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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2004, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Update on my doggie situation, need advice again. :)

Ok, so my situation has changed.

Unfortunately, when I brought all three dogs into the apartment, it was impossible and they all became extremely anxious and barking/howling/yelling at EVERYTHING. They were crying and extremely unhappy for 6 hours. And when I tried to sneak out 2 of the 3 for a walk (since my complex only allows up to two dogs), Cookie ran out the door too, it was a complete nightmare. I got nervous, starting crying, and just didn't know what else to do.

So, I asked my ex to take the 2 older ones, Dacky and Rascal since he loves them so much and can "put up with" them. I'm keeping Cookie, my 8 month old puppy. I spent all day with her yesterday. Took her out a bunch of times so she gets used to going potty outside. She was great indoors alone and I don't think she misses the other two dogs or vice versa, HOWEVER, she's really attached to me and follows me everywhere around the apartment. She barely barks when I'm there.

So today, workday comes along. I go out the door and she starts crying, yelling, howling, barking like it's the end of the world in there. I even heard her paw the door once. I felt so bad. It broke my heart. Since she's in a new environment, I expected this separation anxiety especially since she doesn't have company at all now, but now I'm suffering it too wondering if she's sad and if she'll eventually stop howling and crying (as I don't want to get evicted either or get people complaining about her).

What I would like to know is, how can I get her to understand that I need to go to work and come back after 8-9 hours. I went today on my lunch (although it takes me 20-25 minutes to get home, just so I can take her out and she doesn't feel so scared and anxious). When I got there, I heard her barking because she heard someone leave. It breaks my heart. But I want to be able to keep her and have her be happy. I don't want to give her away/sell her. Can someone please help me figure out what the best possible way to train her to stop barking or to get her away from this separation anxiety?

Luckily, when I got home on my lunch hour, there was no mess in the apartment. I took her out, but she only pee'd so I'm assuming I'll have a surprise when I get back. She's barely eaten, except when I go to the kitchen since she follows me around. It's like she's afraid I'll leave so she stays with me all the time. It truly breaks my heart. Please help, I love her so much and want her to be happy living with me and not be a nuisance to neighbors.

Thanks so much in advance!

(In case you haven't read my other thread needing advice, Cookie is an 8 month old female dapple dachshund, she's not fixed yet, but I plan to have her fixed at the 10.5 or 11 month age). The other 2 I WAS going to keep were 2 yr old male and female dachshunds, fixed.)

Jessica

My zoo: 2 Ferrets named Natira and McCoy and lots of different fishies, snails, and african dwarf froggies.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2004, 02:10 PM
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I am so sorry you are in this difficult situation. It's got to be heart-wrenching and frustrating.
I am sure you can train Cookie to be more confident and accept being alone.
I've been gone for a few weeks and I haven't read your other posts so I am sorry if my questions have already been answered and my suggestions already suggested...


Is Cookie crate trained?

Often, with the use of a crate in a small area where the dog and crate (tied opened so she always has access), her favorite toys, and lots of safe things to chew on to keep her busy, you can start slowly and increase the time you are away. Her crate should have soft bedding and the more time she spends sleeping in it, she will be comforted by her own scent in the crate. Putting an article of worn clothing (a tee-shirt perhaps) of yours into the crate might comfort and sooth her too. Confining her to a small area will also help comfort her, as she won't be wandering the entire apartment looking for you, and getting into potential trouble from the anxiety (i.e. chewing inappropriate things, digging on the carpet, and generally keeping her safe from potential harm).

Don't make a fuss when you come and go. Dogs learn your cues very quickly! Just the simple act of putting on my shoes and getting my keys lets my dogs know that I am leaving the house. I don't pay attention to them during this time. I make it as normal and as calm and routine as any other activity.

As far as the barking goes, I understand that this can be a big issue! A dog barking all day and neighbors within ear-shot aren't a good mix Do you know how long the barking continues after you leave?

Hang in there I think with a little time invested in training Cookie you'll be able to come and go with a clear head and a happy pup.

I'm here for you! I'll try to give you suggestions and even give you detailed ways to help Cookie overcome her separation anxiety if you want

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2004, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Previously, I tried crate training her when I lived with my now ex in the house and she cried, whined, everything horribly like if she was getting hurt. All day, wouldn't stop, so I didn't do that in the apartment so it's not a constant thing. I do have a small crate in the apartment, it's open with a pillow inside and a potty pad on the bottom just in case. She doesn't go in there though. Since I don't have a bed or anything, she sleeps with me on the sofa at night. She's used to climbing the sofa and sleeping there too when I'm not around, well, I'm assuming since that's what she used to do at the house. The apartment is real small. I closed the sliding door that leads to the bathroom and bedroom, so she only has access to the living room, dining room, and kitchen (it's real real small). At first, I was going to gate her in the kitchen, but that's way too small for her and the one time I tried, she was crying horribly. I think she's happier with access to the couch and her toys that are thrown around the floor.

I'm not sure how long she cries. I stood outside for about 3-4 minutes when I was leaving to go back to work after I came to see her on my lunch hour and she would stop, then start again. When she hears noises by herself, she does start barking. I was going to buy a webcam to put so I can see what she does, it would help me understand better. Before I leave, I spray bitter apple on the things I know she would chew on when we lived in the house. She was pretty good with that on her first day alone for that long a time. She didn't poop or pee in the apartment from what I can tell, but we have rug so it might have dried up, who knows. Yesterday I spent most of the day with her and walked her outside a lot so she gets used to pottying outside.

Do you have any suggestions as to how I can get her used to being without me now that she doesn't have her other two doggie companions? Should I leave for short periods of time, anything different? I don't want the neighbors to get mad too if I leave at night and she starts barking. I'm assuming most of the people are at work in the day so when I'm there she doesn't do it at night. I've only had her there since Sunday and Sunday I spent almost all day with her, so today is really the first day she has alone. What's good is that this apartment complex is an open area. It's not like a million apartments next to each other, a few feet in front of you, etc like a hotel, this one is four apartment per floor, two on each side with a big open area in between the other two. I have one neighbor on the top, another on the bottom, and one behind me, that's not counting the ones separated in front. You see how worried I am. lol. I'm worried about the neighbors AND Cookie. She's such an adorable puppy that it breaks my heart seeing her sad, especially now that she doesn't have other dogs to pick on. She is also very hyper. When I take her outside, she pulls me on the leesh, which I want that to change too, if you have suggestions for that. I appreciate your help so much!!

Jessica

My zoo: 2 Ferrets named Natira and McCoy and lots of different fishies, snails, and african dwarf froggies.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2004, 03:06 PM
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Oh no! Poor Cookie and poor you. I know I hate to leave my doggies and hear them yipping and whinning for me to come back. I am sooo worried about getting a job that is close to my new apartment so that I can come back at luch. I could probably get a job at a Petsmart but it will be about 20 mins from home and by the time I got there it would be time to go back. Plus at the job I am on now it will take even longer for me to get home if I am not able to get a job at the clinic I am trying to work at. Us worry warts....lol


*Brandy*

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2004, 04:17 PM
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you say that when you leave at first she cries, but then stops. what you need to do is (at night or when you aren't busy), leave and then AS SOON as she quits crying go back in a CALMLY give her a treat and say good girl. also, i think that you could keep her in the kitchen. i keep 2 dogs in mine and i'm in a 1 bedroom apt and my kitchen is reeeally small too. deja once told me to spend time in the kitchen with her with her toys, etc. lock yourself in there and everything...leave her for very short times, and build up the times. she will stop eventually. =) let us know how she is.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2004, 05:04 PM
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I understand your concerns, they are certainly valid. You have made a total life adjustment and Cookie is having to make adjustments to her environment and her routine too.

The crate should be a pleasant experience. It is good that you have it available! You might try enticing her into it with a few special yummy treats to be given in the crate only. A small Kong filled with peanut butter and frozen is a great treat that might keep her busy for a while inside the crate. Leave the door opened at first, just to show her that it's not prison, but her own special *bedroom* where she gets special treats. Lavish praise on her even if she walks in and takes the treat out and eats it outside the crate at first. The idea is to slowly condition her to accept the crate. In the long run - this will go a long way in soothing and comforting her while you are away.

On a day that you have time to devote to Cookie (a weekend would be perfect) - start conditioning her to your routine. Get your shoes, keys, whatever your *leaving the house* routine is and don't pay any attention to her while you do this. It could even start with you doing your hair - anything you normally do in the morning before you leave for work. Leave the house calmly - no big dramatic goodbye - close the door behind you. Walk to your car or just walk a few feet from the door. Listen. When she has been quiet for a few minutes - go back inside. Put your keys down, take your shoes off, your purse down (whatever your coming in the house routine is) - don't make a big deal out of coming back in. Give it a minute... then lavish praise on her for being so good. Do this over and over increasing the time you are away. It will reinforce to Cookie that you will always come back when you leave - and that she can let go of some of that anxiety!

It's also a good idea to always leave her some special treats, lots of things to chew and toys to keep her busy while you are gone.
If at all possible - give her a good workout so she is tired! A tired puppy is a good puppy
A rousing game of fetch or working on some basic commands such as sit, stay, come - will also build trust and boost her confidence.

Leash pulling is another story! I'll do another post about that. To preface working on her not pulling on the leash it's very important to start working her on basic commands. She needs to know you are in charge

Sorry this was so long! I think that you and Cookie are going to be just fine. A little thought and lots of consistant work and praise goes a long, long way

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2004, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much... I just got home and she was so happy to greet me on the sofa. She stood on the edge that is closest to the door. I made noise coming up the stairs to see if she would bark and she didn't, don't know if she knows it was me. Then I opened the door and previously she barked with that and now she didn't. I looked around the house and didn't see any poop. I'm so happy about that, I think she's behaving with the potty stuff since I took her out SOOO many times on Sunday to potty. I came on my lunch to take her out and tire her and to have her potty. She's pooped now after I took her out. She pulls so hard on the leash that it tires her out. She has lots of toys available in the living room to play with too and when I'm here, she brings me the tennis ball and throws it at me so I can play with her. I think the biggest thing is going to be the barking and I'm hoping that goes away with time and dedication to her. I was planning on coming on my lunch about half this week until Thursday, which I'll stop then, because I don't want her to get used to it since it basically takes up my whole lunch hour without eating and I want her to learn how to hold it. She's made me so nervous and worried about her that my eyelid is twitching slightly from stress. I think I'm having more separation anxiety than her. lol. The past few days when I'm playing with her, I'm trying to teach her sit. She hasn't gotten it yet, but I think she will. She does know stay at times outside. And when she sees people, I try to get her to not bark.

But you have given me great advice. I've been trying to get her tired as much as I can as she is the calmest when she is. Haven't seen any furniture chewing as of yet, I think she goes on the couch and on top of the pillows on the couch and goes to sleep after she tires herself barking. I also have been leaving the tv on for her so it's not so quiet in here. Don't know if that's a good idea or not. I'm also thinking of getting a webcam to watch her since my dining room has my computer desk (don't have dining room furniture anyways. lol)

I so appreciate your help, seriously, you've been a godsend.

This weekend I'll work with her more, do you think it's a good idea to stop coming on my lunch by Thursday so she isn't used to it or should I keep doing it this entire week?

Jessica

My zoo: 2 Ferrets named Natira and McCoy and lots of different fishies, snails, and african dwarf froggies.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2004, 05:30 PM
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I always leave the TV on when I leave the house - the birds are used to the sound and I think it just makes it more normal for the dogs to just have the same background noise when I am gone!

I think you would probably be a better judge of when to stop coming home during lunch than me. Maybe give it a try on Thursday like you have in mind and see how it goes - if when you stop coming home she reverts back to unwanted behavior you can always back it up a step and come home again - I know what a pain that is - giving up your lunch hour and having to do your entire commute twice a day! I'd want to hurry that process up too.
It sounds like you are doing a great job and Cookie is making progress yay!

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