Change of behaviour when alone - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Change of behaviour when alone

Hi guys,

So Rex is almost a year old now. When I got him at 8 months old, I got him used to a crate and created him for up to a max of 4 hours when I was away. Part of insuring toilet training and letting him get used to the house. That was maybe for one month.

After that, I let him have the first floor of the house. It is not big. A living room, small entrance hall and a kitchen. He was perfect. Minding his own business and chilling until I got back. For 2-3 months it worked great when I had to leave him for up to 4 hours.

Now, after I leave him, he rips the foam floor mats out of place. These are not fixed or glued to the floor. Just square mats that are puzzled together that I have for him for traction in the house when we play. They are not expensive so no issue there. However, I am not getting the change in behaviour. He has daily plenty of exercise, training etc etc. So it is not pent up energy.

I prefer to not start to crate him back. What could the source of this change of behaviour and how can I address it? This morning, I left him toys, TV on etc etc. Same result.

He never touches anything when I am in the house. This is for now limited to when I am out and with these mats. Nothing else is touched but I am worried that this escalates into other things...

I am thinking of two solutions:

A - I have a camera. I leave and I watch from outside the house. I wait and once he starts ripping, I go in and correct him. However, I worry that he will associate the correcting with me entering the house.

B - I get a camera and speaker. And correct him remotely via the speaker and see if he stops with that.

Thank you for your thoughts.


Last edited by Mozi; 01-21-2019 at 01:18 AM.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 08:58 AM
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Just crate him. It may be anxiety or he may have simply found out that ripping things up and destroying them is fun. For me freedom when I am not around is a privilege not a right. A dog that will damage things if loose is also a danger to themselves if they start to ingest things. Mats may be cheap, but emergency surgery to remove a blockage is not. Crate him for a while, let him mature some more, then go back and revisit leaving him loose when you are gone. Realize though he may never be the sort of dog you can give free run of the place when you are away.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 09:23 AM
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Bramble gave some good advice. I think some dogs, especially immature young ones, are like "You give them an

inch and they take a mile" . They get so well pampered to, lots of attention, exercise, good food, etc. and they still

want more, more. We have to be the responsible ones and put the brakes on this phenomenal great life.

For his safety, he needs some containment til he is better able to handle his 'aloneness'.

PS/ I've enjoyed reading about your adventures with Rex. He's a lucky dog.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 10:05 AM
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He's only a year old, he's likely going to be going through a pushy teenager phase although this is fairly dog dependent. Some dogs are trustworthy to be left alone from a young age. He is clearly showing you he is not at that stage yet. As others have said a blockage can be awful. And it may start with a foam mats but escalate. Say you get him trained to stop going after the mats, and then stop watching him on camera and after awhile and he moves on to something else not as inexpensive as those mats and potentially more dangerous for him.

Crates are not a bad thing. My dog prefers to sleep in her crate half the time(door open) throughout the day. Personally for me if the dog gets into things when you're gone it's either a sign they aren't ready to be alone or it's a sign of bordedom/anxiety. 1 year old dog, 4 hours is plenty long enough for him to get bored and start to entertain himself. It won't hurt him to be crated that long provided your crate is large enough.

When I start giving dogs house freedom I start with leaving them alone 30 minutes and then very slowly increase it over time. If they've shown they can't be trusted them it's back to crating for awhile. Rinse and repeat until they aren't destructive in the house.
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Last edited by Kazel; 01-21-2019 at 10:10 AM.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 11:14 AM
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A- the dog may think, "cool! I rip up this mat and my people come and play with me" or " Uh Oh, my people are here and angry and I have no idea why"
B- I have Ring doorbells and talking to my dogs through the speakers does nothing. If it worked I'd use it to stop digging up moles or barking at the neighbor's GSD.

Like others have said, crate and earn the reward of more autonomy.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 11:21 AM
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When Asher and Levi were young, potty-trained, but not yet ready to be loose in the entire house, I would put them in a small room when I left the house (like the bathroom or the laundry room). I'd put some toys and a bed in with them.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 01:52 PM
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I have an 8 year old dog who is crated when I leave. Not because she is bad but because she makes poor decisions.
Some dogs just need to be crated. Some are fine as pups. Some need a year. Some need to mature. Some are never ready. Mine climbs bookcases, walks on ledges and stands on tables. It's an individual thing.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 02:28 PM
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Crate is the only option. Eating that carpet could cause major health issues not worth it. He will survive in a crate.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 02:59 PM
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He just showed you that he is not ready to be loose in the house. 4 hours in a crate is perfectly fine.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 05:14 PM
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Crate. Don't chance it. I've mentioned this a few times in other posts already. I left my dog alone twice. First time he ate 1 foot of thick paracord leash. Second time he ate a lot of foam from his crate mattress. Both times I had to rush him to the emergency to induce vomiting (because it was within an hour of him eating it.) If I waited longer, blockage would have resulted and then we're talking about thousands of dollars worth of surgeries to remove the blockage. Opening up the intestines come with a huge threat of infection and death. Crate him. Proof is right there...he is not to be trusted right now.
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