My family's border collie passed away a few months ago and my brother (aged 36, lives with his wife and 6 year old son) wants a new dog.

There are 2 problems that my mum and I have raised:

  • Nobody in the family has the time to look after a dog. We all work full time. Beforehand my mum would look after the dog on an evening and I would look after him on a weekend. We both argued that this was too little time for an active dog. Moreover, I will have even less free time, as I'll be studying part-time soon
  • We don't want to get a new dog whilst we are still grieving for our last dog. The situation becomes harder because my dad doted on the dog. He passed away 2 years ago

My question is given the time constraints and grief, how can I discourage my brother from getting a new dog?

  • 3
    Your brother wants the dog. Your brother lives with his wife and kid. What are you talking about when you say you and your mother don't have time for a dog? Your issue is confusing and off-topic.
    – user8271
    Feb 9, 2018 at 21:07
  • @SiXandSeven8ths: The issue is that my brother put no effort into looking after the old dog, so others had to pick up the slack.
    – user5807
    Feb 10, 2018 at 7:51
  • Your brother lives with his wife and kid. The dog lived with you and your mother. Your brother had no responsibility for the old dog.
    – Allison C
    May 26, 2020 at 13:37

2 Answers 2


This isn't about the dog - its about the people. If your brother wants a dog, and presumably he lives elsewhere he should get a dog, not you. Make it clear that its not your responsibility or your mom's and he (and his side of the family) would be responsible if they get a dog.

You have good reasons - most of the family isn't ready for a dog, either in terms of the time investment or in terms of emotional readiness but at the end of the day, its down to you telling your brother, no, not now.


Addressing questions about people is not the focus of pets.stackexchange.com and the answer by Journeyman Geek briefly addresses some of those considerations. You indicate that you have already communicated that your mother and yourself will not be available as you were previously.

The bigger question that is in the scope of our site, is the impact to the new dog given the constraints of less family support then was available for the previous dog.

As indicated in the related posts below, dogs without sufficient opportunities for attention and exercise tend to display undesirable behaviors.

There are several considerations;

  • A 'new dog" is pretty general. Is this going to be a new puppy or the rescue of an adult dog?

    • If it is a puppy, how will potty training be addressed?

    • If it is an adult dog, how will integration into the household be addressed?

  • How will the dog get out for exercise and toileting?

    • Is there a fenced yard, does a pet door need to be installed?
    • Will you need to hire a dog walker? If so is one available in your area?
  • What family outings will the dog be able to attend? Are there unique considerations?

  • What breed of dog are you considering? We have a number of posts about border collies they fit better in some home environments then others.

  • Giving a pet a forever home is a big step. Is volunteering time with a local rescue or shelter a better solution for dogs and family to mutually benifit?

Related posts about dogs with limited opportunities

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