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Aarrgh! Chewing! Separation anxiety? What more can I do?

(27 Posts)
MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 22-Mar-16 10:57:17

Nearly every time I leave Monty in the house alone I come home to destruction. He doesn't do it when someone's there so I put it down to the separation. He's a year old lab.

Usually it's paper, someone's book, my shopping list, anything he can find, shredded to bits. Tellingly on the front door floor mat. He's obviously waiting by the door.

He's restricted to the kitchen, hall and living room. His crate and water bowl are in the kitchen and his bed is in the living room. He can reach the kitchen worktops but I don't want to shut him in the living room in case he starts on the furniture. I leave a radio on and he has a plentiful supply of dog chews, Kong ball etc.

I can't leave him shut in his crate, he's nearly outgrown it. Should I buy a bigger one and resolve myself to having to shut him in every time I go out? I'm not keen on that.

I have to do school runs, my help at the school, shopping etc. He's never left for longer than a couple of hours.

So bloody annoying. Our old dog never did this. Bloody creature.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 22-Mar-16 21:49:16

There's nothing I can do is there? I'm going to have to get used to it.

Dh wants to buy a muzzle. hmm

triballeader Tue 22-Mar-16 22:04:44

This Dogs Trust free leaflet on coping with seperation anxiety might have some ideas in you could try. I doubt a muzzled would help, my old dog would headbutt doors and rip the wall-paper off the walls with her paws. It can take time but you can usually improve things if your willing to go at the speed your dog needs to adjust to being alone.

puffylovett Tue 22-Mar-16 22:07:51

Can he come with you? I drive an old car so never had any qualms about leaving my b in the car with windows down, and she would just --obsessively- -hunt- -out- -all- -food- -wrappers- snooze

puffylovett Tue 22-Mar-16 22:08:11

That worked well, didn't it grin

Wolfiefan Tue 22-Mar-16 22:10:40

Restrict him to the kitchen?
Build up very slowly to him being left for two hours.
Leave a radio on?

Wolfiefan Tue 22-Mar-16 22:13:47

Stuffed kong?

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 22-Mar-16 22:20:00

Done all that. And I can't take him with me to school.

Perhaps go back to building up gradually during the school holidays?

Thanks anyway. grin

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 22-Mar-16 22:20:52

puffy grin

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Wed 23-Mar-16 08:42:42

What about an actual bone? A big meaty one, while confined to the kitchen, unless hard floors throughout. Or stuff the Kong with something very tasty but devilishly difficult to remove? I'm struggling here because it sounds like you're doing everything right already. Try searching youtube? Love the name Monty btw, was MILs Bernards name too.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 23-Mar-16 08:48:00

Do you fill the Kong with soft things like cream cheese and banana then freeze it before giving it to him?

frenchiepup Wed 23-Mar-16 11:06:45

If he was happy in his crate, i would buy a bigger one to save the distruction to your house

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Wed 23-Mar-16 14:12:12

Aww, thanks Bernard grin

I haven't tried freezing the Kong. It would last a bit longer wouldn't it?

I wouldn't mind a bigger crate. He loves his crate. They're so expensive though!

YourBubzYourRulzHun Wed 23-Mar-16 14:25:17

Yes def freeze the Kong! I'm got 2 dogs and 4 Kongs and I fill them with plain yogurt, peanut butter, cheese, scrambled egg, porridge made with water, Kong paste, rice, pasta ( not all at once, just variations of these things every day) and freeze them at least overnight so they are rock solid when you leave in the morning.

FarrowandBallAche Wed 23-Mar-16 14:26:58

Definitely bigger crate.

ScattyHattie Wed 23-Mar-16 16:11:38

I've bought crates from https://w they arrived quickly & are very reasonably priced, even looking in freeads most wanted similar money for 2nd hand.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Wed 23-Mar-16 21:08:54

Thanks, I'll have a look. Even the xxl sized crates are only about a foot longer than the one he's got.

tabulahrasa Wed 23-Mar-16 23:14:28

Unless he's an absolutely ginormous lab he'll fit in an XXL crate no bother, I have one for my Rottweiler and I fit in it with him...

LilCamper Thu 24-Mar-16 08:42:36

Sounds daft but don't leave bits of important paper around for him to shred. What I do for my Lab is give him 'legal' shredding material. I wrap some kibble in kitchen roll, shove it into a loo roll tube, put the tube in a box and tape it shut.

I leave him with something like this every time I have to go out. He has a great time shredding it to get to the kibble, leaves other stuff alone and it helps me break down cardboard for the recycling. Winner all round.

CMOTDibbler Thu 24-Mar-16 10:57:49

Both my lurchers fit in an xxl crate with room to turn round! Ddog2 is a bit of a nervous chewer if left out, but if in his crate just goes peacefully to sleep.

wheelofapps Thu 24-Mar-16 11:11:13

I have a Basset that cant cope with being left.
In house. In car. Outside a room (eg toilet).
She will not eat or drink whilst you are gone either so Kong etc no good sad

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Thu 24-Mar-16 15:13:14

Well it's not important paperwork just left lying around but we do have an awful lot of books etc on the tables in the living room and the shelves in the kitchen and I think he can reach them. If he stands on his hind legs he can reach as tall as me with his paws and I'm 5'6". People keep saying to me he's going to be a big dog and I think they're right!

He could easily fit in the xxl crate and have enough room to turn round and stretch but I just wouldn't like to leave him in it really.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Thu 24-Mar-16 15:13:45

God wheel that's tricky. What do you do with her?

dotdotdot3 Thu 24-Mar-16 15:59:47

I'm going through this at the moment with my dog. She was fine being left for up to three hours until recently - she had a traumatic experience with some fireworks and since then she's been destructive (by the exit door, like yours) .

I got a dog behaviourist in and am making progress. Basically, you have to give them loads and loads and loads of practice with your leaving routine, broken down into manageable chunks. And give them an IRRESISTIBLE kong. By irresistible I mean something amazing....melted cheese, peanut butter, bits of fruit and meat, a pizzle rammed through, yoghurt, banana....whatever your dog loves. It's worth experimenting. My dog is on warm kongs at this stage as frozen kongs just don't hold her attention while I leave. Every dog has its price!

Be imaginative and take time stuffing it in an interesting way. Kibble - or anything else the dog is used to - probably won't do the job. I also got some new kongs for variety - the jumping jack one is good for my dog, as is the stuff-a-ball.

Then you need to go through the first stage of your leaving routine (rinsing out a cup, putting on your shoes/coat) as many times as necessary until the dog stays chewing while you do it. Put the same piece of music on - I use Satie, and the dog only ever hears this music when I am going out. Then sit right back down.

Repeat and repeat until you can add the next stage of your leaving routine, say jangling your keys, repeat ad nauseum until dog is relaxed, and so on, until you can get out of the door. Then come straight back in. Add on each other bit (starting the car etc) in the same way. The dog must learn to trust that you will be back. Once you get up to 10 minutes away in this way, you can start upping the increments a bit - so add on five minutes instead of one etc. - but vary the time you are away, so sometimes one minute, sometimes ten minutes etc

If you can video your dog to see when the distress starts it's useful. You'll then know what your target time is. It's laborious, boring, slow. But it does work if you have a couple of weeks to devote to the process. Repetition is the key, and it's important not to push the dog too far to fast. Go at the dog's pace. Good luck!

Zadocthepriest Thu 24-Mar-16 16:53:40

My 2 year old springer still chews everything. Nothing to do with separation anxiety, he does it when I am in the same room! He hopes it will get him some attention and if I ignore the odd piece of paper he ups the ante with biros or coasters. Obviously I shouldn't reward him by swapping a valued item for a treat but sometimes I have no choice, perpetuating the problem.

Obviously he chews everything if I am out of the room too, even though I make it as dog proof as possible. Permissible items like stuffed kongs just don't have the same appeal as human valuables.

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