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Dog sharing

| Dog sharing, Guidance | October 16, 2012

A personal note from Sophie Garrett, who owns and runs yours2share: “I deliberated for months about creating a section to share dogs earlier this year. I had been asked repeatedly if yours2share enables people to share dogs: it has been raised more than any other category. Here are the current dog share listings.

Here are the current dog share ads.

Sophie: “I’m aware that people frequently set up dog sharing on an informal basis; many years ago when I was at school ,on weekdays my parents took our dog to stay with an elderly gentleman who lived nearby. He adored having the dog with him during the daytime and our dog obviously enjoyed visiting him.

“I have two dogs of my own and I was concerned that sharing could lead to circumstances that are not in the dog’s best interests. So I spent time writing this guide and hope that yours2share will enable people to find the right partners that they could only otherwise find in an ad-hoc way, by asking friends and family if they knew of anyone who would like to share a dog. ”

Why do people share dogs?

People usually share a dog to ensure that the dog is not left alone for long periods and has plenty of exercise and attention. Furthermore, sharing means that the partners are not so tied down, the arrangement should be flexible enough to allow both parties to take holidays.

One common scenario occurs when a person/family who can easily afford to own the dog, but is away at work during the weekdays, partners with someone who is at home during the week, but has a more restricted budget.

How many people can share a dog?

yours2share strongly recommends that no more than two people/families share a dog, primarily because dogs need security and continuity just as much as humans.

Do people sharing dogs need to be compatible?

When you are discussing sharing a dog, it is important to ensure that you are like-minded in your views on living with the dog. There are a few areas that fellow dog owners can disagree strongly about and you need to ensure that you are compatible. For example:

  • Does the dog gets titbits, scraps from the table (during or after the meal, or kept to be added to their food), doggie snacks, chewsticks and bones?
  • Is the dog allowed in the living room, on the sofa, or on the bed?
  • Is the dog to be encouraged to chase and retrieve a ball?

Having said this, dogs are very adaptable and if you have different views it can still work well provided that the sharers accept this. For example, our dogs are allowed on the sofas in our house but not in my parents’ and sister’s houses; they learnt this very quickly and are perfectly happy. The rules simply have to be maintained consistently in each place.

Can both sharers be the owner?

One of the two sharers must be clearly defined as the “legal owner” taking full responsibility for the dog, its wellbeing and all other important doggy issues such as health, training, behaviour and insurance. The legal owner owns the dog outright. The legal owner is also responsible for ensuring that the dog is adequately cared for if, for any reason, the other sharer can no longer look after the dog as expected.

Who pays for what?

yours2share recommends that the legal owner also pays for all expenses (except possibly food). Expenses include:

  • Food (allow at least £1/day, but this obviously depends upon the size of the dog)
  • Veterinary bills (vaccinations and vet’s bills for accidents and illness. The latter can sometimes be covered by insurance)
  • Flea and worming treatment
  • Insurance
  • Training
  • Grooming

It is up to the two partners to decide how they pay for food, but one easy solution is for both partners to pay for the food eaten whilst the dog is staying with them. Be careful to discuss the kind of food and amounts that you are each giving, as some breeds dislike constantly changing diets (and a dog with a bad tum is no fun for dogs or their owners). You also want to avoid the dog getting too little, or as is more likely with indulgent human owners, too much food.

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