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Q: How can we get the dog to stop her destruction????

March 13, 2008 | By Shannon L. | 5 answers | Expired: 2437 days ago

How can we get the dog to stop her destruction????

When our 1 year old lab mix gets angry with us, normally when we have to go out, even for a few minutes, she chews things up or tears up the trash. She has even gone onto the counters and stolen food. If my kids leave thier bedroom doors open, she will go in and drag thier stuffed animals out and leave them all over the floor. Sometimes shredding a couple, other times not. We have tried praise when she's good, locking her in the bathroom when she's not, swatting her butt, her nose (a suggestion from a SPCA 20 year Veteran worker), positive and negative reinforcement, spending more time with her, giving her outside time before leaving, nothing works......what it comes down to is she never wants us to leave her alone and if we do, SOMETHING is getting torn up. We don't leave her alone much as I am home most of the time, but I DO occasionally have to go to the grocery store, or church. I am afraid we are going to have to crate her up when we leave, but I have always hated the idea. I'd love it if we could just train her better. Any ideas? Oh and for the record, since I have been fussed at since I first posted this......She DEFINATLY knows what she did when she gets a swat for shredding things. She has her guilty face on and skulks around as soon as we walk in the door. If she was good, she jumps around and puts her belly up for a rub. She KNOWS when she has been into mischief.

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Sharebear57
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Mar 20, 2008

Your dog has SEVERE separation anxiety. I am a strong advocate of crate-training, but in a case like this it is not wise to do right away. She may panic and end up seriously injuring herself.
You NEED to be working with a qualified POSITIVE trainer. This is a serious problem that will not go away on its own. It will take a lot of patience and a lot of work. Your trainer will work with you on desensitizing the dog to the stressful cues of your departure and help teach her to accept being alone in small increments. It is going to take time!
In a case like this, punishment is only going to add to the dogs stress level and make the problem worse.
Do some research on severe separation anxiety to get an idea of what you are dealing with (Pat Miller is a wonderful author, and she breifly address the subject in her book "The Power of Positive Dog Training"), but this is not something that can be handeled on your own.
Ps. Dogs do not experience guilt. What you see as guilt are actually submissive appeasement behaviors that the dog is offering in anticipation of your anger. She knows that when there is a mess when you arrive home, she gets in trouble, but she makes no connection with making that mess herself hours ago when she was in a state of panic. As an experiment, you can make the mess yourself before leaving and she will still "act guilty" when you arrive home.

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amy c.
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Mar 19, 2008

of course she knows... smart little dog. I know your hesitant about crating your dog but you shouldnt be. sometimes it becomes their haven when your away. your dog is obviously suffering from sepearation anxiety... shes freaking out when your away thinking your going to leave her forever. crating her is the best option... As long as you proper crate train her things will be fine.. im afraid that thats the best option.

To crate train:

put your dog in the crate when she goes in successfully give a treat walk away. Leave in for five to ten minutes come back reward spend time with her.

After an hour or so do this again but leave her in for fifteen to twenty minutes. Again reward when come back and wait another hour.

Continue doing this increasing the time each time.. obviously it doesnt have to be an hour if you get tired with it stop for the day.. the more and more you do this the more comftorable your dog will get with going into their crate & comftorable knowing you are comming back.


Please dont be hesitant about this... we crate train all of our dogs.. & my dog sleeps in there sometime when IM HOME... or goes in there when he is scared... its a haven for them eventually & it becomes very comftorable plus it will save innoncent stuffies from being ripped.

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Cathy N.
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Mar 13, 2008

I understand your hesitation towards crating a dog, but once you do it you will wonder what took you so long. I had a similar problem with a dog about 20 years ago (she even "ate" the carpet, linolium, baseboards, anything she could get her teeth on). When we got our next dog my husband talked me into crate training. We now have three dogs and all three have been crate trained. It is not something you have to do for life, just until the dog understands how to behave. Although the first couple weeks might be tough, you will find she will go into the crate on her own when you are leaving (my current puppy goes into the crate when he hears the hairdryer because he knows I am getting ready to leave). In fact, both of the older dogs used to treat the crate as a "safe place" if they were uncomfortable with something (like the middle dog does not like loud noises like thunder). The main thing is to do something about this now, while the dog is still somewhat young. It will be difficult to break the behavior if it continues.

I do agree with not hitting the dog, simply because she is just like a child. If you are reprimanding a dog at the time that is one thing, but by the time you get home and discover the destruction, she has already forgotten what she did. Showing her does not make a difference, she still will not understand. I would also suggest trying not to spend all your time and attention on her. There is nothing wrong with a dog playing on her own, taking a nap, etc., even when you are home. If she expects stimulation the entire time you are home, she will expect it 24/7 and that is when she gets into trouble.

I wish you luck and encourage you to rethink the crate training idea.

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mom k.
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Mar 13, 2008

also have u invested in kongs or nylabones? they give her something to do and really work

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mom k.
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Mar 13, 2008

a tired puppy is a happy puppy.she needs atleast 3 walks a day start with 15 min each and work up the time from there..also she needs to be crate trained if shes in there she cant destroy stuff when your not home or baby gate her in the kitchen.she has no idea that ur kids toys arent hers if u give her stuffed dog toys to her they are the same.also swatting your dog is abuse and it makes them afraid of u.she has no idea why u hit her she only knows it hurts.time outs for dogs really dont help either,its a dog not a person.u need to be the alpha dog so she listens better.also how many "tricks"does she know?sit stay lay down leave it etc?these also help with behavior as she will know that when she does them she gets a treat.good luck

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