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PLEASE HELP!!

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by sarahemlu, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. sarahemlu

    sarahemlu New Member Registered

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    Charlie is a 7 month old sproodle, he's the most wonderful dog...He's so loving and loyal, his recall off the lead is excellent and he loves to play and learn new tricks and when we are home is very well behaved.

    He isn't destructive at all when we are home, but when we're out he becomes more and more mischievous and naughty!!
    My boyfriend and i work shifts so he is never alone for more than 5 hours, 4 days a week.

    - We walk him for 1 hour before work every morning and again when i get home after an early shift
    - We put his breakfast in a trick ball that he has to push around to get the food from
    - We leave the radio on for him
    - He has many toys to play with and 2 beds to sleep in
    - He always has a fresh supply of water and other mind game treats to play with while we are out

    In the last few weeks he has got more and more creative with the things he is destroying, and its getting more dangerous for him to be left alone. The room is nearly empty of things to get, so now he's started to tear up the carpet.
    We are considering putting him back in his crate which he had as a puppy, however a friend of ours just lost her dog when the crate collapsed so it's made us nervous to use it again.

    Any advice VERY gratefully received!!!
    He sleeps well at night, he never destroys anything when we are home. What can we do.
    Many thanks in anticipation
    Sarah
    D920971A-D6D8-425A-AD90-EF8C3BF794FD.jpeg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2018
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  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    I would question whether he is being naughty, but maybe rather suffering from separation anxiety. Have you ever filmed him to see if he gets distressed when alone?
     
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  3. Caro Perry

    Caro Perry Well-Known Member Registered

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    It does sound like separation anxiety. Some dogs just don't cope well with being left alone.
     
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  4. sarahemlu

    sarahemlu New Member Registered

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    My aunties dog has separation anxiety so we were really mindful and followed her advice :
    - When he was a puppy we built up the time we left him slowly so he would get used to it.
    -We never tell him off when we get home if he’s destroyed something as he wouldn’t understand the association and it would make it worse.
    - We leave the radio on talking stations for company.
    - We have waited outside the front door for up to 15 minutes before and can’t hear him barking , and our neighbours haven’t noticed this either.
    He does get so excited when we come back, and he used to pee but has regained control of this and we are mindful to be calm when we come home so as not to over excite him or make it a big deal that we have come back.
    Wondering if there’s anything we have missed , anything else we could try ?
     
  5. arealhuman

    arealhuman Well-Known Member Registered

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    Welcome to the forum, Charlie is a handsome chap! I know you've left lots out for him to do, but do you think it could be boredom (and separation anxiety)? Perhaps he just prefers human company. Is there anyone who could regulalry drop in on him to check he's safe and reassure him?
     
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  6. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I would start off by putting up a video cam to film him while you're out - you may be able to do this using your computer. Then you can see whether he's distressed or just bored and making his own fun. He could also be teething which will exacerbate the need to chew.

    Whatever he is, he's not being 'naughty' - dogs don't have the same moral compass as us, and understanding 'Don't do X when owners are there' doesn't translate to 'Don't do X ever.'
     
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  7. Sezzy

    Sezzy Well-Known Member Registered

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    Welcome fellow Sproodle owner ;) I have no expert advice to offer, but I will however tell you about my own Sproodle and her behaviours over the last 3 years.
    Misty is extremely intelligent and likes routine, it could be called OCD! :eek:
    I have a camera on her so check regularly via my phone. She is left alone in the mornings for around 4 hours and is fine with this as she knows the times that we will be home, she is asleep within a few minutes of the last one out the door. She does not like to be left in the afternoons or evenings as she doesn’t know how long we will be gone (she has got better with age). She will not settle if we go out the back door, but is fine if we go out the front door!
    As a puppy she used to lift up the carpet and rip up the underlay before putting the carpet back on top, I only found this out with the camera :D
    I’m sure given time Charlie will settle down, good luck :)
     
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  8. sarahemlu

    sarahemlu New Member Registered

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    Thank you all so much , we will definitely try filming him - camera up very high!! - and go from there. I think you’re all right its a mixture of boredom and anxiety but need to find out for sure, we will try and leave him some extra tasty treats to keep him busy in the meantime.
    Sezzy that is SO reassuring thank you!! He's such a clever pup, and sounds familiar to Misty in OCD traits and liking routine. We will keep our fingers crossed he settles soon!
     
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  9. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    People may disagree with this (happy to be corrected on it) but I would leave him with just his normal routine to assess the true situation first.
     
  10. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    I'm guessing the crate that collapsed & killed the friend's dog was a wire AKA show-crate? :(
    I freely admit that i'm biased - i despise rattly, bendable, rust-prone, paint-flaking show crates. Their shallow trays are useless; the plastic ones split, warp, crack, & can be chewed to bits, & the sheetmetal ones bend, rust, shed paint chips, & both versions will leak feces, vomit, urine or any liquid spills onto the wall-to-wall, or allow it to splatter on the surrounding floor or furnishings. M dogs can even pee thru the wire-mesh walls!

    I use & recommend airline-approved shipping crates, & i buy mine used, on-line. It saves about half the cost of new in a retail store or from an on-line vendor.
    They don't collapse, they're virtually inescapable [unlike show-crates], they don't leak, & dogs can't pee out the sides. They're the gold standard for safe transport, & they provide privacy - when the dog lies down, s/he can't be seen except via the doorway. They also protect the dog from floor-level drafts, while the slots above provide plenty of ventilation.

    My Akita as a pup slept at night beside my bed, in her crate, & was in another crate downtown while i was at work M-F; until she was almost 12-MO, i gave her 2 breaks daily during her 8-hour crated weekdays.
    8-hrs at night with a 3-am potty break until she was 15-WO, plus 6-hrs during the day, totals 14 hours out of every 24-hr weekday in a crate. // Weekends she was rarely crated except at night, when i slept.
    Since she spent the other 10-hrs of every weekday either free in the house, with me watching her, or outside the house with me, she was hardly 'neglected', & she became a wonderful companion & a very successful therapy-pet, visiting the rehab clinic almost weekly.
    She was free within my bedroom, once she reached between 12-MO & 15-MO - my bed was off-limits, with an ex-pen to keep her off it when solo. I taught her as a pup that anything OFF THE FLOOR was off-limits, so things on shelves or clothes on hangers were untouched; my shoes & boots were also on shelves, & she never messed with them.
    Her own chewies & one or 2 toys would be rotated for her, & were on the floor or in her open crate, for her to use at will.


    IME as a trainer, at only 7-MO, he's not ready for the freedom to roam the whole house, & i'd crate him until he's older. I wouldn't feel horribly guilty about it, either. :D Dogs must earn the right to be loose while solo. It's not age-dependent, it's behavior-contingent. Some dogs can never be left solo outside a crate; they'll wreck something or eat something dangerous, & for their own safety, & their owner's sanity, they need to be confined.

    - terry
    .
     
  11. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    But if this dog does have separation anxiety, crating may prevent him from destroying things but it won't resolve his distress.
     
  12. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    the primary symptom of sep-anx isn't "trash random items", it's attempt to escape, & the more severe the sep-anx, the more intensely the dog tries to escape.
    This dog hasn't stripped the lino off the floor at the doorway, gnawed on windowsills, or dug deeply into door-panels with his claws - he's destroyed unspecified objects.

    He's also 7-MO, & lives in his original 1st-home; age of Dx for sep-anx is typically 15-MO & up, & dogs with a history of multiple homes in their 1st 12-mos are at high risk.
    He's at very-low risk of sep-anx, both b/c he's very young, plus he has not suffered a series of broken primary relationships. :) Those factors are strongly on his side.

    I fully agree with capturing his behavior via CC-TV to get an idea of what drives his impulse to shred stuff - it's always best to try to differentiate chewing from panic-attack.
    But sep-anx is - IME - the single most-overdiagnosed problem behavior in dogs, & it's most-often mislabeled by the owner, not a Dx made by a trainer, CAAB, or vet-behaviorist.

    A dog with sep-anx is desperately trying to get to their human/s, or often to ANY humans, & is in profound distress; a panic attack is not a 3-MO pup who whines & protest-barks 10-mins after being crated in another room. It's a meltdown which causes BP to rise, respiration & pulse go up, cortisol secretion spikes, the dog salivates heavily & can be heard to swallow often, they may shake [legs only or whole body], they may lose bladder & / or bowel control, or have increased gut motility & produce a stool "early" that's wrapped in clear mucus like food-film.
    They may chew interior or exterior doors, & get splinters in their gums or palates that prevent them eating; they may dig at the floor so intently they break or crack claws & bleed. They may jump thru closed windows or glass storm-doors or screening, & fall to the ground. They may chew at a crate door, & bloody their gums in the struggle.

    Dogs with sep-anx indicate it B4 U actually leave -
    the 1st indication that U are going to depart has them shadowing U anxiously, drooling slightly & swallowing more-often. They LOOK & act apprehensive - tails are down, ears are lower, head is forward, whale-eyes are common. Their worry increases as the signs of departure become more-imminent, & they become more clingy - some dogs will actually wrap their forepaws around an owner's legs to try to keep them at home, or they'll body-block U at the door & try to bolt thru it as U open it, which they do NOT do when they are leashed to accompany U.

    I'd get a video of him over a 1 or 2-hr period, not an entire working day, both to minimize the damage he does & the danger he runs, of ingesting something harmful.
    But for his own safety, if i had to be gone for a 4 to 8-hr period, I'd crate him with busywork [a stuffed frozen Kong of his breakfast, cow-hoof, antler, etc], & get additional video of him in the crate during that longer period, while confined. :) Even without a clear Dx, i wouldn't leave him at large for a working day.
    He could swallow something that requires X-rays, or even emergency surgery [batteries, loose change - pennies are SOLID ZINK & can be lethal in 24-hrs, to small dogs].

    Given the description we have, his age, & his history - the same stable home, since his purchase from the breeder - i very-much doubt he has sep-anx. :)
    I think he's filling his time by chewing, self-soothing 'cuz he's bored, & maybe settling his teeth in their sockets; he's not actively teething, they're all in.
    A Rott, GSD, Akita, or other large dog will have molars that may still be settling firmly into their jaws, until about 9-MO. He's a small-to-medium mix, ~40#, yes?
    His teeth, including molars, are fully-emerged - it's possible his gums are still a bit itchy, but dogs do chew ALL their lives, as a self-soothing & pleasurable hobby.

    JMO & IME - YMMV,
    - terry

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  13. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    There are sources which disagree with that but to keep things on track let's allow the OP to film the behaviour so she has a better idea of what she is dealing with.
     
  14. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    My experience of SA with a pup in his first home is very different to what you describe, leashedForLife.
     
  15. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    here's an interview with Dr Karen Overall, a DAVBC / Board-certified vet behaviorist, talking about the symptoms, treatment, & prevention of sep-anx -
    Separation Anxiety in Dogs

    It's a cached copy of a PDF - for those who'd prefer the PDF to open-text, it's here:
    http://www.akcchf.org/educational-r...ripts/Dr-Karen-Overall-Separation-Anxiety.pdf

    her "protocol for Relaxation" is found here:
    https://www.boulderhumane.org/sites/default/files/ProtocolforRelaxation.pdf

    yes, it's long & detailed - 'cuz it's thorough. Don't let the length scare U; go thru it one step at a time. :)

    for a treasure-trove of all of her behavioral protocols, including B-4 & B-5
    ['gradual departures' & 'uncouple departure cues', both key to DS/CC of sep-anx], see
    Belle Plaine Animal Hospital

    - terry

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  16. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    If you are so convinced this isn't SA maybe you should start another thread to avoid cluttering up this one. For the benefit of the OP please can we stay on topic.
     
  17. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    I am "on topic" @JoanneF - it's been suggested this might be SA;
    i've posted the most-reputable resources that i know of as a trainer, to either treat or to prevent sep-anx, as DS/CC [de-sensitize / counter-condition] also works beautifully to normalize departure cues, actual departures, & spending time solo.
    Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 12.35.56 PM.png

    Anyone who searches for "separation anxiety" on the forum is liable to have this thread pop-up, & surely, posting resources here, for others to find, is helpful?

    - terry

    .
     
  18. Kayak

    Kayak Active Member Registered

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    He's adorable! :D

    I agree recording him when you're away would be a good idea, you'll be able to gauge his state of mind from his body language.

    I would just lift everything out of reach if all he is doing is destroying items instead of furniture, and leave a few strong chews for him to munch on. If that didn't help and he began chewing other things, as you're only away for a maximum of 5 hours I'd pop him back in his crate for another few weeks before giving him freedom when you're away. Maybe it was just too soon to give him the freedom.

    This is pretty much the procedure I followed with my puppies when they were given unsupervised freedom. I only had a chewing problem very similar to yours with two puppies. Lifting items they could reach is what solved the issue for me.
     
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  19. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    Separation Anxiety could be what it is but does he have any stimulation in the day? i.e. Walk before you leave or a play?
     
  20. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    He's a very active baby! Having 'survived' the last year and a half with our working cocker your boy sounds just the same. His body AND brain are firing on all cylinders right now. Whatever the reason this boy just needs stuff to do. I certainly wouldn't crate him but I've never crated any dog. We sometimes had to leave our cocker for 3-4 hours in his first few months. Having lost a shelf of books...removed every book from the room...then lost the bottom 3 bookshelves we realised he is of course is anxious without us and chews to help himself cope. So we did EVERYTHING every web site offered. We left his breakfast in congs. (4 of these). We left every toy we knew he liked. And best of all we visited a supermarket every week and asked for those hard cardboard veg boxes. Some we left just on the floor, some we stacked on kitchen chairs in twos and threes. He likes best any that had had grubby things like potatoes in because they smelt more interesting. Oh and we brought in a log or two that we intended to burn that night. He likes to remove the bark. Whenever we get home we still find a room unbelievably messy. But in a good way. He's had a ball. 10mins with the brush and hoover has wood and cardboard in the log burner and a fire ready to light! My best advice is just go with it- give him things to do. Dogs lives are used up so quickly- it seems a shame not to let their puppy years be full of fun and not anxiety...and oh yes, we will be getting a new rug in a year or so but I never liked the old one that much anyway. If he's really really destructive after all this, I'd get someone in to visit/walk him to break up the day. Good luck.
     
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