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Bad Behavior While Home Alone


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I adopted Doris 4 years ago; she is 7.5 years old. She was never a fan of the crate, and she's fully house trained and has always been very good when left with the run of the house while home alone. Both our greys have the run of the house while left home alone - they have for years now.

 

Maybe 6 months ago, Doris started misbehaving when we go out if something edible made itself obvious. Like, if a cat knocks a loaf of bread off the counter, Doris would take it into the living room and eat it. But gradually it has turned into her doing something bad every time, it seems almost the very moment we leave her. She eats anything she can find, once even chewing through a sealed can of cat food, going in the trash, or the recycling bin and spreading the contents around the house and eating things she shouldn't. We've put cords on the trashcans to keep her out, but occasionally we forget. We can switch to an under-the-cabinet trashcan but I know she'll just find something else. Tonight she took my travel toiletry case which had been left on the floor down the stairs, emptied it out, and ate a bar of soap.

 

If I leave her with treats in a rubber ball when I go out to try to occupy her, it makes no difference - when she finishes that, she moves on to other things.

 

I trace the problem to the fact that, although she used to be fine being home alone all day while I worked a full day outside of the house (because that was all she knew), a few years ago I started working from home full time and it's gotten far less common for me to go out. I think she is like a spiteful little tornado when we leave now, just searching through the entire house for something to take out her frustration. Sometimes she takes my washcloth out of the tub and brings it into another room - so I think her being upset is due to feelings about me being gone.

 

Obviously this has to stop because it's a huge pain, but more importantly, I fear for her safety if she eats/finds something dangerous. Yet, she hated the crate and I really really really don't want to get back into crating if there is another solution.

 

My husband suggested muzzling her when we go out. All of her problems come from chewing, so this might solve the problem. I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on leaving a dog muzzled while home alone. We have one other greyhound and two cats, they all get along very well and are very docile, so I don't think there would be any need for her to be able to defend herself with her mouth.

 

Does muzzling seem like a good idea? Are there pitfalls I am not thinking of? Thank you!

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I was going to suggest muzzling. If you are nervous, you can muzzle both. What about baby gating in one room? That's what we do. We baby gate in our bed room.

Irene Ullmann w/Flying Odin in Lower Delaware
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I'd definitely muzzle her, but if you muzzle her, muzzle your other pup too. One muzzled and one unmuzzled, no matter how well they get along, leaves the door open for something not good to happen.

 

In addition to muzzling, maybe try some alone training?

Edited by Roo

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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In the past, Doris has chewed through our baby gate (bloodying her gums in the process), and/or apparently thrown herself at it until it gave way and she got out. So letting her have freedom was the best option and did work well for a few years. But now she has a Jekyll and Hyde thing going on, she is the sweetest baby but when we leave, it sets her off.


Thanks Roo - what do you suggest as alone training? I know when we first got her, we practiced leaving her home for a little while, then longer and longer. Is that what you mean?

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Guest shanesmom

Elton would chew things that could harm him if left alone. He wasn't left alone often but if I had to leave him I increased the exercise before leaving and muzzled him. Of everything I did a long walk before leaving helped the most.

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Elton would chew things that could harm him if left alone. He wasn't left alone often but if I had to leave him I increased the exercise before leaving and muzzled him. Of everything I did a long walk before leaving helped the most.

 

This is also a good idea!

 

As for alone training, do a forum search - if I remember correctly, there are quite a few threads on it :) But yes, it's basically just leaving for a little while, coming home calmly and quietly like it's no big deal, and increasing the amount of time you're gone.

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

"I think she is like a spiteful little tornado", while this is funny, it shows an underlying problem of misunderstanding. Your greyhound is not being spiteful, she has separation anxiety. You said it yourself, you worked from home and she was around you all the time, now things have changed. A muzzle will help to keep her safe, but the underlying issue needs to be addressed. Search here for "alone training" and you will find a lot of suggestions on how to help your scared little girl.

 

 

Chad

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So glad things are going better. Mine do not mind wearing their muzzles. I also have a counter-surfer and so my counters are clear of everything; edible or not or I find everything on the floor.

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