Sunday, 3 October 2010

Want a dog and working full time regularly?

Ok let's pause for a while and imagine ourselves what it is like to be a dog that is left alone whilst the owner is out of the house for 8 to 10 hours a day.

As an experiment, try imagining putting yourselves into a room (seperately) for at least 4 hours - alone. No TV, no telephones, no PC, nothing to read, gloves on your hands so that you cannot 'lint pick', a glass of water and a dry biscuit or two plus a few toys scattered around. You cannot go to the toilet for about 4 hours until someone arrives to open the door and then, after you have eliminated and had a play for 20 minutes or so, they shut you back in the room for another 4 hours. Silence. Nothing fun to do. Nobody to talk to, nothing to watch or listen to. No attention whatsoever. Then your owners come home! Great excitement! Yippee! You are so pleased to see them! They make a fuss, let you out and then after a while may walk you. Everything is great for the evening and weekends are wonderful with so much attention and company. But then Monday morning comes along and for another 4 or 5 days, the previous routine applies. Nothing to do, no-one to talk to, having to hold yourself as you cannot go to the toilet until allowed..... Could you cope long term? Humans are (on the whole) social, sentient creatures. So are dogs. No, dogs are not humans, but they have similar needs in a lot of ways.

Think about the above scenario and let it run through your mind. Do you think that a dog should have to endure that on a regular basis? Will you be able to cope when housetraining problems arise, when the neighbours start to complain about howling and barking, when you come home to a ripped up carpet and a chewed door. (Lonely dogs often try to dig, chew or scratch their way through a point of exit like the door)

15 years or so ago, most people in households where both partners worked all day would not have a dog as it 'wasn't fair'. Now, we want it all so people want to have a dog even though they and their partner work full time. 15 years ago, the rescue situation was busy but not at crisis point. Now, it is at the latter with thousands of dogs being given up because of poor housetraining, destructiveness and noisyness. Many give the dog up because it is boisterous (lack of training), aggressive (lack of socialisation) or howls the place down. (lonelyness) If only people would only have dogs when they truly have the time to devote to their socialisation and training then maybe the rescue situation would ease.

At the end of the day, it should be about what the dog needs and not about what you want. ;o)

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