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NaturallyMe's avatar

Some more help on dog behaviour problems?

Asked by NaturallyMe (4897 points ) February 22nd, 2011

At least, WE consider it to be a problem…
She’s about 8 months old now, and puts up a REAL fuss when me and my husband have to go out – we can’t leave her in the yard because she goes so crazy that we’re worried she may actually manage to get over the gates or try to crawl under them and hurt herself (she’s tried that once and got her head stuck). We can’t leave her to run free in the house because she WILL decide to make a poop in one of the rooms that are carpeted – this has happened numerous times and I’m tired of cleaning that up and having ruined carpets – we even tried to cordone her off in the hallway where it is tiled, using hard board to close off to the one living room that doesn’t have a door – but she forces herself through that and into the room, and poops on the carpet.

So unfortunately we’ve had to resort to closing her in the bathroom – but she started chewing on the bathroom door because the corner at the bottom of the door was a little warped so she had something to start chewing on (despite the fact that we gave her toys to play with in the bathroom), and one day she chewed her way right through the door and out of the bathroom. So now we close her in our guest toilet – this door doesn’t have a weakness in it so she hasn’t started chewing her way out.

Before you say that it’s probably because we lock her up that she puts up such a huge fuss when we go out, i doubt that to be the reason, because she put up just as big a fuss when we closed her off in the hallways (including the kitchen because it was tiled), and that wasn’t so bad considering she had more space to move around in. We have a kitty door installed in the kichten door, so of course she started scratching at that while we were out and has splintered the door badly in trying to get out of the kitty door, which we keep locked. A couple of times she’s scratched at it so much that she managed to unlock it and get out. Fortunately we have a security gate, covered with some stuff that resembles mosquito wire (except it’s made from green plastic and it’s not as fine as mosquito wire – this is to keep kitty from going out the gate) – so when she got out the kitty door, she was stuck between the door and the gate with the netting, so of course she started chewing at the netting, which now has a big hole in it. That’s when we decided to close the kitchen door, so that she could only roam around in the hallway.

Anyway, not only this, but even when only me or my husband goes out and the other one of us stays at home, she’ll put up such a huge fuss, running around the house & whine for ages. This cannot be normal behaviour, surely. But that’s not all! Even when one of us just closes a bathroom door when we shower or go to the loo, she whines about that and get upset because she’s been shut out!

Or when one of us is outside, within her view, but just on the other side of the gate (meaning she can’t get right to our side), she’ll bark and whine and go crazy too – even if it’s just for a few seconds that she’s appart from us.

Her behaviour really is intolerable – and it can’t be normal…why is she behaving this way?!?! Since we both work from home, i thought that maybe that is the reason she puts up such a fuss when we’re separated, since we never leave her alone like the average person who goes off to work – but even so, since we had her, we’ve always gone out on errands for a few hours a day, only about 2 times a week at most, and after having her for 7 months now, she KNOWS that we come back after a few hours.

When we visit my husband’s mum and leave her there while we go do some errands, she’ll cry and whine when we leave her behind, even though she LOVES visiting my mum-in-law – she even has doggy friends there.

So why is she this way?! Does anybody have any diea? And more NB, does anyone know how to fix this? I thought i’d try here first before i’m forced to spend tons of money on taking her to a dog psychologist or something. And if we’re doing, or did something wrong in your opinion, let me know, because i’m not aware of it.

Tnx!

Oh, and if you wanna know anything else, just ask – we really need to find a solition here.

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18 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

You can buy dog runs. Caged areas with shade if required dogs can be put in temporarily. I would buy something like that and put it in the backyard. At least you will know she is safe and can’t hurt herself. Perhaps training her by going out for short periods, five minutes say, and coming back would help too? Keep doing it until she gets used to the idea you will be back and make it a little longer after a few times etc. I am not a dog trainer but eventually she would have to get used to you leaving and coming back.

misstrikcy's avatar

Many unwanted dog behaviours arise because of a lack of exercise. Good quality exercise too.. you haven’t mentioned anything about how you are exercising her.

How many times do you take her for a walk, and for how long? Should be 30–40 minutes at least, and more than once a day if she’s going to grow into a big dog.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I don’t know if this will help now, because she’s already established that pattern of behavior, but when he was a puppy I gave Zuppy a treat every time I put him into his crate before we went out. He equates the crate with a treat and is happy to go right in as soon as he hears the treat box rattle.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I agree with the advice above. I would crate her when you are not home.Also,when you go to leave,don’t make a fuss over going.Exercise is a biggie.Wear her out with a walk and a game of fetch.Give her big praise for good behaviour.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Where did she come from? A shelter or breeder?

marinelife's avatar

You dog has developed separation anxiety. You will have to be patient to cure it, but it can be done.

First, you need to buy a crate. Make sure and get the right size. Then leave the crate door open when you are home. Feed the dog in the crate, Put a blanket down on the bottom of the crate. Giver her treats in the crate.

Then you begin the separation anxiety program.

First, you work regularly with your dog on commands such as sit, stay, come. Second, you make sure you dog is well-exercised. Consider taking her to an off-leash dog park. Run her in the backyard with a ball. Take her on a longish leash walk. Wear her out.

Then you begin to accustom her to being alone in the house. Leave her in a sit stay or down stay while you go in another room. At first, just a few seconds, gradually lengthening the time.

Then you stop her triggering behaviors. Whatever your getting ready to leave the house clues are. Does the dog react when you put on your coat? When you take out your keys and jingle them? Start putting on your coat and sitting down or going about your normal chores in the house. Walk around the house with your keys jingling. Do this until your dog does not react any longer to these cues.

Then put the dog outside and leave her and go in the house. Just for a few seconds at first. Gradually lengthening it until you can leave her outside without her reacting.

Then put the dog in the crate with a treat, and leave the house. Just stay outside the door for a few seconds, and then come back in. Keep practicing until you can leave her for a few minutes, then longer and longer.

When you come back from going out do not act excited to greet your dog. Wait until she stops jumping up on you or barking to pet her.

This requires a lot of patience, but it can be done. You may want the help of a professional trainer to keep you on track.

bobbinhood's avatar

Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer, has five tips for dealing with separation anxiety.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@NaturallyMe Dogs are pack animals. It’s not normal for them to like to be alone. I would never have just one dog after having two. Just a thought.

Judi's avatar

Dogs are den animals. It is not inhumane to leave her in a crate for a few hours. It sounds like it might be the safest thing for her.
I should have read @marinelife s perfect answer. No need for me to answer at all.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Zuppy often goes into his crate on his own with the door open even when I’m home. It’s his room and he feels safe in there.

crisw's avatar

@marinelife is right on- this is classic separation anxiety.

Another tip- don’t make a fuss about leaving or about coming back. Keep entrances and exists low-key.

Separation anxiety is a big problem for many dogs, and it will require work to overcome. One possible solution, if you don’t have the time or inclination for the training involved, is doggy daycare. I know you say she cries and whines when you leave- but what happens after you have left? Does she recover?

kitkat25's avatar

You can get an enclosure to put her in in the backyard so that she isn’t able to get out and try and get under the fence. Also if you leave her in the house you can try leaving a radio or tv on for the noise. That way she might not feel so anxious and alone. Also leave her with plenty of toys to play with to keep her occupied.

Meego's avatar

Ok I think, you should apply exercise, discipline, affection. The puppy stage is the craziest and they will test you to the limits. Unfortunatley I think you will need to make sure your dog has been completely fulfilled before you decide to just leave her there alone. Usually when a dog has seperation anxiety it’s because of either
A) when you left you left the dog almost in a state of wonderment then when you are gone the anxiety overflows kindof.
B) the dog has already claimed the rights to be the leader and carries on in wonderment of “where is my pack going, I didn’t say they could go” which is where your dog will be in it’s adult years if you don’t nip it in the bud now.
Make sure after you’ve done all the walking that you give your dog it’s own spot to lay down and this is the spot that it should be in when you say so, it could even be a designated pillow on the floor. Make sure your dogs gets that you mean business when you say the words lay down and stay in a firm and calm manner. Unfortatley having a dog is not your time anymore, now your working on dog time. Make sure your dog is fully bathroom breaked before you leave, to help to get to know your dogs bathroom schedule feed your dog at the same time always with the same amount of food. I feed my guys 1½ cups each in the morning and the same at supper I can tell you like clockwork when the need to relieve themselfs it’s all about the scheduale baby! :) Good luck.
I also wanted to add that you need to try not to lose your patience, a patient leader gains trust and trust is the foundation of a great relationship with your dog, your dogs needs to trust you.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@marinelife is ABSOLUTELY Correct, as is @Adirondackwannabe

I would further add that you MUST only reward with affection and treats the behavior you want. All other behavior must be ignored.

blueiiznh's avatar

All dogs have some sort of seperation anxiety. Sounds like yours is significant at this point.
You will ned to patiently work to help that first. Then crate train. Make it a place for them to learn it is a safe place to rest and not a punishment. Once they make it their place, they also will generally not foul in the place they rest. I am already training my 3 month old puppy, did my previous dominant breed dogs and with slow careful patience it will work.
Also remember that a dog can only hold it for about 1 hour per month of age up to a certain max.
You didn’t mention the breed. This can be important to know what challenges you may be facing.
You don’t want to leave a dog on a run for a length of time and not be around.

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