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Can't Be Left Alone

Guest mccoys

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Guest mccoys

Hi all. We recently adopted our boy about a week and a half ago. I know it's all still new, and he's never been left alone, but we're having issues. We first started to use the crate and did alone training, but he really hated it. It would be a real struggle to get him in the crate and when left for a longer period of time, he chewed on it and bent the metal. I decided to instead put up a gate outside the kitchen and keep him in there with his bed. We left him for about 10-15 minutes, and when we came back in, we found that he had chewed up the gate door, chewed on our counter top, and had jumped over the gate. What can we do?

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Put the crate away and start over with your alone training. Pick up the book "I'll Be Home Soon" by Patricia McConnell. She gives great, step-by-step instructions for successfully managing Separation Anxiety.


He may be more comfortable in a different space other than the kitchen. Wherever he sleeps at night is usually the best.


Please be in contact with your adoption group. They should be able to offer you some help and suggestions.


If all else fails, talk with your vet about a short course of anti anxiety meds to try while you re-do your Alone Training. The meds are NOT a miracle cure! They only help put your dog's brain in a chemical position to accept the counter conditioning of further Alone Training.


You can also search here for other threads about separation anxiety. There are many because this is a common issue.


Good luck and keep us posted! And congrats on your adoption!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)


Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Hi, we’re fairly new with a hound and have had some of this. I second the alone training and thinking about meds. We use melatonin and L-thianine chews. Our hound is ok with gating in the room his bowl lives in and has full view outside and into the great room. Listens to CMT while we’re gone. It took him about two months of building up to half a day being alone. Good luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This probably isn't the same but we adopted two greyhounds at the same time. One of them literally walked into his crate and roached immediately. We set up a nannycam and the footage of him is ridiculous - he sprawls completely out and is so relaxed.


The girl though - a bit different. She took ages to settle and panted a lot.


She then started to refuse to go in her crate.


We determined she had a mild aversion to the confinement, on top of us leaving, we recognized we were on a path to full blown anxiety so we ditched her crate straight away.


Now we block off the kitchen if we have to go out. We've removed her crate entirely. We've kept the boys crate but we leave the doors open. They have all their toys, different beds and watching them now it's pretty sweet. They snooze, and swap beds occasionally and they also play with their toys and then have another little snooze.


The one thing we always do.....tire them out before leaving them. Usually with some good running round the garden - either throwing balls or playing with a tug toy, or just getting them to chase me - but it's 10 minutes of high energy exercise where they spend part of the time running - they tell me when they've had enough by carrying their toys back to the house! Haha. If you don't have a garden for them to run round a good walk will work anything that makes them tired and feeling like they need a sleep.


Then we come in, I let them settle and get their breath back, cool off, drink water etc and usually about 30 minutes later and just as I'm about to leave I will give them a Kong with dog food in it and some pieces of cooked chicken.


If it's around a meal time - I will exercise them, give them a break to settle down, feed them, let them go toilet and then give them a Kong (again just with some of their dog food portioned off) and then we'll leave.


I always leave a break between the exercise and feeding.


The Kong works well, it's like the reward they get because we're going. We don't give them a Kong any other time. I think they look at the Kong like - oh they're leaving but at least we get our Kong! I guess some dogs could wind up not liking the Kong then - but it's just about finding what works for you. A distraction for them while you go.


The combination of having done some exercise, and them eating usually means they're too tired to fuss about us being gone.


It just takes a bit of planning now before we leave the house but so far they've been really good about it. We get masses of love when we return but it's nice they can settle on their own for a bit. The nannycam means we can check in on them. We can talk to them through it but we don't as I think they'd fine that so confusing.


It probably does help we have the two of them. But I think the key thing is leaving them when they are tired and ready for a sleep that way they are too tired to be overly anxious.


The other thing to do is get him used to being left on his own while you're in the house, i.e block off the kitchen while you're cooking or having a bath or just using the loo! Start off small. But make sure that space is a great space with his toys and duvets, somewhere that's a nice place to be really.


Best of luck xx

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I wrote a post in another thread for a gentleman who was checking whether he was doing a good job. I wrote about Seperation anxiety and crate training there. My approach to your thread is very different. I do think from what you describe you may have a seperation anxiety problem looming if he can't be left for 10 minutes without destroying something.


For the other poster I said, don't worry about crate training, for you - I'd recommend following all the steps.


I didn't want anyone to think I was being hypocritical but your case does sound quite a bit different. It might be worth reaching out to a behaviorist. Problems like these you want to really nip in the bud, get a handle on them before they become embedded. I've got some friends who adopted a dog who displayed some issues. Same week they called a behaviourist which I thought was a bit soon but actually they got some really good solid help and advice and 3 hours of time to just figure the dog out, and it's put them straight on the right road. They could have left it several months but by then habits are ingrained, patience is thin and the bond with the dog is not where it should be. Doing it straight away usually means new owners have got bags of energy, time, love and patience for their new dog and all those things help immensely. It's not usually cheap but if you get a good person it can be well worth the spend.


One of the things they learned was - the dog wasn't getting enough rest. People were keeping him on the go far too much so he was having toddler tantrums basically because he's tired. I thought that was some key insight into their case, something I hadn't thought of and they hadn't either. Their dog isn't a greyhound, it's a high energy and endurance dog but he's still a young dog, still a puppy and they had failed to pick up on that but equally they did call someone the first week they adopted him, so very swiftly rectified and he's doing much better now. He actually needed more nap time to stop him being so destructive around the house. He was too worked up and living off adrenaline, growling at people, mouthing all the furniture and being a menace (he's only a young small dog at the moment). The change in him was instant over night change - within 24 hours after having enough rest and naps during the day - he was like a totally different dog.


How are you getting on?

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I also recently adopted a hound (yesterday!) And he also can't seem to be left alone. His foster mom say's he's broken out of the crate while alone so she resorted to keeping an e-collar on him when she left to prevent him from chewing items when she left. This doesn't seem like a viable long term solution, so I'll be following along this thread as well.


Luckily I do work from home, so I have time to work on "alone time" training, but there's so much information out there I'm not sure where to begin. I've started with just going into the bathroom for 10 seconds at a time while he's relaxed in his bed, and then plan on building up the time and with different rooms/outside.


If any one has additional thoughts/tips I'd love to hear them.

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Jefferson chewed the bejebbus out of his crate when he first came home, drooling so much on his blankets that we thought he was peeing in there. We switched to a muzzle so he couldnt eat the doors and doorknobs, baby gates to limit his movement, and Xanax to chill to him out (given about an hour before we left). He adjusted to our routine within about a month. He doesnt love it when the routine changes, and still needs to be muzzled if we are outside gardening or grilling and dont want him with us. Other than that, hes fine.


The muzzle is your best friend. Its not cruel its like a seatbelt for doggie snooters. ;-)

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Build the bond and trust with your dog before starting training, and especially crate training. Building trust means not fussing over the dog, being consistent, matter of fact but kind and most importantly letting the dog come to you.


By all means buy a crate, by all means have a bed and a duvet in there and by all means toss treats in there - but I wouldn't recommend any training to leave the dog for a period of time alone and locked inside, until the dog has learnt to trust you. Give it a couple of weeks of just getting to know each other before any training.

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Thank you to everyone who has responded and given advice!


We've had him for about a month now and things are a lot better.

After that last incident, we got rid of the baby gate and the crate and we let him roam free around the house (with some bedroom doors closed) when we're gone with his muzzle on. He's very good with putting his muzzle on and does very well. He is still upset that we leave, but it doesn't take long until he's laying in his bed and falling asleep. If we are gone for more than five or six hours, he may have an accident, but we're building up to a full day, and overall I'm rather impressed with his progress.


Thanks again!

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