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Old 09-23-2017, 05:26 PM
 
1,706 posts, read 1,203,003 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
Cat ownership is rising in popularity, whereas dog ownership is declining, and it's not hard to see why. People today seem to want a dog to live a cat's life.

Does modern man actually have the space, time, "need," or even inclination to share their lives with dogs anymore? If not, it's tragic and disturbing, and what does this mean for the future of dogs in America?
I think there are a lot of crappy dog owners who neglect their dogs, fail to train them, don't provide sufficient exercise, don't act on behalf of their dogs well-being, and treat them more like an inconvenience than a sentient companion. And yes, people project a lot of their own garbage onto dogs that results in twisted canine-human relationships.

So yes, there are unfortunately a lot of dogs who don't have great quality of life.

However, there are also a lot of really great responsible dog owners who do everything they can to provide their dogs with all the components a dog needs to thrive and live a happy engaged life.

I grew up on 300 + acres in rural mid-state NY. We spayed/neutered and vaccinated our dogs. Back in the 1950's my parents were probably progressive in that way. We had numerous dogs, all of whom we "car-trained" not to chase cars. If they didn't get car smart fast they didn't live long. It wasn't a great life for many dogs: many didn't live long due to being hit by cars, dogs weren't considered family members, rarely saw the vet, had zero to zilch training and what they did get was old-school force based. A dog that was caught running wildlife would be shot on the spot; euthanasia was too often by shotgun; dogs that were seriously injured weren't taken to the vet. So, no- not a great life for a dog.

I now live in a city neighborhood with a fenced backyard. My dogs get relatively few sidewalk leash walks. They DO get to go run off-leash in a friend's 4 acre field 3-5 times a week for an hour or so playing, running, chasing rabbits, getting to track smells, and generally running around like lunatics. This off-leash time wears them out far more than daily leash walks ever would because they get to be dogs and do dog stuff without any human interference. They are always under voice control, but I rarely exercise that prerogative because this is THEIR time to be dogs.

While I see a lot of inexperienced owners who either have entirely unrealistic expectations for their dog, or who are entirely in over their head with a dog they should never have gotten, or who are making their dog neurotic, fearful/ frightened/ aggressive (take your choice), I also see many more dog owners who consider their dogs to be part of the family, provide them with good lives, and often go to great lengths to provide the training needed to help their dog adjust and thrive (I do a lot of work with fearful and/or reactive dogs).

Quality of life for a dog includes many factors, all of which ideally balance out to result in an engaged thriving dog. Running free simply isn't safe in this time and place, but there are numerous other ways to compensate with hunting, herding, sports (flyball, rally, agility), obedience work, tracking, etc. We also have more focus on recognizing our dogs as sentient beings with whom we can have complex fulfilling relationships; that alone is a huge part of a dog's quality of life (and our quality of life).

So- I think your analysis and conclusions of contemporary canine life are unfortunately drawn on a pretty narrow sample. I live in the upper midwest which is not a particularly progressive area, but the vast majority of people I know provide their dogs with a good life. The usual nitwits and irresponsible owners will always be out there, but I have hope that the attitude toward companion animals is changing.

Dogs have co-evolved beside humans for many millennia. We have a complex synergistic relationship with dogs that at least partially defines us as human. I don't see this changing any time soon.
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,449,677 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APBT_Samara View Post
No just no. I fail to even see the correlation. There are few people who have bought dogs from breeders on here. Most have rescue / shelter dogs or in some other way took in a dog that needed a home.
Only one dog of mine ever came from a breeder. She was a beautiful sheltie. She was purchased and went home, then they moved and she was returned to the breeder. She was available to a good home since she was too old for the breeders purposes. She was the only purebred sheltie, and the three others were mixes. Someday, I want another sheltie, but I'd get one who was mixed and spend the money of the dog's welfare.

I've had a variety of dogs. In addition the shelties, a few cockers, mixed terriers and several beagles. But never a bigger dog or a shepard. All of them were loved and raised inside and had a yard. They've gone to the vet. One of the cockers had cancer, but we gave her pain meds. She wouldn't have survived surgery. When it was too much we had her put down. Several got so old they were in a lot of pain and life wasn't good anymore, so we had them put to sleep as well. But not for us, for them because life wasn't good for them anymore.

Right now, I have some cats and two dogs. I got Gumby as a puppy from a neighbor. He turned into a rather tall shepard mix. I was afraid of big dogs before him. Now I'm not. He's named after the little terrier who looked just like him, except being barely medium style who lived sixteen years I had before. Pokey is 'pokey' because in the cartoon they were buddies.

Pokey was found in an apartment where the owner had moved a few days before, no food or water. The girl who found him was in front of Walmart, trying to get someone to take her. A lot of people around here love animals, but some don't. I had them deliver her after I got done shopping. She is just medium size, but looks like a shrunken version of him with black and tan fur. But she does look like a smaller than normal shepard. They are absolute buddies and we have a big family.

If they hadn't been intended to come to me, I'd have never LOOKED for a shepard. They see their home as their territory and the cats are just pack members. They rush over and stop cat fights immediately. They stretch out and get cat baths. I find them to be extraordinaray dogs, who are intelligent along with loyal, and its really wonderful they and I ended up in the same time and place so we'd meet.

My big boy sleeps in the living room. I tend to sleep late. If there are noises they are barked at. My girl defends the bedroom and her mom AND her kitties, who follow her around and will clean her.

My crew has lots of love, food and sleep, and they are not concerned about some standard. We found each other. Everyone's happy. You can't do better than that.
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Texas
43,387 posts, read 52,327,222 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
It's not that modern owners are "irresponsible," per se. It's that they're BUSY, and dogs aren't potted plants. They need attention, diversion, company (if not human, then canine), stimulation, occupation; many breeds need a job to be happy.


Sorry, but every family dog I personally know is - in my opinion - neglected. They sit home alone indoors all day while the family works and attends school... !
My wife is home.
I work 12-16 days a month.
Usually I'm home.
My 3 year old is home.
My 5 year old is home in the morning and after school.
If we leave for an activity, it's 1 hour or less.

Our dogs are by our side all day and one sleeps in the master at night (the other stays near the staircase that leads to upstairs, where the kids are - her choice).

My neighbors are always outside walking their dogs or going to the park.
My tennis teammates talk about their agility programs, canine good citizen, etc.
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:26 PM
 
1,021 posts, read 727,607 times
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OP, you probably recognize my name as I commonly post on the cat forums. As you may be aware, I have both cats and dogs. Plus a bunny, etc.

I cannot recall but were you one of the few cat owners in the cat forums that allows his cats to be an outdoor cats, because it was the "natural" thing for it do? I cannot remember if you were one of those owners advocating such position, forgive me if I had you confused. As you would imagined, many cat owners including myself heavily disagreed and those threads were hotbeds of debate. This thread reminds me of that...

I get what you are saying. My older dog was found a stray, lost or abandoned, who knows but animal control had her and she was skin and bones. My younger dog lived most of her life in the streets of Puerto Rico, where dogs are not always treated with kindness or compassion.

I had left both front and back doors opened and my dogs will not leave. If I step outside, they will not follow until I call for them. My cats also do not go outside. They would stare in curiosity but makes no attempt to get out. My younger dog, the one from the streets, is a couch potato.

At dog parks, she would ignore the other dogs, sniff the grass and 15 minutes later, she wants to go home. She, who lived a life outside, do not care for it. My older one as well. Unfortunately, my older dog (7 years) had hurt her good knee. She had a partial ligament tear which took many injections and 3 months to heal. Under the vet strict orders, she is never allowed to run again in fear of completing tearing the entire ligament and putting her through an invasive surgery. She is NOT obese. She is not neglected and gets her walks every day where she is the one who gets tired first. Ligament and joint issues are NOT always caused by the owner's actions or lack thereof. My dog is a 75 lb Lab/pit mix, and dogs her size and breed are more than like to be born with weak knees. How is that MY fault??? How would I have known that??? I did let her run because she loved to chase balls which caused her ligament to tear. If there has to be blame, it would be for the reckless breeding of her parents and ancestors that created weak joints for large dogs like her.

I grew up in a poor country where dogs run loose. Many do not come back because they get lost or killed. My neighbor had a female dog with puppies.
She and the other puppies were hit by a car, leaving one surviving puppy orphaned. That puppy snuck into our yard desperate for food. Is that what you consider a good life? We had a distemper outbreak as well which killed thousands of dogs, including my own. Our only veterinarian in town ran away. Tell me, if the dogs were doing what makes them happy, did they also anticipate the spread of this terrible disease?

All of my domestic pets, including my bunny, was either born or lived the outside world. My bunny, who was dumped at a park because of similar ideas like yours where pet bunnies should return to its "natural" environment. She loves her large cage and barely wants to walk around the house much less the outside. I do not know what happiness you are referring to because in reality, the world is generally a cruel place.
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Old 09-25-2017, 05:39 AM
 
13,369 posts, read 6,576,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
This trend has been bothering me for quite some time now, although I'm not currently a dog owner.

Back when I last was, there wasn't even a leash law. Most of the mothers stayed and worked at home, and all the neighborhood dogs were let out in the morning (most weren't made to live outside; they were members of the family and slept indoors, usually in or near the bed of a kid) and spent the day roaming around, sniffing and playing with the other neighborhood dogs, sleeping in the sun, chasing the neighborhood cats (who were also roaming around loose all day doing cat things) and squirrels and cars, and waiting for the kids to come home from school, at which time the kids and the dogs would all play outdoors together until dinnertime which -- for the dogs -- was often either a nice big smelly can of dog food and/or table scraps from the family meal.

The really lucky dogs lived on a farm and had an actual job to perform. But all the dogs lived "a dog's life."

As I say, I haven't owned a dog for a while (I have cats), but I've observed some disturbing trends. No one stays home anymore; everyone leaves for work in the morning and is usually gone all evening, too. Parents have jobs far away to which they commute, and kids have activities away from the house every night. They eat meals either out in restaurants, in the car en route to something, or separately - each watching his own TV or glued to his own cell phone. Kids don't play outside anymore because it's too "dangerous." Dogs cant run loose anymore due to leash laws and in most places can't even be tethered outside, so they must spend the days and often nights indoors -- alone, if they're an "only" dog. Because the people work so hard and long, they have big fancy McMansions which they don't want dirtied up by pets, so dogs are relegated to one room or even a crate (wire cage) all day and -- again -- all night since people aren't home much anymore. Some unfortunate creatures are forced to live their entire lives in virtual solitary confinement outdoors in the elements (such as pits and dobermans kept for protection).

People don't seem to have extended family or close friends to care for their pets when they're away, so the pet-sitting business is booming. Yet another prohibitive expense that's bound to discourage owners.

People now exercise in gyms, so many dogs never get taken to a dog park to run free and socialize with other dogs or even on a daily walk. When boredom, isolation and a completely unnatural lifestyle makes them act crazy, they're called "bad dogs" and treated even more punitively without understanding why. They develop health diets and are put on unnatural, prohibitively expensive prescription diets (usually dry kibble full of grains). Because they don't exercise, they develop joint and knee problems which require expensive surgical repair. If they ARE lucky enough to be taken on regular walks, owners are now obliged to pick up their poop (funny that dog poop never killed anyone for hundreds of years, but now we can't abide it and it's an actual crime to leave it where it lands as we have since time immemorial). If the owner is ill, frail, or elderly, bending over to pick it up is not only unpleasant enough to discourage adoptions, but can actually present a fall risk to those with balance problems who probably most appreciate the companionship and love of a pet dog.

Then there's the unhappy trend of adopting a dog as "the first child," then dumping the dog in a shelter -- or even along some isolated road -- when the baby arrives because of course you can't keep both.

I've also seen runners dragging hapless dogs along the trail so they (the runner) can keep his heart rate elevated. The dog wants to stop and pee, poo, and smell the "roses" along the way -- not run a marathon. At the very least, the dog owner is walking along staring at his cell phone and completely ignoring the dog.

Granted, there are dogs that are spoiled rotten by owners with whom they are inseparable and who spoil them rotten (as they should), but too often families seem to adopt -- or, worse, buy -- a dog just as some sort of home accessory or status symbol without consideration for dogs' nature, needs, wants, or feelings.

Cat ownership is rising in popularity, whereas dog ownership is declining, and it's not hard to see why. People today seem to want a dog to live a cat's life.

Does modern man actually have the space, time, "need," or even inclination to share their lives with dogs anymore? If not, it's tragic and disturbing, and what does this mean for the future of dogs in America?
I couldn't have a dog for the years that I worked 60 hours per week. Not fair to the dog, so I agree on that point. I had a cat only, who did not appear to be distressed by my long hours. I don't agree it's good for dogs to be roaming and such.
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Old 09-25-2017, 07:57 AM
 
7,761 posts, read 4,324,107 times
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I don't agree that it's good for dogs to be roaming and such TODAY, either. Guess I didn't make that clear!

Okay, so everyone here is a wonderful, devoted, attentive dog parent; I just happen to know a disproportionate number of negligent ones.

Could there be some correlation between people who have the time to give their pets the time and attention they need and deserve and people who have the time to post on City Data?

Just a thought...
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Old 09-25-2017, 10:21 AM
 
1,563 posts, read 1,607,508 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
I don't agree that it's good for dogs to be roaming and such TODAY, either. Guess I didn't make that clear!

Okay, so everyone here is a wonderful, devoted, attentive dog parent; I just happen to know a disproportionate number of negligent ones.

Could there be some correlation between people who have the time to give their pets the time and attention they need and deserve and people who have the time to post on City Data?

Just a thought...
No, I think you just assume everyone you know is a negligent dog owner. Everyone I know works and has activities but also has time for their dogs. Most people I know wake up earlier than they normally would to walk/play/hang out with their dogs and also make sure to walk and play with their dogs when they get home. Some people also have dog walkers or take their dogs to doggie daycare. On the weekends, parks are full of people walking their dogs. Every dog park within a 20 mile radius of my house is full of dogs having fun on evening and weekends. The closest dog park to us was undergoing some renovations and is re-opening this week. Trust me, everyone is super excited for the dogs to have a place to play.
You don't know how early your "friends" wake up or how late they stay up. You know don't if on the weekends they take their dogs for long hikes before they do their weekend activities. You just assume know everything about how they treat their dogs. Maybe they are not home with the dogs 24/7 but I can tell you from my experience with my dogs, they want to sleep most of the day. They don't want me home with them 24/7.
Quit looking at the past with rose colored glasses, I guarantee you the dogs roaming around back then were not happier than the dogs snuggling with their families at home today.
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Santa Barbara CA
4,698 posts, read 10,108,324 times
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Originally Posted by sawyersmom View Post
No, I think you just assume everyone you know is a negligent dog owner. Everyone I know works and has activities but also has time for their dogs. Most people I know wake up earlier than they normally would to walk/play/hang out with their dogs and also make sure to walk and play with their dogs when they get home. Some people also have dog walkers or take their dogs to doggie daycare. On the weekends, parks are full of people walking their dogs. Every dog park within a 20 mile radius of my house is full of dogs having fun on evening and weekends. The closest dog park to us was undergoing some renovations and is re-opening this week. Trust me, everyone is super excited for the dogs to have a place to play.
You don't know how early your "friends" wake up or how late they stay up. You know don't if on the weekends they take their dogs for long hikes before they do their weekend activities. You just assume know everything about how they treat their dogs. Maybe they are not home with the dogs 24/7 but I can tell you from my experience with my dogs, they want to sleep most of the day. They don't want me home with them 24/7.
Quit looking at the past with rose colored glasses, I guarantee you the dogs roaming around back then were not happier than the dogs snuggling with their families at home today.
Before my sister was retired she would get up extra early and she and her dog would be out at 5AM going on an hour long walk and when she got home from work she and the dog had dinner then went on another hour long walk. She lives in Portland Or and it did not matter if it was pouring rain they went walking and most of the time it was dark too. If I or someone else went to visit it was no different unless we went to a movie that evening then the dogs walk was late but he got his full hour. He was a big Collie Mix and lived to be 16.I never got the feeling he was an unhappy dog. As Sawersmom said you are assuming too much as had you lived by my sister you would have assumed her poor dog never got walked as it was unlikely you would have seen them at those hours.
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:13 PM
 
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Yes, dogs seem to be accepted more in modern society. While in France this spring, I saw dogs in high end department stores, yet very well behaved. Here in the U.S. there are more dog friendly restaurants (patios) and retail stores (Life Is Good) who allow dogs. I have a toy yorkiepoo and while I do not carry her in a purse, she goes most places I do. She is allowed in Lowes, appliance stores, on patios, car repair shops, convenient stores, etc. Maybe because she is so small and I can hold her, or being a new dog mom I found so many places allow dogs that I never knew before. But I do have common sense, wouldn't dare take her in a grocery store, hospital, etc.
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