Need manageable suggestions

(6 Posts)
Curious2468 Tue 23-Oct-18 20:22:31

Ok long post but I don’t want to drip feed.

5 years ago we got a miniature labradoodle. The decision was well thought through, we spent a long time researching before we got her and our lifestyle suited a dog as I’m home all day and we’ve always been outdoorsy.

Not long after we got her my mum got diagnosed with cancer. She had already offered to have the dog when we were away or on long days out so this was obviously no longer an option but we had committed to the dog so planned to just work around it and use kennels etc where needed.

Over the next three years my mum passed away, myself and both children were diagnosed with ehlers danlos syndrome and then in the last 2 years both children have also been diagnosed with ASD. All in all a lot has happened and we are in a completely different place to where we originally saw ourselves. We pictured camping/walking holidays with the kids and dog and active weekends spent in the woods. My son has a lot of issues with pain and fatigue when walking and I have developed some complex issues in my feet so the amount she has been walked has progressively reduced and reduced. My little boy also has a lot of anxiety over leaving the house so this has also had a large impact on how much she can be walked. Both children have sleep issues so are up very late in the evening which means it is also awkward for my husband to find the time to walk her.

She has started to get quite destructive. Understandably as she is an intelligent breed and really needs much more stimulation than she is managing to get at present. Ultimately I don’t think she is happy and I feel she is developing some behavioural issues which are completely our fault. I am worried if we don’t act soon she will be ruined which would have a negative impact on her options for rehoming if we had to reach that point.

We have considered a dog walker but simply can’t justify the costs. I am a full time carer and we are on a single income.

Can anyone talk to me about borrow my doggy? Is there any other charities etc that could help with walking her? Is there any other options we haven’t considered?

Sadly atm it feels like rehoming is our only option but I want to check we haven’t missed other options.

Thanks for listening and please please don’t flame me. We love our crazy little doodle but I feel like we are currently letting her down hugely sad

OP’s posts: |
Janus Tue 23-Oct-18 20:39:33

I regularly meet 2 labradors on my walk who are walked by a father and son (about 40 and 70!) and they walk them about 2-3 times a week through borrow my doggie and obviously adore them. I would definitely look into it and see if someone can commit to it on a regular basis.
If it doesn’t work then you are not a bad person for rehoming, your circumstances have massively changed and it’s obvious you love doggie very much.
Good luck.

LizzieBennettDarcy Tue 23-Oct-18 20:44:38

Could you ask for local volunteers to help your family out.... do you have local FB pages or Parish Magazines?

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Tue 23-Oct-18 20:54:52

You seem to have a fairly good grasp of the reasons behind your dog's behaviour and what to do to resolve it, it's just how you resolve it IYSWIM.

Some suggestions
- does DDog play fetch? If so a trip to the park fetching balls (get a ball launcher!) will get her to run while you sit on a bench and throw balls
- could you get a second hand mobility scooter and take her out while your husband minds the kids?
- borrow my doggy is a good potential option; I've heard of shortages of dogs in some locations and a labradoodle will be popular
- what are you doing by why of enrichment - mental exercise? The physical side is important too, but exercising the mind can really help. There is an excellent facebook group called Canine Enrichment which has some good ideas, Inc cheap / DIY options. Fort instance, if she likes ripping things apart, give her things she is allowed to destroy such as cheap cuddly toys or treats hidden inside a cardboard box that she has to tear open
- training classes can be a good way of tiring a dog out without requiring major physical effort from you, as the dog is learning things (and you can reinforce through the week, so it's not just a one day thing). Even if you've already cracked basic obedience, things like trick for treat or rally classes could work well.

As you've identified, things can't go on as they are. A multi pronged approach will probably work best (eg just enrichment won't work, but enrichment plus regular borrow my doggy probably would) but whatever you do don't let the destructive behaviours become ingrained.

Curious2468 Tue 23-Oct-18 21:22:56

Will have a proper look at borrow my doggy and the enrichment group. She is definitely bored sad

Behaviours becoming ingrained is my worry. She’s so good generally but in the past few weeks has chewed my table, eaten one of the children’s fleece sleep suits, stolen and chewed various kids toys, weed on the carpet, cried over night and then played hide and seek in the garden when we’ve let her out (leaving us stood on the doorstep trying to whisper encourage her back in). I have to say her self preservation tactics are amazing but frustrating to deal with.

The fetch thing would be a good plan if I could encourage my little boy out to do it. I’ll try that tomorrow and see if the shorter walking distance helps. The kids adore her so much and I don’t think they will ever forgive me if we do rehome but I can’t keep letting her down, I feel guilty every time I look at her

OP’s posts: |
AvocadosBeforeMortgages Wed 24-Oct-18 00:12:50

It sounds like you're starting to identify some ways to really help DDog.

She's climbing the walls, like a bored whiny child with teeth and chewing instincts. Much as you did when she was a puppy, she needs alternative things to chew, and to keep her entertained.

I'd completely stop feeding her from a bowl from today onwards. She now has to work for every bit of food she gets, for instance
- feed kibble one bit at a time for following a command (sit, paw etc.; teach new ones using YouTube videos as time goes on)
- Kongs, stuffed (well worth the tenner, they're indestructible)
- hiding food in things like cardboard boxes and egg boxes that she must rip open
- make a snuffle mat (one way to recycle that fleece sleepsuit...)
- scattering dry food in the grass or fallen leaves in the back garden so she has to sniff it out; on another day put it in a box filled with shredded paper so she has to sniff it out

I've no idea about child behaviour (unless you want to try clicker training your son grin). If you did end up rehoming DDog I think most people could understand why as your circumstances have changed massively and outside of your control. Just make sure she goes to a good rescue e.g. Dogs Trust or Doodle Trust (breed rescue). However, I think there are a few avenues you could explore before you go down that route.

One other thing - are you in S Wales at all? If so Action Petz is an indoor playpark for dogs where they can have lots of fun interactions with other dogs while you sit down and relax

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