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Old 07-22-2012, 07:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default suggestions to calm excited dog that is confined

My 3-year old had to undergo 2 knee surgeries within 9 months period and because of that has been confined to the basement of the house (no stairs are allowed) and several very short walks per day. obviously this is a huge adjustment in her energy level and she also spends a lot more time alone now than she is used to (we try to spend as much time downstairs with her, but it is not the same as having her around the family all the time or going to the park to interact with other dogs and people). we have a routine set up that she is comfortable with now (morning walk, breakfast, mind-game playtime, PT exercises, afternoon walk, so on), but she still gets super excited each time someone comes to her downstairs, especially in the morning. to the point of obsessive barking (and she is not really a barker), when she hears us coming down stairs (I don't enter her room until she stops barking and sits down).

i understand that this comes from extra energy and less human interaction, but those two things are not going to change in the upcoming months. Any suggestions as to how to calm her down (which is also not so good for her recovery process)? thank you!
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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spend more time with her.
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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wow, thank you! this never occurred to me!
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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you asked for suggestions to calm her down in your
orginal post.

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spend more time with her.
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wow, thank you! this never occurred to me!
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If it's a walk-out basement, can you walk her out and up on the outside, without stairs, so that she can come into the house upstairs, then crate her there, where the people are? E.g., if you are watching TV upstairs at night, have her in a crate next to the couch and she'll feel included in the pack and relax.

Alternatively, is there some big, strong guy in your home who could carry her upstairs for you to keep her in the crate up where you are, without her having to take stairs?

If not, can you plug in a TV or computer down in the basement, or take a Kindle, and a cozy chair and just sit and hang out there with her, so that some of her time interacting with you is just sitting-and-chillin'-with-mama time? When I work at my computer, I've nearly always got a dog under my desk (sometimes with a head on my foot)--I'm working, but they get to be close and relax. Could you do something like that with your girl, even if you are busy doing other things?
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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this actually should be doable, thank you! the hill is pretty steep to go straight around the house, but in 2-3 weeks we will work her PT up to 10 minute walk, so we should be able to go around the block and I can install a ramp on the front porch stairs (who knew that getting a house on an incline would be an issue rather than an asset.

my mom comes and sits with her during the day for a few hrs, which is great. and I spend all my time there when I am not at the office or making a dinner. i do exactly what you've described: bring my laptop and work. she knows when I say "mommy gotta work" to just chill by me.

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If it's a walk-out basement, can you walk her out and up on the outside, without stairs, so that she can come into the house upstairs, then crate her there, where the people are? E.g., if you are watching TV upstairs at night, have her in a crate next to the couch and she'll feel included in the pack and relax.

Alternatively, is there some big, strong guy in your home who could carry her upstairs for you to keep her in the crate up where you are, without her having to take stairs?

If not, can you plug in a TV or computer down in the basement, or take a Kindle, and a cozy chair and just sit and hang out there with her, so that some of her time interacting with you is just sitting-and-chillin'-with-mama time? When I work at my computer, I've nearly always got a dog under my desk (sometimes with a head on my foot)--I'm working, but they get to be close and relax. Could you do something like that with your girl, even if you are busy doing other things?
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I was hoping for more creativity

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Originally Posted by doggiedad View Post
you asked for suggestions to calm her down in your
orginal post.
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Under supervision to make sure no parts are eaten (do not want to add a GI surgery!), my dogs like these way better than kong products:



That's the Premier Busy Buddy squirrel. I just use kibble in them, no stuff that will get caught and yucky. Sometimes tiny puppy sized bones too. Since you don't want her to gain weight during her recovery you could use anything that is lower calorie. I have one of those and the waggler too. Busy Buddy - Premier Pet

People don't like them in the comments, but: High Quality Dog Chews - Deer Rack Snack Antler Chews - Whole Dog Journal Article might help keep her busy too.

If she can walk around - not sure of her activity restrictions, tracking and hiding food could help too.

What kind of knee surgery?

Good luck!
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If you can, leave a radio or TV on for your dog when you can't be there.

The past several weeks, I've started using doggie pheromone spray in my grooming shop. When I get a dog that's anxious, frightened, or barking and spazzing out, I spritz the crate with spray... and I'll be darned if it doesn't seem to calm those dogs down. It couldn't hurt to try.

It's called Comfort Zone. They make it in a spray, a diffuser, and a collar. They have one for cats too.
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