Friday, February 20, 2009

Dog issues.....sorry but this one's long!

Any dog lovers out there today? Anyone ever had to deal with canine separation anxiety??????

Here are my boys

I’m at my wit’s end with my 15 month old german shepherd, Riley. I’ve always crated him when I’m away and he was fine with that. I work 8 hours a day but only a few blocks from home so I am right back at noon for an hour and then home at 4:30. I’m home most every night, yes….I lead a pretty dull social life.

Well, about 3 weeks ago he busted out of his kennel and when I got home he was loose with my other 5 yr. old shepherd, Mieko. They seemed fine and I thought, ‘well, ya know, he’s housebroken and he’ll be fine…I’ll just contain them both to the basement to be sure’.

A few days after this, all seemed just fine and then he started chewing on the outside of his kennel. Fine……I moved it, took it out of his sight. I came home another night and opened the basement door to find two LARGE dogs covered in goose down feathers! That’s right and if I wasn’t so shocked and frantic to clean up, I would have taken pictures. He’d jumped on top of a spare bed I have down there for my son to sleep on when he visits. Nothing fancy, but it HAD a very nice goose down featherbed on top of the mattress. I tried to sweep and they poofed all over the place. The furnace would kick in right about the time I managed to get a respectable pile together and again……*poof*. Finally I got it cleaned up after about 1 hour.

I didn’t think there was much more he could get into. A week later my 23 yr. old son stopped by my house at noon. We visited and then I had to get back to work. He saw that I had 2 doggie beds in my bedroom so assumed that’s where the dogs stayed these days. After about 1-2 hours he stopped out at work to see me and I asked if he put the dogs away. He said yes, he put them in my bedroom. I said, ‘oh no, Riley will chew up his doggie bed, he’s on the third one already!’ So Josh went back to the house and called me right away and told me that ‘no’ he hadn’t chewed up his doggie bed…….he’d destroyed MY bed. Yep….jumped on top of it and dug and tore into my pillow top mattress!

Since then, let’s see………he’s chewed on the side of a wooden chair seat, busted up a floor tile and chomped it into 487 pieces, chewed the handle off a La-z-boy recliner and yesterday started fraying the carpet at the bottom of the stairway.

Why not kennel him again you ask? Aw, good plan and I did. I think once a dog figures out that they CAN escape they don’t give up until they do. His kennel will not hold him. The other day I put 2 small tarp straps around the gate and I thought they were good and snug. I came home and he was loose……..tarp straps still in place. He’d squeezed his 80 lb. body out somehow.

He does NOT behave like this when I am home so it’s not behavior that I can catch him at and immediately correct him on.

I’ve contacted a shepherd breeder/trainer and she’s going to try help me. I thought I’d just have to find him a new home. Someplace where he’d have human companionship all day and maybe a big old farmyard to run and tire out. (I live in town and we don’t get out walking much in these cold ND winters)
It’s so hard to think of letting him go when he loves me so much. I love him also, believe me! She's assured me we CAN work through this!

He’s my shadow when I’m home. When I’m doing dishes, I practically trip over him because he has to lay on the floor right there in the kitchen. When I’m on the computer, he’s laying right on the floor next to me, when I'm in the bathroom curling my hair in the mornings he's laying right outside the door. I thought with Mieko around he wouldn’t feel lonely but he must just be mad that I’m not there?

Sorry this is so long……….I’m just sad and don’t know what to do or how this will turn out. I have a vacation scheduled March 6 to be gone for a week and there’s no way I can ask anyone else to deal with this so that leaves no other option but to board him somewhere. Will that cause more anxiety issues for him? I don't know.......I do not know.


Inspiration By Karen said...

Thank you for the wonderful comment you made on my blog~
Your paintings are beautiful!!!
I understand how you must feel about what your dog has done. Does the Vet think it is separation anxiety, because my son adopted a Husky that was about 4 years old, and he lives in a new cabin that we built for him. Every door knob in the cabin has been chewed. He tried crating him when he left for work, but somehow he got out, and to this day they don't have a clue how he did it! So he tried leaving him in the cellar, and one day he chewed a huge hole in his door and got up into the cabin, where he was fine. It took about a year, but he finally stopped chewing door knobs, he was lucky that he didn't chew up anything else. I wish I could help you, I hope that things work out with him~ It sounds like he just wants to be with you at any cost.
Best of luck to you. : )

Michelle said...

I dont know but if you find out I'd love to. My 6 month old Cocker is starting to do the same stuff...I know they go through a naughty stage but gosh!

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

Thanks Karen for your advice, sympathy AND taking the time to read that one! haha

I put him in a different area and will be heading home in 40 minutes for lunch and I'm a wreck...I just do not know what he will have found to destroy today :(

Inspiration By Karen said...

DO you have a Holistic vet near you, sometimes the Bach Flower essences help with that, just a thought~
My email is gooddays at roadrunner dot com if it would be easier to keep in touch that way!

glorv1 said...

He is still a pup and learning how to behave takes a little while. Just keep after him and show him what he did and say NO! very firmly. Then make him go stay in his crate for a while. I have a 15 month old chipoo (chihuahua/poodle) and I usually leave her in her crate till I get home. She is learning. She chews on her babies, (stuffed animal) and I haven't caught her chewing on anything else yet. Good luck and stick with it. Dogs are and can be your best friends soulfully. Take care.

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

Thank you all for your advice! I'm still waiting to hear back from this trainer but the last 2 days now I've kept both dogs in a separate room in the basement,where there isn't too much to destroy. He's chewed a little on an old rug, but that's ok. Maybe if he just has his own special 'chew' item this will work itself out.
He's due for his shots now so I plan to get him to the vet. My vet is 'ok' but he's more of a large animal specialists and he deals with cats/dogs but not in the way that you feel he REALLY cares about them or studies up on things related to them. He's great with cows and horses and pigs though. haha
Hopefully we can work something out here and I appreciate all of you who took the time to read this little was a whiny one for sure! I just felt so frustrated and sad!