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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Y'all,

Glad to have found this site and I hope that someone is able to give me some advice.

Shea’s Background:
My fiancé and I have a 2+ year old mixed breed pound puppy. Shea is part miniature pincher (not her dominant characteristic) and we speculate that she has contingents of Australian Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, Sheltie and Border Collie. She is an extremely intelligent dog and is very well trained. We have mostly trained her ourselves, with a bit of help from an in-home trainer. We take Shea's behavior pretty seriously and pride ourselves on being responsible dog owners.

Shea is house broken and has no behavioral issues; she does not eat things she isn't supposed to, etc. There is no question that she has a ton of energy and is naturally inquisitive. We are pretty diligent about providing proper exercise for her so that she can release that energy in a constructive manner.

My fiancé and I are lucky enough to have jobs which allow pets, and Shea comes to work fairly often. We also try to take her out and about with us when possible.

Recently we have begun to encounter a couple of issues which have been occurring when we are not at home. I am thinking that they are related to a mild case of SA, but I welcome any of your opinions and advice.

The Problem:
Firstly, let me say that we are careful when we leave the house not to rile Shea up. However, she is very astute and can pick up the signals that we will be leaving soon. Unlike many other dogs with SA, Shea does not have any issues when we leave. She is generally lying calmly in her bed and does not bark or cry when we leave. She does go "nuts" when we return, and will even get very excited if we have been gone for a short time.

The issues that have happened lately are "accidents" (she is fully trained, and knows this is not okay; they are usually on the mat at the front door, which is the only carpet in the apartment), chewing/scratching one of the bedroom doors, destroying her leash which hangs near the front door and chewing the bench next to the front door. These have all occurred in isolated incidents for the most part and do happen fairly infrequently.

Solutions:
I think one thing that we can work on is coming and going frequently, while locking the door and making it seem as though we are completely leaving. I also think that we may have to leave her home more so that she doesn’t expect that she comes with us (like I said, she doesn’t try to come). Can it be possible that these “outbursts” are her way of showing her anger for being left home? I am considering trying some type of herbal supplement to ease her anxiety, but I am open to other’s interpretations of her behavior.

Thanks for reading my long post and for offering suggestions and advice.

-Andrew
 

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You may want to crate train her for when you are gone. Some dogs feel more secure in a crate when their owners are away. It does sound like its stemming from frustration of not being able to go with you. Make sure you ignore her for a good 15-20 minutes before you leave and again when you get back. Throughout the day do you normal getting ready to leave things (putting shoes on, getting keys ect.) but then don't leave.
 

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I'm not a big fan of practicing the leaving because it really doesn't teach her what you want her to do when you're gone. Ideally, she should be sleeping peacefully and uninterrupted. If she's not sleeping the normal 16-18 hours a day like most dogs I wonder if she's really getting the physical and mental exercise she needs.
She's a high energy dog. That means a walk/run of about 15 miles a day. 7 miles in the morning and again in the evening is about right. For the days when you can't get out high intensity games like fetch or Frisbee will do nicely or mental exercise which can be just as tiring as physical. Games like Sniff & Find, tricks, Obedience, Agility and Rally exercises are all possibilities.
There are other possibles here....too many calories especially sugars (sugar high) that can make sleeping difficult. Medical...hyperthryoidism....(not likely). Sleep being interrupted by the phone, knocks on the door, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think for now we are not going to jump into crate training. I would like to think of that as a last resort, but would consider it if necessary.

For now we are going to start by not taking her to work as much. I think that these outbursts are ways of saying "take me with you". As far as exercise, we will definately continue to work on that. 15 miles is difficult to pull off, but two rollerblades a day is what we shoot for. We will also keep making sure that there are no ceremonies when we leave or return.

Ideally we would get her a friend, but we just aren't in a position right now to have two dogs.
 

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.

The Problem:
Firstly, let me say that we are careful when we leave the house not to rile Shea up. However, she is very astute and can pick up the signals that we will be leaving soon. Unlike many other dogs with SA, Shea does not have any issues when we leave. She is generally lying calmly in her bed and does not bark or cry when we leave. She does go "nuts" when we return, and will even get very excited if we have been gone for a short time.

The issues that have happened lately are "accidents" (she is fully trained, and knows this is not okay; they are usually on the mat at the front door, which is the only carpet in the apartment), chewing/scratching one of the bedroom doors, destroying her leash which hangs near the front door and chewing the bench next to the front door. These have all occurred in isolated incidents for the most part and do happen fairly infrequently.


-Andrew

It sounds like the start of Separation Anxiety anxiety to me

If you won't crate, you'll need to contain her SOMEWHERE that she can't get into trouble. She could hurt herself doing some of these behaviors, and they WILL escalate if not taken care of.

1. when you come home, IGNORE her completely until she settles down, DO NOT make a big deal of returning. Once she settles, CALMLY acknowlege her.

2. You're on the right track with desensitezing her to your leaving. I reccomend getting:

I'LL BE HOME SOON!
by Patricia McConnell

CANINE SEPARATION ANXIETY WORKBOOK, 5th EDITION
James O'Heare

Both of these books will help you out solving this problem.
 
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