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Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Ryan989, Jul 31, 2018.
Everythings fine now, thanks for advice
What is she like when you are in, is she OK then? When you come home does she seem agitated and overexcited to see you? If so, it could be mainly separation anxiety (if so we can give some suggestions to help).
Do you ever tell her off, using her name, for anything? Have you ever so much as looked annoyed when you came home to find something destroyed? Some dogs are so sensitive even a raised eyebrow can make them anxious. If she has learnt bad associations with her name you might even benefit from changing her name and ensuring it only has positive associations (say name, treat, say name, treat, say name, treat...).
What anxiety does she show in other situations, such as out on a walk?
An Adaptil diffuser/spray may well help, but I'm sure we'll be able to help more when we have a fuller picture.
There could be a few things going on there. I suppose the first thing to consider is whether her destructive behaviour is from boredom or anxiety.
How long is she left for? And what is her routine before being left?
Regarding her toileting, again the question that comes to mind is whether it is anxiety or medical - has she had a vet check? What is her relationship with the male like? Do you give them one to one time - how much do you know about littermate syndrome? Sorry for all the questions. It would just be helpful to look at the bigger picture, i.e. why she is doing these things.
How long is Willow left alone? My last dog had terrible separation anxiety and would wee or destroy something even if I was only in the other room. We started crate training to help the situation and took it really slow when leaving him alone. Starting with 5 minutes and gradually increasing it until he was comfortable. It worked wonders for us.
Crate training will also eliminate any toilet issues but I wouldn't recommend leaving dogs alone for longer than 4 hours. If you're interested we've just posted a blog on our website on how to introduce crate training.
Hope things improve,
Sorry if this is pedantic but a crate is a tool that can help with toilet training, but won't by itself fix it. On the basis that a dog prefers to sleep in a clean area, she will avoid soiling her crate if she can. But if she cannot hold (either through anxiety or being left too long) she will have no option but to toilet, crate or not - and then potentially be unable to get away from it if she is confined. And that could distress her more.
This is a very good guide to crate training if you do choose to take this option.
Crate Training - Step By Step Guide to A Distress Free, Force Free Crate Trained Dog or Pup by Emma Judson
Not pedantic at all, I think my language wasn't clear. I'm advising crate training to help eliminate the issue and as a tool to start addressing any separation anxiety. And stressing that this is something to be taken slowly.
We usually get a nice greeting, she'll bring you her toy to which we thank her, she used to jump up a lot out of excitement which to my knowledge she doesn't do anymore. When we're home she's quite calm, she sometimes likes to jump up and try playfully nibble our hands, we usually just tell her ''No'' and then praise her when she stops. We do say ''Willow, No'' if she's misbehaving but not a lot, it's typically just a ''No'' and then praise her when she stops misbehaving. Also, have never given her an annoyed look (although i do have a grumpy resting face i've been told)
Out on walks she's a diamond, she'll never leave your side if we're in the countryside and comes back on command with lots of praise. She does have this thing where if she sees another dog, she'll just stop and look at it, then suddenly lunge at it, which understandably frightens a lot of other dog walkers. However once we explain she's friendly, she'll have a sniff and then play very nicely with the other dog.
She's left for around 4 hours until my mum checks on reggie and willow during her lunch, then another 3-4 hours until we get home. We usually stuff a load of kong toys with treats, attempt to ''willow'' proof the house and then leave without saying anything (read somewhere thats the best thing to do)
She's left for about 4 hours until checked on, then a further 3-4hrs.
i Would like to try crate training, but i don't know how well it would work with reggie around, they are nearly inseparable. Also what's the link to your blog? would be great to read it.
Its a long time to leave such young dogs i certainly would not be putting her in a crate for such long periods with a short break in between ...it sounds like anxious behaviour that most probably has arisen from being left for such long periods
That's a long time to be left - I definitely wouldn't crate her for all of it. I think I'd start by videoing her when she's left - is she anxious, or is she having a whale of a time? Either way the answer may well be to ensure she isn't left alone for so long, e.g. getting a dog walker.
Some dogs don't play when left to their own devices - she might find destroying things much more satisfying than her usual toys. You could try leaving out cardboard boxes for her to shred, maybe with treats wrapped in twists of paper in them.
Emma Judson at Canine Consultants is a specialist in separation anxiety, and works remotely - she would watch your dog to assess her behaviour and then advise. Another good resource is the book I'll Be Home Soon by Patricia McConnell.
As she sounds quite sensitive I would stop saying 'No', and particularly 'No, Willow'. If she bites your hands simply turn and walk away, and then it will cease to be rewarding for her. Then I'd work on the 'Willow', treat, thing and generally ensure she thinks that her name is a wonderful magical predictor of lovely things. This may be overkill, but it'll certainly do no harm and might be part of the solution.
Do you walk them before you go to work ....
Ok, a few thoughts but first, please stop her lunging. The other dogs may be in training, unwell or just plain intolerant, one day she may come off worse. Besides, it isn't good dog manners. In keeping with what seems to be her anxiety she may be taking the approach that attack is the best form of defence so she is having first pop in the hope she can make the scary other dog back off.
I would try to avoid other dogs completely for a few days to let her cortisol levels rebalance then find out what distance she doesn't react. Let her observe other dogs from a calm distance and reward her calm behaviour. Over time you can work on reducing the distance. This may take several months, asking for a calm sit while rewarding.
I second the suggestion of filming her. To resolve the problem in the house you really do need to work out why she is doing it and this would help. You could also try an Adaptil product. It comes in a spray (for blankets etc., not for directly on to the dog), a collar and a diffuser. It replicates the hormone a bitch has after having puppies and has a calming effect on dogs.
And, do you train and walk her separately from your other dog? I really urge you to read up on littermate syndrome.
they usually get a quick run before we go. And according to their previous owners there were left for up to 8hrs with them and were fine. We're trying to get some money together for dog walkers or for someone to sit in for them
Until you can arrange a dogwalker. ..could you give them at least an hours walk before you leave them ..
I have worked with rescue dogs (fostering homechecking )for over 30 yrs and the main reason for young dogs being relinquished is people buying pups and working full time ...
Your dogs behaviour is natural for a highly intelligent breed not being stimulated enough before you leave them ...i would suggest given them at least one hours walk in the mornings before you leave and then feed them their breakfast so they are settled and tired and then a dogwalker at lunchtime. ...
The link to our blog is below and is written as a guide for puppies but the principles of choosing a crate and introducing your dog to it still apply. It does sound like there's more of a behavioural issue developing here - if you're out during the day, a good run in the morning and another one during the day is really important. Doggy day care and walking can be expensive but you might find someone who's happy to help out. We've had neighbours in the past look after our dog when we've had work assignments and I have a few friends who use borrow my doggy and have found some people to help for free that just want to spend time with dogs. I can't remember the name of it but theres a new site that's a more advanced borrow my doggy and vets the people as well.
Crating for up to 4 hours isn't a problem at all but you do need to ensure they're getting enough exercise before and after. With the two of them being so close, I'd advise you to spend time with them both separately and if you do pursue crate training, it's fine to keep the crates close together initially but then I'd gradually move them apart. Start slowly when you have time at home with them and go from there. Hope everything improves soon
How to crate train your puppy in 5 simple steps
Anyone that says its ok to leave what were 4/5 mths old puppies for 8 hrs a day was ok are totally irresponsible
I would be very reluctant to start crate training when Willow is showing signs of stress/anxiety already. One more new difficult thing in her world is not what she needs I'd say. She's a very young very intelligent breed. Obviously she feels things more deeply than her brother. (True of a lot of girls!) Her obsession with the sofa is easy to understand- it has your scent on it so to help her cope with her fears she munches it to surround herself with you!
I'd really try to find a way of getting these dogs visits during the day- even someone they can get to know and will sit and watch your TV while they pop in and out and play. In the past my 91 yo neighbour did this for me- he loved being asked- and the cake I left him to go with his tea- and the dogs got to adore it. I'd really try distractions and socialisation before further restriction.