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Could you look after a clingy dog on your own?


hausser

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Hi just after a general consensus here. Long story short. Me and ex partner have split (she left) she bought a dog (I begged her not to get one) when she left she left Jackson here, didnt make any effort to really look after him post BU. He is an 11 month old lab lurcher cross. Lovely temperament although he is VERY CLINGY and very active. He follows me from room to room and since she has left he wont go anywhere on his own, wheras prior he would go and do his own thing in the garden for an hour or so.

 

I Am unemployed at the moment and obviously need a job asap and have a lot of financial worries. I am finding keeping him to be almost unbelivably tiring. He demands attention constantly and needs at least 1.5 -2 hrs a day exercise. He never seems fully relaxed in the apartment, this got 5 x worse since she left. I can't ever lie in, am sick of walking the same routes and am fed up of coming home to find dirty bedclothes where he's been up on the bed etc when ive been in a rush to leave. I feel guilty whenever I'm out thinking I have to rush back to him. He's housetrained but he is a real owners dog and wants to be with me constantly. I feel tired and snappy constanty when im with him as because im unemployed im around him all day. I am ok if ive had a break from however and start to miss him.

 

The other day my dad took out for about 6hrs and the feeling of just being able to relax ws just amazing. I havent felt like that in 9 months.

 

Anyways thankfully hiw old owners have insisted that should I find it hard to cope (which I am) then they would love him back. They have his sister littermate and mother and a housefull of kids that would give him all the the attention he needs.

 

The thought of rehoming back brings me to almost tears as I love him very much, but it's getting too much now on my own. I need to look for and keep a job.

 

What do you guys think?

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I think that - if you don't want this dog - you should give him to a happy home. It will have a much happier life over the next 15 years or so with people that actually want him than with someone who begrudgingly takes care of him. Having a dog is like having a child... they require a lot of attention, cannot be left alone for extended amounts of time and require a lot of work.

 

Honestly? I think this was your ex-gf's dog and she should have taken him when she left.

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I know, I am livid she didnt. I didnt believe she was actually going to leave other wise I would have put him in the car with her. If I rehome it will be the best form of No contact ever as I will never ever speak to her again. In her defence though, she moved back in with her parents (she's 21) and her mother told her explicilty form the beginning if we broke up she would not be homing him. My gf isnt really in the financial position to have her own place. The thing that grates is the lack of support walking , feeding etc. If I had forced her to take him she would have given him to one of her not very nice friends who can barely look after their own children, so I figured it would be best for me to have him. It was done out of love.

 

I do want him, it's just that as im unemployed I am with him constantly and it grates. My father had him for a week when we went on hols and he was exhausted at the end of it. I have done two months now.

 

Could you look after a dog on your own?

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This is a toss up of what's best for you, or what's best for the dog. With that said, I would return the dog to his original owners, with the peace of mind that he'll be well taken care of, and knowing that you made the right choice.

 

Thanks. That's what my family say. His old owners made me promise to give him to them and said they would love him like his sister. My god I dont even want to think about the day I do. He's been a faithful friend. But say I get a job next week (likely) then there is a possibility that some days he will be on his own for over 5 hours. For me to pay a dog walker (old owners son) would be finanical lunacy for the amount of attention he needs. The only thing I can do is give a key to my neighbour to come and check on him but I'm on dodgy ground then....I wouldnt consider them responsbile pet owners tbh.

 

He seems to impact every little decision I ever make, this is what is grinding me down.

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Labs and dogs in general are pack animals and need love, attention, and exercise, especially labs who are working dogs/retrievers born to run around outdoors for hours. That is why they make great 'kid' dogs, because they are so sociable and want to play all the time.

 

I would give him back to the owners and let them give him to a family with kids who would keep him very happy and busy! If you live alone and are gone at work all day, then he is best elsewhere. There are some dog breeds that are more couch potatoes and laid back and would be happy to sleep all day but he's the wrong breed for that. I've had friends who have basset hounds and you can hardly get them to go for a walk! So it's all about the breed and also the time in your life, whether you are settled down and want the constant companionship, or whether you need to be away from home a lot, which is terrible for a dog on its own. When the time is right, you can consider another dog, but now the best thing for this dog is owners who have time for him and are around him a lot and will enjoy him rather than feel guilty about it.

 

btw, i have two dogs now and am perfectly happy with them and want them around me all the time, but they are more content mutts who are happy to have their daily walks in the morning and evening and a couple of quick outdoor breaks, but otherwise they are happy to follow me from room to room but otherwise lie down and go to sleep and don't demand a lot of attention. But i am older and settled, and they are not high maintenance dogs at all. So i think you would be fine with a dog in future, but a young labrador mix is about as high energy as they come! Most dogs do calm down a lot after two, but some breeds never quite calm down at all...

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Thanks for the reply, very helpful. Yeah If I was 40 settled in a good career, a house and kids and wife he would be ideal. It never, ever entered my head to rehome him when she was here. By the end of the first fortnight on my own I was exhausted. The situation I am in now is I am 28, no career, no kids, no partner rented flat and various opportunites to move away and make a better life. But when I look at him, I feel sooooo sorry for him, like I am betraying him. Agreed on the breed thing too, he is not happy unless he is out running around or swimming he is not a loungy dog in fact he never relaxes unless its night which is what puts me on edge a lot.

 

He gets a LOAD of exercise, between 1- 3 hrs every day, off lead in a country park running, swimming, flirt pole etc and plenty of socialising with people and dogs. The only thing I cant give him a lot of is attention and "girly affection" like the ex did. As a man I find it tough but I know he loves it. The getting up thing to be fair, if I had a regular sleeping pattern it wouldnt be a big deal it's just mine is all reversed.

 

I dont know what to do man, I cant stand the thought of walking in some of our old haunts and remembering the fun times I had with him, and I have had loads. I'm feeling emotional just typing this.

 

My head knows it's best for him to go back, as I would never have had a dog on my own, but seeing photos of him as a pup and remembering how loyal he is to me, I just cant do it. I keep hoping if I work, and meet a new partner it will all work out.

 

How you handle being followed around the house is very admirable, I find that constant clinginess the biggest thing that is draining me not the three hour walks lol.

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Normally, I would say that if you take in a pet, it is your lifelong commitment to care for the animal. However, this was kinda forced upon you AND you have a large conscience about this, so it's not like you're a heartless tool.

 

I have a rescue cat that was returned to the shelter TWICE. First time he was taken as a kitten, couple moved or broke up, and returned him when he was a few years old. Then he was adopted again, and his new owner took ill, and didn't feel he could care for him. So, he returned him once again after a few months. Now I have him, and I could not imagine life without my little fluffy. You would think we've been together since he was born, and you would think he bought this house before I did. lol. Point is, when pets are re-homed, they often can end up in very happy situations.

 

I would send him back to the previous owners. Sounds like they have a nice set-up, and he would have a great life.

 

Look at it this way - you love him enough to give him up and give him a better life. Good on you.

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If you really do want to keep him, you can consider two things.

 

First, just learn to ignore the fact that he follows you around. He's doing what he wants to do, so let him follow you if that is his choice. You also don't need to interact with him every minute or he is controlling the interaction rather than you. You are the 'parent' here, and can teach him to lie down and not respond to his every attempt at contact.

 

I had a high maintenance dog once, and i learned the 'ignore' technique. He needs to learn to calm and entertain himself just like a child does, so correct him when he is too rambunctious inside the house (it is OK to say no, and very useful to teach him 'go lie down' by giving him a toy and insisting he do it). You could take a dog training class to teach you how to control his more rambunctious behavior and constant need for attention from you.

 

And start ignoring him if he is constantly demanding attention. Dog parents teach their puppies to leave them alone by looking the other way and ignoring them, if you've ever watched a dog with its puppies. When he tries to engage, just ignore him and turn your head and look elsewhere, don't make eye contact. Reward him when he is doing what you want, and refuse to engage when he pesters you. Always give praise when he goes and lies down on his own.

 

He'll eventually learn that you aren't free game every moment he feels like it, and he needs to entertain himself sometimes. Get him plenty of toys, ropes etc. and he can play by himself.

 

Something else that works well is to get him another dog (i always keep dogs in pairs) since he is a pack animal and will focus on the other dog and wear himself out playing with him rather than constantly approaching you. I've always found 2 dogs are easier to manage than one, especially with high energy puppies.

 

But if you're in an apt. that may not be practical unless you choose a very small second dog. But at this stage in your life, it may just not be the right time for a dog.

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Hey lavender, thats aweosme advice. Yeah I have heard that said about 2 dogs, and I was somewhere bigger i'd do it in an instant. You are right about the training too.

 

Today I paid his original owners son some pocket money to take him for a walk. He has just left school and his mother told me he'd be glad. It gave me a bit of time to clean plus it got my dog used to the boy in case I do rehome him.

 

I came to this forum as a "dumpee" and have a very limited (almost non existant) social circle. Jackson is actually one of my few loyal friends as sad as it is to say. I've decided I am going to let the girl downstairs check up on him. She has recently bought a new puppy herself and is in the house all day witha boyfirend and young son. IMO it's bettet than rehoming him as I love him dearly lol.

 

Thanks for all your advice!

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You're welcome! Also keep in mind that they do usually calm down a lot around 18 months/2 years as they are considered adults then... he's in his 'teenaged' years now so he will be very active and have lots of energy. It also usually helps if you neuter him if you haven't already done that.

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Hausser, sometimes we need to make really tough decisions.  Your primary focus is to secure a job right now.  When you do secure a job it will be even more difficult to meet the needs of your energetic dog.  You really need to think about this.  What is best for the dog? I think that you are fortunate to have the offer of this family who can meet the needs of the dog.

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