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I recently adopted a Sheltie from our local shelter. She is almost a year old. I have never had a dog that I didn't raise from a few months old, and I have never had a dog of her size. My roommate and I are home at different times of the day, but occassionally she is home alone for 6-7 hours. During this time she causes a lot of damage (getting into the garbage, ripping apart pillows, and she even ripped a huge hole into our couch).
I know that spending this much time alone can make a dog anxious, so I try to offset that by making sure she gets exercise before I leave. I also purchased a Kong toy that I only let her play with when I am not home. Furthermore, I have sprayed the garbage can, our shoes, and some of our pillows with Bitter Apple spray. Nothing seems to keep this dog from being so destructive!
I have heard about crate training, but I do not feel it would be appropriate for keep her in a cage for that length of time. Do I have the wrong idea? Does anyone have an suggestions?
I refuse to take her back to the shelter, but I'm losing my mind (and all of my pillows!) Thanks, in advance, for your help. :]
 

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If you cannot crate her (though I would do so) than restricting her to one room that has been fully puppyproofed is important. SHe may also be suffering from separation anxiety..rescues are prone to it.
There are lots of good threads here on SA. Have a search.
 

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I think you're wrong about resisting crate training. Dogs that are introduced well to crates usually love them. Your dog would probably sleep peacefully in the crate and wouldn't be at risk of chewing on something dangerous. Your dog could be experiencing anxiety. Crating can help with that.

If a crate just isn't your thing, an indoor kennel can work wonders. Otherwise, dog proof a room and leave her in there.

Tired dogs are good dogs! Stuff the kong with great stuff and freeze it to make it last longer!

Dog Crates Save Lives! I wish you the best! Thank you for saving a life!
 

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Crate training is going to be the safest thing to do. For your stuff and for her. If she got into something she shouldn't, it could cost you a ton in surgery, or worse. Dogs that are capable of holding their bladder longer would be fine in a crate for a good 7 hours. She would fall under that category. It would be best if she could be let out somewhere in between there, but if she's going to be left inside and not be able to potty anyway, then it really wouldn't be much different. Give her a nice bed, and a kong frozen full of peanut butter, and you'll both be happier. I recommend crate training to EVERYONE, and would highly suggest you go this route.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I certainly appreciate the feedback/suggestions. I really thought that keeping her in a crate that long would be sort of cruel. But if it doesn't seem like a bad idea to 3 out of 3 people, maybe I need to let go of my reservations.
I think I will try the room idea first, and then go to the crate as a last resort.
I never thought of freezing the kong, either! You guys are awesome! :D
 

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In a much younger dog, it would be cruel, but as an adult, most are kept indoors all day anyway while adults are at work, and it really isn't any different being crated or in a safe room. The whole problem is letting out a puppy to go potty that would be cruel to keep them in there for so long, but as long as you're meeting the rest of her needs when you're home, it's perfectly fine.

Haha, frozen kongs are like a godsend.
 

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Both my dogs are crate trained. That is where they sleep at night and where they go everytime we leave the house. I am a stay at home mom so the dogs are out most of the day, but if I do leave all day that is where they go, if I eventually get a job that is where they will be.
 

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We love the frozen Kongs filled with peanut butter, too! :) Another idea is a totally different set of toys that you only bring out when you have to be gone. It makes them seem "new" and may keep your dog a bit more occupied. When you get home gather them up and put them out of sight, and it's back to the regular toys!
 

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What kind of exercise and how much of it is she getting before you leave and once you get home? What does your training routine look like?
 
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