What’s not to love about the intelligent, bright, lively, and cuddly teddy bear-like Irish Doodles? They are the perfect family dogs that spread so much love and are irreplaceable. They make great companions, and you can’t get enough of them. But like all dogs, will they act out if you leave them alone? Can Irish Doodles be left alone?
Irish Doodles cannot be left alone for more than three hours. They are incredibly social creatures who crave human attention. Left to themselves, they can develop separation anxiety and exhibit destructive behavior.
They can bark excessively, cry, howl, chew on your clothes, shoes, or furniture, dig holes, and scratch doors and windows. They can make a tornado out of your home. In the worst-case scenario, they could even defecate inside the house or run away if it believes that you are gone forever!
Can Irish Doodles Be Left Alone
A hybrid between a Poodle and an Irish Setter, an Irish Doodle is a super-adorable, friendly, loyal, and affectionate dog with a pleasant personality. It rarely barks and is excellent with kids and is tolerant with other pets in the house, making them one of the best family dogs.
They ideally have red coats with long, fluffy, and curly fur with deep brown eyes. Although they are a relatively new hybrid, they are so popular that they cost more than either of their parents.
Both purebred parents are intelligent dogs used in hunting. The Poodles, in particular, are highly trainable and considered the second most intelligent dogs. Irish Setters are known to remember the commands they learn and never forget them. Irish Doodles have both their parents’ positive attributes and excel in training, agility competitions, and tracking.
As a hybrid, Irish Doodles are more resilient and healthier. However, they are still susceptible to a few health diseases such as Cushing’s disease, eye problems, bloat, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism. They also need a fair amount of mental stimulation and attention to maintain robust mental and physical health.
Why do Irish Doodles Develop Separation Anxiety?
Studying its parental traits can tell us much about the personality of our pooches. Irish Setters get deeply attached to their owners and do not like to be left alone. They need a great deal of company and begin to express their anxiety through destructive behavior if left unattended. Poodles aren’t precisely patient either. As intelligent dogs, Poodles get bored quickly and resort to violent behavior when left to their own devices. As an offspring of these two purebreds, an Irish Doodles is prone to separation anxiety. They are affectionate dogs that become attached to their owners, get easily bored, and seek a lot of attention.
Leaving your Irish Doodle alone for more than three hours can be destructive for its mental health as well as your home. It can also develop severe separation anxiety if you consistently keep isolating them for long hours.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Anxiety disorder in dogs is quite a common condition that develops when a dog excessively attached to its master is left alone. It is a serious condition as dogs that have an anxiety disorder can engage in destructive behavior, harming themselves and the household.
Anxiety disorder is not just an occasional whining or mischief but a mental disorder that, if extreme, could require a certified animal behaviorist’s help. While Irish Doodles are less likely to develop such a severe case, they are needy dogs, and long hours of separation can harm them.
Irish Doodle Separation Anxiety Symptoms
A dog in anxiety can show a lot of distress behavior which is unusual. These anxious and destructive behaviors are generally not present when you are around. Here are the complete lists of symptoms that may indicate that your dog is experiencing separation anxiety.
- Persistent barking and howling that is only triggered when you leave it alone
- Drool, pant, or salivate excessively
- Chewing on objects, digging/scraping on doors and windows, destroying household items
- Trying to escape from a place of confinement could potentially lead to self-injury.
- Pacing through a fixed pattern obsessively, such as walking back and forth along a straight path or running frantically in circular patterns
- Urinating or defecating inside its crate or house
- Some dogs may defecate and then eat up their excrement.
A dog who has separation anxiety can exhibit some or all of the above symptoms. When experiencing separation anxiety, not only can your dog destroy your expensive household objects but also injure itself. In an attempt to escape, its destructive behavior can result in broken teeth, cuts and scrapes on its body, and severely damaged nails. Irish Doodles are no exception to these hazards that can result from separation anxiety.
Causes of Separation Anxiety
It is not clear why some dogs develop separation anxiety while others don’t. But the loss of a loved one in a dog’s life is believed to cause separation anxiety. This is primarily implicit as dogs adopted from shelters show this behavior way more than those raised in a single-family since puppyhood. If you have adopted your Irish Doodle from a shelter, it is more reason why you should not leave it alone. Changing its family or guardian with whom a dog is attached can also cause separation anxiety.
Should I Visit a Vet?
If your dog soils the house, visit a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues before you begin behavioral modification. Several medical conditions like UTI, Cushing’s disease, abnormalities of genitalia, and hormonal imbalances after surgery could cause a dog to leak its bladder.
Older dogs can develop weak sphincters and void urine during sleep. Knowing your dog’s medical status will help you distinguish between behavioral problems and involuntary soiling. If your dog is on some meds, you can ask the vet if your dog’s leaking bladder could be a side effect of the drugs.
Treating Separation Anxiety
Destructive behavior stems from deep-seated fear, and it is not a sign of improper training or lack of discipline. So if your Irish Doodle resorts to destructive behavior, punishing or ignoring the problem can aggravate your dog’s problem further. Using techniques to counter-condition your dog’s psychological issue will effectively help you treat its anxiety.
Counterconditioning is effective at treating mild cases. Here, you attempt to associate being alone with pleasant things. By repetitive lessons, you teach your dog that being alone can be good. For example, whenever you have to leave home, you can leave a toy stuffed with delicious treats. The toy should ideally take at least 15 to 20 minutes to open.
That is long enough for the dog to feel rewarding when it finally gets to eat the food. Over time your dog will begin to look forward to the treat and like being alone. But remember, the food should be special, and your pooch should only have access to it when it is alone. However, this technique will only work if your pooch has mild anxiety. If its anxiety is severe, it will not eat in your absence.
Your pooch needs to be desensitized and counter-conditioned for severe cases, which can be a complex process. If you think you cannot handle it, you might want to consult a certified animal behaviorist, a veterinary behaviorist, or a certified professional dog trainer. You will avoid further complications by seeking professional help because your attempts to treat severe anxiety can backfire.
How To Calm An Irish Doodle With Separation Anxiety
When you get ready to leave home, your dog may pick up the cue and start getting anxious. To prevent triggering your dog’s anxiety, teach it that getting ready doesn’t always mean you are leaving it alone. For instance, you can put on your shoe or coat, pick up your car keys, or grab your bag and then sit down to watch TV or read a book.
This will prevent the dog from predicting your departure and avoid pre-departure anxiety. However, your dog may not buy it immediately if it is accustomed to your daily routine. So it has to experience these fake cues several times before it gets less anxious seeing you get ready to leave.
Once your dog is accustomed to the sights of your leaving, you can proceed to the next step. Teach it the sit-stay command. Let it stay in a room or a bathroom as you go about your duties, initially starting with a few minutes.
Use positive reinforcement and gradually increase the time that it stays out of your sight. But remember not to prolong the separated time for too long, or else the technique can backfire, and the dog may end up more frightened. Gradually, your dog should be able to stay alone for extended times.
However, your Irish Doodles cannot be left alone for more than three hours by themselves, or they will get bored and resort to destructive behavior again.
When you have to leave it alone for a long time, there are a few things you can do to ease its anxiety.
Leave dirty laundry near him. The scent will help soothe its anxiety and lend a safety cue. Also, loosely confine your dog in a room with a window and contain a lot of toys. You can consider getting some over-the-counter drugs or consult a veterinarian doctor for a prescription to soothe its anxiety.
How To Leave An Irish Doodle Alone
All the above techniques will help decrease your dog’s anxiety, but they are not a long-term solution. You can’t leave an Irish Doodle alone for long hours. If you have to leave it alone for more than six hours every day, then this adorable dog is not for you. However, if you run into a difficulty a few times a week or month, here are some alternate options to keep your dog happy.
- Limit the time you leave your dog by itself. If your office or working environment permits, take it with you.
- Buy some special toys that are made for soothing a dog that suffers from separation anxiety.
- Most dogs don’t mind having a partner beside them, even if it is not you. Try arranging for a dog sitter or relative/family members to come over to accompany your dog.
- It is also a good idea to leave your dog with another family or friend. Your Irish Doodles make such a loving and entertaining company. No one will probably say no.
- Consider enrolling your dog in a daycare facility. A good daycare center will pamper your dog and not make it feel your absence. But check out the facility well in advance and ensure that it is safe enough for your canine friend.
Taking Care of an Irish Doodle
Irish Doodles need at least one hour of daily exercise. So have a dog walker take them to walks if you are busy. You can also allow it to run and play around if you own a yard. Ensure that you provide a high-quality diet in the right proportion.
A medium-sized dog needs three cups of food, while two cups will suffice for a smaller-sized dog. Irish Doodles do not shed much and require minimal grooming. However, regular brushing and grooming will keep away the hairs and keep its coat beautiful. And remember to take it to the vet for regular check-ups.
If you don’t own one yet but are considering adopting an Irish Doodle, find a reputable breeder. Because it is a new breed, you will probably get a first-generation hybrid, and you want the best puppy born of healthy parents.
Getting an Irish Doodle and spending time with them can be one of the most rewarding experiences. They have vibrant personalities and are so playful that you will not have a dull moment when they are with you.
But you need to ensure that you can take care of them and give it the proper maintenance it needs. However, if you are going to leave your pet alone at home for extended periods, you should probably look out for other options.
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