Help with puppy when he's home alone
First off, my "Puppy" is going to turn 1 year old on the 1st of the year, which I'm very happy about.
I live alone, and don't have any other pets, so when I go to work I have to leave the puppy behind, unfortunately. For most of his life, I kept him confined in the kitchen with a nice sofa/bed, water/food, and a dog door to go outside. This has worked out well for both of us. At least I live close to work, so I go home for lunch everyday to walk him and to visit with him.
Over the last two weeks, I've been leaving him alone with the run of the house, as this is my ultimate goal for him. And most days, he is very good.
Several days over the past 2 weeks I have found that he's gotten into the trash, or pulled down some letters from the table, gotten a tissue box, or gotten a throw pillow from the sofa, etc, and ripped them up, dragged them outside, or both. Today, I found that he had done ALL of these, plus ripped up several books and video game cases.
So, now he's back to being locked in the kitchen, at least for the time being.
I find this behavior especially frustrating as he displays zero destructive tendancies when I'm at home, so there's no opportunity for me to correct him or guide him away from chewing things he's not supposed to. When I'm home, he only plays with his toys or me, which is exactly what I want him to do.
I know that the accepted pratice for finding messes like these (for example, with housetraining) is to quietly clean up the mess and redirect the behavior, but the problem is that there isn't any observable bad behavior to misdirect. So the best I can do is reprimand him when I come home and he's been bad, praise him when he's been good, but I don't want to have him destroy half of my house before he gets the message.
I understand that he is still fairly young, so perhaps I was just trying this too soon. I also understand he is doing this out of boredom, and I don't blame him, but I cannot be home with him all day every day, as much as I'd like to. So he needs to figure out how not to be destructive when I'm not home.
I do have bitter apple spray, but I haven't found it particularly useful, and I cannot spray my entire house with it. And when the weather is good, I take him for morning and lunchtime walks in addition to dog park in the evening, so he's not so bored. But this time of year it gets light too late in the morning and too early at night, and is generally too cold to do anything but lunchtime walks anymore.
Does anyone have tips for what age to attempt "home alone" time, and what do when he slips up?
Last edited by Pattyobrien3; 12-18-2013 at 04:51 PM.