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please help with my trouble maker(long)

Discussion in 'Dogs - all breeds / types' started by winnie, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. winnie

    winnie New Member

    I dont know what to do, I was hoping someone could help me...
    Heres some back ground.

    I got my first dog Winnie at 7 months old, when she was about 1 1/2 I rescued a dog from the dog park who was about 3-4 months old (sydney), about a year later got a Golden/lab mix (Bear). When I got Winnie I had her potty trained in one day. Bear was potty trained since he was 5 weeks old (no joke!). Syd, my middle child has never been completely potty trained. I have tried everything and I know I can do it cause my other two were potty trained so quick. But no matter what I do with Syd I cant get her 100 % potty trained.

    The only time she doesnt have an accident is when she is confined to a crate or confined to a small area, such as a hallyway or if im home. I dont have my crate anymore, cause for a while I had thought I had her potty trained, but obviously not(she'll go months being good then all of a sudden start). I do have doggy gates. I confine her and my other dogs together (so they have company) in my long marble hallway, I keep beds, blankets, toys and water there. Syd figured out how to push and jump the gate,when I came home I found she had gotten in the litterbox and cat food, and had peed on the carpet. I put chairs in front of the gate the next time to prevent jumping/pushing, this worked for a couple days till one day i come home and sure enough she escaped (only her, the other dogs where still in the hallyway) and agian she peed on the floor. She doesnt always pee though, sometimes if I come home and she has gotten out there is no accident, but agian she has eaten the cat food. So I have finally found a way to keep her confined in the hallway with the others and it works great! But now she has started chewing at the baseboards. I dont know for sure its her cause im not home at the time but I just know it is, i know her so well.

    I did a deep cleaning of my house today and discovered "a dog" had peed on the bed in the cats room (which isnt even mine!) I never use the bed and I never knew about it till now. But I just know its Syd, she is the only dog that ever escapes, and like I said before my other dogs have never ever had an accidnet in the house, ever.

    Why does she still do this? She is about 4 now. I just dont get it, everything I have done with my others I have done with her, yet she continues to have random accidents. She is healthy, and I know she knows she is bad, cause when I come home, right when I walk in, even before I see anything, she walks up to me with her ears back and this sad look on her face.

    She is a little monster, thats my nickname for her. I love her to death but she drive me crazy sometimes.

    I cant correct her cause Im never home when she does it.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    I want to clarify, that when Im home she never pees in the house, and I can usally leave for up to 4 hours before there will be an accident. I could be gone for 8 hours one day and come home to a mess and leave for 8 hours the next day with no mess.

    How can I prevent her from chewing the baseboards, will Bitter Apple work?

    Also I dont know if this has anything to do with it or not, but, I have noticed that she starts having the accidents and behaving badly when I havnt been home much in a couple days. I use to be with them 24/7, but now Im gone 8 hours a day sometimes, sometimes a couple days in a row, and this seems to be when it starts, like she is acting up cause her mommas been gone? i dont know

  2. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    I'd go back to crating her if you're going to be gone for any length of time.
    She might be one of those dogs that just feels more secure in her crate rather than left out on her own
  3. winnie

    winnie New Member

    Sometimes Im gone for 8 hours at a time, is it ok to keep a dog in a crate that long since she isnt a puppy?

  4. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    I believe 8-9 hours is the top of the waiting list for crating a dog - and you state sometimes you are so it doesn't sound like it would be a daily occurence for her.
    I once left Molly in her crate for 12 hours - and felt horrible. We had gone to a concert in Portland, ME and got lost coming home. I didn't have anyone who could go to my house and let her out. I really felt terrible about that but there wasn't much I could do and it was the only time.
    8 hours, I believe, is acceptable. Heck they normally sleep all day when no one is home anyway - well unless, like your case, they are pottying all over when left alone.
  5. HDrydr

    HDrydr New Member

    I crate my dog while I am at work from 6:45 til sometimes 5pm... He is a boxer/lab and loves his crate!!! I feel bad but he can't be trusted not to chew, pee, poop in the house, so in the crate he goes and he goes willingly...
  6. MyPetTherapyDog

    MyPetTherapyDog New Member

    I haven't been on the board much, but I am going to jump back in.
    It sounds as if your dog may have seperation anxiety issues not potty issues.
  7. Sara

    Sara New Member

    If indeed you've got some separation anxiety issues going back to the crate may be just the thing... There may be some issues going back but usually if the dog has already been crate trained once it's a safe place again so likely the dog will even be relaxed in a crate. I had a pittie that was like that. She was a WRECK if left alone anywhere but if she had her crate she was fine anywhere I left her.

  8. HDrydr

    HDrydr New Member

    I would have to agree with the possibility of separation anxiety issue. That is actually why my Buster is crated during the day. He ate his way through my couch one day while I was at work. Vet said that he was looking for me and it was the couch cushion that I sat on most of the time.
    The vet also tried zanax but I found that just crated him worked.
    Good luck
  9. MyPetTherapyDog

    MyPetTherapyDog New Member

    Here are some very good tips that will help you.

    Separation Anxiety

    Everyone needs a little time alone now and then—unless of course you are a dog who suffers from separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit behavior problems when they're left alone. Typically, they'll have a dramatic anxiety response within a short time (20–45 minutes) after their owners leave them. The most common of these behaviors are:
    • Digging, chewing, and scratching at doors or windows in an attempt to escape and reunite with their owners.
    • Howling, barking, and crying in an attempt to get their owner to return.
    • Urination and defecation (even with housetrained dogs) as a result of distress.
    Why Do Dogs Suffer from Separation Anxiety?
    We don't fully understand why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and, under similar circumstances, others don't. It's important to realize, however, that the destruction and house soiling that often occur with separation anxiety are not the dog's attempt to punish or seek revenge on his owner for leaving him alone. In reality, they are actually part of a panic response.
    Separation anxiety sometimes occurs:
    • When a dog accustomed to constant human companionship is left alone for the first time.
    • Following a long interval, such as a vacation, during which the owner and dog are constantly together.
    • After a traumatic event (from the dog's point of view), such as a period of time spent at a shelter or boarding kennel.
    • After a change in the family's routine or structure (such as a child leaving for college, a change in work schedule, a move to a new home, or a new pet or person in the home).
    How Do I Know If My Dog Has Separation Anxiety?
    Because there are many reasons for the behaviors associated with separation anxiety, it's essential to correctly diagnose the reason for the behavior before proceeding with treatment. If most, or all, of the following statements are true about your dog, he may have a separation anxiety problem:
    • The behavior occurs exclusively or primarily when he's left alone.
    • He follows you from room to room whenever you're home.
    • He displays effusive, frantic greeting behaviors.
    • The behavior always occurs when he's left alone, whether for a short or long period of time.
    • He reacts with excitement, depression, or anxiety to your preparations to leave the house.
    • He dislikes spending time outdoors by himself.
    What to Do If Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
    For a minor separation anxiety problem, the following techniques may be helpful by themselves. For more severe problems, these techniques should be used along with the desensitization process described in the next section.
    • Keep arrivals and departures low-key. For example, when you arrive home, ignore your dog for the first few minutes, then calmly pet him. This may be hard for you to do, but it's important!
    • Leave your dog with an article of clothing that smells like you—such as an old t-shirt that you've slept in recently.
    • Establish a "safety cue"—a word or action that you use every time you leave that tells your dog you'll be back. Dogs usually learn to associate certain cues with short absences by their owners. For example, when you take out the garbage, your dog knows you come right back and doesn't become anxious. Therefore, it's helpful to associate a safety cue with your short-duration absences.
    Some examples of safety cues are a playing radio, a playing television, or a toy (one that doesn't have dangerous fillings and can't be torn into pieces). Use your safety cue during practice sessions with your dog. Be sure to avoid presenting your dog with the safety cue when you leave for a period of time longer than he can tolerate; if you do, the value of the safety cue will be lost. Leaving a radio on to provide company for your dog isn't particularly useful by itself, but a playing radio may work if you've used it consistently as a safety cue in your practice sessions. If your dog engages in destructive chewing as part of his separation distress, offering him a chewing item as a safety cue is a good idea. Very hard rubber toys that can be stuffed with treats and Nylabone®-like products are good choices.
    Desensitization Techniques for More Severe Cases of Separation Anxiety
    The primary treatment for more severe cases of separation anxiety is a systematic process of getting your dog used to being alone. You must teach your dog to remain calm during "practice" departures and short absences. We recommend the following procedure:
    • Begin by engaging in your normal departure activities (getting your keys, putting on your coat), then sit back down. Repeat this step until your dog shows no distress in response to your activities.
    • Next, engage in your normal departure activities and go to the door and open it, then sit back down.
    • Next, step outside the door, leaving the door open, then return.
    • Finally, step outside, close the door, then immediately return. Slowly get your dog accustomed to being alone with the door closed between you for several seconds.
    • Proceed very gradually from step to step, repeating each step until your dog shows no signs of distress. The number of repetitions will vary depending on the severity of the problem. If at any time in this process your actions produce an anxiety response in your dog, you've proceeded too fast. Return to an earlier step in the process and practice this step until the dog shows no distress response, then proceed to the next step.
    • Once your dog is tolerating your being on the other side of the door for several seconds, begin short-duration absences. This step involves giving the dog a verbal cue (for example, "I'll be back"), leaving, and then returning within a minute. Your return must be low-key: Either ignore your dog or greet him quietly and calmly. If he shows no signs of distress, repeat the exercise. If he appears anxious, wait until he relaxes to repeat the exercise. Gradually increase the length of time you're gone.
    • Practice as many absences as possible that last less than ten minutes. You can do many departures within one session if your dog relaxes sufficiently between departures. You should also scatter practice departures and short-duration absences throughout the day.
    • Once your dog can handle short absences (30 to 90 minutes), he'll usually be able to handle longer intervals alone and you won't have to repeat this process every time you are planning a longer absence. The hard part is at the beginning, but the job gets easier as you go along. Nevertheless, you must go slowly at first. How long it takes to condition your dog to being alone depends on the severity of his problem.
    Teaching the Sit-Stay and Down-Stay
    Another technique for reducing separation anxiety in your dog is practicing the common "sit-stay" or "down-stay" training exercises using positive reinforcement. Your goal is to be able to move briefly out of your dog's sight while he remains in the "stay" position, and thereby teach your dog that he can remain calmly and happily in one place while you go to another. To do this, you gradually increase the distance you move away from your dog. As you progress, you can do this during the course of your normal daily activities. For example, if you're watching television with your dog by your side and you get up for a snack, tell him to stay, and leave the room. When you come back, give him a treat or praise him quietly. Never punish your dog during these training sessions.
    Interim Solutions
    Because the treatments described above can take a while, and because a dog with separation anxiety can do serious damage to himself and/or your home in the interim, consider these suggestions to help you and your dog cope in the short term:
    • Consult your veterinarian about the possibility of drug therapy. A good anti-anxiety drug should not sedate your dog, but simply reduce his anxiety while you're gone. Such medication is a temporary measure and should be used in conjunction with behavior modification techniques.
    • Take your dog to a dog day care facility or boarding kennel.
    • Leave your dog with a friend, family member, or neighbor.
    • Take your dog to work with you, even for half a day, if possible.
    What Won't Help a Separation Anxiety Problem
    • Punishing your dog. Punishment is not an effective way to treat separation anxiety. In fact, punishing your dog after you return home may actually increase his separation anxiety.
    • Getting another pet as a companion for your dog. This usually doesn't help an anxious dog because his anxiety is the result of his separation from you, his person, not merely the result of being alone.
    • Crating your dog. Your dog will still engage in anxiety responses in the crate. He may urinate, defecate, howl, or even injure himself in an attempt to escape from the crate.
    • Leaving the radio on (unless the radio is used as a "safety cue," as described above).
    • Training your dog. While formal training is always a good idea, it won't directly help a separation anxiety problem. Separation anxiety is not the result of disobedience or lack of training; it's a panic response.

    ©2002. Adapted from material originally developed by applied animal behaviorists at the Dumb Friends League, Denver, Colorado. All rights reserved.
  10. Candace012999

    Candace012999 New Member

    I would agree with crating again, if only that worked for Nahlya, but she chews them all to peices, thank goodness she is potty trained, only thing she does sometimes, if we are gone a good bit, is finds something to tear up.../shrug, but we love her all the same :p
  11. Biscuit Eaters k9

    Biscuit Eaters k9 New Member

    Also, is this dog getting enough mental and physical stimulation? How much exercize does she get throughout the day? The chewing could also be a sign of boredom. The peeing could be because she hasn't been corrected for a while so she has forgotten that there are rules. Or perhaps, take a step back and start going outside with her. When she pees, praise her and play a while. Remind her that good things happen when she goes outside. Then crate when you are gone so she doesn't have the chance to make a mistake.

    She may also need some mental stimulation. Try using some interactive toys with her. Is she locked with the other dogs? If not, get some treat balls and toss down for her. This enables her to do what dogs are suppose to do, work for their food. Interactive toys provide a challenge and some exercise. When she is done, she should be tired and will lay down. If her crate is large enough, toss some in it.

    Do stick with the tips on seperation anxiety. Remember that a tired dog is less likely to get into mischief.
  12. Samsintentions

    Samsintentions New Member

    Hey margo, I sooo know where your coming from. Luckily most of my guys are kenneled outside when i'm not home, but usually never more than a couple hours at a time. However, Precious is my main house dog, and every now and then she will get angry with me, or upset and will have an accident. This has only happened once in the past year and I had multiple dogs here that weren't part of her "family". Correction is they key and like Rayna said, reinforcing the good behavior.

    Vader was horrible about peeing in the house. She would NEVER do it when i was home and around, but the minute i'd go outside, I'd come back to accidents. Anytime i was gone, she was crated and prefered it that way as well. I'm not sure that it was separation axiety or just the stubborness of her tyring to tell me "ha! I can do it if i want!''. But one thing is for sure, crating is they key. Its safer for them, in that it keeps them from destroying and getting into things when your not around. Things could be injested that could cause intestinal blockage or be poisonous to the dog. Also dogs typically will not potty where they sleep and are confined to.

    Take the great advice given and let us know how it goes!!

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