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Guest jkbk

Leaving Him Home Alone

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Guest jkbk

Hello Everyone!

 

I have a brand new 2.5 year old boy, fresh off the race track, and in our home for just about a month. For the most part, he has adjusted very well and we love him to pieces.

 

Sadly, we do have a bit of separation anxiety (I understand this is to be expected). I've read quite a bit on alone training/SA and I think that he has a pretty mild case, but I would obviously like for him to be completely stress free when he has to be home alone.

 

So my question is this: Should we crate him when we leave, baby gate him, or let him roam free?

 

In the almost 4 weeks that we have had him, he has pooped in his crate 4 times when left alone (once when left alone for 4 hours, twice for 2 or 3 hours, once for 30 minutes). He holds it for 8 or 9 hours at night, so I don't think that it is a health issue. I've also left him alone close to 5 hours and came home to a clean crate on that occasion. He never has accidents when we are home. Also, he does not totally hate his crate. It is in our bedroom and for the past week or so, we've left it open for him at night with no problems. He goes in on his own at bedtime and stays there the entire night. However during the day time, he very rarely goes in and will only stay for a couple of minutes at a time. Does not like to go in when he is told, but will get in with some gentle nudging.

 

Anyway, yesterday we came home to a mess in the crate. It was later in the evening, and we didn't have time to wash his usual blankets before bedtime. Instead, we moved his bed from the living room to an empty corner of the bedroom, which he seemed perfectly happy with. My husband and I both had to get up early today, so still no time to wash the bedding for his crate and we decided to just baby gate him in the bedroom (he's used to the gate as we put it up every night and sometimes during the day too).

 

He was alone for about 3 hours this way, and I came home to a chewed gate (don't think he's ever chewed at his crate). Nothing insane, but there were a few small hunks of wood on the floor (I don't think he swallowed any). He had also hopped up on the bed trying to get at the window behind it, and so the bedding was in disarray. But, no potty accidents!

 

We've not left him alone and loose in our home for more than a couple of minutes or so. On those occasions, he stands quietly and stares at the door until we come back inside. However after seeing that he chewed on the gate trying to get out of the bedroom, I'm wondering if leaving him loose is something that we should try. We would obviously close off everything potentially hazardous that he could get into (trash, etc.) Also, our space is not at all large. Really just big enough for two people and a hound.

 

A little further background: He always always gets a kong when we leave, and if it's around meal time, we scatter his kibble around his bedding so that he has to snoot for it. These things keep him plenty distracted when we're on our way out, but it's never long after we leave that he starts whining or barking (sometimes we spy on him a little). We also have a classical album meant for calming dogs that we play for him. Sometimes we will play a movie for him instead. We don't have a camera set up, so I'm not totally sure how he fares the whole time we're gone, but he's usually crying when I get home-- can't tell if he starts when he hears me, or if he just never stopped. Also, we walk a brisk 2 miles every morning and he either gets a shorter walk, an excursion (runs errands, goes out to eat, etc.), or a trip to the dog park in the evenings. Lastly, he will get into his muzzle very willingly, but starts trying to get it off almost immediately after, so I'm not sure if that's an option for home-alone time.

 

 

So sorry for the long post! At the end of the day, we want to do what we can to keep him both comfortable and safe. Looking forward to the input of some more seasoned grey parents!!!

 

Thanks!

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He might be ok being loose in the house. He might have gotten use to all that space and feel bad when he is denied access to it when you leave. It was a total leap of fate for us when we decided to let Jack loose in the house. He was howling for hours and hours in his crate. The first full day out of his crate he did some howling and pacing, which continued for about a week. Then after that he was perfect and has been ever since.

We did take the precaution to muzzle and close all the doors (leave bedroom open, it is probably where he feels safe as he sleeps there at night ;) ).

You just have to try it and see :) He needs to find his routine in all this as well. One month is not a long time! It took 3 months for Jack to really settle in, and he is a very confident, outgoing guy :P


23786382928_141eff29e1.jpg
Cynthia, with Charlie (Britishlionheart) & Zorro el Galgo
Captain Jack (Check my Spots), my first love

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Guest xengab

PLEASE take the time to do alone training with him now being loose in the room. It's best to ASSUME the worse and do the training, then find a huge mess and issues because you didn't.

I'd also suggest a frozen kong with peanut butter inside for him to work on and help keep his mind active.

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My dog was a howling, miserable, peeing, pooping mess when he was confined when I first got him.

 

The ONLY thing that helped was leaving him unconfined. I also used a Kong (in my humble opinion, it is way easier to get frozen stuff out of a Kong than gooey stuff), DAP diffusers, the radio, and LOTS of morning exercise.


gallery_14387_3165_14194.jpg

Susan,  Marcai's Mister Bigglesworth (AKA Da Evil Won), and Sleekat's Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming and George (Driven by Chile) and Buck (Vogo Player)

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4 poops in the crate. That means your boy is probably having a complete meltdown when you are gone. He's not just snoozing, then waking up to have a dump, and then going back to sleep. Have you filmed him while you are away? I bet you would see a dog completely losing his mind in a terrible panic. My strong advice - no crates for this one! One day he might break all his teeth trying to get out, or worse. Find another solution, any other solution.

 

Don't confuse 20 dogs at the track all crated up beside one another with your dog by himself in an empty house in a cage.

 

And yes to proper alone training - that is a given.

 

The only serious error I have ever made with a dog was using a crate for a dog that had no business in one. I still regret it to this day. Learn from my mistake.

Edited by KickReturn

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Don't confuse 20 dogs at the track all crated up beside one another with your dog by himself in an empty house in a cage.

 

:nod Usually more like 36. They can see each other and trainers and kennel help are coming and going all the time. I have never crated except for medical issues.

 

I was sent dogs to foster from the largest group here specifically because I didn't crate. One had seriously injured himself trying to get out of a crate at his previous foster home.

 

My two cents is that if it is possible baby gate him somewhere (like the kitchen) with the crate in there and the crate door open.


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Guest jkbk

Thanks for your advice everyone! It's tough to decide whether or not to crate-- it seems like all of the books really highly suggest it, and our adoption group pushes it pretty strongly as well. I appreciate the advocacy toward more freedom in the house-- it's comforting to hear that it's ok to stray from convention sometimes! So far, we've left him loose a total of three times (the longest period of time was about two hours), and everything has been perfectly fine upon arriving home. I know that it's still early, and we'll have to evaluate his progress carefully, but I truly feel like this is the right decision for him.

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Thanks for your advice everyone! It's tough to decide whether or not to crate-- it seems like all of the books really highly suggest it, and our adoption group pushes it pretty strongly as well. I appreciate the advocacy toward more freedom in the house-- it's comforting to hear that it's ok to stray from convention sometimes! So far, we've left him loose a total of three times (the longest period of time was about two hours), and everything has been perfectly fine upon arriving home. I know that it's still early, and we'll have to evaluate his progress carefully, but I truly feel like this is the right decision for him.

Crates are overrated, some hounds love them and NEED them. Some don't :)

 

My second hound, we never crated and he doesn't need it. He won't even go into Jack's crate...

 

It seems like he is doing fine out of the crate :) Let us know how it goes!


23786382928_141eff29e1.jpg
Cynthia, with Charlie (Britishlionheart) & Zorro el Galgo
Captain Jack (Check my Spots), my first love

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Our boy knocked down every gate we put up, he HATES having barriers in the house. After trying leaving him out alone a few times (and him destroying some blinds) we got a crate and he adored it. He chewed on it a bit but I think it was out of boredom. After about 3 weeks of crating we started leaving him out in the house but made sure windows were open enough so he could see outside. We learned that was his biggest issue, he HAS to be able to see outside, if not he goes nuts. Thankfully that's as destructive as he's ever been.

 

I also think patience and strength is what it takes for these guys to get over their SA. Steven has gotten so much better with his but even still, two weeks ago a friend from our rescue watched him for 3 days and she said his first night he was a wreck.

 

And sometimes I do hear him crying when I get home from work, but I think it's just bc he knows I'm outside and wants me.

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I tried a baby gate for my crate hating dog. I gave him my HUGE bedroom, a pretty big hallway, and a bathroom. I set the gate up from the floor about 8 inches so my cats could go under it. When I got home, the dog was on the wrong side of the gate and I assumed he jumped it (it was a 4 foot tall gate, set 8 inches from the ground, so I was reasonably impressed) until I saw claw marks in the carpet. He army crawled UNDER the gate!!!

 

That's when I knew he just couldn't deal with confinement.


gallery_14387_3165_14194.jpg

Susan,  Marcai's Mister Bigglesworth (AKA Da Evil Won), and Sleekat's Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming and George (Driven by Chile) and Buck (Vogo Player)

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Guest jkbk

Update: He's started pooping in the house when left alone. Again, he NEVER does this when we are home. He pooped once when left alone for about two hours, and once when left for about 20 minutes. He has plenty of things to do (different food-related activities) while we are gone and we always leave music on. Both times he went potty outside soon before we left.

 

Any more suggestions?

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Some questions :

Are you walking him before leaving? If so how long? Is he empty? And are you SURE? (We once walked our dog, completely empty, fed him, then left, came back to pee in his crate...The order was wrong, we should have fed, walk then go)

Have you done any alone training? (leave, come back in short intervals)

Do you know what he is doing while you are gone?

Edited by locket

23786382928_141eff29e1.jpg
Cynthia, with Charlie (Britishlionheart) & Zorro el Galgo
Captain Jack (Check my Spots), my first love

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Buy "I'll Be Home Soon" by Patricia McConnell and get working on alone training.

 

Also, get him as much exercise as you possibly can. I don't mean time outside in the yard. I mean actual exercise--walk his butt off on a leash, throw a toy he'll chase, lure pole. Anything. The more tired you get him, the less likely he'll be to stress while you're gone.

 

Time and patience are required with a dog who has S.A.


gallery_14387_3165_14194.jpg

Susan,  Marcai's Mister Bigglesworth (AKA Da Evil Won), and Sleekat's Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming and George (Driven by Chile) and Buck (Vogo Player)

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Guest jkbk

Some questions :

 

Are you walking him before leaving? If so how long? Is he empty? And are you SURE? (We once walked our dog, completely empty, fed him, then left, came back to pee in his crate...The order was wrong, we should have fed, walk then go)

 

Have you done any alone training? (leave, come back in short intervals)

 

Do you know what he is doing while you are gone?

Two miles and/or a trip to the dog park (early morning so we have it to ourselves). We have done short interval alone training. He stands at the window and cries the entire time we're gone. Poops right there and then continues to stand and stare out :(

 

His adoption group recommended looking into medication at this point. Waiting to hear back from the vet regarding advice on supplements/over the counter products before using prescription drugs.

 

Anyone have experience with supplements/medications?

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