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Old 05-09-2014, 12:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default possible seperation anxiety?

Hi everyone,

I have a 4 year old female, who I adopted around 4 months ago.

The previous owner owned his own bike shop, and so Sadie was able to go to work with him most days and just slept and wandered around the shop.

Problem is, that both my wife and I work full time and are out of the house all day. Neither my wife or I are in a position to take Sadie to work with us.

Growing up with german shepherds, every one of our dogs, only ever one at a time, had no problems being outside during the day while everyone in the household was at work/school. My parents current shepherd has no problems outside all day, just roaming the yard, playing etc.

Sadie however, cannot deal with it. Initially, she was finding ways to get out of the yard. Even to the point where she was scratching herself, in the process of squeezing through small holes etc to get out. I think I have fixed the problems with the fencing in our yard, but I don't trust her enough as she has forced and broken her way out too many times. (luckily each time she has returned herself, or we have been called to come get her from neighbours).

So we currently have her on a reasonably long chain, so she has a good available area, access to her kennel etc. Except we regularly come home and she has tipped her kennel over or chewed anything within reach that she can get hold of. (all things she isn't meant to chew, she has a few toys within the reach of her chain, but ignores them)

She was comfortable for a few weeks inside while we were out, however she recently had a couple of destructive days inside, so now has to be outside again. I don't like chaining her up, and would prefer her to be able to roam the yard. However im not sure how to best look at fixing this. I have left a bone, and a kong with food in it, and she hardly touches them until she is let off the chain.

I should also add that she is currently getting a walk in the morning, as well as training on that walk, and training of a night time, so she should be reasonably stimulated. Days we are at home and have the same routine, she will sleep all day inside or out, as long as we are home.

The other thing I should add is that when we are at home, she will stay in the yard with the gate open, and not even bother trying to get out. She is more interested in what we are doing and enjoys hanging around with us, which is great. But I would prefer her to be less interested in what we are doing at home, and more interested in staying in the yard. The gate is rarely open and left open. but on the occasions it has been she hasn't left.

Obviously there is an adjustment period, but 4 months in I would assume she might be starting to get better. I have tried making the yard a fun place, we always train in the yard, she gets bones In the yard, and we play in the yard. Its also plenty big enough as we are on a double block.

I would also like to point out that if your response is going to be, 'you shouldn't have a dog if you aren't going to be home during the day' then I don't want to hear from you.
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Old 05-09-2014, 12:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Maybe you could get a 10'x10' kennel.
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Options are:

-dog proof a room inside
-large kennel/dog run outside and since it seems she is determined; consider burying the bottom edge to dig-proof it, you would have a cover on it to block the sun but this case a hard cover securely attached to the kennel walls to avoid climbing over.

As far as your dog being less interested in what you are doing - that would be tough since GSD are wired to be closely attached to their pack.

The 2 walks aren't enough exercise. Along with the training you are doing and the walks, add in some play - 2 ball fetch, flirt pole (keeping it low). Look into nose work - more mental stimulation. Training classes even though you are training her yourself - bond building and more stimulation.

While you have had her 4 months, it sounds like she hasn't been inside enough to learn the house rules. Have her in more with you, keeping her close so you can interrupt any destructive behavior. That along with the increased exercise should make a huge difference with her learning house manners.
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Dog sounds lonely and bored, or it is trying go back to previous owner.
I agree with building a kennel within your yard rather than tethering the dog all day. You would be arrested in my state in the U.S. for doing that.
Maybe you shouldn't have this dog if you and your wife are not going to be home all day since it was raised to be around people.
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Old 05-09-2014, 07:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
Dog sounds lonely and bored, or it is trying go back to previous owner.
I agree with building a kennel within your yard rather than tethering the dog all day. You would be arrested in my state in the U.S. for doing that.
Maybe you shouldn't have this dog if you and your wife are not going to be home all day since it was raised to be around people.
I have got to agree, she is used to being with her people, you and your wife are new, it must be trying for her.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sadie is inside with us when we are there. She knows the house rules, when we are there. She has the areas she is allowed to go, and will stop at the boarder of the areas she isn't allowed in. She isn't destructive when we are there, she just sleeps on her mat, or wanders around.

She does get fetch as well generally straight after her walk in the morning.
Im intrigued as to how often and for how long people must walk their dogs for if Two 45 minute to one hour walks a day including some off leash time, plus some fetch and running around in the yard isn't enough.

Its not that I want her to be dis interested in what we are doing, and I understand that she is wired to be attached to us. What I want is for her to be happy in the yard when we aren't there. She has toys, and bones, but rarely has any interest in them when we aren't outside with her.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
Dog sounds lonely and bored, or it is trying go back to previous owner.
I agree with building a kennel within your yard rather than tethering the dog all day. You would be arrested in my state in the U.S. for doing that.
Maybe you shouldn't have this dog if you and your wife are not going to be home all day since it was raised to be around people.
Good thing I'm not in your state of the US then.
She is tethered on a long chain, not near anywhere that she can get tangled on. She has a reasonable sized area she can utilise whilst on her chain including her kennel, grass area, and concrete, both grass and concrete have shade and sun.
I have a run for her, However I need to adapt that so she cant dig out. But, she has more available space when she is on her chain, than she does when she is in this run.

Also, when she gets out, she traces her last walk to see if she can find us, if she cant, then she returns home. She isn't trying to get to her previous owner.

Also, as far as not having this dog. I shouldn't need to re-iterate the closing comments of my original post. However, as Sadie was unable to have registered pups, and didn't get along with the pup she was replaced with, the alternative to coming home with us on the day she did, was termination. So for me, there was no alternative.
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Old 05-11-2014, 09:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Can she be left on short errands like to the store without destroying the yard? Or staying outside for a period of time without the chain while you are inside? I wonder what her threshold is for time away from you.

I've never had to personally deal with separation anxiety but I do know it's huge challenge and the sooner you start to work on it so she doesn't practice these anxious, destructive behaviors, the better. Is working with a trainer an option? A pet sitter to visit her during the day?
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Old 05-11-2014, 10:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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She's bored. Maybe you have a teenage neighbor who needs an afterschool job of taking her out. Or hire a dog walker.
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