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Destructive when Dog is left alone!!

June 1st, 2005, 10:48 PM
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I really need help. Lately my dog has been getting really upset when i leave the house. When she was a puppy she used to tear up my things such as pillows, clothes etc. when everyone left the house...She hasnt done anything like that in a long time. Now when we leave the house , she barks a lot and startes jumping on the door excessively....i've come home several times to find chips of wood shes scratched off with her nails from the doorframe and window sill. I thought it would blow over but she's ruining so much in the house even if i'm gone for only half an hour. I know she doesnt understand what she did wrong BUT HOW CAN I GET HER STOP THIS ? I've tried leaving her in other rooms with the door locked and she'll scratch at everything there too! I don't have a very large home and i'm running out of options. I can't afford to keep fixing these things!

I'd love any advice!!
Thank you Very Much

June 2nd, 2005, 12:04 AM
Have you bought a crate for her so that she can be crated whenever you are out of the house?

June 2nd, 2005, 07:00 AM
I had a similiar with one of my younger dogs. We got her at 9-mos along with all of her baggage. For the first week we started crating her as we were unsure of her house manners. We let her out the next week only to come home to problems. We had thought that she would hang out with our older dog thus avoiding any destruction .... yeah, right!

We began crating her again and on occassion trying her out. When she destroyed a living room chair and a door frame all in one afternoon I sentenced her to many many months of crate arrest (four months and counting now). At first she would cry and bark and howl when we crated her, now she goes in, lies down, and goes to sleep with no hassles.

Our third dog (6 mos) has yet to see unsupervised freedom and is slowly figuring out that his crate is a nice place to hang out.

It is a very nice feeling to know that when you come home you can spend the time playing with your dog rather than spending it cleaning up a mess.

June 2nd, 2005, 08:15 AM
You have to crate your dog if they are being destructive. They know what they can and can not do. Proof of this is that they don't do it when you're home.

If you crate her again she will know why.

Kayla and Me
June 2nd, 2005, 08:17 AM
Kayla had the same problem when she first came to live with me 7 months ago. She was 1 1/2 yrs old at that time, and used to be very destructive when her previous owners left her. I tested her out and sure enough, as soon as I would leave, she would go to a bedroom and pee and poop in it, or grab shoes or anything else she could find and kill it. I had to keep her caged whenever I left, and after a few months of consistent routine, I started letting her out of the cage for 10 min. intervals. I would leave and come back, leave and come back. When I came back, she would be at the door to greet me, and she would get huge pats. Now I can go for an hour, and when I come back, she can barely lift her lazy butt out of the chair to come and say hello.

I don't leave her uncaged for more than an hour if I have to leave. Any longer and she seems to loose her focus and starts the bad behaviour again. We will keep stretching out the time, but I'm not optimistic about it. Good thing she loves her cage. :)

Kayla and Me

doggy lover
June 2nd, 2005, 10:14 AM
Sounds like separation anxiety to me, a crate is a good idea but she will still get upset when you leave and cause her stress. Tenderfoot could help you more but,try this when you leave don't make a fuss, try leaving of short intervals first 10 min or so, when you first come in don't make a big fuss either, I always waite about 10 minutes when I get home before I even talk to Tucker. Gradually work up the time that you leave her, try leaving a stuffed kong in the crate when you go to take her mind off of you leaving, it gives them something to do while they waite for you too.

June 2nd, 2005, 11:11 AM
I guess i have to try and figure something out about getting a crate. I don't really know if theres room here for one. We had a small one when she was a puppy but she outgrew that one fast.

I definitely agree with the seperation anxiety. I try and keep her somewhere not near the front window(not just because she scratches it up) but because i've seen her as I was leaving before and sometimes it looks like she's panicing because we're leaving without her.

I've definitely got to try not being so excited when i come home and see her. I always greet her right away and maybe ur right about that.
It seems like i've spoiled her rotten. She's very attached to me and follows me from room to room. I'm also the only one she really listens to.
It's so easy to spoil them, now trying to reverse it is gunna be really tough!


June 2nd, 2005, 11:23 AM
With SA this is the best routine. First, get a kong or some other durable stuffable toy. Fill it with the dogs FAVORITE food, like a luquid dog food, yogurt, cheese whiz, peanut butter, and freeze it.

Start with short intervals like said above. Get ready to leave and ignore your dog. Don't say anything. When you are about to leave, go to the freezer, give the dog the stuffed kong, and leave.

When you come back, ignore your dog, check the mail, use the bathroom, whatever, and FIND the kong and take it away. After about 10-15 minutes, then greet your dog.

Eventually the dog will learn that you are going to come back and leaving is not a big deal, and a great treat comes out of you leaving. Make sure that kong is distinct and special and only used for when you are leaving though, never as a regular toy.

June 2nd, 2005, 10:52 PM
i like that suggestion...i'm definitely going to try that one

Thanks lots!!!!

June 5th, 2005, 01:52 PM
I guess i have to try and figure something out about getting a crate. I don't really know if theres room here for one. We had a small one when she was a puppy but she outgrew that one fast.


You may find that a wire crate / suitcase crate will work better than a cargo style plastic crate if space is an issue. Most of the wire crates can be folded down when not in use (also usefull for taking with you on trips because of the relatively small size they take up). You just need to find a decent spot in your house for when you are not home, but are easily able to put it out of the way when you are home. Of course, if you want the crate to be the dogs bed / safe retreat place when you are home, then you may have to sacrifice some space in the house. In the end you will likely find that it is better to be a bit cramped than to come home to find pieces of your house all over the house.