Multi dog owners - do you feel guilty?

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Toller_08, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    Lately I've been feeling incredibly guilty because of the Dobermans, and I need to stop. It's no secret that Journey and Dance accompany me more and that I do a lot more with the two of them than I do the Dobermans. And it's nothing against the Dobes, except that their temperaments and needs are not suited to what I need/want from a dog, and therefore they get to do different things. They're still very well loved and are very happy being family pets/companions and no more than that. They go for walks, running has becoming a bit difficult but we will find a place for them to run again that is free from strange dogs, they get loved on, etc. They lead very happy lives. Probably better than most pet dogs.

    And the hairy two are my dogs. The Dobermans are too in the sense that I currently live with them and care for them, but they aren't mine in the sense that all decisions are mine when it comes to them, and they aren't mine financially completely, and they were never meant to be sport dogs... or my dogs in the true sense anyway. It's only normal that I do more stuff with my own two dogs, and that those are the two I take with me to friends' houses and do different activities with. They are mine in every sense of the word. And the fact that I do a lot of training with them and activities like Flyball and Agility is just icing on the cake for Dance and Journ. They don't require that much activity, and I am certain that the Dobermans wouldn't even want that much activity. They are quite content to stay home and play a bit and go for walks and be cuddled.

    So I shouldn't feel guilty. And I don't know why I do. Just because the hairy two get to do more does not mean that the Dobermans aren't loved as equally and don't get to do things too. They just get to do different things. They're different dogs and are happy with that. So it is aggravating me lately that I feel so guilty about them, because truly there is no need, an dit's eating me up for no good reason.

    I wasn't going to say anything, but we almost gave Ripley to a girl we've known for years now, because he would have gotten the opportunity to be someone's special only dog who could go on walks and hikes nearly every day and just get a lot of one on one time like Dance and Journ do and I thought he deserved that (really, what dog doesn't deserve that?). She lost her Doberman unexpectedly last year and was looking for a sweet adult boy, and this particular situation would have been great for both her and Ripley. It wasn't an "I want to rehome this dog" situation (I truly didn't). It was a "this situation has the potential to do great things for both this person and this dog and it would be more selfish not to allow them both this". It turned out to not be the best situation after all, and so he's still here and will not ever be going anywhere else. I love him more than I could ever express, and nobody else would ever be good enough for him. And I know he is happy here. He adores me, loves the rest of our family, has a blast with Journey and likes Dance and Keira too, and nothing is missing from his life other than he has to share attention between three other dogs and I can't take him with me to all the training I do every weekend. But other than that, he lives a wonderful, happy, pet dog life with five people who adore him. He's not missing anything... so I wish I could stop feeling guilty. He doesn't care if he does Agility. He doesn't want to go hang out with strange dogs. He would not enjoy the activities that Dance and Journey do - and that's why I got Journey in the first place, was so that I could have a dog to do these activities with because my current dogs I knew were not suited and wouldn't enjoy it. And part of my unwarranted guilt is because I used to do SO much with him, but he was also a young, obstinate teenager at that time who needed it. Now he's a middle aged adult Doberman who is content to just go with the flow and hang out. I need to stop feeling guilty. I'm totally biased, but he has an awesome home and an awesome life that he thrives in. I know this... and yet. He's had a few behavioural things pop up this year due to life changes and just him maturing, so that added to my guilt despite it not being anyone's fault, but he's still a lovely, happy guy with a great life. We've just had to adjust and make some changes.


    It's making me not want any more than two dogs ever again. I hate feeling pulled apart for no good reason. And I never used to feel this way. I don't know why I do now. I think it's just been too many changes in my life this year and I've accidentally deluded myself into thinking two of our dogs are lacking somehow, when they are very clearly not. Ugh. I'm not really looking for advice. I know I am doing right by my dogs and always will do what's right by them. I've been making an extra effort to do more of their favourite things with them, too. But do other multi dog homes sometimes feel this way also?
     
  2. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Yup, I always felt guilty for Arnold, he couldn't do much. Shamoo gets ride alongs occasionally but mostly I feel guilty about her lack of stimuli. Lately I feel guilty Sloan isn't getting worked as much as she should be.

    I think it's natural and part of it just helps remind you to always try to do more of whatever they love, be it training or cuddling, with each of your dogs while you still have them.
     
  3. Oko

    Oko Silence, peasants.

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    Yep, I feel guilty that I'm not spending as much time with Wes, even though he's not mine. I've been trying to get some one-on-one time with him. I think it helps that he realized the puppy is great for playing biteyface, he is not mopey about her anymore unless she's been chomping on him too much, haha. But for the 1st week, major guilt.
     
  4. Linds

    Linds Twin 2

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    Breath Devan.

    You are an incredible dog owner but an over analyzer and thinker, which leads to you giving amazing care to your dogs but worrying it's not enough.

    Different dogs require different things. Sometimes the things that our dogs would be happiest doing all day long aren't something they can do. I know Kaylee would have loved if everyday I let her free to go hunt down small animals while barking her heart out. Because of that as she aged she got less and less off leash freedom. That also coincided with Traveler maturing and getting more and more off leash freedom.

    I understand it, intimately. That way they perk up when you're getting ready and stare at you when you leave with not them. The comments people say either subtly or not so subtly about new dogs taking their place. The feeling you get in your gut when you leave them home multiple times because you keep doing things they aren't suited for or wouldn't enjoy.

    There isn't anyway to explain to them that they really can't go because this situation wouldn't be enjoyable for them, they wouldn't like it or it would end badly.

    But that's just it, it's you. It's not that they lack love, or care. It's not that they aren't living a great, fulfilled life while wanting for nothing. It's just us, over thinking things, personifying. Your dogs are incredibly happy, I don't need to live with you to know that.

    Sometimes, especially with those quirky dogs that are passed puppy hood living a life of luxury with lots of cuddles, periodic runs tons of love is exactly the life they should be living even if your other dogs have a different life, just as good, but different, that they need to be living.

    And to answer your question: Yes, I feel guilty. I totally get it and it's something I think I'm always going to live with because I'm always going to have multiple dogs and someone is always going to be left at home at some point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  5. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    From time to time, a little. But not too much, honestly. I only do organized classes and activities with Squash, but Maisy is too dog reactive to enjoy those things and Pip doesn't care for unfamiliar things, so there's no point in forcing them to participate in things they don't even like in an attempt to make things fair. Pip has the dog park and camping and Maisy has scootering, so everyone gets to do something even if there isn't a 100% equitable amount of time devoted to everyone.
     
  6. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Linds made the perfect post. :hail:

    But... this is one reason I still only have one dog. :rofl1: I cannot even imagine taking a new dog somewhere, and NOT bringing Jackson, but he's been my only companion and "go everywhere, try anything" dog for 5 years now. I really think it would break my heart lol. I think it would different if I had gotten him and he was perfectly content not doing anywhere, or doing things, or dabbling in sports, etc, but he truly loves all of these things and is good at them, so yeah.

    But we have 3 dogs over at my dads house and I spent quite a bit of time over there. I try as often as possible to involve at least one of them for something, whether I'm going for a walk, or playing ball/frisbee with Jax outside, etc, and sometimes I'm going to go take Jackson for a walk at the park and then Lilly gives me this TAKE ME TAKE ME! look and I can't say no (even though she cannot keep up as long, and it cuts our walk shorter). And she's not even my dog. lol. I also know neither of them care that much for training or anything, so don't feel guilty about doing tricks or agility, etc, without them. They also both don't care for other dogs, so any dog park visits are out. So yeah I feel guilty, but not terribly guilty, and since it sounds like the Dobes are similar (sort of more, "family dogs", no?), I definitely would not feel too bad.
     
  7. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    Thanks, guys. Glad I'm not the only one! Although I think I'm kind of the craziest one so far when it comes to worrying about nothing lol. Not normally, just lately.


    Thanks for your entire post, but I yes, this particular part is sadly very true haha. I am that. Sometimes it's a good thing, lately not so much! And it's always worse when I'm stressed out, which is probably why this has been nagging me so much lately. As much as I over think I am also pretty easygoing... but I feel so overwhelmed with everything lately, including Keira and Ripley's happiness, which is causing me to worry about absolutely nothing. Writing out that post helped considerably though.

    Yes, exactly. I mean, my family's changed drastically this year, but yes, they were always intended as family dogs/my mom's dogs. But because I'm the main dog person in the family, I've kind of taken them over as mine as much as I can while I live here.
     
  8. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    Ayup. I feel insanely guilty for everything Frodo doesn't get to do and that Siri does. Honestly, if I didn't have Frodo, Siri would only be left home when absolutely necessary, but I feel bad always leaving Frodo behind.

    Siri gets to go hiking/adventuring/to the park to run at least 4 days a week, and she has started going to work with me on Monday and Wednesday. She also gets to go to agility and comes along when we eat anywhere with a patio.

    Frodo gets a Sunday morning walk (with Siri, Megan, and Gabby) and maybe one other walk a week. Last year he went everywhere in the car and loved it, and I felt so much better because it was a lot of mental stimulation for him. The past couple months he has started getting very anxious in the car again, which REALLY sucks :/

    I try to make it up to him by giving him a special yummy (pig ear, trachea piece, etc.) every time I leave him behind, but it hurts my heart when he follows me to the door and acts like he wants to go. Because I know he won't be happy going along, but he thinks that he wants to go :(

    I've also made a more conscious effort to put Siri in her kennel and snuggle with Frodo on the couch when I do things like watch tv. But I think I will always feel guilty for leaving him home when I take Siri places.
     
  9. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    Yes and no.

    Buzz's mobility prevents him from doing a lot of things these days. He can't comfortably stay in the car for extended periods of time, not that he enjoys that anyways. He can't go hiking or out with other dogs that might run him over or jostle him.

    But he can go to Tim's backyard, he can go to the pet supply stores, and he goes to work with me at TCAR&SM least once a week. He ADORES going to work because he gets fed a ton of treats, everyone pets him, and he gets to hang out up front. I don't bring Gabby to work because THAT would make me feel guilty. That is typically the highlight of Buzz's week.

    Before I got Gabby, I really missed having a dog to do things with. It's not like Gabby took Buzz's place doing things. She filled a void I've had and missed terribly.

    I do feel guilty that I don't see Bailey as much as I used to. And my feelings on that are similar to yours with the Dobermans. She is loved, healthy (mentally and physically), and lives a great life. I just miss her like crazy when I happen upon her picture.

    I will sometimes even leave Gabby home to hang out with Buzz because they enjoy each other's company, even if she could go along. It makes me feel better than taking her all the time, to all the place, on all the adventures.
     
  10. ruffiangirl

    ruffiangirl New Member

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    Yep I do sometimes. Gage doesn't get to do as much as diesel, part of it is age, part of it is his size. He can't go to as many places with us, heck we can't even fly him anywhere because of his size, the others are carry on size. Many hotels won't allow him, he isn't comfortable for long trips in the cab of a pick up, none of our dogs ride in the box ever. So unless it's warm enough to take the holiday trailer he has to stay home unfortunately. That said we don't do a whole lot if he can't come, he has been boarded once in the 6 year we have had him, other the. That he stays with friends or family. Having said that I will not get another dog his size again, I love him, but the limitations we have because of him are not fair to us or him.
     
  11. Red Chrome

    Red Chrome New Member

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    Linds post was amazing.

    I have to admit. I let hearsay get to me or rude emails from crappy people. It makes me second guess my decisions.

    I've always had 3 dogs for the most part. I've never felt they got slighted or suffered cause I added a new dog. 3 is my number. I don't mind 3 and can handle 3 well. I love it. But...I've had a lot of people make me second.guess myself. Don't do that. As long as you know your dogs are happy and well cared for...that's what matters. That's all that matters. I hate feeling guilty but with multiple dogs you're bound to at some point IMHO. Just know.. You're a good.owner.
     
  12. kaykay21

    kaykay21 herder brain & drool face

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    sometimes... i mean jayson barks the whole ride and nothing calms him. he seems like hes trying to chase cars that pass us. plus his temperment isnt the best for a bring everywhere dog. he doesnt like people. like he likes them but from afar as long as they dont look at him or talk to him. laika loves everyone and shes such a great car rider she just chills. she enjoys the dog park stuff. i did bring jayson with me and laika once and he did ok some ppl pet him as he walked past and he didnt flinch just kept walking... hes also not fond of other male dogs but did well at the park.. when im feeling brave to deal with the head ache i do take him to the lake by himself for swimming. but the barking it just doesnt make it very enjoyable. and with laika im thinking of either trying flyball with her or nose work something to help tire her out mentally because mental games and training sessions just doesnt cut it for her she needs more. but jayson seems more comfortable and happy not coming with me and laika everywhere. he gets the run of the house to do what ever because hes the good one lol
     
  13. FG167

    FG167 New Member

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    Yes and no.

    Yes, because *I* enjoy doing all these things with my dogs and taking them everywhere and training for all the sports. Therefore, I feel like I should make an equal effort with each of them...

    No, because frankly, *they* don't enjoy it to the extent that I do. Limit does NOT enjoy training classes. We still take them on occasion because I feel guilty he isn't in one. He is just as happy to train in the basement and not be exposed to other dogs/weird environments (which is obviously part of the reason we DO training classes haha). Eden is happier with less formal training and more on the fly, random, surprise training. Kastle and Robin THRIVE on traveling/training/practicing everywhere/anywhere all the time. Even though I feel guilty...it's more fair and truly more happy for the dogs to be split into who does more and who does less.

    Linds' post is excellent.
     
  14. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    It's the reason I will probably only have two dogs at a time. Yes, I feel guilty. Meg was my "go everywhere, do everything" dog forever. She still does pretty much every non-formal training thing with me, but she gets left behind for training classes and sometimes practices. It breaks my heart every time I walk over to put my shoes on, and Gusto is eagerly at the door, and Meg walks over to her bed, lies down, and stares at me with what I see as an "I know I'm not going so I won't even ask" look.

    But I try (try) to accept that it is MY issue. Yes, Meg likes to go places, but she's also really happy just hanging out at home, as long as I get her what she needs. Probably 3 seconds after I'm out the door, she's asleep and I don't think she's dreaming of getting to go with me.
     
  15. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    No net yet. My two both pretty much do everything. They both hike, we've done mostly the same classes (with one special one here or there), and they both go to trials. They both are dogs that love training and hiking and going places. I know that will change once I retire Summer and get a new puppy. I'm not looking forward to that but she is getting old and it will happen one day. I still want to take her to trials even when she's retired. My friend brings her senior dogs with her all the time and that's what I want to do as well. Her favorite things about trials are getting to go sit in everyones' laps so she can continue doing that as long as she wants.

    I do want to make a continued effort with all my future dogs to try to include them all as much as possible. If I think getting a new dog will diminish what my old dogs get to do, then new dog is not happening. I never want 5-6 dogs again, that is too much. I will probably only have 2 and occasionally 3 (in certain situations) in my lifetime.

    Sometimes I feel guilty for not taking Beau and Rose. I know without a doubt that I'd give them a better life than they get with my dad. They love them but they never get walked or anything. Especially Beau, I could give him much better. He's high energy and really should have more. But I just.... they're not my dogs and have never been. The idea of taking in two more senior papillons and tying myself down dog-wise the next 6 years or so is just not something I'm willing to do. If I want to keep doing sports training then a new puppy has to happen in the next couple years. So I feel guilty sometimes. I feel like I should ask to take them but I'm not going to.
     
  16. k9krazee

    k9krazee Active Member

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    Devan, you're a great home for the Dobes. I don't think there's any reason to feel guilty :)

    I still feel incredibly guilty about Jack. I got him my senior year of high school. He lives with my parents, always has and lives a happy life. But he ADORES me--there's never any question whose dog he is. I used to visit most weekends while I was in college and I always envisioned taking Jack when I found a job & house. But life happened and I moved him into the funeral home where I worked and he panicked and was super unhappy...then I moved into a little house that he would have hated. Then I got Crossbone. Then Jack and Crossbone met and they LOVE each other! Jack has never played with another dog in his life (and he's almost 9). I planned on taking Jack home but then my parents lost Micki & Kyra leaving Jack and Mini. Mini's old and has never been an only dog so right now I'm saying that when Mini's gone Jack will live with us.

    I feel guilty every time I think about it or talk about Crossbone. People who don't know the entire situation tell me that I replaced him, he got too old so I had to get a new one, etc. I just haven't been in a place that Jack would be happy in. And I'm not sure he'd be happy home alone all day with Bonehead harassing him. We'll cross that bridge when it comes.

    I'm sure he doesn't care. He eats well and lives well and doesn't have annoying Crossbone or me forcing him to do agility or learn tricks!
     
  17. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

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    I think it's normal for any dog owner with more than one dog to feel guilty at times.

    However, I think having that one thing the dog LOVES is a great way to fight that. I got Rider because Harlow just couldn't do the things I wanted. She's a "truck dog". She loves to go to stores and be loved on and lay around or go hiking.. but obviously she cannot herd and she isn't drivey. She will work when she feels like it, but it's not for me. Not only that, she's definitely DH's dog even though she was meant to be mine. Biking and cuddling on the couch is our thing. When we go to inlaws, she's the one that tags along type thing.

    Rider.. he's a special one. He loves to train and be crazy and go on short hikes. He likes going to the dog park and meeting new dogs and being social. Harlow doesn't enjoy these things. He's plain and simple not confident to work cattle though, which is something I REALLY want to get involved in. That's where new puppy comes in. Our family does really well with three dogs. When we had four for a period of time, I did feel that dogs got left out more. In saying that though, if our fourth dog worked birds, that niche would be filled. I have a feeling we will stick with three until Harlow passes though.

    I really think that one or two dogs is perfect for a single person. I think that if you have two people willing to put in the time/effort, three or four is doable. Rambled thoughts out there. :eek:
     
  18. krissy

    krissy New Member

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    The only time a feel bad is when I leave Summit home to do things that I know he would otherwise enjoy but for specific reasons he can't do at the moment.

    For example, yesterday I decided to go for a hike with my neighbour and his new little dog. I was going to leave Summit home then had a guilty moment and decided to risk it and take him. Of course half way through the hike the gunshots started and I had to put him back on his leash and force him to finish the hike instead of running back to the truck. Should have left him home and just felt guilty if there ended up being no gun shots. Fall is the worst. Goose season or something I guess.
     
  19. ThoseWordsAtBest

    ThoseWordsAtBest Wu-Tang Steph

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    Sometimes, yes, especially because we have to gate and rotate. I feel guilty up until I realize nobody wants for any thing and we do so much for them. Each of them gets to do the things they enjoy and I don't feel bad leaving them out of things they don't obviously love.
     
  20. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    Thanks for sharing all of your experiences, guys! I appreciate it.

    I guess part of this stemmed from the guy we moved in with saying "why don't you take Keira and Ripley more places?", and my answer to that was honest and there is a good reason that I don't. But then the seed was planted and I started questioning myself. And then their breeder, of all people, is the one who brought up and asked if we'd be willing to give Ripley to this other person because basically we have four dogs and that girl has none and life has changed drastically for my family and I this year and maybe I'd be doing that girl a favour as well as in some regard Ripley (cause he'd get all the individual attention a dober boy could dream of)... she didn't word it quite like that, but that's basically what was implied. She knows they're happy here and doesn't think we should rehome them, but she just thought of this certain situation and thought we might be open. She just thought that I could be the type of person, like she is, to selflessly give a dog to someone who 'needed' him more. And I could if I got the dog knowing that he was a foster and not mine to keep forever, or if I truly felt it was going to be the best situation for all involved. Hard to explain in internet words, but there were no hard feelings about it and no concern. So between those couple of comments, and life's changes, I've just been more stressed than usual and have inadvertently let the Dobermans stress me out too. Especially knowing I will be leaving them sooner than later - it was never the plan to take them with me. But my mom will take care of them as best she can, even if different from what I do with them, and they'll still be taken care of very well. So yeah, there is no need to feel guilty.

    Oddly, I never feel guilty about Dance and Journey. I take them often to places together, and even when I don't, I know Dance isn't missing out because she's happiest and most comfortable at home or doing the certain things I do with her. So if I take Journ without her, I don't feel bad at all. It's just the other two for whatever reason.
     

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