Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We have a 2 year old Portuguese Water Dog named Olive. We got her at 8 weeks of age we all lived very happily in our home in San Diego. My husband worked from home while I commuted to work. It was an ideal situation to raise a puppy. However, naturally, Olive bonded more with my husband. Otherwise, life was good.
Then my husband got a job in Seattle and we moved here at the end of August.

Background - Olive is crate trained. While she certainly tolerates her crate and seems fine and content inside, I would not say she’s a dog who LOVES her crate the way some do. If she had her choice she’d be out of the crate. However, she always did well in it when we left to go see a movie or dinner at a restaurant. There were a few isolated incidents where neighbors alerted us to her crying while we were gone. But this was a rare thing.

When we learned we were moving, our pets (we also have cats) were our top priority. We drove up in a big van and stayed overnight in pet friendly hotels. We brought along toys and treats and tried to make it as fun as possible. We never left the animals alone in the van or the hotels.

When we arrived to Seattle, we are living in an apartment (which is a big part of the sense of urgency of this issue) and would be a couple of weeks before our furniture and belongings arrived. But again we made sure we stayed with the animals as much as we could to help them feel as “at home” as possible.

We left one time to go run a short errand and put Olive in the crate with music on. We came back to a SCREAMING dog. I mean she was FRANTIC.
We tried to be as unceremonious as possible about it. We did not punish her. And I get it…a big move, a new place, few familiar things, mom and dad leave….perfect recipe for a freak out.

Also of note: she did not pee or poop. I did not see any signs that she tried to escape out of the crate. No excessive drooling. Lots of panting though.
I do want to touch on how LOUD she is and what a crazy vocal range she has. I can hear her clear from the elevator which is way down the hall. So everyone on our floor and possibly units above or below us can hear her.

So we decided to take a step back and wait until our furniture arrived from San Diego before we tried to leave Olive alone again. Give her more time to realize this is our home.

Now we add in the other factor that husband is starting work. He had about a week and a half with us before he needed to start which was great. But for Olive it’s a role reversal of sorts. Now mom is home all day and DADDY is gone. :( Sad puppy.

Once we got all of our furniture put in - we tried the crate again while we left for a quick lunch. No luck. We came back to a screaming, frantic dog.

Then I thought….maybe she would be better out of the crate. Perhaps if she was loose she could cuddle up on the couch or our bed. Maybe it’s too much to have us gone (bad) and be in the crate (not fun). Not to mention as she has matured she has done very well with not getting into things she shouldn’t so she’s definitely earned some out of the crate privileges.

So we tried without the crate. Same result. Screaming dog. (no destruction or anything else - just barking/crying)

What I’ve Done So Far:
I started working with Olive on my own during the day. I decided I would make Me leaving an awesome thing! I chopped up some leftover steak and started slow by giving her a piece of steak as I got the keys. I asked her to Down Stay and I stepped out the door, stood in the hall way for 3 seconds then came back in and rewarded for Olive being good and not crying.
I did this many many times trying (as I’ve read in articles) to increase the time bit by bit.

We have now reached the point where I can leave her and go run short - medium length errands. I can go get our mail. Recently I had a dentist appt. I came back and she was just laying down. She seemed fine, not stressed. Hooray!

So….what's the problem? I think Husband is the problem. She loves him SO MUCH when he comes home from work I've never seen an animal SO HAPPY to see someone. (right now we are working on her being calm when he comes home - I’m doing more exercise with her during the day and having my husband do some mental training with her when he’s home).
Now we are at the point where I can leave during the day but WE - together - cannot leave. She freaks.

I know the next logical step is - do the same thing - treat, leave, come back, over and over but with both of us.
My question is ……… should we go back to putting her in the crate to do this??? OR since she is responding well to what I’ve been doing in the daytime being loose, should we keep going with that?
Again she is not destroying anything - just crying/barking.

When we leave, we leave her with a kong and some other treats - she eats them. And then we come home to barking dog.
When she is in the crate (at least when we were crating her in San Diego) she wouldn’t touch a treat in there. So I don’t think a kong or anything else will be of much use in the crate.

Right now I feel like a hostage. And I feel like if this happens too many more times it’s only a matter of time before the complaints start rolling in.

Also I tried doggy daycare. She failed. so that is no longer an option.

Any advice is welcome. I've read several articles on line and I have a book coming. Just thought I'd try here too since the situation wasn't an across the board SA issue.
thanks!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I did buy a Sentry collar for her which has the DAP in it. We do always leave music on for her but I've never heard of "Through a Dog's Ear" so I'll check that out! Thank you!
Right now I'm reading Patricia McConnell's book on Separation Anxiety and it's very insightful.
We may have had a small breakthrough of sorts the other night. Our building had a happy hour for the residents. My husband came home from work and instead of stopping by our apartment, he went straight to the HH. We were there for about an hour and a half (didn't want to push our luck) and came back to a QUIET dog!
Now, would the situation have been different if he had come home and then we both left? Probably. But at least this gives us a possible (sneaky) work around. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
It sounds like what you're doing is effective, it just takes time. Do you also give her crate time when you are there? IMO, it's best if she does not associate the crate with you leaving (her). Also I would have her crated when your husband comes come, then let her out after about 10 minutes, so that she is not so manic about him coming home.

I live an apt also with a SA dog, it's not easy so I sympathize.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you Fergusmom. I agree, it all takes time. We do crate her from time to time - usually when we've asked her to go settle down after a play session and she isn't listening to us. Always very gently with no emotion. Just "ok crate time" for about 10 minutes to get her to lie down and relax.
So far we've been leaving her out of the crate when we leave. She won't even consider eating anything (a kong, a treat, a bone - nuthin) when she's IN the crate, so in order to use some of these counter conditioning techniques I'm reading about, I need for her to be in a state of mind where she will engage with the yummy treat I leave behind.
Plus - so far she has not been destructive.:rolleyes:

We've also been spending time every night when husband comes home, working with her to engage her in some mental training. Husband texts me when he's in the elevator coming up and I start working with her so she's already focused on me. And there is no more emotional greeting from my husband. He says hello to her and then goes about his business. It's going well.

Now we just need to work on the same "coming and going" exercises with both of us - which we did a bunch of this weekend, and then add in the evenings. That's the biggest trigger. Olive is so excited to see Dad that for us to turn around and leave her is unacceptable in her book.
So the plan tonight is to work on simple and short times where we step outside the door and come back in after husband comes home and dog calms down. We shall see how it goes! :eek:
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top