A dog 'carer'- ideas needed!(10 Posts)
Posting here in the hope that someone will have experience and ideas. I have a oldish Batman (deerhound lurcher) and his young Robin (golden retriever) who are quite devoted to each other. I also have a toddler, a horse two days a week, a full time job and a growing baby bump. We got the younger dog as a companion for the older as the older had very bad separation anxiety. He, the older, was a rescue, he'd been through a bad time, and whenever he was left in the house for a even a minute or two he'd pee all over everything. We consulted a behaviourist, tried everything, nothing worked. We were recommended to get a companion for him and since the arrival of his friend (now coming up 4) he's been fine. However, the older dog is now not so active. As I type he is fast asleep on the sofa. On walks he tags along behind peacefully enough, but he hates to walk on a lead. I can manage ( I think!) a pushchair, one dog on a lead and a toddler on a buggy board (maybe over optimistic). Other than that I can only manage to go places where dogs can be off the lead- which means no parks, no swings, no shops, no streets, no friends houses, no anything that is not designated dog walking time and nothing else. The younger boy is getting rather bored with a daily walk and nothing else, and I'm frustrated because there is no reason why he should not be able to tag along in all kinds of exciting things except that he is needed as a companion for the older chap and I can't manage them both out. I'm hoping to find some suggestions to liberate the younger dog from his 'carer' role. He's a young boy and a fun loving one, and its breaking my heart that his youth is being worn away in the other dog's old age and behavioural problems.
Wow. You have got a lot on your plate !! Could you get a dog walker in for the younger dog when you are there so the older dog doesn't get stressed ??
It shouldn't cost too much, even for a couple of times a week maybe ??
I think given all your commitments that you are going to have to do some very serious thinking about how well you can manage all of them especially if you go back to full time work.
Do you or your DH run? How about taking youngster out for a run a couple of times a week? Can you ask DH to pick up extra dog walking duties - give goldie a couple of extra long walks or take him to activities such as obedience classes. If you are riding two days a week, why isn't goldie coming out wiht you on hacks, especiallly if you are mainly off road?
I think a dog walker for extra walks is a mimimum, and then I would be doing some training with old boy and getting him used to lead walking. Many lurchers (especially if used for working before adoption) won't be used to it initially, but there is absolutely no reason at all why he can't be trained to do loose lead walking. Most of the lurchers I know get to be great on the lead and this way, you'd open up lots of fun things for him to do as well. He's probably bored with the same old, same old every day and not going anywhere new - he'd thrive on a few new places even if just a new park to sniff round. I bet you wouldn't ride your horse on exactly the same hack every day - they'd go potty.
Hi Boney and Scuttle
Thanks for your replies! A dog walker is a bit beyond my means at the moment- here they charge £12 per dog per hour plus there's a minimum number of sessions, and that racks up quickly. I would love love love to take the goldie out on a hack but sadly there is roadwork involved before we get to bridle-paths where he is stabled and I don't trust a goldie's 3 braincells to fire at the same time to trust him near roads! The main problem with the lurcher isn't that he won't walk on the lead, its that he will just potter along. He's an old man now, sadly. But the younger chap (not to mention the toddler) can't really cope with an amble about. If we do try to walk down the road on leads (pushchair in front of me, one dog pretending to be Buck from Call of the Wild in front of pushchair, the other at the far end of the lead behind, well, its a massive stress and quite a bit dangerous lets put it that way!) So usually we all pile into the car and then all pile out again near a place where the dogs can go at their different speeds (insanely fast in the goldie's case, slightly faster than a hedgehog in the case of the lurcher!). But this does mean its a once a day event and we can only go to places that are about them 'going for a walk' rather than being a part of a family, if that makes any sense? Maybe there is no solution here, it just seems such a shame that the goldie can't get to do basic things like go to the corner shop if I'm popping out anyway, or come to the pub (we do have a very dog friendly pub) if I'm meeting a friend there for a (non-alcoholic) drink, things that would just be interesting to him. Instead he's stuck at home being company for the older chap, who doesn't want to go out particularly but can't cope with being alone :-(
I charge £9 for an hour's dogwalk, but more importantly I'm willing to swap walks for services. Is there anything you/your dh do that might be of interest to someone like me? I swap for private tuition for dds, website design and support services, book-keeping and haircuts.
Hmm how about a dog sitter? Once or twice a week so you can go out with the younger one and do nice things and the older one isn't left on his own?
Can you leave your older dog in the car by himself or does he get stressed there as well?
There is only one fair option and that is to sort out the oldies separation anxiety.
1. Yep I can hear you yelling at me that you have tried everything BUT it is not fair on the whole household and there will be a solution.
2. Your dog is older now and may generally be more confident with the other dog around so this may be a good time to start work on the SA again.
3. Walk out of a room with goldie and throw Batman a treat. Close the door and then immediately come back into the room again.
4. Do this 100s of times a day.
5 Gradually increase the time you take to come back - take this very very slowly.
6. You will be able then to leave batman take goldie out and about and satisfy everyones needs.
7. DO work on this - it will work if your last behaviourist could not sort this pm and I will get you one that can
Wow, so many replies! Thanks all! Imperial - I'm in west yorkshire, I don't know if you are near? Ruled, yes a dog sitter would be a good idea but I have a nasty feeling that's going to come with the same problem as a dog walker in terms of money. I need to win the lottery here! . onlyaphase, yes cars too really. He just doesn't handle being alone. Cuebill, yes I think you're right, it is the only way forward. I'll try that technique and see how far we get. Perhaps as you say he will have calmed down a bit. He's certainly a quieter dog now and perhaps I've been assuming too much. Thanks, and I will pm you for a behaviourist if needs be. We must address this, its not fair on any of us. Thanks all again!
How long is it since you tried leaving him alone? My last dog was a rescue with SA, we did a bit of work on it, but mostly just worked around it (I was a SAHM anyway, it was no skin off my nose if he slept under my bed or sat outside the bathroom door when I was in there, etc.) I left him alone as little as possible for the first year or so, after that as he got older and more secure, it was less and less of an issue. By the time I'd had him about 4 years, you'd never had known it was ever an issue.
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