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How can I help cockapoo settle at dog sitters?

(6 Posts)
Libertymae Mon 10-Apr-17 08:30:17

We've got two dogs - a very laid back lab (6yo), and a bouncy, affectionate cockapoo (4yo). They have been to our usual dog sitter, in her home, local to where we live, for a week while we've been away. They have been there many times before for up to two weeks - she's the only dog sitter we use.

On collecting them last night, she said our cockapoo had been a nightmare - wouldn't settle at night, chewed and clawed at a door doing quite a lot of damage, was eventually put in a cage to sleep but then cried all night, and also showed aggression to another dog. She kind of implied it was so bad she would have him once more, but if he did it again, he wouldn't be welcome back.

We have obviously offered to pay for the damage, but any theories as to why he might have behaved like this? He was clearly unhappy but why?

For background: he was a bit like this as a puppy in terms of chewing furniture, shoes and once a door but we thought he had grown out of it - he hasn't done it for several years. However, he will chew blankets or towels if we leave them on his bed, so we just don't anymore smile
He often goes in a cage in the back of our car, and does occasionally still sleep in one without much drama. He's quite a noisy dog - barks if people come to the front dog etc, - and he's quite nosy, running up to other dogs in the park, but he isn't aggressive at all.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

BiteyShark Mon 10-Apr-17 08:33:14

How is he normally when you leave him alone at home?

Veterinari Mon 10-Apr-17 09:13:02

Cockers and poodles are both highly driven working breeds that bond to their owners - unfortunately this mix is pretty susceptible to separation anxiety.

Do you ever leave him home alone? Was he socialised to calm alone time as a puppy?
Chances are that the disruption and lack of control is triggering his anxiety. It's important he's not punished for his behaviour and that you work with an APBC accredited behaviourist to address it

BiteyShark Mon 10-Apr-17 11:04:12

I think I would try and work on an area where he goes to sleep that can be easily replicated when he goes to the pet sitter. This is obviously easier if it was a crate as then there would be no risk of damage to her property at night but I can see that would be a pain to do every night for the odd week away. You could try and get him to sleep in a crate and pay for just the odd night he goes away to get him used to it before leaving him for a week but this would also require your pet sitter to try and work with you on this (she might just not think it's worth the hassle versus the money).

Libertymae Mon 10-Apr-17 20:11:19

BiteyShark - he is usually fine when we leave him at home, although admittedly this isn't every day as both DH and I work from home. Also, our Lab is pretty much always with him (as she was at the dog sitter's). They have free reign of our downstairs when we're out and he hasn't chewed anything for several years.

I think your idea of him sleeping in a crate at home at least occasionally might be a good way forward, and I will suggest to the dog sitter that we try this at her house for the odd night too.

Veterinari - he had some training as a puppy as he found it hard to wind down and relax. I do still notice this about him sometimes - if we've been for a long walk, he can sometimes appear a bit wired when we get home and jump up every time someone walks by despite clearly being tired. I'll look into Behaviourists too. Thanks for your advice.

Veterinari Tue 11-Apr-17 07:52:07

he is usually fine when we leave him at home
How do you know? Have you videoed him? Or are you assuming that as he's not destroyed anything for a few years he doesn't have a problem - this is almost certainly not the case.

Separation anxiety is aout the absence of the human so another dog (your lab) often doesn't make much difference to anxiety levels

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