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Background story...In the Summer of 2010 we adopted an 8 week old "maltese" from a county shelter. His size didn't match up in our opinion, but that wasn't going to stop us. I sat on the floor of the shelter waiting for a worker to bring him over, and he walked right over to me and crawled into my lap, love at first sight :)
It wasn't long before we discovered he was actually a Tibetan Terrier. I am telling you this because I don't want people telling me I should have researched the breed before getting one.

His barking is increasingly becoming an issue. I appreciate his "watch dog" characteristics as I am home alone a lot. I definitely like to to be alerted when and if someone has come onto our property, so I don't want to curb it 100%. We live in an apartment complex, so people come and go often. If someone does come in and go straight into their apartment, he often will bark once and be done. However, if they hang around outside, he just won't stop. He even does this with people he recognizes.The worst is when our 3yr old nephew is outside playing, he'll stare out the window and whimper/bark non stop. I'm not sure how to address this because I feel like it may be related to his separation anxiety. He knows our nephew is not a threat, but it just kills him that he isn't down there.

Onto the separation anxiety, if that's even what it is... If he notices we are getting ready to leave, he gets very excited. It's like he assumes that since we are going somewhere, he is too. And lately that is the case, simply because he is so destructive when left alone. I think it is more about missing out on something rather than being alone because he is just fine when left in the car by himself. Maybe the car ride was enough for him? We can leave him home for 20 minutes and return to a disaster, but the car is always in one piece. I can go in another room and shut the door without him getting upset. If I happen to be talking on the phone he doesn't care. But the second I talk in a "baby voice" to our ferret, or if he hears our nephew, he goes crazy.

We have tried the typical methods to deal with the separation anxiety to no avail, so I am hoping someone may have some breed specific advice, as I have read they are prone to it. I am hoping that once I get this under control, the barking will be taken care of as well.

Sorry this is so long, just wanted to give a thorough background of our situation!
 

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Can you tell us what you have done to curb the destruction while you are gone (You said you have tried many things--would like to kno what before giving advice). Also, if you aren't doing it already, he needs to be crated while you are gone. Obviously he can't be trusted in teh house alone if you are coming back to destruction. And, it is entirely possible it isn't SA--it could be that he is bored. Do you leave him with anything to do while you are gone?
 

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Hello there, thanks for the response. I'll address the crate issue first. He has broke/broken out of 2 pretty durable crates. We were afraid he was going to really hurt himself so we used a baby gate to keep him in the kitchen instead. He has unlocked one and managed to knock another down. Our neighbors say that he doesn't really bark or cry while we are gone, but when we crate him he does it non stop.

He was only 8 weeks old when we got him, but we had absolutely no issues with potty training and didn't crate train him with that in mind. Nonetheless, we had one, and tried to make him think it was his "den" with his bed and toys in it. He was much more interested in hanging out on or near the couch and we originally didn't think that was an issue. He had been in the shelter for 6 days and was neutered the day we took him home, so we wanted him to feel comfortable.

For the SA, we initially tried coming and going without acknowledging him, made leaving low-key, left him with a shirt that smells like me (we tried that in the crate
too) and I have thrown treats around the house and easily hid a few, hoping he would spend his time searching for those. I have also left new bones and toys.

We have also tried to reinforce that my boyfriend and I are the pack leaders, not him.
 

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First off, throw the pack leader stuff out the window. It is based on research that really doesn't have any bearing on how you train your dog.

You need to work on crate conditioning. In terms of when he was a puppy--of course he wanted to hang out with you...he was a baby and didn't want to be alone. Most puppies are like that. It is always a good idea, IMO, to crate train...and since he is knocking down baby gates, that obviously isn't working. So, you can either make a dog safe room, use an x-pen or crate train. If he is breaking out of crates and you don't want to try to crate train again, that is fine, but you need to try to figure out a safe place for him.

Since he doesn't bark or cry when you are gone, I am more inclined to think that his behavior is out of boredom and not SA. I have an SA dog--she barks when I am gone. Not as much as she used to, but she does...he just seems to be destroying things. Any evidence of drool or urine or poo when you come home? Anything other than the destruction?

How muich exercise does he get in a day? Try leaving a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or froxen kibble...something that will take him some time. A treat ball--something that will make him work while you are gone.

You need to find a way to contain him for his safety and your sanity.
 

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I haven't found any evidence of drool/urine/poo. The destruction is primarily at the front door. He has tore up the flooring, chewed on the door knob and ripped down anything we have hanging on the hooks that are on the back of the door.

He could use more exercise each day. Our property is large and fenced in, and there always seems to be somebody outside playing with him. But we don't walk him every day. I want to address his destructive behavior, but I also need to do something about the barking when we are home. I was hoping it was related. What do you think?
 

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He could use more exercise each day. Our property is large and fenced in, and there always seems to be somebody outside playing with him. But we don't walk him every day. I want to address his destructive behavior, but I also need to do something about the barking when we are home. I was hoping it was related. What do you think?
I think you should start here. Try really tiring him out before you leave and see if that helps. Teach him to play fetch or go for a long walk. I think a lot of people drastically underestimate how much exercise young dogs need, even small ones. I consider a good morning romp (at least 45 minutes of solid activity) essential to my dog's sanity and safety - and she's crated during the day!
 

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Yeah. You really need to work on creating a safe space for him. If he keeps this up, he may ingest something that gets stuck. This still sounds a lot like boredom. It could be a bit of SA--is the destruction only at the door? (If so, you need to work on getting him a place not near the door).

In terms of the barking, you will need to condition him to be quiet. My two dogs are allowed a couple of alert barks and after that, I give the "quiet" command. So, when your dog starts barking, give him a couple and then get his attention (whistle, clap, something). If he looks at you and stops barking, give a treat while saying "quiet." Continue this. Eventually you will be able to say quiet and he will stop barking. It will take some time.

He is barking b/c he wants to play/get to the person and he is not allowed to. It isn't an SA thing if you are home, really.

Do you practice the Nothing in Life is Free method? It will help.

I also think this dog needs more exercise. Take him for a good walk each day. Work on training (mental exercise will wear him out, too...have you thought about taking him to obedience classes, agility, something?)
 

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Yes the destruction is probably 99% at the door. We will focus on more exercise (mentally and physically) and work on the bark conditioning. I was worried someone would bring up "nothing in life is free". We are good with things like sitting before going outside, food, treats, etc. But, he sleeps in bed with us, and if he comes over for some attention, he gets it.
 

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Yes the destruction is probably 99% at the door. We will focus on more exercise (mentally and physically) and work on the bark conditioning. I was worried someone would bring up "nothing in life is free". We are good with things like sitting before going outside, food, treats, etc. But, he sleeps in bed with us, and if he comes over for some attention, he gets it.
Why were you worried about NILIF? It works. Him sleeping in bed with you is not a big deal. Just make him wait to be invited. If he comes to you for attention, make him sit first. You won't deprive him of anything. He just learns he needs to work for everything. It has been a godsend in my house.
 
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