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My wife and I have both started working full time, meaning that our dachshunds Malcolm and Zoe (litter-mates about a year and a half old) are now home alone for approximately nine hours. We have a large metal crate that we had been keeping them in, but with the longer hours we figured keeping them cooped up that long would be a bit much. We decided to gate them in our kitchen/dining room area to give them space to run and play during the day.

The first two gates were worthless. They were able to push their way through one, and simply chew through another, resulting in lots of damage to little things like cel phones and video game controllers (items they usually show no interest in). We now have a metal gate that works much better at keeping them in.

This, however, raised new problems. We have cabinets in the kitchen with a kind of pressure lock where you have to pull pretty hard to get them opened. They have twice gotten into the cabinets and caused various destruction to paper products (plates, etc.) underneath. We had puppy pads down, and even went so far as to roll up the carpet and move it to a different room, but they have now taken to ignoring the pads and tearing them up. They have also started eliminating in their crate and blankets within.

Additionally, Malcolm has chewed wicker decoration off the table by jumping into the chairs (which he normally never does), and we have lost several books to them pulling them off the shelves and gnawing them (something else they have previously shown zero interest in). They seem to ignore bitter spray and/or barrier spray as well.

In attempts to foil their destruction, we've bought several new toys and placed treats inside for them before we leave. However I noticed that when we come home, the treat balls sometimes still have treats inside. I'm not sure if it's because they loose interest, but they seem to be totally into them when we get home.

I've tried just about everything I can think of, most recently taking them both to the spots they cause destruction at and scolding them so they start associating the ares (like inside the cabinets) with 'bad', chemical sprays, toys, treats, etc. I'm out of ideas and I am afraid we're going to have to resort to crating them again. Worse, Malcolm has taken to pulling at the bars of the crate, and has actually caused the welding to come apart on one section. While I do not believe the section is critical to their containment, I have a feeling he'll keep pulling and gnawing until he finds a weak spot.

HELP.
 

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Nine hours is a very long time to be stuck in a crate, How about doggie daycare or hiring a dogwalker to come by mid-day?
 

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Oh dear. That's probably separation anxiety. I have a dachshund that behaves like that too - we felt bad leaving him for 5 hours in his crate and put him a little gated area. He got out, found his way onto the counters and ate EVERYTHING. He's naughty even when we're in the house - when we're not, it's like he's been let loose in the wild.

Despite what anyone says, it's hard to train a dachshund out of it, some of them are just born that way with an inclination to be mischievious and rascally. You have to be persistent. Did you have any transition period before leaving them alone for 9 hours? They're probably frustrated, bored and scared all at the same time that their "providers" are missing.

You should practice putting them in their little gated area when either you or your wife is at home. Start off slowly, put them in there for an hour while you guys are in another part of the house. Check on them from time to time but don't give in to their whining (if they whine). After an hour, let them out and give them a big treat. Slowly transition to a longer period. Once you can leave them in there for about 4 or 5 hours while you're at home, try to do it when you're grocery shopping or are leaving the house for 1 -2 hours. Then again, slowly up the number of hours and soon they'll know that you're coming back and will have less of a problem. It took me about 7 months to train my doxie to stop whining when we leave him in the crate for an hour or two. Now he runs to his crate, gets a big treat and goes right to sleep and waits for us to come home with hardly a squeak.

I know it's difficult when the both of you have to work, and you probably just don't have the time to ease them into a transition period, but I think it's worth your time and effort. It will be really hard later on to get them out of the destructive phase because dachshunds are so stubborn. They are also very attached to their humans, which is why they are so prone to getting separation anxiety. Dogs don't usually soil their crates, and if they do, it's probably something psychological.

Try those transitioning steps, and in the mean time, crate them when you go to work. Exercise them well before putting them in their crates, allow them to pee and poop and crate them with lots of fresh water, chew toys and those treat dispensing toys. Exercise them again when you get home and give them treats and lots of play time. Don't worry too much about leaving them in their crates for that long a period for now, they'll probably just sleep for a long time - it's safer for them and safer for your furniture too - for now.

A lot of people say 9 hours is a long time to leave a dog alone, and it's especially true if you have young dogs that have never been alone for any period of time before. You can always hire a dog walker to come by and let them out of their crates. Be persistent and don't let those little floppy-eared rascals get the better of you.
 

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How much exercise are they getting before you leave them for the day? If they aren't getting a good amount of exercise before you leave they could just be bored and full of pent-up energy. I would recommend taking them on a nice long walk before you leave, or if you can afford it, doggy daycare or a dogwalker to come in midday. Just remember: a tired dog is a good dog!
 

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Dachshunds are energetic dogs! They need lots of exercise. I recommend you taking them out for a long run or a long game of fetch before you go out. Also leave lots of toys and kongs and chews before you leave. They're doing it out of boredom.
 

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I agree, crate them and manage a mid day break somehow. Doggy day care is a great idea too. They will get far more activity than a dog walker could come close plus have the basic need for company.
 

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There is another approach. Instead of wanting them to have room to run and play and be awake....how about just sleeping while you're gone? As dogs sleep 16-18 hours a day, this should be one of their major sleep times. The trick is scheduling the exercise times, feeding times and the other minor sleep periods around these hours.

In the meantime, for their own safety, you'll have to crate or confine to a puppy proofed room.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
To answer some of the specific questions:

Doggy Daycare/Dogwalker - We don't make enough to afford daycare, though a dogwalker might be a good idea if it's affordable. Between college debt, car costs, rent, doggy costs, etc., we probably won't be able to afford it.

Dieter: I like the idea of giving them some exercise in the morning. I'll have to talk to my wife and see if she can do this. I'm already up at 5:45 most days just to be ready to go since I have an hour long commute. I feed them, take them outside for a brief walk so they can do their business (about 10 minutes) and then they want to get back into bed with my wife. I also like the temporary gate idea, but it's particularly difficult because our schedule is thus: I leave at around 7 am when my wife is getting up, she is usually out of the house by 8 - 8:30 which is when she gates our dynamic duo. I pick her up from work (she carpools since we have 1 vehicle) around 5:45, and get home just after 6:15 on most days unless we stop to get groceries or pet supplies on the way home. Then we have to make dinner and get my wife to her theater rehearsal (and she gets home from that around 10 pm or later), and I stay home and clean up the inevitable puppy destruction and pee spots in addition to any chores that need doing. I figure that after the long day and having me pay scant attention to them since I'm so busy with cleaning and chores, it'd be cruel to gate them in AGAIN, but maybe we'll do that once the play is over in a week or so.

Max: Exercise might help, I agree. As mentioned above, I'll try to get my wife in on it more. If not, I may have to wake up even earlier.

Micro: They have no shortage of toys, including treat disperser types like the Kong and the indestructo-ball, nylabones, rope toys, stuffed toys, soft toys, kong braids, etc. If anything they have too many! While I think boredom is a contributor, it's certainly not for want of toys.

Labs: Mid day-break would be awesome, but we just don't have the ability to get home to do it. I may look into dog-walkers, but we're already stretched thin financially.

Tooney: You know, we keep thinking we've puppy-proofed a room, and somehow they find some way to destroy it. The kitchen/dining rooms have certainly been far better than locking them in a large bathroom (they scraped up the door trying to get out and ate towels) or letting them just have free reign of the house (they got into everything and messed numerous palces). We just have to keep tweaking it to counter them. I still don't see how either one could be strong enough to pry opened the cabinet, but they've managed it twice.
 

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I have a different breed of dog (German shepherd) but I have no problem crating her during the day. I leave at 6:00AM and come back around 4:00PM and she is fine. I don't know if the size of the dog makes a difference but that is my schedule.

I DO get up earlier and I take her out for a walk b4 work (1.2 miles or about 25 minutes) and then I get her right out at night when I get hom and walk her another 2-4 miles.. plus we do training. Some nights we have dog school too.

If your wife can get the dogs out for one last pee before she leaves and crate them (no bedding in the crate BTW) and then as soon as you get home get them back out it SHOULD work.

Of course, a mid day person to come in and walk them for a half hour is great. I have no such person available where I live (rural).. and I do have to keep track of my expenses.

The best way to not have dog destructiveness when you are not home is to prevent it in the first place. Besides.. if they ever got into something and got hurt it woud be bad news (power outlet or cord or ate something causing an impaction and needing surgery).

Prevention is 9/10ths of the cure.
 

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Do you still only have one crate for the two of them?

I'm not positive about this (I've never had more than one dog at a time) but I think people usually recommend individual crates. That way it'll be easier for them to sleep all day.

Also, if you look into dogwalkers in your area, you might be pleasantly surprised at the cost. In some places they're pretty cheap.
 

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I did not know there was one crate and two dogs. Yes. Two crates. Absolutely.
 

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Yes, one great advantage of the crate is restricting activity slowing the body's processes and extending the time they can go without relief. 2 dogs in one crate won't do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Two Crates: This is unnecessary because we have one very large crate for the two of them (and they're tweenie dachshunds, so they're not that big either, about 13 pounds each). Their current crate could fit a much larger dog, lab-sized, pretty comfortably. Also, they love being together and sleeping on/near each other. When we are out for shorter time periods, we do crate them and they do just fine (super excited and go tearing around the house when we get home for about five minutes) and still do their business outside.

Two crates would also cause travel issues, since we bring their crate with us whenever we visit friends and family, not to mention the expense of buying a second crate, and the space it would take up in our house.

I'm getting the feeling that exercise will be key here. When I was unemployed and at home, sometimes I'd take them for a good long walk by the river near our house around noon, and they'd sleep till five or six pm afterwords.

Dog Walkers: It looks like costs for us would be around $20 dollars a day, which is $100 a week, which is $400 a month. No way is that in our budget. We're already going to be canceling cable TV soon, cutting phone plans down, and trying to save for a desperately needed second vehicle.
 

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I know with finances being tight it's hard to fathom the idea of adding more doggie equipment into the home. Maybe insted of a crate you can use an excercise pen (ex pen). Gives them more room yet has the safety of a crate as they can't get into doggie no no places. Or if you already own a tredmill this is an excellent source of exercise for your pup. Once they're use to it you can let them go on it on their own while you get ready for work (with a watchful eye on them of course).

I don't entirely think they're acting out of boredom... I think it is a touch of seperatin anxiety, then add to it some bordom but I don't think bordom is the entire problem since you do load them with toys and they still choose to engage in destructive behaviors. Search some of the older threads here for SA (seperation anxiety). I know you'll find a load of good tips.

As far as a cheaper dog walker maybe you have a family friend with an older kid not in school or an unemployed friend looking for a little extra cash that could help out a few times a week. Doen't always have to be every day as long as the times try to stay consistent.
 
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