How do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...
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Thread: How do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...

  1. #1
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    DefaultHow do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...

    We're currently dogsitting for a friend of mine who's out of town. We've watched this dog before and she was really sweet and got along with Storm really well. This was about 8 months ago when my friend had just divorced her husband and moved (with her dog from Seattle to the San Francisco Bay Area). Now however, the dog is completely batzo. She barks all the time, she picks on Storm constantly by either try to hump her, push her out of the way or barking/growling at her. We feel like we've spent the last 4 days constantly reprimanding this poor dog.

    The problem, however, is that I don't blame the dog (her name is Maggie). I blame my friend. Since her divorce she's moved the dog from a happy stable home with a big backyard to a small apt. In addition, she travels constantly. She travels once a month for a week for work and has gone on two vacations, she's currently on a two week trip to Argentina. So the dog has been schlepped (sp?) from one friend's house to another. The dog has had almost no stability for the last 8 months. I think her acting out is just due to a desperate need for attention (she also barks and wines at us until we pet her, will jump on our laps or push at our hands until she gets attention and will shove Storm out of the way if we're giving her any attention at all).

    I feel, frankly pissed at my friend and want to tell her that she demanded to get the dog in the divorce because she "loves it and its hers", but I think if she had the best interests of the dog in mind she'd give her back to her husband, who doesn't travel, kept the house and has a much more stable life for the dog. On the one hand I feel its not my place to tell her how to live her life, but on the other hand I feel compelled for sake of the dog to say something.

    Am I just overreacting, based on my own beliefs of how we treat our dog? I realize that we probably go overboard with Storm, but she's frankly as much of a priority to us as a human child is to those with children.

    Any input you all have would be great.

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  3. #2
    Rushpuppy's Avatar
    Rushpuppy is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: How do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...

    I have noticed more than a few resemblance's between dogs and kids. Both suffer in a divorce. Let's face it, they lose their stability, their dad and their feeling of being safe. I'd sit down with your friend and explain the differences you have noticed with her dog. Ask her what she has been doing to reassure this dog of her love. You are probably right, she's acting out for attention, this issue needs to be addressed or no one will want to dog-sit for this dog. Poor thing, I feel so sorry for it. The best thing for it would be a home where mom and/or dad is playing, teaching, cuddling with it on a consistent basis. I hope you can address this with your friend. Evidentially she thinks enough of your friendship that she trusts you to take good care of her dog. : Good luck, let me know what you do.


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    DefaultRe: How do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...

    Sorry I don't know that there is an easy answer. If she is a close friend maybe ask if she's noticed a difference in the dog. Maybe she'll admit she needs more attention and it can be a starting point for conversation.

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    jzgrlduff is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: How do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...

    Poor baby. She's lost and confused. :'(

    I would, without a doubt, say something to her. I would also be sure to tell her how selfish she's being by keeping the dog, probably even spiteful towards the ex. Friend or not, sometimes the truth hurts. Do you keep in touch with the ex husband? Wait, why doesn't this friend let the ex take care of the dog while she's away instead of passing her around????



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    MickeysMom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: How do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...

    I think I'd try to say something too, but buffered a bit because she's probably already stressed out. She might not realize that it's happening...but even a small change (like a dog walker) could help.
    WooT!<br /><br /><br />He made it too! <br />

  8. #6
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    georgie is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: How do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...

    Tough situation. I think I may have to say something but try saying it in a nice way. Sounds like the dog is acting out from all the changes in her life. Good luck. Your friend probably is preocupied with the changes in her life also.

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    DefaultRe: How do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...

    It is your place to say something, after all she asked you to keep her dog. If she's a real friend she will listen. If not I say too bad. The poor dog is suffering. Something similar happened to an ex neighbor of mine. She and her husband had two Airedales. He insisted on keeping one of them when they split although he had never taken much interest in the dogs. He just didn't want his ex-wife to have both dogs. The poor thing ended up with a rescue group.

  10. #8
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    DefaultRe: How do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...

    I definitely plan on talking to her, just trying to determine the right approach. I think probably the brutal truth may be the only way to get through to her. I don't really talk to the ex, never was a big fan of his, but she left the cat with him, so I have to assume she felt he was a responsible pet owner.

    Uggh, I hate doing stuff like this...but she is planning another big trip to Nepal in two months - she'll be gone for another two weeks. I think that if she plans on continuing to travel that the best thing for her dog would be to either give it back to the ex or to at least find someone who can stay at her house at watch the dog so that at least there is some sort of routine that the dog can stick to..


  11. #9
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    DefaultRe: How do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...

    perhaps you could approach it from the fact that when you doggy sat 8 months ago Maggie was so sweet and got along with your dog so well but this time was a different story. Ask her if other people who have watched her dog have said anything similar. That might make talking about stability and perhaps giving the dog back to her ex a little easier.


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    DefaultRe: How do you tell a friend that she's mistreating her dog...

    This is a very hard one. Why doesn't the husband have the dog while she is away.

    I would be very very careful what you say to her. Don't forget she has just been divorced and very fragile.
    Could you take the dogs for a few months/weeks until she gets it together.

    I know when I took Erns I was going through the loss of Kassa and some stressful personal stuff. I was in so much pain, but to the outside world I looked fine. Inside I didn't know night from day. I know a lot of Erns problems were his previous home, but at first many bites could have been a result my own stress.

    We don't know what goes on in others lives.
    If someone had even suggested I wasn't taking good care of Ernie it may have been enough to tip me over the edge.I did come to my senses and realised my stress wouldn't help his behaviour.. Edited to say. This made no difference to Erns behaviour. ;D he is and will always be a rogue.




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