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First time Dogsitting + dog with separation anxiety! Is this normal?

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by DogSitter7, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. DogSitter7

    DogSitter7 New Member Registered

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    Hello! I'm so glad I found this forum because I would like to get some opinions on this experience.

    I have loved dogs for a long time and usually get on telly well with most. I am more used to bigger dogs but have never had one myself before.

    I decided to join a dogsitting site to help owners and at the same time get a feel for what it's like to have a dog. Now I'm on my first dogsit and it's a 3.5 years old Maltese. It's a good dog, he's obedient and follows basic things like sit, no , stay, wait ect. but he has quite bad separation anxiety. His owner told me about this, but as I am on holiday right now I thought it should be fine because I'll take him everywhere. I have previously read that separation anxiety dogs need to be in a crate when they are alone and the owner also said she had a crate that she could give me. When the day arrived the dog came with a pack of food, some toys, no sight of the crate. She said the crate was very big and that it was difficult to get it to my house. I was not very happy at all, as I think as a dog owner it is your responsibility to make sure the dogsitter has a safe environment where they can leave the anxious dog. Do you agree? Would you agree that she could have made sure to , for example, get a smaller crate she could give me? She just told me to put him in the bathroom when I leave.

    I have the dog for a week. He's been coming everywhere with me and has been fine even with lots of people around. However, tonight we were at my boyfriend's house and some of his relatives were visiting, and the dog was acting weirdly, then suddnly threw up. I got insanely worried and messaged his owner, who replied saying that it was normal and that he has a verrrrry sensitive stomach and throws up about once a week. this is something she did NOT tell be before giving me the dog, I thought it was very irresponsiblee of her not to, as I have him for a week so chances are very high he would throw up. I was very stressed because he threw up on the carpet and of course my boyfriend was understanding but I was nevertheless embarrassed. I also feel kind of overwhelmed by the fact that I am responsible for another living being now, and I never seem to be able to completely and fully relax. It's Better when we are home and he's asleep but even then I stay anxious and I am NOT an anxious person at all normally! I have only ever experienced one period of anxiety in my life, right before I moved to university which meant moving to another country all by myself to a place I'd never been ect.. But is it normal to get so anxious about having a dog with you? I know I only had him for a week but I just with I could relax. Do you have any tips?
    I feel like with the dog I can't live my life normally, because I don't have a crate to put him in and my housemates also use this bathroom mi can't leave him alone so take him everywhere I can but this also means I'm having to miss out on social activities like going to certain bars or restaurants and I cannot stand having my freedom taken away. It's like I need to fit my entire social life around the dog until it goes back to its owner!

    I am 22 and still studying too, so I don't know if these thoughts are normal, or am I being selfish?

    I am usually great with babies, but I am realising that with dogs my maternal instincts just aren't kicking in at all. The dog is also incredibly cute and is always staring at me and follows me around EVERYWHERE but I seem to be feeling annoyed rather than happy with him. this is also only day 3 of having him and I feel like there is forever to go until he goes home. I am regretting this decision to dogsit right now, I didn't think I would be that anxious. Please tell me if this sounds completely crazy pr if you've experienced similar things when being in sole charge of a dog for the first time!

    Also, when arranging the dogsit the owner didn't specify a pick up time, and only told me 2 days before the dog was meant to come that she would only pick him up at 12 am or 1 am on the day after! I thought that was not very nice as I had made plans for the last evening. Please let me know your opinions on this too. Thank you sosomuch!
     
  2. destiny6969

    destiny6969 New Member Registered Partner

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    Firstly, I think you are correct in saying you are not ready to be dog sitting as yet. Maybe just start by having a dog for the day and see how things go. Secondly, did you have a form that the owner filled in giving dogs details, micro chip number ,vaccinations, illness(sensitive stomach), Vets info etc.
    Did you specify she had to bring the crate or else you are sorry, but you would not be able to look after the dog?
    Dog crates fold flat, so I cannot see how she could not bring one. You should have had a set time (unless unforeseen circumstances occur) for her return and collection time suitable to you, NOT HER!! You are doing her the favour. Being honest and I really hope this des not offend you as it is not meant to, but I do think you need to sit down and have a re-think bout dog sitting whilst still so young and studying. I also feel you should charge the owner extra for cleaning up you have done.
    I am a dog walker/pet visitor and often have smaller pets in my home to care for whilst owners are away but I have every bit of information I need before that person goes. PLEASE, have a re-think. I really do hope you get things sorted and if you do decide to stay on the site then maybe contact the people whom you registered with and let them know about this owner.
    You are obviously a sensible young lady as you are seeking help and advice. Wishing you all the best for the future.
     
    Josie and DogSitter7 like this.
  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    @destiny6969 makes some very good points. Adding to what she said, a crate is no guarantee to settle a dog with separation anxiety. Dogs have to like the crate; not all do or are crate trained so if that's the case here the dog would get even more stressed.

    Yes, you sort of do! Obviously dog owners, and carers, have things they need to do but they make arrangements for the dog - which is what this owner has done. However I do think picking him up in the middle of the night is odd, and quite unreasonable.

    Again, i don't mean to sound unkind; just realistic. I think you should look on this as a learning experience, not just on dog sitting but maybe also in pre-setting boundaries and agreeing ground rules before entering into an arrangement.
     
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  4. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    Welcome to the forum @DogSitter7 - you sound a bit over whelmed with the situation and like the others have said may be it’s not the right time to look after a dog. Maybe start with day visits or walks until you get to know the dog?
     
  5. arealhuman

    arealhuman Well-Known Member Registered

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    Welcome to the forum, good points already posted. Paperwork! Going forward, put together a form that your clients have to complete so that they are forced to disclose instances you've described, and any other information you think you might need from them such as the behaviour of their particular dog(s). It does sound though that you've jumped in feet first, but will be able to take this as a learning experience. Good luck! :)
     
    Josie likes this.
  6. La Luna

    La Luna New Member Registered

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    This sounds like you are definitely not ready to dog sit although it does sound as though the owner has rather put you in a difficult position. I have a one year old Maltese who sounds just the same as this one and has SA just the same. A crate will do no good, we have tried everything and she is still the same but maybe she will improve as she gets older.
    As you say, you felt anxiety when you went to university in a strange country, well it's just the same for the dog who already had problems being left alone. Best thing to do is put up with it until the owner returns but picking up in the middle of the night is unreasonable. I think you need to be more firm with owners than you are. Put it down to experience.
     
  7. Biker John

    Biker John Well-Known Member Registered

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    A friend of mine that does both dog walking and takes dogs in her house, as well as the clients filling in a form, (I haven't seen it so do not know what it asks for), before any dog is allowed to stay over she insists that they come to her for a day visit first. This way she can make her own mind up about the dog.
     

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