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He goes through the toys too quickly and then he can't be alone


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Hi everyone, it has been a week since we adopted our Spirit.
 
He is up to 5-10 minutes of being alone. Of course, he doesn't like it. The trouble is, he takes about 5 minutes to eat his kong because he doesn't like peanut butter, so instead he gets kibble and chicken in the kong but that takes him no time at all. The one time I packed the kong more tightly, he just licked at it for a few minutes and then gave up.
 
Then we got him a bobble toy that distributes kibble, but that also takes him about 5-10 minutes, plus sometimes he gets it stuck underneath some piece of furniture and then he cries and goes away from it.
 
Whenever we do the alone training, we do it when he's tired out from a walk. We make sure not to make a fuss when we leave or come back. When we come back into the house, we wait until he calms down before petting him.
 
We are thinking of crate training him, but he is a big boy and a 54-inch crate will take up 1/4 of the living room or bedroom. If it's necessary, we can get the crate but we thought we'd check in here. Any thoughts? Thank you!
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I highly suggest buying and reading this booklet:  https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/store/I-ll-Be-Home-Soon.html

It is the absolute best method I have found to train an anxious dog to be alone at home. When I used the bathroom, my Lola would literally scream and leap at the bathroom door. She destroyed her crate and bloodied her mouth in the process. Baby gates could not contain her in any area of the house. Patience, intense and consistent training using the methods described in this pamphlet worked like a charm.

It's worth keeping in mind that Spirit has been home for an extremely short time. He's still getting used to his strange, new life.

Good luck!

Irene ~ Owned and Operated by Jenny (Jenny Rocks ~ 11/24/17) ~ JRo, Jenny from the Track

Lola (AMF Won't Forget ~ 04/29/15 -07/22/19) - My girl. I'll always love you.

Wendy (Lost Footing ~ 12/11/05 - 08/18/17) ~ Forever in our hearts. "I am yours, you are mine".

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:nod

Everything is still so very new to him. Alone training can be along process. Practice multiple times a day.... A minute here and there.

And yes... ditto to the Patricia McConnell booklet

i have just given my copy to my son who has just gotten a 10 week old Beagle Puppy :crazy

 

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos).   Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) Nigel (Nigel), and especially little Mario, waiting at the Bridge.

 

 

SKMwinter.jpg

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I know not every dog likes the crate, but many do take comfort in it. You may not need it forever, but it would definitely be worth a try. In addition to I'll Be Home Soon.

I also have to ask, what do you mean by "he doesn't like it" when he's alone? Crying? Messing in the house? Destroying things?

Ours cried when we left for work for the first couple weeks but didn't get into trouble or destroy anything, but eventually he realized we were coming back, and is now fine during the day. You're only a week in and you might find the same thing to be true once more time passes.

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Be careful with the crate. If Spirit panics and tries to chew his way out of the crate, he could do serious damage to his teeth and mouth. And using a muzzle to protect the teeth may result in damaged paws from trying to dig his way out. Too many believe that because a retired racer was in a crate at the track that it would work at home. There is a big difference between being in a crate with 20 other greyhounds beside you and being locked in a crate in a strange house completely alone.

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  • 3 weeks later...

You might try cheese whiz in the Kong to replace the peanut butter.  We put dry treats in the Kong, seal the small end with the cheese whiz, then the big end gets sealed with a banana piece and cheese or a marshmallow and cheese whiz then freeze the Kong.  With luck ours can clean it out in about 15minutes but the frozen yuck keeps him Licking for awhile.

We gated our guy in a small room that had a full view exterior door and view into the great room instead of a crate.  The gate was plastic so chewing wasn’t as big a problem.  Also we left country music playing as he was use to that at the track.  It takes time. 

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We used to use food toys- they "worked" in that they distracted him while we were leaving, but he was never really ok with being alone. As soon as he was done with the toy, he'd find a place to lay on the floor and watch the door until we returned- for hours. He has mild separation anxiety and when we moved house it REALLY started to kick into high gear (pacing/panting/chewing the blinds). We then realized this wasn't going to be fixed by a kong, so we are now working with a behaviorist and don't use food toys at all, just desensitizing absences/departure cues slowly (painfully slowly). 

For dogs who have SA, most behaviorists are moving away from kongs/food toys as they muddy the waters more than they help. For dogs who are just bored, then they're a great choice. 

Keep up with alone time training, as he settles in you'll see what works for him and what doesn't. 

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