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Greetings. I joined this forum only to ask advice from from dog lovers on one point. I want to know what is best for our dog.

We have a six year old female Boxer. We received her when she was about two, as a rescue dog (a stray). She has a microchip that says she came from a kennel up north. The vet recommended that she not be returned. Anyway, that's all just to say that she's probably purebred. So, we've had her about four years. Layla is a wonderful dog, smart, fun, obedient. Things have changed in our household to where I have hardly any time or energy to devote to her anymore. For the first year we had Layla, before our first child was born, I walked her about forty-five minutes a day, played with her, gave her lots of attention, and all that stuff. After the kid, however, time for the dog took a precipitous decline. I still walked her every day but it was more like fifteen minutes (we moved and got a fenced-in back yard though). Also, I've always been mildly allergic to dogs, so combine that with having less available time and Layla was really not given much attention.

After about two years of this, after bringing Layla with us to visit family and seeing how much attention she could get in a different household, I decided to make an effort at finding new owners for her. We would not have given her away to just anybody, but only a situation that would be an improvement to our house. When my parents heard about this they said, "Hold on, wait a minute. Let us think about taking her ourselves." So I removed the classified ad, and let them consider it for a long while. They never came to a decision, but they took so long deliberating that I had a change of heart and decided to keep the dog. (As trivial as it sounds just giving her a bath helps a lot because then she doesn't have the allergens on her coat and I'm happy about petting her.)

Then my wife bore our second child. So you can see where this is going. Now Layla gets even less attention, I do not walk her very far at all. Her baths are infrequent. She stays in her crate (in our bonus room) eighty percent of the day (now that the weather is cooler she sits in the living room on a blanket more, so she's around us a bit more). The only upside is that our daughter, who is approaching three, is getting more interested in petting and playing with her.

I imagine the better life Layla could experience with a different family, more like the life we gave her the first year of ownership. Please weigh in on this if you have an opinion or experience. Would it be better for Layla to stay with the family she knows in a dull existence or go to a new and more full home? Thanks (in advance) for you time.
 

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Sounds to me like you want to keep the dog. If it were me I would take the time to walk the dog with the 3 yr old, now that your wife is busy with a new baby she would probably enjoy the break and your toddler would love to have the time with you to be the center of attention.
The dog is good you are not having any behavioral problems that is a blessing, take advantage of the situation you have been given and find a way to make it work.
 

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I am going to say, quietly and honestly, that this is a 6 year old dog. The home you find for her is not likely to offer her anything better than you are offering her. It would be nice if you could walk her more, yes, and bathe her more, and she DOES need to be out of her crate more (if she's well behaved enough to sit on a blanket in the living room, this should be doable). Your children will only be very small for a short time - by the time this dog is truly a senior, they are going to be school aged. You are her home, you are her family. Any benefit she gains from going to another household is likely outweighed by the move itself. Also, quite frankly, the perfect home is a danged near myth.

You seem like you have very little standing between you and being a very good owner for this dog. And that's less crate time and finding a way to bathe her -or take her to the groomer - once a month or so. And maybe a short walk.
 

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Thank you both very, very much for your replies. The feedback is great, encouraging. One thing to note, I said she stays in her crate, but that's her choice. The door to the crate is open, she just likes laying in there. Thanks again.
 

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It DOES sound like you would be sad to give her up. I think, from reading your post, that you could come up with a plan that would benefit the entire family, including your dog. I love the idea of walking your dog and the 3 year old together. That would be a great bonding time with your older child, and, as said before, would give your wife a break from the toddler.

But, also, you could put the new baby in the stroller and walk the dog with the new baby. That would also give your wife time to spend with the 3 year old, so that the 3 year old gets some one on one with mama.
Or, try a family walk, stroller, toddler, dog and parents!

Does your dog take a bath well? If so, maybe your 3 year old could help give the bath. Or at least be on standby to hand you shampoo and towels.
Find a way to involve your children, because, if you do that, you won't be splitting your time, (the kids OR the dog, instead it's the kids AND the dog). You won't avoid spending time with the dog if your children are involved as well. And, in the end, it will teach your children some valuable lessons.
 

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Thank you both very, very much for your replies. The feedback is great, encouraging. One thing to note, I said she stays in her crate, but that's her choice. The door to the crate is open, she just likes laying in there. Thanks again.
Oh, well as long as she's CHOOSING to lay there -

My 6 year old dog is a rat terrier. High energy little dog, though not quite so much as a boxer, as a breed. We go out on hikes once or twice a week, where he gets to burn some serious energy, but in the house the rest of the time? Nope. His choice is on the couch, on our bed, or in his crate. He likes hanging out there. It's safe and comfortable for him, and as he's older and not interested in the rough housing of the Boston and Puppy, sometimes he even closes the door behind him!

You're fine. Just see if you can juggle it around to get the occasional walk and one on one time with her in there. She's loved. She's part of the family. She doesn't need a childless couple who take her on hikes all the time, and revolve their life around her to have a good home. I promise.
 

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She already has a good home. Ideal? Maybe not, but you care about her well being and treat her nicely. If you can add even 15 minutes each day to that walk to bring it up to a half hour and maybe 1-2 times per week put the kiddo in stroller and go to the park or for a longer walk, then I'd say she'd be doing just fine.

The more time you spend around her and making her a part of things, it gives her mental stimulation and comfort. If she likes the backyard and the weather is good, you could set up a table and play games or draw etc with the 3 year old while she sniff around and enjoys your general company.

If you can afford it and assuming she likes dogs, a couple days a month at a doggie daycare can feel like a lot of exercise to a middle aged dog. If she doesn't like dogs, a once per week dog walker for a nice long stroll? A lot of doggie daycares have a grooming section, maybe 1-2 times per month she could spend the day there and get a bath before coming home which would help both the exercise issue and the allergies.

For allergies, you can also regularly wipe her coat off with a damp rag to decrease the pollen and outdoor allergens she brings into the house.
 

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Can you involve your 3 year old more in her care? We just adopted our first dog and our 16 month old daughter is already learning how to take care of our pup. She loves throwing a ball for her to chase (sure, it goes maybe a foot in front of her, but pup still pounces on it and fun is had by all) and even "feeds" her by throwing food on the floor. Pup gets to sniff around the floor vacuuming up the food, and kid gets a kick out of watching and being allowed to throw food :) It's all followed by lots of praise for both dog and child so they both eat it up!
 

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Thank you both very, very much for your replies. The feedback is great, encouraging. One thing to note, I said she stays in her crate, but that's her choice. The door to the crate is open, she just likes laying in there. Thanks again.
I just had to say - Snowball does this. He spends most of the day laying in our room on our bed because its soft and its quite high. Now that its cold out he doesn't like laying on hard surfaces (we only have laminate and linoleum) and he prefers to be up high.

I agree with everything already being said. It sounds like you and your family care about her, and you don't want to give her up. I think family walks (or you with either or both children) sounds like a great idea. It would give you time to bond with your kids, and give your wife some time to herself.
 

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Kabota easily spends 80% of his time laying on the couch. Not all dogs are balls of fire that need constant activity.

I think you can keep this dog. Just a bath at the groomer shouldn't cost that much. Kabota is 45 lbs and I pay $35 for a bath, nail clipping, ear cleaning and some trimming. You have a fenced in yard, what about a fun game of fetch? Little kids usually love to watch a dog fetch, so that's time with your dog and your child.

As for walking, it wouldn't exactly kill you to fit in 30 minutes of walking a day. For your own sake and your daughter's. Teach kids to enjoy exercise young and you give them a lifetime of good health. Sure, at 3, you'll be carrying her a lot of the way, but she'll enjoy being with daddy and seeing the sights outside. Take the baby in a stroller and give your wife a nice 30 minute nap or 30 minutes to straighten up with no screaming baby or toddler. It's a win all around!
 

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I feel much better reading that the crate door is open. Take her for a walk with your toddler. Put her in a stroller or wagon. You can also have your toddler throw her a ball in the yard. You can spend time with your child and dog and you'll go a long way in teaching her about having a dog.
 

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Thanks to each and every one of you for the encouraging and well-informed responses. Knowing Layla's in the right place has given me a boost to do more with her. I was floundering not knowing where she ought to be. The three year old does enjoy watching games of fetch, you're right about that, Amaryllis! And walks together is certainly a very good solution. I find it more difficult than it ought to be, though, because Layla is so stinkin' strong and she is also dog aggressive (I guess from her time as a stray protecting her litter --- our friends found her and her puppy together). It's just tough to reign in Layla and keep track of the child too, though the kid does like to act as though she's the one walking (holding the leash) Layla. Later!
 

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I was also going to suggest perhaps a date with Grandma and Grandpa, since they were interested in taking her anyway, and if you're concerned about Layla not getting enough attention. Nothing super long term, but maybe they'd dog sit one afternoon a week, etc. or when you go out to dinner as a family. Of course, it would depend on how far away your parents live and whether they would want to, but I know Snowball loves going to visit Grandma on Thursdays nights when we go league bowling.
 

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The perfect pet home (like the perfect family) is a myth. Whats important is that everyone does their best to take care of each other and weather the good and bad times together. Layla doesnt sound very unhappy and I'm sure she loves your family very much. I think encouraging bonding and supervised activities between the toddler and Layla will be great, its a perfect opportunity for your little one to learn how to love and properly handle a dog and Layla will enjoy the interaction.
 
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