Dog ownership help wanted


My wife got a dog for our two kids (ages 9, 14) on Christmas Day. She did ask me first and I opposed getting a dog. We don’t have a fenced yard (we rent) and said then it would be wrong to keep a dog in its kennel or on a leash for as long as it lives.

Well, here it is just after Valentine’s Day. I’ve been relegated to silence. My wife feeds and lets the puppy out briefly. On weekends, she tethers the dog to a tree and confines it to the kennel at night.

I say it’s not right to do this–dogs need to run free in a fenced yard. I do not care for dogs indoors. My in-laws have one and their home smells terrible.

What do you think?



Your problem isn’t the dog, it’s the fact that your wife felt it was acceptable to ignore your feelings on the matter and go ahead and do something you were oppose to. Please consider a Marriage Encounter weekend for you and your wife.


Your wife “relegates you to silence” and refuses to listen to your counsel. You have bigger problems than a dog. That level of disrespect needs to be addressed.

But, as for the dog-- perhaps you can set up a dog run-- drive some spikes into the ground the length of your yard, house, driveway, or whatever and then attach heavy wire to them. You can hook the dog’s chain to the wire and it can run the length of the wire and whatever length of chain you give it. That will afford it more freedom and exercise while still keeping it from running loose. Investigate dog parks in your area where you can take your animal and let it run free for periods of time on the weekends or afternoons when the weather is nice.


My husband keeps cats. I don’t like animals indoors, either - they make a mess, and it’s difficult to clean up after them, and you’re right about the stench.

I try to keep the cats outdoors as much as possible. We do have a fenced yard, and normally it is safe for them in the yard. But when it’s too cold for them to go out, it can get pretty rank in here. :frowning:


Ditto all the above. (Except the bit about cats. Cat house here, big time. :wink: )

A dog is a 12-15 year commitment that takes work and costs money and a dog can’t change its needs just because its owners can’t/won’t provide them - it’s up to the owners, within reason, to adapt their lifestyle to the dog. It is not acceptable to tie a dog to a tree all day. If you want backup on that one from outside the family that can’t be dismissed as someone’s mere “opinion”, do some research on websites such as the RSPCA in the UK - I think they have clear guidelines for what portion of the day animals may be confined or tethered and I’m not even sure it’s acceptable to tether some animals at all. Maybe find out whatever your local animal cruelty laws say - you may find something helpful there, even if its just strongly worded advice from the local outfit that will be banging on your door in two years’ time when the neighbours can’t stand your whiny, barking, frustrated-out-of-its-mind problem dog any more.

I’ll admit that animal welfare is a red button issue round here, and my spouse would never do something like that, but if I said, “that is animal cruelty” and he did it anyway, I would take the innocent animal to the local animal society myself, and then deal with the spouse.

The kids will be attached to the dog by now … I’d second the dog run suggestion and strongly encourage diligent obedience training with the whole family involved - don’t wait until after the problems start, get in while it’s young and before bad habits develop. Training and the associated practice will also help relieve the dog’s boredom and help it not run out of control when it does get let off the leash at the park…


There is no reason why a dog should smell bad, if it is in good health, or why a home with a dog should smell bad either if the dog has good car i.e. brushing, occational bath. Dogs were domesticated to be companions to man, and if he is tied up outside or kept in a dog crate most of the day, the question begged is, why have a dog in the first place.


I agree there is a big difference between a cared-for dog and a dirty one. Just as cat odours can be controlled by keeping their trays super-clean.

But …

The only dog I ever met that had no smell whatsoever was a guide dog who was bathed everyday to meet health regs, as she was allowed places dogs normally aren’t. We all know what an unkempt dog smells like. I have a friend who shows golden retrievers, and his dogs are bathed more often than even a really diligent family would bath the family pet. I still avoid going into his house. It is not a “dirty” dog smell, it’s the normal smell of a clean dog but it still is a smell that some people, like me, can’t really handle, and like cigarette smells, is near-impossible to get out of carpets and soft furnishings. It is also a smell that dog people can’t detect themselves, my friend admits.


Your question was, “What do you think?” and so lots of people have shared their thoughts.

I’m wondering why you are asking. Are you looking for ammunition to use in order to get rid of the dog? Are you wondering if it’s OK to keep the dog given the situation? Do you just want sympathy? Do you want marriage counseling? Are you looking for information on dog care?

Some of us are animal lovers and can’t imagine life without them, even if there are some drawbacks. But animals do have needs too. Dogs are pack animals and really should not be left alone for long periods of time. Even with a yard or dog run, many dogs will not get sufficient exercise unless they have another.companion. Dogs left alone, particularly dogs left alone with insufficient excercise, will generally find ways to be nuisances.

You seem like you’d be perfectly happy to live your life without a dog. It seems that your wife and probably your children, have a different viewpoint. What is not clear is whether or not your wife and children are willing to spend enough time with the dog to make up for the fact that the dog will be alone in the yard for long periods of time. If they can and will do so then a proper harness fastened to a long wire by a short but sturdy leash or chain should be an adaquete substitute for a fenced yard or dog run. If they are not willing to spend time with the dog then even a large fenced yard will not be enough.

As far as your issue with your wife doing something without your approval… only you know if this is a lone incident or part of a bigger pattern. Either way, you are going to have to look beyond the dog itself. If your wife routinely disrespects you then you need to take care of that problem. Likewise if you routinely ignore the things your wife cares about.

In any case, if you are unwilling to get rid of the dog yourself, then I think you need to be gracious and happy for your wife and children.


Maybe. But each time we moved, I asked our realtor if I needed to put our dogs somewhere else and each one said no. Your house does not smell like dogs.


I notice that I have been pretty impressed with dogs that get to live inside with the family. They are cleaner, calmer, and more a part of the family. Plus, I think families that have dogs that stay inside usually enjoy the opportunity to get out of the house and take their dog for a good walk. If it was me, I would have the dog come inside full time. I think you might enjoy it more then.


By outdoor dog, are you meaning that you’d prefer the dog live outside instead of the house? Personally, I think this is a lonely kind of existence for a dog. They’re made for companionship.

As for the dog being confined, you’ve only had it since Christmas. Is it possible that your wife is trying to crate train the dog? This can take a long time with some breeds (or if the family is inconsistent in the training).

If this is a potty training issue, then IMO, there is nothing wrong with crating a dog at night, especially a puppy. Also, if you’re crate training a puppy (to teach it to potty outside), it should be in the crate often, usually let out every hour or two to relieve itself.

Once this is accomplished though, I don’t understand why someone would want to have a dog if it’s going to be kept in a cage most of the time. Maybe your wife’s goal is to get the dog housebroken first, then she will allow it free reign of the house. Or are you the one bulking at letting the dog have free reign inside?

If the dog is destined to a lonely life behind bars, maybe it’s time to find a new owner for the dog. BTW, I’ve known dozens of people with indoor dogs and I can only think of one house that had that doggie smell.


What is the breed?

Some dogs actually live longer and healthier lives inside the home.

Some dogs don’t need that much freedom or exercise.

Get the book, “His Needs, Her Needs” and “Love Busters” and give 'em to your wife for a late Valentine’s day gift.


The dog has some black lab and some hound.

To all who replied, I thank you for your input. My wife and I spoke this very afternoon and I tactfully proposed we ask 3 experts of her choice for their opinion. I agreed to abide by their consensus.



Since owning a dog is a fait accompli for you, unwanted or not, it’s time for the whole family to understand the needs of your dog and how best to incorporate him into your family life. This site will help:


I am a huge dog lover…I would ask the landlord to build a fence…or ask for permission to build a fence…if neither one of those work, I would go the route of electric fence which is dirt cheap and effective, or go with the wireless electric fence where the dog wears a collar and it shocks them if they stray away from the area…I can’t stand to see animals caged up. Those are your best options.

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