Separation Problem

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hopewell

Separation Problem

Post by hopewell »

We rehomed Max 3 months ago and he had his second birthday recently. He is a very good dog and does everything we want except for one problem, he does not like me leaving him. We have another retriever so he is not left on his own. He opens doors both ways and goes in all the rooms, we live in a bungalow, jumps up to the kitchen work surfaces and steals anything he can and distroys it or eats it. The dogs have their own room which has their beds and toys in. I have put a baby gate across their room and on the corridor to the bedrooms but he jumps over the top. When I leave him I leave the radio on and have to put chairs in front of the doors to the walk in pantry and the living room and move everything from the worktops in short I have to barracade the house against him. In every other way he is a very good dog and comes back to recall when out for walks. If anyone can give me any ideas on how to deal with this I would be grateful as I have tried everything I can think of. It does not matter how short a time I leave him for he still manages to get upto mischief.
John

Post by John »

Hello Hopewell,

I had to laugh when I read, “He opens doors both ways.” It got me thinking about a dog a friend of mine used to own. She had to change all her door handles because her dog found them so easy!

Obviously I know nothing about the history of this dog so please bear with me if I’m talking rubbish.

So often with rescue dogs we know little about what has gone on before. We may have been told a little, but the information is second hand and may be perfectly true, but may in fact be a complete fabrication! So any rescue can only tell a person what they have been told and what they have been able to learn since the dog arrived at their kennels. From the dog’s point of view, at best he has lost the person who has, until now been looking after him and this would have dented his confidence. At worst he might have come from a life of abuse, and now, finding kindness for the first time in his life is afraid that he is going to loose the only people who have made him happy! So you can see how separation problems can possibly occur. But feeling sorry for him does not alter the fact that we cannot allow him to break up the house! So what’s the answer?

Firstly, think about how you go about leaving him. Leaving should be as low keyed as possible. Don’t mention the fact that you are going out to him. Particularly no sad sounding goodbyes. He may not understand the words, but he will understand from the tone of voice that something bad is happening, and this is all building apprehension even before you have left. Don’t even say goodbye as you walk out of the door. Even the action of turning the radio on can be taken as a signal that he is about to be left!

Leave him as often as you can. Certainly at lease once or twice every day. You don’t need to be gone long, in fact 30 seconds is plenty long enough! For example, go out of the front door, close the door, collect the milk bottles from the doorstep, walk around to the back door and back inside and put the milk in the fridge. Don’t even say hello when you come back in. Your aiming at making it such an unimportant happening that it’s not even worth a mention. Also there is no difference in your approach whether you are going out for 30 seconds or 2 hours.

Trouble is, once a dog has started stealing and causing damage WE start getting apprehensive. We go out of the door worrying about what we are going to find when we get back home. And of course, these worries get communicated to our dog through our body language and it all becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. I well know how it goes. Twice I’ve had puppies eat my kitchen! Having had dogs for very many years I was always very opposed to dog crates. But finally, arriving home to find my kitchen flooring ripped up I decided I had to at least give it a try. So very much against by better nature I brought one, just to try. Now with young dogs I’d never be without one. I only use one until I know my young dogs can be trusted, then it’s folded up and put away ready for the next pup. When I got Amy I got the crate out again and Anna, who had not seen the crate for something like 5 years walked straight in, curled up and went to sleep! But remember, the difference between a crate being seen as a den or a prison is only in the way you use it. I always feed my puppies in there, give then treats in there and make a fuss of then in there. Everything to make the crate a nice place to be. But in your case there are three plus points. 1/ You are going to be going out feeling much more relaxed knowing there is going to me no damage done. So 2/ he is not going to be picking up on your worries. And 3/ you are breaking the pattern, getting him out of the cycle of destruction.

Just a few things for you to think about.

Regards, John
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lynn wise
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Post by lynn wise »

Hello John,
Wondered if you would have a solution to this problem. You are an absolute mine of information, all of it makes so much sense. You really are a Godsend on this site, long may it continue. In no way do I want to embarrass you by saying this, but so many times it helps to have an informed logical answer. Even just to have a second opinion, it all helps.
Thankyou.
John

Post by John »

I dont post very often Lynn, but I'm always around and if I miss anything I can always be reached by PM or email.

There is an old saying, "When you are up to your behind in alligators it's difficult to remember that the object of the exercise was to drain the swamp!" It just sometimes helps for someone else who is not involved to take a fresh look at things.

Regards, John
janrobinson
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Post by janrobinson »

Thanks also from me John.
hairydog
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Post by hairydog »

Spot on as usual John, and put so sensibly, I never make a fuss when I go out , Lucy only up to a few months ago did have a thing about magazines she would rip them up when you went out, but when I came back if one had been ripped up, it was calmly collected and nothing more said, or I would make sure there wasnt any around to be ripped up beforehand, luckily she is now growing out of it,I think as they get settled and begin to realise that you are not going anywhere and he is here to stay,they settle more.
bronson

left alone

Post by bronson »

we had Problems with bronson at the begining as jan will pobably remeber he did not like to be left.We used to keep going out sitting in the car as it was winter, We left him for a few minutes then returning.Now we could not ask for a better dog he is great trustworthy never does anything wrong in fact we are so lucky to have him as he is great.
hopewell

separation problems

Post by hopewell »

Hi I wrote to you in May about Max and the problem we had with separation. Thankfully now things are beginning to settle down with him. I am able to leave him now and he settles down to sleep. I only have to block one door to stop him getting in. He has strained the handle on the pantry but we are leaving this as he cannot open it now so I do not have to block it. On a brighter note, we have just had a weeks holiday in a cottage on the Yorkshire coast and he was the perfect dog. He absolutely loved playing on the beaches but was not keen on the waves but enjoyed a paddle. He came back to recall everytime and did not wonder too far from us at any time. He behaved himself at the cottage so much so that we have booked again and are able to say that we now have two well behaved dogs :lol:[/img]
bronson

Post by bronson »

Glad things have worked out one more happy owner and dog.
janrobinson
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Post by janrobinson »

i am so pleased to hear about Max. What worked for you in the end ? I am sure everyone would like to know. It may help someone else.
Samsmum

Post by Samsmum »

I am Samsmum, and I notice that there are questions about how to get over the "Separation" Problem.
We have had Sam now for 14 months, and for some time we had a bit of trouble leaving him, so after a while I contacted a lady who is Dog Psychologist, and used to work for our vets.
She advised that before we took things any further, it was the best idea to set up a video camera (high on a table or something similar, so that the dog could not knowck it over), and go out for a short while and then come back and see what had happened
We did this, and Sam was not upset at all when we had gone, as we had been thinking he was, but we did notice he had a penchant for Remote Controls, so we found a new home for them. We moved the two telephones out of reach, and four cushions which we took a fancy to.
We put his bed in the lounge, and he just had the run of the lounge and kitchen.
Guess what, when we had left him he had run round quite happily, had a chew at his bone, and then got on his bed and went to sleep.
We have since left him many times for anything up to four hours - problem solved!!
Do hope this proves helpful to others who had the same problem.
janrobinson
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Post by janrobinson »

Just a little word about Sams Mum. SHe has encouraged Sam to write a little story of his adventures and life in his new home, and had it made into a little book which we will be selling at the Fun day for £1-50p proceeds to Rescue. I think you will enjoy reading this. It is suitable for young readers as well.
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