May 1, 2010 at 2:05 am #15246
I agree Christina!
Marley does know who’s in charge, and has from day one! When we’re home he even looks to us for permission sometimes! I really think he was just lonely, and that was what was causing him to act out so badly. So far the only thing he’s done was chomp down a loaf of bread from the table while we were gone. But, he knew that was a no-no and only did that once now that he has buddies!May 2, 2010 at 4:45 am #15253bullypawsParticipant
No offense, that is really not the way to “punish” a dog – It shouldn’t be done at all. You cannot punish a dog AFTER the fact, he has no idea what he’s done. I would also be careful with leaving him alone unattended with another dog, or your parents dog as you stated.June 24, 2010 at 7:46 pm #15426justin.wellmanParticipant
Our dog, also Marley, had the same problem with separation anxiety. One after leaving him for about an hour we came home to a destroyed leather couch.
While many here reference Caesar Millan, my husband and I, prefer the methods employed by Victoria Stilwell from “Its Me or the Dog.” Repeatedly on her show she’d have this very issue to deal with with many dogs. Her method to “break the anxiety” was to desensitize the act of leaving. As other have said, don’t make leaving such a big deal. Simply walk out. When you return, come in, do your thing, then greet the dog after a few minutes (if at all).
The first time we tried that, it didn’t work. What we had to do to really break the behavior was to start with short periods of time and gradually increase them over time. Our first few days was repeatedly we’d walk out the door, and shut it behind us. He’d panic, scratch at the door, whine a little, and then head toward something to chew. As soon as we heard him leave the door, we’d re-enter and go sit down on the couch. No greeting, no praise, just go sit. The next time, we’d stay outside for a few minutes longer, and then longer, and longer. We’d do this multiple times per day until finally we could step out, run to the store, and return to a sleeping dog.
For longer periods of time, like when we were working we’d use a metal crate with his “blanket/bed” near items that carried our smell, like the laundry. Eventually, and I mean over two years later, we can finally leave him out while we’re at work and most of the time he spends his days sleeping while we’re away—be it short trips to the store, or while at work.
The key here is to be consistent, and repetitive. Most of all, take all ceremony out of leaving and coming home. No big hugs/kisses goodbye/hello. You have to let the dog know that its no big deal that you’ve left or come home…. its just what the ‘owners’ do.
In our house its become so low-key that he rarely wakes up in the morning when I leave for work, and i have to go wake him up for attention when i come home because he really doesn’t get bothered anymore.June 25, 2010 at 1:44 am #15428
I have to disagree with you, Marley knows when he’s done something wrong. Give a dog more credit. I believe they have the capacity to reason just as a human does. Perhaps not as well, but they do. You’re entitled to your opinion and I’m sure your philosophies on dog training have worked for you and your dog. However, our forms of punishment have worked. And, since this post, Marley is out of his seperation anxiety stage. Thanks to some suggestions that people have posted.June 25, 2010 at 1:47 am #15429
Thank you! Victoria has helped us out a lot too!July 19, 2010 at 9:51 pm #15618designerrelityParticipant
Treating Separation Anxiety in any dog is very tough, and I applaud your desire to fix the problem rather than just simply put the dog down, or get rid of him. The problem develops for three main reasons.
1) The most common is the dog fears you will never return. This is especially common in adopted and rescued dogs. When I got my Cutler, he had already passed through 3 owners before me (he is only 8 months old). In this case, the easiest solution is desensitization. Try leaving the dog in your bedroom with the door shut for a minute or so – if he whines or cries, ignore it. Go inside after the few minutes and give him an amazing treat, like steak or chicken. Once you can do this for several minutes, move up in time.
2) Another common cause is lack of leadership. In some cases separation anxiety is caused by a dog who does not want a pack leadership position stepping up into one. In nature the pack leader is the one who leaves, he is not left, that is why he gets destructive while you are gone. Out of panic.
3) Built up energy is the final common cause. Sometimes, you can solve separation anxiety by merely talking your dog for a 45 minute walk before you leave.
Until you’ve figured out the cause, you have to manage the problem.
Dog proof your home, use Fooey, and give plenty of durable toys. Frozen Kong Extremes with Peanut Butter in them are a great option. You could also look at the everlasting treat ball. Leave plenty of other toys they can play with.
Also, vary your routine before leaving. One morning brush your teeth last, the next brush them first, so on.
The most important and most difficult is to follow the no talk, no touch rule. 20 minutes prior to leaving, cut off all touch and talk with your dog. Do this when you get home as well, you want it to appear “business as usual” rather than making a big deal out of it.
Good luck 🙂July 20, 2010 at 2:55 am #15619mattParticipant
Just posted a full article on this topic.October 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm #16045decon50Participant
I am starting to encounter some mild seperation anxiety/boredom from my 1.5 yr old pit mix. My GF and I were home (unemployed) the first 5 months we had her, but now we both have jobs (yay) so she is alone for an extended period. at first she was fine but she now seems to be becoming more troublesome, peeing a couple times, ripping up shoes, etc. All these suggestion here are great, we bought her a kong, a new bone (and an enclosed shoe rack, lol).
My question is how long is acceptable to leave a dog alone in the house? in a crate?October 18, 2010 at 8:55 pm #16047amberc922Participant
Well I can feel you on the destorying everything lol. Everyone has differnt opinions on leaving them crated for amounts of time. My two are crated for about 7 hours aday Monday to Friday. I am able to go home for my lunch hour and let them out. I really don’t recommend leaving them loose in the house simply because they are destructive and with seperation anxiety it’s even worse. I personally also have a cat that if they got mad enough or irritated by her they could hurt her even if they were playing and got to rough. Kira my female would some times pee in her bed when I crated her and left but now that I don’t let her have any bedding in her crate she stopped. I feel very gulity leaving them in their crates all day but I have no other choice right now because even daycare in my area for a couple of days a week is too much for me to afford. I also hate that they have nothing comfy to lay on but they should have thought about that before they destroyed it because they were mad. Yours will adapt eventually and if it doesn’t get better talk to your vet about it and there are anxiety medications they can give for your dog. It takes some time before they start to work and they are not sedation meds don’t think that they wont make your dog a zombie they just relax them so they don’t get nervous and stuff for thunderstorms and seperation.
AmberOctober 19, 2010 at 12:47 am #16048raisins momParticipant
My pitmix who passed away earlier this year had horrible seperation anxiety. He chewed all my door james down to where the nails were sticking out. At the time I hated the idea of crateing my dog it was my boyfriend who finaly did it behind my back.
I had taken him to the vet and put him on medication for the anxiety and I saw no personality change in him. He just seemed less nervous when I left the house. Eventualy he became so adjusted to the crate I took him off the meds. I would just leave the door open and he would go in and out as he pleased while we were home. Some say a crate is not the answer to seperation anxiety, but luckily for me it worked out.
Since then we crate our shepherd and our pibble when we are not home. When we leave we say kennel and they run and will even push open the door. Then I take them each a couple doggy biscuits and walk out the door. I have had to leave my dog crated on some days for up to 10 hours (unfortunately being held over on unforseen mandatory interupts their day as well). I know sounds like an awful long time, but I noticed on the days I am off work they seem to sleep the same hours they would be crated. Each dog has a wire metal crate probly bigger then they need and I keep towels or dog bed in them. I also turnon the tv on for them when I go to work.
They seem to adjust just fine, esp if you are taking your dog out and excercising.
Amber I took away raisin’s bed too cuz he was pooping in his crate after being in it for a couple hours. Then would take his bed drag it on top and sleep on it. He thought he was hiding it! Umm he forgot it smelled I guess. So he got demoted to towels. Luckily he doesn’t chew them, its the only thing he doesn’t chew.October 19, 2010 at 3:37 pm #16050HOLLYParticipant
My pitbull’s name is Sypsy. She is now 6 yrs. old and we often leave her over the weekend when we go to Va. and have for a long time because she absolutely would not stay with anyone else. Do you know that we probably have the only pit that has never chewed anything in the house? When we come back, everything is as we left it and she is in her hiding spot upstairs waiting for the imaginary house robbers. She has a great personality and is extremely protective of my husband and myself. I only wish she would let us have another dog too but I know that she wouldn’t go for that. We love Sypsy so much and am so glad that we finally got to experience a pitbull.October 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm #16111JennE27Participant
I recently got a pit bull. He is 3 years old. I think we are both adjusting to the new situation, but he has been a great dog so far! Never chewing up anything (knock on wood) and listening well, EXCEPT when it comes to bed time.. He thinks my bed is HIS now, and I have no clue how to get it through his head that he has his bed beside mine, and my bed is for me haha. What can I do to fix this little problem? I try and be firm with him and put him in his bed the best I can with a 80 lb dog, but he always jumps back up.February 23, 2011 at 12:15 am #16814JuggalettewarriorParticipant
have u tried recording your voice saying his name, my pit would go crazy whenever i left untill i made a cd of me talking to him like i would usual lol. Im prolly the goofiest person youll meet but it worked. =) hope u find something that works.April 18, 2012 at 3:32 am #17961adamshk9Participant
Perhaps the britty was the alpha she needs. APBT need stong discipline and structure from us as their alpha leaders. This is tough for most to enact, although we THINK we are filling the role, often enough we fall far short. What you need to do is provide this role that the brit has provided. The britty is a bitch, and has strong personality, has more dominant traits and pack leader traits while your pit…imassuming whom is altered has a more submissive tendancy. Its not just exercise…as an avid dog-loving, and marathon and distance-runner, i have grown learn a few things. Pits have an innate need for more HUMAN INTERACTION, DOG/CROSS-SPECIECES SOCIALIZIATION, and MORE AND MORE AND MORE AND MORE CONSITANT TRAINING….cant say it enough…TRAINING/SOCIALIZATION/TRAINING/SOCIALZIATION…AND PUBLIC AWARENESS…
BEST wishest..and keep us posted…
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