Monday, December 5, 2022


Wife wanted dog; hubby now resents “giving in” and the puppy



Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
My wife and I have been full-time traveling for three years in our 35-foot fifth wheel. We’ve had a dog our whole married life but when our Schnauzer died just before we started traveling we decided not to get another dog while traveling. That only lasted a few months.

My wife wanted a dog real bad. I would point out to her other campers at 0-dark-thirty in the morning forced outside in inclement weather walking their dogs. I argued that we have a small living space and that a dog would limit our hiking in the many areas that do not allow dogs on the trails. I pointed out the expense a dog incurs and a crimp in our no-schedule lifestyle we were then enjoying.

Well, we now have a new puppy that has torn our cushions and given us a limited schedule of how long we can be gone. Most of the time it’s me out at o-dark-thirty with the little poop machine, allowing him to sniff every bush in the campground and toting a rubber glove to deposit his deposits somewhere appropriate. All the time I am trying to avoid the land mines that a majority of other less responsible dog owners have left.

I am resenting this mutt and my lack of backbone to “just say no” to dogs. I should have written you before the fact, but would appreciate some advice now. —Leashed in Lubbock

Dear Leashed:
You are absolutely right. You should have written me first. The responsibilities involved with having an animal are the same as having a child. I get this type of complaint all the time.

The fact is you agreed to a dog. You and your wife are a management team. You both have needs that are important to a happy lifestyle and often these needs can clash, as with this dog. You admit you made your best argument for not traveling with a dog (early walks, damage, tracking in wet and dirt, expense, limited camping and hiking opportunities, small living space, scheduling inconvenience etc.). It’s obvious that your wife was on the debate team in school and you where busy playing football.

It is unfortunate that you are not accepting the dog, but look at the bright side — you made your wife happy. There is no going back. You now have a dog to raise, toilet train, feed, educate, love and enjoy. Yes, I said enjoy. That is what you will eventually come to do.

Your dog will live a good decade or longer and eventually wag his way into your heart. So why not accept your fate. The companionship is a respectable trade-off for what you are giving up. You will probably see many beautiful sunrises you would otherwise have missed. You will also meet many new friends on your relief-effort walks, and next time you don’t agree with a decision that has a huge impact on your lifestyle, you might become a better debater.

One technique you could have used was, “How about an indoor cat?” They don’t require early morning walks, they offer good companionship, they can be left longer, no campground restrictions, no mice in the “fiver”, and they make purr-fect traveling pets. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.


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5 years ago

Firmly tell your wife she has 50% of all dog “dooties”, both day and night. If she will not, find a nice home for the pup

Sue Adams
5 years ago

We travel in our motorhome with two maultipoos and when we leave they are put in their kennel together. We did the same at home since they were puppies. It is for their safety and our peace of mind. They must like it because as I write this both are in the kennel and the door is open. It is their safe place. They go between the kennel, couch or our laps and bed. As much of a inconvenience they can sometimes be, we love our Dixie Lou and Daisy Mae.

Randy leBlanc
5 years ago

Wow, I understand your point to your complaint. But sometimes maybe talking to the person instead of jumping to a ranger. Maybe with iPhone you can tape what’s going on and prove to it to owner. I m sure 99% of RVers respect your needs as well. Address it with them before running to management. Then if you did what you feel all you do, then I am 100% behind you.

Kurt Stransky
5 years ago

Dogs in campgrounds are our #1 gripe. We don’t pay fees to hear someone’s dog bark hour after hour. They leave the wretched things in their RV then go away for the day….the dog of course barks every minute they are gone….but of course shuts up the second they return… so of course they don’t believe there’s a ‘problem’. We now have zero tolerance for barking campground dogs. We WILL find a ranger (whatever) and have the problem dealt with. In 2 cases this resulted in the dog owners having to leave or board their dogs! Beware….we could be next to you next stop…!!!!!!

5 years ago
Reply to  Kurt Stransky

Not all dogs bark “every minute they are gone”. We always wondered about ours so there have been a few times we introduce our selves to our next door neighbor and told them we were leaving and to please let us know if they hear her bark as we do not want to disturb them. Each time they say they hear a couple of barks and then all is quiet. We also use the crate and our dog loves it and feels safe there. I think a lot of campers just don’t like dogs no matter what. Well they are a fact of life and I, for one, don’t always like all people either.

5 years ago

We have always camped with our dogs, they require us to walk which is good for all of us. We crate our beagle when we go out & yes we are restricted to 3 or 4 hours at a time but she is worth it. We meet lots of people out walking. She is well behaved because she is trained (which was done by us). Remember a tired dog is a good dog so the three of you should be getting lots of exercise. Start doing basic obedience training now and you will have a nice dog that is welcome anywhere you go. The work you do now will pay off. No such thing as a bad dog, just bad owners.

5 years ago

I am positive your wife has noticed how you feel. Time to open the discussion up again. She needs to share the 0 dark thirty duty for one thing. We recently adopted my Dad’s dog. It was not a choice, we had to. My husband agreed but does resent the dog. I walk her most of the time. Meantime, she is growing on him. It has been four months so far. I expect he will eventually accept her fully. Hope you can feel good about your dog. Unconditional dog love is wonderful.

5 years ago

Our 2 well-behaved cats are wonderful travelling companions. They are very affectionate, contrary to what many believe.We can leave for an entire day without problems. My husband has often said you don’t have to walk a cat as someone goes by with their dog on a rainy day.

5 years ago

As much as I hate them, you might have to crate the puppy especially when you are gone. Looking for an obedience class sounds like a good idea too. Puppies are never to young to start training, learning what is acceptable and is not.

I choose to get a dog two plus years ago after 8 years without one. I thought it would give my husband company when he goes walking. Never happened so it was left to me. Fortunately we adopted a 2 year old who was mostly house trained. I can now get him to take her out to pee during the day but nights are left to me as are taking her for walks. I resented it at first but then kept reminding myself I made the choice. She is funny (and irritating) in that every time I get up at night she wants to go out to pee!!

Yes having a dog means sacrifices where a cat can be left even for a whole weekend. If you are resenting the puppy it might be good to think about re-homing the puppy.

5 years ago

We go camping with 3 dogs. One who is eventually looking at rainbow bridge but the other two? Sleep all nite and when we get up? They get up. Might want to have thought about a 1 year old broken dog. There are a ton of rescues at age 1 that don’t destroy. Good house breaking. We do so love the book No Bad Dog. Good luck.

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