Looking after someone else's dog

(9 Posts)
Hoppinggreen Tue 12-May-15 19:07:29

So I am on a well known dog borrowing site and have just started borrowing a dog but I have some concerns.
It is an under 1 year old male Labradoodle and he is very sweet but has had very little training. He is house trained but has no recall ( don't let him off the lead), tries to steal food and has to be constantly watched or he empties bins and tries to eat anything he can find. He doesn't cause any real problems but I'm wondering if I can do any training with him if I only have him for 1 day a week? I am also concerned about the length of time he spends on his own (7-7) some days and I can't spend any more time with him than I do now. I think the final straw was when I asked what to feed him and she told me he prefers human food so just give him what we are having!!
We are experienced dog owners and I know that although this dog isn't being ill treated and he is loved he isn't being looked after properly.
He is a real sweetie, just wants company and cuddles and I know he's not our dog so what's the best thing to do?
Also, I am obviously not going to just feed him whatever we are having so what should I give him? I am happy to go and get some proper food for him but don't want to upset his tummy ( he has bad wind)

pigsDOfly Tue 12-May-15 19:57:51

I'm not surprised he has bad wind if they just feed him what they're eating. Not sure introducing a balanced dog food is going to make much difference one way or the other for one day a week. If he's being fed rubbish then dog food isn't going to do any harm, surely. Poor little chap.

It all sounds a bit disastrous tbh and they sound completely clueless.

They clearly have little interest in this animal: little or no training, totally unsuitable food, little time spent with him. Why the hell have they got a dog? Also, I know you say he isn't being ill treated but leaving a dog alone for 12 hours on a regular basis is ill treatment in my book. What happens when he needs to pee or poo? Does he just do it in the house or does he hold himself for that length of time?

I couldn't bear this if I were in your position. I know they might possibly tell you to mind your own business, but could you somehow try to tactfully get across to them that a dog does not fit in with their life style? Having said that I probably wouldn't be brave enough to say anything.

Either you have to suck it up knowing that at least you're giving him a decent time once a week or you walk away. I know that's not helpful, and I know you know that already, but whatever you do you're going to feel bad.

Perhaps you should just move on, leave them to it and find another, better looked after dog to borrow. That might sound harsh, but they're going to go on treating him badly whatever you do and one day a week is not going to make that much difference to his overall life. It's difficult but this is supposed to be something that gives you and the dog pleasure, not turns you into a dog refuge.

catzpyjamas Tue 12-May-15 20:10:51

Poor dog!
And poor you with this dilemma.
You are right. He should not be getting left alone for 12 hours at a time. He needs proper training - although you may make some progress one day a week but it would be better if it was kept up by the owners for the other 6 days. Also I suspect he has bad wind because he isn't eating dog food! The PDSA has good advice on nutrition and training on their website.

Realistically, this is not the right pet for those owners but other than speaking to them directly about your concerns or reporting them for neglect hmm, I don't know what else you can do.

Hoppinggreen Tue 12-May-15 21:08:49

The owners circumstances have changed ( relationship break up) which is why she is struggling.
I have tried to broach the subject but she says she can't give him up and would rather give up her job than him.
We have only looked after the dog a couple of times and maybe when we have known her longer I can try again. I don't want it to look as if we just want him ourselves.
We also look after another dog from time to time and he is beautifully trained ( owner is a vet) so the contrast is very apparent. It's a catch 22 because IF he was better trained I could have him here more! we have the other dog for weekends sometimes but because he has to be constantly watched nd I work from home it's not possible.
I don't think I can walk away though he is so sweet and just wants to sit on your knee for cuddles - I know when he is left alone he has been quite destructive and he cries constantly if caged.
Any ideas what to feed him? And some simple training I can do?

catzpyjamas Tue 12-May-15 21:31:47

If you/owner can train him to walk on a halti, that can help with control and scavenging. If he's really bad, he might need a muzzle?
Reward training will probably work best for a labradoodle as they will usually do anything for food but don't buy special treats. I'd just use dry dog food. He should probably still be on a complete puppy food for a few more months if he's under one. If he gets them as treats/ rewards, then it's easier to get him to take them as dinner too.
Reward good behaviour / following instructions and try to ignore bad behaviour other than a quick NO and pull away from anything he should not touch.
The vet that you dog walk for might be able to advise better on training and feeding?
There's some good information here:
www.cesarsway.com/channel/dog-training

Hoppinggreen Tue 12-May-15 21:53:34

Thanks everyone.
Realised I said he was a doodle but he's a cockapoo ( doh!)
I can control him on the lead ( as can DD) but he lunges for rubbish and I have to remember to move all the bins in the house. I do worry he will get hold of something while walking though - he lunged for a bag of dog poo the other day!!
I think I will buy some dry puppy food for when he's here and also have a chat with the owner of the other dog who stays with us, as I said she is a vet and her dog is beautifully trained so she might have some tips as well.
We plan to get a dog ourselves later this year and I don't think we will be able to cope with this dog as well at that point as we will probably get a puppy so unfortunately this will probably on,y be a temporary arrangement anyway, which again I feel bad about.

BlessedAndGr8fulNoInLaws4Xmas Tue 12-May-15 22:50:49

Hopping a cockerpoo in a crate for 12 hours a day IS neglect.
They are extremely active dogs and need 2 walks a day imminent.
I would personally be reporting this owner - after all it's not about what SHE wants- it's about the best interests of the dog - and this dog is not getting fed correctly, not enough stimulation & company & no exercise.
I'm afraid I couldn't work with this lady - she is failing that animal.

Hoppinggreen Tue 12-May-15 23:47:53

He isn't crated though as he cries too much.
He does get 2 walks in the morning and evening.
It isn't good but I am better placed to help if I DONT walk away.
The owner knows the situation isn't right for the dog, she has been paying a dog walker but can only afford 1 day a week but the fact that she has got me involved shows she is trying.

BurningBridges Sat 16-May-15 00:42:26

Cockerpoos suffer terrible separation anxiety, they are velcro dogs. I can see your point about it being best if you stay involved and yes, once you get to know her better you can make suggestions but I hope that is soon as it sounds miserable.

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