It has been a whirlwind few weeks since you introduced your gorgeous puppy into your new home. You’ve loved staying home with him and playing mother. Even the toilet training you didn’t mind too much. It has been a much-needed break from work too. However, the end of this period is on the horizon and you need to go back to work soon. The only problem is, that as it currently stands, he whimpers and moans whenever you leave him for a few minutes, so leaving him alone in the house all day may prove challenging.
It may be difficult, but it is also essential, for his health as well as yours. If he doesn’t get used to being in the house alone, he may develop separation anxiety. If he’s to be a happy dog, he simply has to learn to spend time on his own.
How challenging it is to train a dog to stay home alone will depend a lot on the dog’s personality. Some dogs will naturally be needier, while others will be more solitary animals. Whatever his temperament though, you simply need to find the right incentives to make staying at home relatively enjoyable. You will also need to establish a consistent routine, where he gets all the attention he needs when you are around, so he’s not left wanting when you’re gone.
If he’s a puppy then training may take a while. He will need you more and be less used to being left alone. You may need several weeks. Likewise, if he’s older and always had you around then he may need up to six weeks to adjust. Get this training right and you will be able to relax when you head off to work, instead of worrying.
Before you begin training you will need to gather a few things. Get your hands on some food puzzles and toys that will keep him occupied when you leave him alone. You will also need to dedicate around 10 minutes each day to training.
Having some tasty treats around may help. It is also worth ensuring he has a comfy bed, in an enclosed location. A new bed with blankets may make spending several hours in there more appealing.
Once you have all the above, you just need willpower and optimism, then you’re ready to get to work!
My husband and I work for 10 straight hours so we have to leave him alone, previously my husband was working from home so he was with him all day, but now that we both leave he's starting to become destructive, he was trained to pee and poo in his floor diaper but now even though he does in it he ends up destructing it and eating his poop, also, he is not eating! my husband is blaming my constant love and care and says I need to be more disciplined and tough with him but I don't think that's the root cause, I believe he has separation anxiety. How can I train him no to destruct things?
Hello Karla, First, puppies go through a couple different destructive chewing phases. As they approach 5-6 months of age their jaws develop and adult dog teeth are in, so they can rip things apart and destroy things. He likely has what many trainers call "separation boredom". Separation anxiety is a lot less common than separation boredom. With separation boredom, your pup is mentally and physically bored so he is destroying things because he is in a natural chewing phase right now, he is bored, and no one is there to teach him not to - so it's automatically being rewarded because it's fun for him. The poop eating is likely related to boredom too, and many puppies simply think it's fun and it turns into a bad habit after a while that can be harder to break. Poop eating, called coprophagia in medical terms, can be caused by a medical issue like nutritional deficiency, parasites, allergy, ect... but it is also a common puppy issue, that happens just for the fun of it, that may pups will outgrown if there isn't an underlying cause AND you prevent it from happening regularly. The not eating could be anxiety related, but it is more likely happening because he feels nauseous due to poop eating. Fix the poop eating and the food eating may resolve on its own. With all that said, I would first try crating him with a dog-food stuffed chew toy - like a hollow Kong. I suggest hiring a dog walker to come once 4-5 hours into the day (for the first couple weeks you may need twice until his bladder capacity increases to 5-6 hours at 5 months (puppies can generally hold is for no longer than the number of months they are in age plus one - any longer and you will have an accident and too many accidents means you can't use the crate to potty train anymore because they will learn to go potty in it, instead of naturally trying to keep a confined space clean - an instinct almost all dogs start with). I suggest training him to potty outside on a leash during the day and getting rid of the floor diaper - the floor diaper can lead to issues later on if you use it for too long with a dog that will eventually outgrow it size-wise, and it's not a good option anyway because of the poop eating. You also simply won't need it if a walker if letting him outside to go potty mid-day. When you get home you need to spend time wearing him out mentally, and giving moderate exercise. This is where training comes in - that structure your husband wants to teach, spend time teaching commands that build focus, calmness, self-control, and obedience to help with behavior but also as a way to stimulate him mentally after he has been cooped up. It's okay to give love and affection too, just keep interactions a little calmer and stimulate his mind by having him work and learn new things also. Have a thirty minute training session every day after you get home, plus incorporating what he is learning into every day life (like having him wait at doors, sit before feeding him, Down-Stay while you are watching Tv together at night, ect...), and give moderate walks. The mental exercise will take the edge off his energy more than anything actually, but moderate exercise is still needed. Many people feel bad about crating puppies during work, and in an ideal world pup could go with you to work and have more freedom, BUT he isn't safe being given free reign of the house at this age - he could easily ingest something life-threatening, and will chew because no one is there is supervise and teach him and he is naturally in the height of the chewing age. By chewing unsupervised he also is learning bad habits that could mean less freedom for the rest of his life later on - and hopefully he will never have to leave you guys, but if he ever had to be re-homed his chances of finding another home with entrenched chewing/destructive adult habits are almost zero - which is how dogs get euthanized. I say all that not to scare you but to help you feel less guilty about crating him - think about what's best for him in the long run. Once he is past the chewing phase, has learned some obedience and is calmer with age, then you can gradually transition him to staying out of the crate while you are gone. This typically happens between 1-2 years old, and starts with giving 10 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 1 hour, then 3 hours, ect...Of freedom at a time, testing how he does each time before increasing the amount of time, and postponing freedom if he doesn't do well yet. Confinement for the 1st year of life generally equals more freedom and trustworthiness for 10+ years later once good habits are established. Furthermore, the way you stop poop eating is to immediately pick up the poop and not let the dog spend time near poop to practice it. You can do things to correct that behavior - like using a small canister of pressurized air, called a pet convincer, and spray a small puff of unscented air at a puppy's side when they go to eat the poop while you are home, but you can't correct the behavior if you aren't there. So correcting while present and keeping pup away from poop while you aren't there to train is important. There are sprays and food additives you can give to make poop taste bad to pup, but usually these still have to be used with supervision to be truly effective. The same is true of destructive chewing - work on Leave It, using deterrent sprays, and encouraging chewing food stuffed chew toys instead while you are home, and confine pup somewhere safe when you are not at home to train - it's for puppy's safety. The way to deal with separation anxiety is actually more structure, calmness, boundaries, and using the crate for a specific separation anxiety protocol too...But I would treat this like separation boredom before moving onto the more extreme training of separation anxiety - separation boredom is much easier to address and way more common at this age for a puppy. Does puppy eat when you are at home? If pup isn't eating when you are home either, then I would take puppy to your vet to check for parasites or other medical GI issues. If there are no medical issues, then feed puppy in the morning. Put food down for 15 minutes, then take food up again. If puppy didn't finish breakfast, then have your dog walker feed puppy the rest of their breakfast and maybe a little extra when they come, then pick up the food after 15 minutes again - don't leave the food in the crate. Feed pup dinner when you come home. Set up the schedule so that puppy gets to go back outside to go potty to poop 15 minutes after being fed even if he just peed before the meal - like while the dog walker is there, because most puppies need to poop 15-30 minutes after eating - and you want to limit him pooping when he is unsupervised and can eat it. Here are some good commands to teach more structure and to help stimulate him mentally so he feels happier and calmer overall - if there is anxiety going on, increasing calmness and structure in general can help with that too: Sit: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit Down https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-lay-down Come - Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Introducing a crate - The Surprise method - expect crying for the first 2 weeks, doing the surprise method should help decrease the length of crying though, and giving a food stuffed chew toy should also help, but unless you know puppy is injured or needs to go potty, don't let him out when he cries, wait until he is quiet like the second video below - the Crate Manner's exercise shows. Puppy needs time to learn how to self-sooth and self-entertain, and you are setting him up through training to be able to learn that, but he also needs the time to practice it and work through things to adjust - All puppies cry at first, and many go onto learn to like the crate as a place to rest: Surprise method for introducing the crate: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Chewing article - lots of tips for dealing with the chewing phase: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog will stay at my sisters house alone but will not stay at my apartment alone. I have tried making her stay at my apartment while I went down to my friends apartment who lives under my apt. and she constantly barks and will not stop until I come back.
Hello Donna, If she is simply barking but is not destructive, then I suggest purchasing a bark collar created for small dogs, such as Pesafe little dog elite. In addition to using a bark collar, you can provide something positive for her to do while she is quiet, that will automatically reward her correct behavior after she quiets down - you can either stuff a hollow chew toy, such as a medium sized kong, with food and treats, or use an automatic treat dispenser that will detect when she is being quiet and give a treat after a certain amount of time. Check out Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer as treat dispensers. Read reviews to find the one with the features you like best. There are multiple, interesting ways to stuff a Kong, look up videos on YouTube for ideas to make the Kong interesting for her. The combination of corrections and rewards can help her learn. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I want to train my dog to stay alone at home
Hello Sumiran, Start by introducing a crate. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below. The crate is a great way to transition to time alone to keep pup safe, but it can also be used to build independence before pup needs to be home alone for longer. surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Other commands that can help to build independence are Place and Down-Stay: Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave a dog food stuffed chew toy in the crate for pup whenever you leave, and work up to gradually longer and longer times away from pup if you have the time to ease into it. Start by having pup work up to time in the crate while you are home using the surprise method. Begin going on walks and short trips without pup. Gradually stay gone for longer and longer as pup adapts. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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She's quite stubborn and cant easily concentrate. On walks she goes crazy and starts attacking us
Hello, this is an unusual scenario - normally the sights and sounds of the outdoors will distract a dog so they walk along with interest. You need to start adorable Lexi (cute photo!) on some obedience training. Taking her to school would be ideal because doing so also socializes her with other dogs and people. Start with basic commands like sit and stay, as well as recall. This guide will give you basic instructions:https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-german-shepherd-puppy. When on your walk, having her focus will deter her from the behavior she is doing now. Try the Turms Method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel. Make sure Lexi is getting a lot of exercise (this breed needs it!) and mental stimulation, too. Buy interactive toys that have her work for treats. But again, dog training is the key to good behavior. All the best!
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For a couple months moose was left alone just him and my other dog in the house with the bedroom doors closed and he was great. But now all of a sudden he ate a cushion on my couch, emptied the garbage throughout the house, and the other night he ate the two bedroom doors. He also barks nonstop, I really don’t know what to do with him.
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I have a 6-month old miniature dachshund. Before being in quarantine the past few months, she was very well trained - I could leave the apartment for hours at a time without her barking or being anxious about my leaving. Now that quarantine has forced us to spend 24/7 together, I can no longer leave the apartment without her barking. I have tried to feed her as a distraction and step outside the apartment. She begins barking after about 2 minutes. I try and wait it out - about 10 minutes (ignoring the barking). It does not seem she is improving. As I think about going back to work in a few months or evening stepping out to dinner with friends, I worry that she will not be able to cope with me being gone/her being alone. Any advice would be super helpful.
Hello Molly, The first step is to work on building her independence and her confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into her routine. Things such as making her work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching her to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Be sure to give her something to do while you are gone during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on). There are also devices that can be set to automatically dispense treats when it detects pup is quiet, AutoTrainer and Pet Tutor; this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs who have more intense cases. Since pup used to do fine, I starting with pup practicing Place and working on her staying there while you walk out of the room. I also suggest going on regular walks without pup just to get pup used to you leaving the house again - while pup has something like the Pet Tutor or food stuffed Kong to focus on. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you If pup's case is more drastic, another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs, especially more severe cases. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building her independence and structure in her life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with her teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of his life too. Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on her. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear her but she will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on her while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on her, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if she responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning her head, moving her ears, biting her fur, moving away from where she was, or changing her expression. If she does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when she is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing her reaction at that level until she indicates a little bit that she can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for her and have it correctly fitted on her, have her wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on her while she is in the crate. Put her into the crate while she is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on her from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear her barking or see her start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time she barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate her again. If she does not decrease her barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. She may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because she has not learned what she is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on her on the mini educator collar should be low to medium, within the first forty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for her. If she continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to her or pay attention to her for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When she is being calm, then you can let her out of the crate. When you let her out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want her to be calm when she comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore her when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Continue to put a food stuffed Kong into the crate with her. Once she is less anxious she will likely enjoy it and that will help her to enjoy the crate more. First, she needs her anxious state of mind interrupted so that she is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give her a food stuffed Kong in the crate for her to relieve her boredom instead, since she will need something other than barking to do at that point. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We used to be able to leave him in his kennel when we would go out for max about 2-3 hrs but now he cant stay home alone because he barks and yelps and we live in an apartment and our upstairs has complained. We take him out before we leave, give him a treat, turn on music and then lock him up.
Should we consider changing how we lock him up? like let him have range of the apartment so he can have the bed and all areas of the house? and put a dog gate in front of the door so he cant sit there and bark at the door.
Also he is a yorkie Chihuahua
Hello, it sounds like Scooter wants to be part of the action all of the time and that is understandable. You know best whether Scooter would be okay and safe with a run of the house. Many dogs are left like this and do fine. But how about trying an exercise pen area so that he has more space but not the whole house? Here is an excellent article on setting up a safe space. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. As well, I would leave Scooter something to do like an interactive toy or feeder. This will give him mental stimulation and something to do besides bark. You can also freeze a Scooter-sized Kong filled with softened kibble and even a smear of peanut butter (No xylitol in it as it is toxic! Natural only.). Have it prepped in the freezer and when it is time to go out you give it to Scooter in his pen area. Should keep him busy for a while. Good luck!
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Hi i have a 7 month old Maltese and working 12 hour shifts, she has had to get used to being on her own from the beginning and was completely fine. Due to coronavirus and us being at home with her for 3 months, now that we have started to go out she is straggling quite a lot she she will cry and bark whilst we are out 😏 i feel really bad for her but i have 3 kids which i have to take out and when both me and my husband work long hour shifts she will have to be on her own. What can we do for her to be okay being on her own again
Hello, this is a situation we'll see a lot as many go back to work. Nala is young and now is used to you being home with her. Will there be no one there for 12 hours? I assume she is training on pee pads. Some dogs feel anxiety being left in a big house alone - she may feel more secure and comfortable in an exercise pen area, set up with her bed, toys, pee pads, water, interactive feeder, etc. Take a look here for an excellent article on setting the area up: https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. Safety and her needs are key. As well, you can try a diffuser with dog appeasing pheromones which may calm her somewhat. Leave a low volume radio or TV on, too. Good luck!
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Louis is our first pet, I lives with my 2 daughters at the time and they have both moved out since. We had no idea on how to properly take care of a dog so did the best we could. I left Louis for 8-10 hours for work and my daughters left for varsity and work. When we first got him at 8 weeks, we left him the first day for 9 hours. I regret doing this because he hates being alone for any amount of time. He becomes anxious and chews on anything that belongs to me. When I get home, he runs around in circles and has to jump off the couch into my arms as part of his greeting. Where do I start at getting him used to being alone?
Adorable! It is not unusual for Yorkies, or any dog, to not like to be alone. If he is chewing on things, the best thing to do is detain him - for his safety too, so that he does not chew anything dangerous. Since it has been three years, crating him now may be a challenge. I suggest an exercise pen area: https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. Provide him with a comfy bed, water, chew toys, and interactive toys like a puzzle treat toy or a feeder that dispenses food with a little work. In the morning, give him just a bit of his breakfast and he can work at the toy over the day to get the rest. As well, you can try a frozen Kong. Get a Louis-sized Kong and stuff it with a little moistened kibble, along with a smear of peanut butter (No Xylitol as it is toxic! Just natural peanut butter). Freeze the kong overnight and in the morning when you are leaving, you give Louis the kong in his exercise pen along with his puzzle toys. Make sure you take Louis for a decent length of walk in the morning to tire him out before you go. Sometimes leaving a radio on helps. As well, dog appeasing pheromones in a diffuser can work to calm a dog, too. Good luck!
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