I've searched the world wide web, read books, magazines, articles, talked to vets, pet store owners, friends, family...and now I turn to you my friends!! Here is the situation with my new dog Brick, its a long one....so have a seat folks!!!
On Tuesday of this week (3 days ago), we adopted a 2 year old dog from the pound. He is a shepherd/rottweiller cross, and we don't know too much about his background. He is a very well behaved, sweet dog. He knows a few commands (sit, come, lay down, get your ball) and plays fetch VERY well! He is a fairly smart little boy! He tends to be a bit of a "Velcro" dog and only seems to relax completely when my fiancée and I are both in the room. We realize that it is still early in our relationship, and that he needs to learn to trust us, but it gets worse from here.
We both took the Wed. off work so we could slowly get him used to being alone. We did what many training manuals said, left him for short bits of time, came home, played with him, left again, etc. We had him in the back porch area, and he whined and barked when we left. When we got back after our hour away, he was soaking wet, and clearly upset. We played and walked him shortly after and he was as happy as could be!
On Thursday when we had to go back to work, we put him in the back porch, with his blanket, his water and his toys (we filled his Kong up with peanut butter) - all the little tricks the experts suggest. He shredded the door and the trim and had chewed his way out of his cone (which he had because he had just been neutered on Tues.). We went and bought him a kennel (plastic sides and metal door) hoping that would help. We tried luring him in with treats, making it seem like a "nice" place, but he was very defiant to it. It was a chore to get him inside. We left him in for short periods of time with treats then let him out. He whined a bit, but got busy digging out the treats in the Kong.
Today (Fri.) we put him in this morning, with a bone and his Kong filled with treats and his blanket, and went to work. My fiancée came home around noon to check on him - he was sweating, soaked and chewed the blanket to shreds. He put in another blanket and gave him his ball that he loves and left for work. When I got home, he had busted right out of the kennel. He only got into the garbage in the kitchen and did not chew anything else in the house (to my relief).
It is apparent he is suffering from Separation Anxiety, right??? Thank God it's the weekend so we can try to convince him that we ARE coming home and that he will be ok. We will continue our leaving for short periods of time on Sat. and Sun.
We are looking into obedience classes for him so he can socialize and refresh his memory on some commands and basic training. He does tend to pull on the leash when we walk him, so we got him a gentle lead - that really helps. He just needs some fine-tuning in that area. I hope some classes will help.
Anything else we might have missed?? We are trying so hard to be consistent and persistent. I'm an emotional basket case, wondering if this poor dog is confused as all hell, how we can make him at ease when we leave, and if doggy classes will help!! ACKKKKK!!!
Any suggestions from the addicts (Luba & LR) and anyone else who has gone through this would be MOST appreciated.....