Having a dog is difficult!

susanjnMarch 6, 2010

So..... I'm a cat person. I've never owned a dog. Everything I know about dogs I learned here on this forum. I know they are social creatures, need to be walked a lot, and thrive on structure (pack hierarchy, etc.).

My daughter has an occasional job caring for a neighbor's beagle when they go away for a couple days. She goes over 3 times per day to feed (twice) and potty/play. Other than that the dog is in her crate. It seems to work pretty well except that by the end of the couple days she is difficult to get back in the crate.

This time they are going to be gone for five days which I thought was a long time for a dog to be crated and alone so much. So I suggested we bring her to our house for at least the weekend. I envisioned her sleeping alot. But she has mostly whined and been awake. She is only happy if someone is petting her. In addition to her regularly scheduled early morning breakfast and potty, I've taken her out for two 3/4 mile walks which she enjoyed, and dh took her out for a potty break in the yard. Her crate is accessible to her. She is confined to one large room where dh spends most of his time at his computer. We crated her for about 90 minutes while we ran some errands. She ate little of her dinner, and we're about ready to take her out for another potty break. We'll do that again late tonight, then crate her for the night.

Do you think she's whining because she's stressed at the new environment? Would she be better off alone in her crate in her own home? I really just want to do the best thing for her. She quite sweet.

Thanks for all the dog education you've already given me.


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Very well could be the change and missing her familiar surroundings. Some dogs are susceptible to that kind of thing and some not so affected.

What you did and are doing is admirable. Many sitters would not go as far. What you have done is not going to hurt the dog long term, so don't worry about that. As soon as the owners come home, she will resume the normal day to day routine.

For instance, I was gone for a week several times last year. My wife still works, so our two dogs were left alone for 8 hours a day while she worked. Neither of them require crating, but their three to four daily outings were curtailed. They handled it just fine, made a 2 or 3 minute excited return celebration when I came back, and went right back to the daily routine.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 11:51PM
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Thanks, handymac. She seems to be settling in - more relaxed. Our cats seem to be bored with her, too.

She eventually ate her dinner last night, but hasn't eaten much of her breakfast this morning. She's asleep in her crate, with the door open, now. All that whining yesterday must have worn her out. And she's gotten lots of love from all of us.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 12:17PM
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More walks! Beagles are hounds, and they love going places.

They can walk your legs right off and want more.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 4:25PM
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LOL, yes, we've noticed that. I'm thinking a kind of relay would be good. One person just hands the leash off to the next as they go by the house. This dog could be my new fitness program. I'm enjoying her very much.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 5:10PM
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Someone needs to gently tell the owner that crating their dog 24/7 with only 3 breaks is not in the best interest of the dog. I'm not surprised the dog is not wanting to go back in the crate after 2 days of living in that enclosure.

IMO, for a 5 day trip, the owners should have boarded their dog in a kennel or arranged for her to stay at someones house. As LG said, Beagles are hunting dogs and they're bred to be active.

Now that the weekend is over, how long before the owners come home? If the owners agree, I'd suggest letting the dog stay at your home at night. At least she'll be able to stay out of the crate until everyone goes to bed and she can have some exercise before going back home in the mornings.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 6:28PM
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Beagles are naturally vocal dogs, my friends dog - a beagle whines constantly when she is excited and at no other time....could be the dog is grateful for the change...PS - good for you for having a good heart and taking pity on the pup and stimulating her more. I know her little dog spirit is much happier as a result. Good going!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 10:36PM
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"Do you think she's whining because she's stressed at the new environment?"

yes.We watched my brother-in-laws dog for a week and she was VERY depressed no matter how many walks,treats,playing,etc we did with her.She was just stressed and wanting her family.As soon as she went home,I swear it was like a different dog!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 4:47AM
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Yes, I think she is whining because it's a new environment. I'm glad she has settled in.

But, your neighbor is crating way too much. It is not OK for a dog to be crated 24/7 and only be taken out for playtime 3 x a day. Beagles are active hunting dogs. They have a lot of energy to burn.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:18AM
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I think she is whining because 1. she is a beagle and they are very vocal and 2. you are reinforcing the behavior by giving her attention when she whines.

I agree that the dog seemed crated too much.

When you take your walk, who is in control, you or the dog. If the dog is pulling on the walk, he is not getting the brain exercise that he needs. A dog that is walking nicely without pulling, must think very hard to NOT follow instincts so its a mental workout.

If the dog is pulling and leading the walk, its not as much of a mental workout for him.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 1:28PM
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Yes, the poor dog is being crated for far too long. ALSO! the poor pup is used to having his family home at night and this is very important to dogs (and to some cats who think they are dogs). Even when your neighbours are away for only 2 or 3 days, it is too long for the dog to be left alone during the night. It is great that you took the Beagle in (just watch where you put that roast beef - no place is to high - I know we had a Beagle and then mini Dachshunds - who would have thought that 10 lb. Dachshunds would be bigger foodies than the Beagle?). When we go away our Eskimo is boarded by our vet tech who offers home boarding (our guy has crate terrors so this is great). He is very well behaved at her house and is loved by her 2 giant dogs and her cat. He treats other boarders as guests in his second home. He tries very hard to fit in - but is very happy to see us when we come home. We are so grateful to have found this couple to take care of our dog. Eskies do not do well in a kennel environment - and no way could he be left alone at night - and neither could our Beagle when he was alive. Re the whining/barking - yep, part of the hound temperament - then there is the barking fool that is our Eskimo. While I wish that our almost 6 year old Eskie would behave as well at home as he does at the boarder's and at his weekly socialization group, I am very grateful that he is not a terror there and an angel at home - or we would be toast. Eskies can be "funny" - well all dogs have their quirks.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 3:37PM
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That is way too long to crate a dog :( Thank you for caring enough to bring her into your home, so she is not alone for such a long time.

I have left my dogs at home if I was only gone for 2 days, but they were not crated, and got 5 visits a day. They were fine alone at night, I'm sure they just slept in my bed like usual. Having each others company helped greatly - if I only had one dog I don't think I'd leave it all alone.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:52PM
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Thanks, everyone! We still have her at our house, and will keep her here until her family comes home most likely. It's working out quite well. Right now she's sleeping at my husband's feet. Too cute. Even our cats are only mildly annoyed by her. She's just not particularly intimidating. We don't know how old she is, but think at least six years. We met her one day in our back yard. We called the number on her collar which turned out to be a few houses away and someone my husband used to work with. Small world. So now she has a new alternate family.

I suspect her family thinks it is easier for a caretaker to come to their house. They were perfectly happy to have us bring her here.

Eccentric, funny you should mention the roast beef. We had that for dinner tonight and she didn't seem to even notice. But she has sniffed every square inch of the floor, I think. Probably knows the whole history of this house.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:56PM
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But she has sniffed every square inch of the floor, I think. Probably knows the whole history of this house.

lol. And with that Beagle nose, she probably knows more about your house than you do, now. ;-)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 1:10PM
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Our temp doggy is back with her own family. Sure is quiet here. Cats are back to their normal routine. I'll have to think of some other reason to get dh out on a moonlight walk.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 10:02PM
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