new to this - advice needed please
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Thread: new to this - advice needed please

  1. #1

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    Question new to this - advice needed please

    I am an owner of a male 1.5 year old terrier mix. When adopted we were told he was only going to be around 20 lbs. He is now pushing over 50. We live in a 3 story condo with no yard. He is unable to control himself alone in the house so he is kept in a large crate all day until we return from work. We take him out to go to the bathroom but lately he has been going in the house as soon as an hr later. We are expecting our first child in about 3 months. I have been feeling guilty for the way he lives locked up all day without room to roam or run. We did attempt a baby gate to give him more freedom in a room of the house, which resulted in a torn/chewed carpet (this is the first item he has ever chewed in the house in the year+ we have had him). So he is back to being in his crate all day. He has obedience training. He comes, sits, lays down, runs up stairs on command and visa versa. He knows the word "no" and will stop doing something when told. He knows "off" etc. But when we arent around he will do anything he isnt supposed to. If it turns out the general consensus is he isnt the type of dog that can roam freely and not distroy our home, or he is the type who HAS to have a yard, then I feel we have no choice but to do what is right for the dog and give him to someone who can accomidate the lifestyle he needs. sorry this is so long but ANY advice would be great and truly appricated.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Jr. Dog Expert's Avatar
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    Re: new to this - advice needed please

    Alright, well I won't hold back saying that it is a bit sad that you have your pooch locked up alot. I'm sure many would agree with me, maybe someone else would be able to take care of him.

    However if you are willing to invest a bit of money I'm sure you can make some changes.

    First of, the urinating problem, a dog that is 1.5 years of age should already have control of its bladder, try taking him out more often, but if urination still presists then might I suggest a vet check, uncontroled urination may be a sign of bladder infection.

    If anything your dog needs to get more excersice, one possible solution, is that you contract a dog walker to take your pooch on walks while you are gone, this way he gets out and is able to relieve himself and at the same time is able to release some of that famous Terrier-Energy.lol.

    Arranging a play mate can do wonders as excersice, too. It readily tires out a dog and is great socialisation too.

    If your pooch needs something for distraction try getting him a kong. They are toys that you can purchase at your pet store, you fill them with a treat, and you can top it off with peanut butter and it should last quite some time for intertainment.

    Thats about all I can think of now, maybe other member will have some good advice for you too.

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    Question Re: new to this - advice needed please

    Thank you for the reply. To clearify a few things, he does not urinate in the house, only #2 lol. And it seems to be for attention. However when we are home he gets a lot of attention so I am not sure why he does this. The most recent occurance was last week only 1 hr after we had taken him out to go and he went #1 and #2. He always does it in the same place in the house, and he knows he has done wrong because he will hide afterwards. That is really only a small part of our issues. The main question is, can he be trained and trusted to roam the house like so many other dogs do, while we are gone?
    Second thing to clear up is the energy thing. He doesnt seem to have a problem getting his energy out by running the 3 stories of our home. And when he is taken outside on his leash he does his business and wants to go IMMEDIATELY back inside. He does not want to be outside longer than he has to. He is very scared of trucks, skateboards (there are a lot that come down our hill) etc. I really feel he would be 100% happier if he could just be outside his kennel during the day but I am not sure how to go about making that happen without having another incident like when we attempted the baby gate to give him more room to roam and having our capret and padding underneath torn to shreds.
    Anyone else have any advice?!?

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  6. #4

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    Re: new to this - advice needed please

    I know how easy it is to feel guilty when you are away from your dog every day for work. However, I'm not sure it would be safer for you dog to be out in a yard all day unattended, either, unless he could stay in a proper kennel. Terriers tend to dig, he could escape, and then he'd be in all kinds of danger.

    Most dogs do sleep for large portions of the day (even when they do have company!) so it could be that he is only putting his negative energy into his surroundings for a brief portion of the time you are away. Does he have toys he loves to play with? If you give him some like that only when he's in the crate -- a Kong filled with yogurt and kibble that has been frozen, for example -- then that may wear him out enough that he will sleep the rest of the time.

    Does he show any signs of separation anxiety? What does he do as you are getting ready to leave, and when you return, what is he like?

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    Re: new to this - advice needed please

    Thanks Gingersmom. I do feel guilty and that is why I am reaching out to find advice on an alternative. I mean, maybe he isnt unhappy in his crate all day...I never really thought that to be honest. To clearify, we have no yard. If he would to be "free" while we are gone, it would be in the house. But the little freedom we gave him resulted in damage to our home. So I guess I just was hoping to get ideas on how to "test" the idea or how to ween him into having more freedom in the house without losing my home in the process. As far as toys, thats tough. There is only 1 type of toy he cant destroy and thats a Nylar (sp?) bone for agressive chewers. Even that he has chewed down to a nub in about a month. Everything else he can destroy in about 30 min. A Kong he is pretty good with, but loses interest pretty quickly. We were originally told to keep his "outside the crate toys" separate from 'inside the crate toys" so that he has something to look forward to when he is in there. He doesnt seem to have separation anxiety...he eats while we get ready, and he has no problem going into his crate (with a treat) when we leave. I love the kong with yogurt and kibble, i am going to try that. Anything else you can suggest would be great.

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    Re: new to this - advice needed please

    I understand that you don't have a yard, but I thought it might make you feel less guilty to know that having the dog be outside would not always be a good alternative.

    It's good to know that your dog likes Nylabones! Those are classics. I hope that the frozen kong trick works for you.

    Other than giving the dog more exercise early in the morning, and then trying a short period of time when you leave the dog in a relatively indestructible area, like the bathroom, I'm not sure what to suggest. Some dogs just never do get to the point where they can be trusted on their own in the house.

    It's not a big deal, from the dog's point of view, to be in the crate. They are den-like animals, and often will seek out small, enclosed spaces to sleep because it helps them to feel safer.

    I know it's hard to get rid of the guilt, but I encourage you to try.

  9. #7
    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: new to this - advice needed please

    I know this was already said, but I'm going to say it again: The dog needs exercise.

    You say he doesn't have an energy problem and yet you also say that he is destroying your house while you are away. Isn't that a problem?!? If you expend his energy on a long, brisk walk or jog before you leave in the morning, he will be much more likely to nap while you are gone. Dogs with energy to spare are dogs that tear the house apart while you're away.

    The dog being fearful and appearing to dislike going outside is probably due at least in part to it not being taken out on a regular basis. I would guess that, with a little work and a large supply of treats, you can get your dog to enjoy walking.


    RIP Clifford, who never met a stranger

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    Re: new to this - advice needed please

    I appriciate your input. I wanted to clearify that his "destroying" of our house was a one time occurance. He has actually never chewed a single item since we got him at 5 weeks old. To go into detail, he was given an area of about 10sqft of pure carpet and his crate open with his food inside. The first night (about 7 hrs while we slept) he was perfect, the 2nd time we decided to leave him longer and go out and see how he does. That is when the carpet was torn up from one corner inward. He gets taken out 4 times a day at least. Each time he goes out, due to no yard, it is not just out front, it is about 15 minutes, and we even allow him to sprint home if he goes poop and pee. If energy is the issue, I would love for someone to show me how to get him to overcome his fear of the outdoors. His fear is nothing short of a panic attack. It results in his nails and paws bleeding from pulling so hard on the leash to run home. He is deathly afraid of his surroundings outside the home. How is that helping my dog? I feel horrible when it happens, like he thinks we tricked him or we are punishing him by making him go outside just to be spooked into hurting himself just to "survive" (in his mind). Sometimes he is so worried about being outside, he cant focus on doing his "business" and he holds it and just wants to go back inside. However, he loves to dog park. The gated security I think is what does it for him. He is perfect around all other dogs too. Hope this helps to give you some insight.

    Also, please keep in mind my issue is "Can my dog be trusted/trained to live outside his crate during the day". Thanks!
    Last edited by ellisha07; 07-31-2008 at 03:52 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  11. #9
    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: new to this - advice needed please

    No

    You're going to have to do something different if you want the dog uncrated and unsupervised, because what you've been doing hasn't worked. That something might start with addressing the dog's anxiety with the help of a qualified behaviorist.


    RIP Clifford, who never met a stranger

  12. #10
    Senior Member rosemaryninja's Avatar
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    Re: new to this - advice needed please

    The answer to your question, for now, is no. He is not potty-trained and it doesn't sound like he is trained to know what is appropriate chewing material and what is not. That basically spells trouble for any dog left unsupervised.

    Dogs don't pee and poo on the carpet to get attention unless you have responded to his pooing with attention. Maybe he has realised that if he poos on the carpet, everyone in the room starts swarming around him and making a fuss. Even if you're not stuffing him with Milkbones and rubbing his ears, this is attention to him.

    Running up and down the stairs may require physical exertion, but it doesn't constitute exercise or stimulation -- it doesn't cure boredom. Neither would it for you. This is why people choose to alleviate their boredom by going for a walk at the park or at the mall, instead of strolling around their living rooms.

    An under-exercised dog is a bored dog. A bored dog is a dog that will try to find its own toys -- usually your furniture. I also think this dog needs a lot more exercise, and that you need to hire a professional behaviourist to look at the problem and work with desensitising him to the outdoors. In the meantime, you said he does well at the dog park. This is a good start. How often does he visit?
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  13. #11

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    Re: new to this - advice needed please

    The fear of outside must be really tough to deal with. Here's a book review from Dog Star Daily that might help:

    http://www.dogstardaily.com/help-you...er-his-fears-0

    And you could look into getting a dog trainer to give you in-person advice. One good way to find a trainer or behaviorist is to start at the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, http://www.apdt.com -- a trainer should be able to help you work toward your goal of being able to leave your dog in the home unattended.

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    Re: new to this - advice needed please

    When we first got our puppy who is almost a year now we had trouble with someone taking care of her during the day. My parents worked and I school and we just felt bad leaving her all day.

    What we do now is my grandma comes to the house once a day and plays with her, feeds her and takes care of her. It been working very well since.Maybe you have family in the area that wouldn't mind doing that.

    It is very sad though that he is cooped up all day in the house, but at least he has a loving family and home!

  15. #13

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    Re: new to this - advice needed please

    Thanks so much Ginger's Mom for all your help. You have given me the most valuable tools without judgement and I appriciate that. We are going to attempt to leave him home alone for 1 hr this weekend. If all goes well we will extend the time. Then if something doesnt work out, we will have things to gear our energy towards fixing. Thanks again!

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