Non GSD but really need some ideas/home alone - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Non GSD but really need some ideas/home alone

I posted a question awhile back about what to do about our dogs barking. I solved that problem but have come up with another one.

Here is the situation. I had my lab, Chatham, before DH and I lived together. I crated him as a puppy, but he didn't do well with it. He would bark and whine on and off throughout the day. I started taking him to doggie daycare in the morning and DH would watch him at night most nights. I also had a roommate that would watch him at night. When I was gone and he was not with DH, he would get destructive. Only my stuff. Anything with my scent (or food). Then he started chewing on the baseboards. DH and I moved in shortly after that started happening so there wasn't much damage.
After moving in with DH and Kaper, he improved drastically. Dh and I werent on the same schedule then so he wasn't alone as much as now but still was alone enough. No problems.
In January DH and I managed to get on the same schedule. 7-7, two days, two nights, four off. At first, Chatham chewed on a couple of things, then seemed to settle in. The boys get tons of excercise, toys while out, etc. Plus my job allows me to stop in many times for outside breaks, lunch, etc.
The problem started shortly after. We have a window on the stairs leading to the second floor. Whenever someone pulls in the yard, it is where the boys go to see. They also watch us leave and arrive there. We never have a problem with barking when one or both of us are home, but I guess when we are gone, they are quite restless. They frequently run to the window and often bark. This is a problem since we have a roommate staying with us. Since we work early mornings and backshifts, this was disturbing her.
Our solution was to put them down the basement (family room) with the TV on for sound. When she gets up in the morning, she lets them up. When she goes to bed during our backshift, she puts them down and we let them up when we are home. Well it solved the problem for barking.
My problem now is that Chatham, for some reason, does not like being penned up in the basement. He prefers upstairs (although Kaper prefers downstairs). At first he began getting into the folded laundry that was hanging around down there (eating only my clothes). He had never touched the stuff in the same spot for a long time. We learned to move the stuff. We then noticed one day that he had chewed on the side of the stairs. Our roommate started spending more time away from home so they haven't been penned up as much. This morning was the first morning they have been in about two weeks. I came home at lunch to find a hole in the drywall by the stairs...

Chatham NEVER does this when we are at home. And he can be left home with the run of the whole house and not be destructive. Its only when he has to stay in the basement.

He has great obedience, leave it, etc. I can't correct him b/c I am not there. They are exercised regularly. I could crate him, but that would cause him to bark and whine, which is what we are trying to avoid by putting him in the basement. He is way past teething and has chew toys with him.

Chatham is a velcro dog but he never shows stress when I am leaving. In fact, when I have my uniform on, he doesn't even look to leave.

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 06:32 PM
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Re: Non GSD but really need some ideas/home alone

Chatham has separation anxiety. You could try some of the Bach remedies - they work for some but have never worked for us.

Crating is probably your only option to avoid more damage. Chances are once it turns into his regular routine, he will stop barking. How long would he be crated? Give him something to do while he's in the crate - like working on a stuffed kong.

We have the same problem and this is the only solution we have found. With the exception that my dog will not touch a toy while he is in the crate, so he is more miserable than most.



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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 07:39 PM
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Re: Non GSD but really need some ideas/home alone

Uhh, this is a you already have the solution one ... Don't pen him in the basement. OK? Got it? He's fine when he has the run of the house - give it to him. & keep your stuff put away. (Been there myself. That was the hard one. I'm not a neat person!)

You might also look at investing in Kong Time instead of just a stuffed Kong. This thing is supposed to be great at occupying doggos with issues. Since you have more than one dog, get two or more Kong Times.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Non GSD but really need some ideas/home alone

But then we are back to the problem of waking the roommate barking/running around.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 09:20 PM
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Re: Non GSD but really need some ideas/home alone

I didn't realize that labs ever got past the chewing stage!

If it was separation anxiety you'd see it when he was upstairs too but maybe that's what the barking is about when he's upstairs and downstairs you're seeing barrier frustration. He may just be getting bored down there! Or he may be super-sensitive to all these changes in routine and he's reacting to that.

I second the suggestion to buy a Kongtime.

Check out Patricia McConnel's pamphlet on SA, "I'll Be Home Soon." In the first chapter she goes over exactly how to determine if your dog has SA or something else.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 09:51 PM
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Re: Non GSD but really need some ideas/home alone

You said e didn't do well in a crate. How so? Could you do a large x pen?

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-09-2008, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Non GSD but really need some ideas/home alone

Its not just him barking upstairs, its Kaper too. Actually, I think it is more so Kaper upstairs but Chatham follows. Seperating them would not be an option though. I think that would make it worse.

I will look for the Kong time. I get a bonus at work this week (all of our holiday pay is paid out now) so I guess I can afford it this week.

I will also order that book. I loved The Other End of the Leash by her so I will definitely read that one.

When I said he didn't do well in the crate, he would bark and whine when first put in. I did give him a stuffed Kong while in there but I think when it is gone, he would start. I don't know how long he would bark but I know when I would go for a run, when I came back I could hear him in the house barking. When I would crate him while gone for long periods, when I would stop by, I could hear him but wasn't sure if he just heard the car. He couldn't have recognized the car cause I was driving a work vehicle which isn't always the same.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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