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Troubles leaving puppy alone...

February 23rd, 2009, 03:26 PM
I have an 8 month old French Bulldog/Chihuahua at home. She normally is an awesome little dog, she is house trained, trained to do some tricks, and most of the time listens really well.

Usually when I have had to leave her at home alone while I go to work she is generally good, the only problems we used to have were her pooping in the house (shes gotta go somewhere right..) and having a few things chewed when i forget to put something out of her reach. But this past week she has been just terrible. I'm not sure why she has changed. But she has chewed threw electrical cords for our game system and internet, (she has never had a problem with cords before), and when i left her for just an hour ripped my cell phone off the charger and chewed it to the point that it doesn't work anymore.

I don't understand why she has started to be so bad when me or my boyfriend are not at home. But she is causing a lot of damage. A friend told me that it is a sign of disrespect and i should get her in behavior modification class or something. My boyfriend is with her during the weekdays i would say 40% of the time, when he isn't, she has roam of the house for 8 hours a day, which is when she gets in the most trouble.

Does anyone have a suggestion on what i can do to help fix this problem or any idea why she would have such a change?

February 23rd, 2009, 03:38 PM
Hae you tried crate training her? Has she got lots of toys to play with?
All of what you mentioned points to boredom. Try putting her in a crate that is big enough for her to lie down, turn around in but not big enough to pee/poop in. Toilet her before putting her in it while you are gone. Give her a kong stuffed with peanut butter and kibble and she will be a happy pup.
Getting her spayed may be a good idea too. She could be in heat and frustrated.
I am sure some doggie people will be along soon to give you better ideas/suggestions.

February 23rd, 2009, 04:31 PM
Crate training is a good recommendation. It is alot to ask of an 8 month old to be loose without causing trouble. It is just boredom or possible anxiety, not disrespect at all. If you cannot crate her, then you can try excercising her in the morning before she is left alone, this will release some of her frustration. Give her toys that will work her brain, like a Kong stuffed with treats that has to work at, or a treat dispensing ball. You can also try hiding treats around for her to find. The suggestion that she may be going into heat could be an explanation of why she has changed, but also it could just be her age, as they grow older they like to start testing boundaries.

Crate training is the safest thing for her, but you can try the other suggestions, as well as having someone come home to let her out and preferably walk her during the day. She will not learn to hold her poop if she is allowed to do it in the house at all. You can try spraying bitter apple onto things you don't want her to chew, but it doesn't always work. Make sure anything she might get into is out of her reach. DO NOT punish her for these behaviours when you come home. This is a result of boredom, frustration, or anxiety and getting angry and punishing her is not an acceptable reaction.

February 23rd, 2009, 04:56 PM
Crate training made my pups secure. They love their crates!

February 23rd, 2009, 05:01 PM
Your friend is absolutely wrong. Not disrespect at all. As mentioned she's either anxious or bored. Even small dogs need exercise and mental stimulation. Dogs don't do things out of disrespect to you when you're not there. They're probably not even thinking about you, just "I'm alone....I'm bored....I'm hyper...I wanna play! I wanna chew something!" Obviously not exactly like that but you get what I'm saying :p

You haven't mentioned taking her for walks or exercising her or playing with her, is she just mostly in the house all the time?
Also, 8 hours is an awfully long time for a dog to be alone every day. If you could get someone to take her for a walk (even hire someone if you can afford it) or at least take her out to potty and play with her for a little bit while you guys are at work that could help immensly. Also give her a TON of appropriate things to chew on. Make sure you encourage her to play with them while you're home and make it very fun. When you leave (assuming it's not seperation anxiety, which honestly doesn't sound like it since it wasn't a problem before) she'll be more likely to go for those items instead of stuff that's off limits.

One of the problems you may run into at this point are now that she has figured out she can be destructive and get away with it and no one is there to reprimand her you may HAVE to start crate training (would probably be a good idea anyway) because now she knows there are no consequences for her destructive behavior. Once dogs figure out they can get into or destroy stuff while you're gone it can be an uphill struggle to correct that behavior, which is why it's always better to prevent bad behaviors in the first place. This does not necessarily mean she'll have to be crated while you're gone forever.
You must also remember that your dog is still a puppy! 8 months is not that old and though she may have been a perfect dog she is still figuring things out and going through the growing process so bad behaviors can pop up like crazy, you will have to be vigilant. NOW is the time to take action, make sure you encourage GOOD behaviors constantly and not only correct bad behaviors but try to put her in the position where she can succeed, not fail. (leaving a puppy alone for 8 hrs with nothing to do every single day is setting her up for failure and making it harder on both of you)

This is a result of boredom, frustration, or anxiety and getting angry and punishing her is not an acceptable reaction.

Reposted for emphasis. If you are angry when you walk in just remember that you set up the situation that caused her to do so much damage. Punishing her after the fact will only make her nervous about you coming home, not stop the problems while you're gone.

February 23rd, 2009, 05:04 PM
I have thought about crate training before, but i think i would feel really bad, isn't 8 hours too long to have your dog stuck in a crate?

February 23rd, 2009, 05:08 PM
Well, it would be best if someone could come home to let her out in the middle of the day, but they can make it for 8 hours ok. You should excercise her before putting her in, when you get home, and give her something to keep her busy in the crate. It is better than her chewing something up and getting sick, or electrocuted.

February 23rd, 2009, 05:10 PM
If you can have someone come in part way through her day in the crate and take her out for a run, play with her for a while, then put her back in that would be ideal. If not, giving her a kibble/peanut butter stuffed kong will keep her happy and busy in between napping till you come home. It is even better if the kong has been frozen for a while before giving it to her.

February 23rd, 2009, 05:12 PM
I have thought about crate training before, but i think i would feel really bad, isn't 8 hours too long to have your dog stuck in a crate?

What is worse. Her being left in a crate where she's safe with some toys to play with or leaving her out to roam around and potentially eat stuff that could endager her? You'd probably feel worse if you came home and she'd electricuted herself chewing on wires or got an intestinal blockage swallowing something she wasn't supposed to.

8 hrs is really a little too long to leave a dog in a crate OR to roam free in the house, but you're limited in the choices you have. Unless you can leave her with someone during the day (some people even use doggy daycare type places) optimal thing in your case would be to leave in crate and have someone come over to let her out to go potty and run around halfway through the day (or you or your spouse could even do it on your lunchbreak or something if that's viable).
As long as you exercise her and play with her adequately while you're actually there she should be fine.
Take her for a walk and play with her and try to wear her out some before you crate her every day (and to make sure she uses the bathroom enough beforehand) and do the same after you get home.

February 23rd, 2009, 05:19 PM
Thank you everyone for your advice!

She is mostly an indoor dog, especially now that its winter, and her little paws get so cold when we go outside. But we always play with her tons, (it seems like she never stops when she is awake) and goes to the dog park when it is nice outside.

I'll be going to get a bigger crate right away so i won't feel like I'm putting her in jail for the day. I wish i knew someone who lived close to us to come during the day... and i will get some more chew toys for her (she has wrecked a few of her favorites and i haven't yet replaced them with new ones yet). hopefully that will help.

February 23rd, 2009, 05:20 PM
I think it's an age issue....she is growing up and exploring and wants to find other stuff to play with.

Buster started getting into things around 7-8 months old and I bought a crate (I was TOTALLY against crating...seemed cruel, poor doggy....) but after he chewed table lamp cords, remote for TV, etc etc....the crate was bought.

Now...when I say I am "going to the store" or "going to work" he goes to his house and loves it. Unfortunately (for me...) he is in his "house" for most of the day but I know he is safe and he is very relaxed when I get home. He has a large crate, can walk around, lay down, chew on his kong and other safe toys and treats. He has never peed or pooped in his house.....

It may seem cruel but they do really feel safe in their own little den. Start slow, leave the door open and allow the pup to walk in and out with treats for good behaviour.

Good luck! It hurts us more than it hurts the pup.....:goodvibes:

February 23rd, 2009, 07:49 PM
The idea of crating was really hard for me to get used to too in the beginning. I had dogs all my life and we certainly never crated any of them.
But when we got our puppies back in October, I decided to give it a try, since I'd heard so many positive things about it.
Timber took to the crate alot faster than Jasper did. Even now, Jasper doesn't like to be in there if he knows that we're still home somewhere in the house (I tried putting him in there to dry off after a bath one time - not successful :yell:).

However, they both have absolutely no problem going in there when I'm leaving for work in the morning. I just call them to come upstairs, and they walk right past me, into their bedroom, into their crates and lay down.

Right now, I come home at lunch to let them out, but I've been pushing my lunch back later and later because I would soon like to get to the point where they can stay there all day. Also, when I come home every day at lunch, I'm almost always the one to wake them up. Otherwise, they would have just kept sleeping.

I notice that they definitely have more energy to burn in the evenings when they've been crated all day, but that's to be expected. :)
I really do recommend giving the crate a try for a few weeks to see how it goes. The Kong suggestion is a good one too, for those rambunctious days.

But in the end, if you give it a try and it just doesn't work for you and your pup, what about the idea of sectioning off a part of your house while you're away, rather than giving free range?

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Gail P
February 23rd, 2009, 09:48 PM
Your pup is in her "teenager" phase where she will test you and test her boundaries. Just like toddlers often go through the "terrible twos". There are many reasons to start using a crate. For one thing it will stop the destructive behaviour immediately (which will protect both your pup and your house) and it will help you with the housetraining.

If you've never used a crate up to this point, introduce it as a good place to be. My pups always run to their crate when I say "go to bed" because they know I will throw in a treat for them. Once your pup realizes that the crate is not such a bad place to be, spending the day in there while you're working won't be such a bad place to be. The rule of thumb as far as potty training goes is that they can "hold it" for approx. their age in months +1, so your 8 month pup should be able to last about 9 hours if necessary. If you're going to be gone all day, make sure to exercise her well and let her potty before crating, and think about giving her a small amount of water in the crate. You don't want so much that she'll need out to pee during the day when you're not there (or too much to play in), but a little would be good. You can buy small stainless steel buckets meant for hanging in crates/pens, which is what I use, or I've also used large water bottles meant for rabbits. They can't lap up the water that way but they can lick a little out of the spout. A bottle is a good alternative if they want to play in the water and tip it, just make sure that bottle is on the outside of the crate and only the metal spout sticks through. I also usually give my guys something like a kong or large smoked bone if they need to be crated for a long period of time.

Eventually, as your pup becomes fully house trained and you think is past the destructive phase you can try leaving her uncrated for very short "test" periods, i.e. if you have to just run to the corner store to pick up milk or something. Short being like 15-30 minutes. If everthing's good, after a few more short tests try a little longer, gradually increasing the length of time as she proves she can handle it. If at any point she begins to chew stuff again she'll need to have that freedom restricted and go back to being crated when you're away. Of all my dogs I only had to put one back into the crate after I thought he was okay loose in the house. He was crate trained from the moment I brought him home but after he was house trained and finished teething I let him loose and he began chewing stuff (around 9 months) so he lost his freedom for about 2-3 more months and then he showed me he was ready. So far I've never had a dog that hasn't been able to graduate out of the crate to having full roam of the house when nobody's home, but the age they're ready can vary from dog to dog. I've had some out by around your pup's age, others not until around 2 years of age. Most are ready by about a year, but that's when they've been started off crating very young. Right now my pup Dru is 7 months and still getting crated at night time and if I'm away, but I didn't get him until he was 5 months of age and he was a farm puppy, kenneled or in the barn a lot of the time so although he's 95% housetrained I don't trust leaving him unattended just yet. I've also caught him chewing a little bit lately, he's getting to that age too :rolleyes: But, I'm home with him most of the time so I can catch him in the act and take away whatever it is he shouldn't have and substitute an appropriate toy.

Good luck with your pup :)

February 24th, 2009, 06:47 PM
I just can't believe it! I've decided to start crate training her, but... the crate i have is so small that she can not turn around in it, way too small i think to leave her in all day. So the plan was to just put her in the bathroom (where she stayed when she was a pup when we were out) with her toys and stuff until i can go and buy her a nice crate on friday.

I come home and the bathroom is a total mess, (no big deal it was what i was expecting) I notice a towel i left in the bathroom covered in blood!! I of course freaked out. She was so excited to see me it took me a minute to figure out what had happened... as far as i can tell she tried so hard to push her nose under the crack in the door that she wore her skin right off her face. It wasn't bleeding when i got home but below her nose and her chin are worn write down, pink and it looks so soar. I feel so TERRIBLE, can't beleive she would do this to herself. I almost cry every time i look at her now...

Now i'm just plain worried, one about what i'm going to do for the next few days. And even worse, what happens if she finds a way to hurt herself in a crate...

I know there are going to be people instantly saying that i shouldn't have dog if I can't afford the stuff for her, but in my defense its been a rough couple of months, and my puppy always comes first.

February 24th, 2009, 08:46 PM
I"m with 14+ on the boredom part. She's alone and this is her acting out...How is she when you and the BF are home? Does she get into things? If so, do you re-direct her with a toy she can have? This is the only way she will stop being destructive..She has to be "taught" not to destroy.. Not that much different than teaching a child..;)

Do I think 8 hours is a long time to be in a crate? I sure do..Try putting yourself in one and only be able to stand(should I say be on all fours) and turn around. Would that be comfortable? I have nothing against crating..I've just never crated and my dogs had free run at 5 1/2 months..They "earned" it.;)

I don't think having her blocked in the bathroom is a bad idea..Mine were blocked in the kitchen..Is there anyway you can block the bottom crack of the door? And I also agree with the kong filled with treats..;)

How much exercise is she getting before you both leave? How much is she getting when your home? This makes a big difference.

As for it being cold out for her paws, have you tried booties? Playing in the house and going for walks is two different things, believe it or not..The walks are more stimulating for her..:)

February 24th, 2009, 09:07 PM
The thing is she is fine when we are home, plays with us and her own toys. She had all of her toys in the bathroom, I hid several treats around the bathroom hoping that would occupy her at least for a little while but they weren't even touched when i got home.

I did try booties once before but the ones i got were too big and they fell off. We are in a little bit of a cold snap right now but I will see if i can keep her outside a little longer tomorrow morning for some exercise.

I'm really scared about leaving her again tomorrow, after her hurting herself today... I could try to put something in front of the door, but i know my puppy and i'm sure she will figure out a way around it. So much determination.
Can anyone think of anything that could help her nose? it looks really soar, i wish i could help her...

February 24th, 2009, 10:47 PM
I see that you are from my hometown of Edmonchuk lol I am going to send you a PM.

February 25th, 2009, 02:13 PM
Hi and welcome to the forum...

I think your crate is WAY too small. Especially since as you say, she cannot turn around...Thats a sure indicator.

I, too, had a bit of a problem leaving Sparky in the crate all day long...So what we figured as a solution was to get on of these playpen enclosures (se pics attached. We got one that could be played with, as in, disconnected and arranged the way I want it. We started by having it in a U shape, with one side to the wall, so it was fully closed, but the puppy had its toys, food, water, and his crate IN the enclosure. He came with the crate, but by now, the crate is too small for him.

At this point, I enclose the entrance and part of the hallway, so he has plenty of room to play, jump and do pretty much whatever he wants, without getting hurt, there is nothing in his way. I have to mention, that by now, he is completely house-trained, so that is not a concern, but I am not planning to leave him to roam the house, as he does tend to find stuff to chew on if he is bored. My biggest fear is him getting electricuted or something.

So I would recommend that you may look into either getting a bigger crate, where she will be able to move around more, or one of those enclosure pens, but if you do - don't buy the plastic ones, the pup will try to chew on it. Mine is metal wire, he cannot take chunks off it or bend and snap it off...

So in the pics, just to show you various solutions:
1. is an original idea to use those connect-a-block or whatever they are called, but I am not sure about safety or sturdiness of it at all...
2. is what I have, but mine is in white and a little bigger, and when I come home I fold it neatly, completely flat next to the wall, so its out of our way.
3. what else you can do with it later, like if you want to separate the pieces and block off one specific entrance, or something...

Also, would like to mention, don't ever punish the dog AFTER the fact, they will not connect the deed to the punishment at all, even if its 5 minutes later. Just learn the lesson and try to prevent it from happening again. Same with successful house-training: if the dog peed or pooped - only if you catch it in the act and correct it - will you deliver your message.

Good luck and I hope I helped! :thumbs up

February 25th, 2009, 02:14 PM
Forgot to attach the pics! :loser: LOL

February 25th, 2009, 03:56 PM
Yes, I would fully support the Playpen. My Puppy Mooshie (mini male daxie) has a playpen in his room; with his open crate in it. If I have to leave the house for extended period he has his open crate to sleep/rest in and available space in his pen should he need to elimate (on a puppy pad). To get him used to the enclosed environment, I started putting him in the pen daily, even if Im home, for a couple of hours, then take him out for potty & play. Being a mini-daxie, he really hates the cold so his outdoor activities, to date, are limited. If it is mild & sunny during the day, we take a walk around the block, combination of walk & run; so he gets some exercise. I can hardly wait till the temps warm up and we can spend more time outdoors. Living in Ottawa, the temps are quite cold not to mention the snow. I keep the deck & patio cleared of snow, so he doesn't have to plough through it; which he probably couldn't do anyway.

I hope you can get a crate and pen, not cheap though, soon will make things much better. I just bought a playpen like the one in the last pic, which can be configured in different ways and has an access gate; seems to work best. I hope the nose heals fast.

February 25th, 2009, 08:10 PM
Having free run has to be earned from day one..And it takes time...I started with 15 mins..I walked outside, waited then came in. I ignored them for a few mins then praised...Did this for a few days..Then I went for 25 mins...See where I'm going with this?...:)

When the bf goes out, pup should be blocked off.

When you guys are home, do you give her some of "her" time?

What I mean by that is, when you both are home, do you block her off for a bit then you both do things as normal? I did this with my guys..I would be home with them, then I would block them in the kitchen for a bit, about a half hour to an hour...Then let them out..I would do this a couple of times..I really hope this made sense.LOL

I find that if they are with you all the time then at times they get needy or even end up with Separation Anxiety when left alone.

As for the bathroom door crack, put some vinegar in a spray bottle and add some water..Spray it across the bottom of the door..This should keep her away from it as they don't like the smell...You can test this by doing it while your home..Put her in,close the door and walk away a bit...Then just keep an ear out...:)