We know there are times when owning a dog can be hard. There might be behavioural issues, a new baby, moving home, and other issues or changes in circumstances. Sometimes life can just get too busy but if there are issues with your dog, please remember that your dog is never giving you a hard time, rather they are having a hard time and need some help.
Here are the most common issues we see with some tips that may help resolve them
If you are a tenant and need to move home, finding a landlord who will allow dogs in their property is a priority. Perhaps your new landlord will need reassurance that allowing your dog won’t be a problem.
Maybe they would be willing to meet you and your dog and you could also show evidence of your dog’s vaccinations and regular veterinary care.
Offering to have carpets professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy or providing a larger deposit are other ways to help give a landlord confidence that you are a responsible dog owner.
Changing Work hours
Check the options for a doggie daycare in your area and if your dog is suitable. A good establishment usually does their own assessments to ensure the dogs are not stressed out (remember not all dogs are suited to this environment).
Ensure that any daycare you use is run by qualified trainers who don’t use punishment or aversive training methods.
Maybe you have a trusted neighbour or friend who can spend some time with your dog while you are away for long days? Insured dog walkers are also available in many areas.
Ideally, a dog shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours. However, each dog is an individual and some dogs are not comfortable being alone for even short periods of time and may need additional help with this.
In the summer months, your dog could be left outside during the day as long as they have shelter, your garden is fully secure and only if your dog enjoys it. Some dog owners have put dog flaps in their doors so their dog can move inside and outside during the day.
Try to make time to give your dog some exercise before you go to work and when you return. Invest in some interactive toys and slow feeders to help keep them mentally stimulated while you’re gone.
If you have the space and the budget and your dog likes other dogs, you could consider giving a home to a second dog and they could keep each other company. However, adopting a second dog will not resolve training issues.
Issues with your dog can be difficult, but there are options and real possibilities for resolving a difficult situation for you and your dog.
The key is to try to help your dog before the baby arrives. Bringing a new baby into a home can be very scary and overwhelming for some dogs so planning ahead is crucial, in order to make it a positive experience for your dog.
Play crying noises, introduce baby gates and take time to teach your dogs some boundaries (such as teaching them to happily settle on a mat) for how you wish to have them behave when the baby arrives.
Things like introducing smells to your dog beforehand, even down to walking with the empty buggy, so that your dog gets used to it and is not scared to walk beside it; all these things will help. If you have any concerns, please contact a qualified trainer for help.
Crate training in a quiet area like a utility room can be a great way to give your dog a safe haven when the home environment changes. It’s important that crate training is done carefully to ensure your dog builds up positive associations with their crate.
The crate should never be used as a means of punishing your dog. A new baby can be a very busy time for all the family and having the help of a registered dog trainer to reassure and assess the situation can give you the best chance of bringing everyone together.
A good dog trainer can explain the dog’s body language to you and help everyone to understand each other that bit better.
TRAINING & BEHAVIOUR ISSUES
Training and behavioural issues can take many forms from excessive barking, food or toy guarding to reactivity or aggression with other animals and/or people.
If a behaviour can be understood and if the triggers can be figured out, the better the chance the behaviour can be modified.
We suggest you work alongside a qualified positive reinforcement dog trainer or behaviourist to address any training or behavioural issues.
Training is a great way to play with your dog and can help with some behavioural issues. You might think that your dog won’t like training, but that isn’t true. Dogs enjoy being busy and having a job to do!
- You can keep your dog’s brain busy with daily puzzle games, treasure trails around the garden or scatter feeding for their meals.
- You can teach your dog some tricks or get involved with dog sports such as agility. You can also do nose work and scent work with your dog, which is a fun and cheap way to keep your dog mentally healthy.
- Snuffle mats are a great place to start with nose work.
- Lickimats can also be used to help provide enrichment and repetitive licking releases calming hormones in a dog’s body.
Chewing can be a sign of boredom, anxiety or a dog who does not have appropriate outlets for their chewing needs. Puppies chew for relief from teething and it’s their way of exploring the world. It is our job not to stop them chewing, but to provide as many legal chewing opportunities as possible each day, through stuffed Kongs, Nylabones, rope toys or any safe food chew from a pet store.
Supervise your dog when they’re chewing so they don’t accidentally swallow any bits. If your dog is chewing shoes or other human items, use control and management by keeping these out of reach and redirecting your dog to their own chews.
Getting out and about is as important to our canine pals as it is to us. Dogs can quickly become bored without enough physical exercise. It’s important that dogs get regular play-time and walks. These activities can also be a great bonding time for you and your dog.
Daily exercise will help beat stress, depression, anxiety and obesity for your pet, stimulating that active canine brain. You could find a local qualified dog walker if your dog needs more exercise.
Try to make sure your dog is not alone any longer than they are comfortable with. Some dogs are okay being left alone for a few hours a day, while others are not. You can get training from a registered dog trainer to help your dog adjust to longer periods alone.
If your dog is destructive or crying, this can be a sign of separation anxiety, but the good news is, this can be worked on. Interactive toys can be used to keep the dog busy while you are away or you can utilise technology to see how the dog is doing on their own, but dealing with separation anxiety is best addressed with a trainer’s guidance.
If a dog is exhibiting a behaviour you do not want him or her to do it’s always worth consulting with a vet to rule out any underlying medical issues which may affect a dog’s behaviour. If your vet is happy there are no physical issues, then the next step is to enlist the help of a trainer.
The dog training industry is not regulated in Ireland, so please contact us for a list of reputable organisations to choose a trainer from. The trainer can help you to understand what is happening for the dog and come up with a training plan to make life better for you and your dog.
Rehoming your dog
If you have explored all the options and circumstances are such that you feel that rehoming is the best option for you and your dog, we will try to help. Our shelter is nearly always full with an 8-10 week waiting list for a space, however, email us at [email protected] and we’ll send you a form to complete and then one of the Rehoming Team will be in touch.
Ways to speed up the rehoming process:
- Ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date and you have the vaccination card from the vet.
- Have your dog spayed or neutered if not already done. It’s better for them to recover in their home and it speeds up the adoption process.
- Microchips are a legal requirement and your dog should be chipped and registered to you.