour or so. I take an alpo snap (flat, square, cracker-like treat), break it in several pieces then make "sandwiches" with the broken bits. I lay them on a paper plate and freeze them for 10 minutes or so to harden up the PB (less messy this way) and then put them in his Kong ball. He puts a lot of time and attention into getting out the goodies and it eases his separation anxiety a little.

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    Senior Member ThoseWordsAtBest's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    Quote Originally Posted by lm203 View Post
    Oh no - not a worry at all!

    I'm trying to figure how I ended up so concerned about what she thinks too. I wasn't at first but it's really just gotten to me lately. I feel like I need to impress her.. And I'm certainly guilty of trying! haha
    It's hard to be under scrutiny. It feels like if you can just get them to like you they will stop, but people like that don't stop. I would just block her out from now on. I don't recommend telling neighbors off because you have to live by them, but I have no problem telling someone to get lost.

    There are people like that every where no matter what it involves. Trust me. I hear constant crap for the number of dogs I have and that's it. Every one we meet says "FOUR DOGS?" like it's any of their business or my dogs aren't well cared for.

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    Senior Member Indigo's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    From what I've heard beagles can be difficult first dogs. A lot of them end up in shelters around here. For someone who got a dog dumped on them as a gift, I'd say you're doing really well. I'm glad you're enjoying his company and you sound like a responsible person. Good on you for actually bothering to find out if your dog is bothering other people. From what you say, it sounds like the neighbors are just looking for something to complain about, and I wouldn't let them get you down.

    Quote Originally Posted by lm203 View Post
    - my age (easy to stereotype, but I am always here for the dog, and have supported myself and lived alone since age 16 - hence, the company of the dog is nice)
    Don't you hate that? I'm not even in university anymore and I still get stereotyped because I'm on the younger end of the adult spectrum. People expect me to have a messy home, and be wasting all my money on booze and clubbing. I got really angry when I told my boss why I was so tired one morning and he said "yeah right, you can tell me". No really, I was up late watching dogs on youtube... >.>

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    Super Moderator RonE's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    Shame on anyone who give a beagle "as a gift." *

    Shame on a neighbor who would make you feel like an inadequate dog owner.

    Shame on you for letting her.

    * Don't misunderstand. The only breed I ever got on purpose was a beagle - when I was about eleven. I campaigned for months and wore my parents down. But it can be a challenging breed. Hound lovers (like me) think they're worth the effort, but you need to be highly motivated.

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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    Well you been on your own since 16, have you learned nothing. I also as a young (not man yet) was on my own at 16. I learned through trial and error to separate the idiots from the good.

    In Chicago as a young man I had 3 dogs and a couple old maid types that lived 2 doors down that were always calling the AC saying my dogs were barking etc. I worked during the day and would get home and there would be note/etc from AC saying they had actually spent time outside the home listening for dogs to bark. It never happened as they were not allowed to bark. Eventually the old maids were labeled as kooks and all was good.

    You are not harming your beagle pup at all, you're giving pup 3 squares and a place to live, with I'm assuming some love tossed in. That's about as good as it gets in the dog world.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    wvasko, it's not so much about what she thinks of ME or my lifestyle. I ask out of concern for my dog and whether I'm raising him properly. At first I brushed it off - but if someone has that much to say, it doesn't hurt to self reflect. If I was doing something wrong, that is the only way that I could ever improve (or anyone in any situation for that matter). I'm certainly no expert, but one thing I have learned is that nobody is infallible and it never hurts to take a second look.
    From the responses here, however, I can now see clearly that she's more or less looking for something to judge so I need not give it much of a bother from now on...
    Last edited by lm203; 04-06-2011 at 09:29 AM.

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    Super Moderator RonE's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    Stick around, lm203, and hang out with some truly obsessed dog lovers. You'll learn that you can always do better and you can always do worse.

    If you were with your dog 24/7, it would not be enough - for you OR your dog - but it's all about balance.

    I find myself talking to my dogs each morning when I leave for work. They understand the routine, but they still look at me with that, "Is there any particular reason why we can't come with you? They would LOVE us at your office." And every morning I say, "We're going to need some more kibble pretty soon, and gas to drive to the dog park and each time we go to the vet for a routine visit and vaccinations and Frontline and Heartguard, I know it's going to be $500 +. So, until we win the lottery (which isn't likely to happen before I buy a ticket) I'll keep going to work and you two need to stay here and guard the castle. Don't eat the sofa while I'm gone."

  21. #20
    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: Am I a BAD DOG OWNER/should I give up my puppy??

    Quote Originally Posted by RonE View Post
    Stick around, lm203, and hang out with some truly obsessed dog lovers. You'll learn that you can always do better and you can always do worse.

    If you were with your dog 24/7, it would not be enough - for you OR your dog - but it's all about balance.

    I find myself talking to my dogs each morning when I leave for work. They understand the routine, but they still look at me with that, "Is there any particular reason why we can't come with you? They would LOVE us at your office." And every morning I say, "We're going to need some more kibble pretty soon, and gas to drive to the dog park and each time we go to the vet for a routine visit and vaccinations and Frontline and Heartguard, I know it's going to be $500 +. So, until we win the lottery (which isn't likely to happen before I buy a ticket) I'll keep going to work and you two need to stay here and guard the castle. Don't eat the sofa while I'm gone."
    Im204 read the above again and again as it says so much with so few words.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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