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Hi Forum Experts!
I have a 2yr old female rescued dog (we found her when she was 3 weeks old). She is fixed and is part Maremma Sheepdog (so she has long hair). She is 70lbs, is regularly seen by a vet, has all her shots, gets 2 long daily walks and exercises on the treadmill a few times a week - which she initially seemed to enjoy. She lives outside on our terrace, with plenty of space to wander, and is allowed inside the apartment a few hours in the afternoon and evening to be with us.

However, for the past 2 weeks, she has wanted to be inside all the time. If we don't let her inside, she seems to get offended and goes right to her doghouse and stays there all day, refusing to eat as well. So instead of her 2 meals (am and pm) she only eats once, at night, getting half of her usual caloric intake.

We're trying to understand if this is hormonal change, if she is depressed or if she is cold (though she sleeps in a well protected dog house with a fleece blanket, and, like I mentioned previously, she has long hair). Unfortunately we can't let her be inside all the time because she's still learning her limits indoors and tests them constantly, so we are still training her. In addition, I work from home, so I am home all day (so no separation anxiety) and we do have her play with a kong and other stimulating toys once a day, but those only last so long. :)

Any ideas, advice or suggestions from other experienced dog owners would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance,

Linda
 

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It's normal for a dog to want to be with people or other dogs. They're social creatures. Any way you could manage to have her closer to you? Tether her to your desk so she can't get in trouble or something?
 

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Definitely take her to the vet to make sure she's healthy - if she's healthy, then there's some things you can try -

I would have her indoors more often than outdoors for sure. Particularly because she's a rescue dog, she may possibly have negative experiences from being left out too long, and deprived of social interaction with her owner.

In my opinion, if you want her to learn manners in the house, she needs to be in the house. This is so you can communicate with her what is acceptable and not acceptable behaviour while in the home. If she doesn't receive that opportunity to be shown what is good, and corrected when she does something bad, she won't learn appropriate behaviour. The more opportunities she receives to explore the limits in the home, the better for her learning. If you can't supervise her in the home, then you can teach her to accept the crate as a resting place so she's safe from danger while you're not looking. Place the crate in an area where there's a lot of interaction.

I agree with Willowy, I would keep her near you as she's in the process of learning to trust you and your family and also to create a strong bond with her. However, she will need to learn to be by herself in the house so when you're away she doesn't tear the house up due to separation anxiety. For this, practise crate training inside the home, so she can get used to be alone, crated, and happy while you're away. Get her used to being alone in the house, first for a minute, then increase intervals as she becomes more accustomed to you leaving. Make leaving a non-event by doing a lot of entering/exiting throughout the day, and make no fuss about coming or going. Soon, she'll see you leaving the house as a cue that you will be back, and won't panic when you're gone.

As always, please take my opinion with a grain of salt - this is how I raised my dog, and she is doing great, but others may have differing experiences.

Hope this helps!
 

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However, for the past 2 weeks, she has wanted to be inside all the time. If we don't let her inside, she seems to get offended and goes right to her doghouse and stays there all day, refusing to eat as well. So instead of her 2 meals (am and pm) she only eats once, at night, getting half of her usual caloric intake.

In addition, I work from home, so I am home all day (so no separation anxiety) and we do have her play with a kong and other stimulating toys once a day, but those only last so long. :)

Any ideas, advice or suggestions from other experienced dog owners would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance,

Linda
How come the dog can't stay inside with you if you work from home? Sounds like a good chance to have time to work on the dogs housemanners if you are going to be home anyway...

I do not work from home but my dogs are with me at work more days each week than they are not... Makes for a better and more confident dog when you can spend more time with them and expose them to more things and places in my opinion.
 

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To the casual observer, my hound would appear to be a dog that wants to be indoors all the time. The reality is, she wants to be wherever my wife and I are. If we're working outdoors. she'll happily hang out there with us all day. (It gets complicated for her if one of us is in and one is out, but she seems to prefer the company of whoever is outside in that case.)

Molly would just as soon be outdoors regardless.
 
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