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Old 11-15-2010, 01:06 PM
rgall rgall is offline
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Default Dog Bad when not home

I have a mix dog and she is fairly good. She has been trained outside with a shock collar and I dont really even have to use it on her any more. When I am home she never is destructive and is house broken. She is 2 years old. When I am at work or not home she goes in the crate. I would like to get away from this. Every now and then I will leave her out of the crate and go. When I come back (4-5 hours later), usually magazines are shredded in my dining room or she gets into something, takes it to the dining room and chews it. It is usually paper or even a rug once. Sometimes she will even pee in another area in the house when left alone. When someone is home she will never do this... When I walk in the door she puts her ears and head down knowing she did something wrong. Any thoughts on how to get her to quit doing this and be able to leave her out of the crate?
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:06 PM
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Snark Snark is offline
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First off, dogs don't 'know' they've done something 'wrong'. She's reacting to your body language when you come in the door and since she 'usually' tears something up, you are already anticipating a problem and are probably already unhappy with her. She's trying to appease you.

Second, you're setting her up for failure. Going from a crate to total freedom alone in the entire house is a big step. I would be more inclined to gate her off in a room to start off with, along with giving her things to do while you're gone - stuffed kongs, puzzle toys that dispense food, chew toys, etc. I've always turned on a radio as well, especially if my dog is used to some kind of background noise when everyone is home - silence can be deafening.

I wouldn't leave a dog alone that long either; at least not at first. She needs to know you're coming back. My first dog, when we left her alone, was well-behaved up to a point; but the later I was in getting home (past my usual return time), the more anxious she got. Luckily she would only tear up her rope bone and I could judge how worried she was by how much destruction was done to the toy. She was never scolded for this and I would not have scolded her for chewing up newspapers or rugs because that would have been my fault for putting her in that position (and leaving those items in her reach).

Do you have a 'ritual' for leaving? Sometimes that helps the dog realize you're coming back. All of our dogs get a biscuit and I tell them to be good dogs and watch the house and not the cats. It's the same every time I leave, whether it's for ten minutes, a full day of work or an out of town trip.
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:02 PM
Paul Bright Paul Bright is offline
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She is bored and finds things to chew on for entertainment. Keep magazines and rugs away from her. If you really want her out of the crate, leave her in a confines space still like maybe the kitchen. Leave her lots of toys. Usually dogs grow out of chewing and destroying stuff. Just keep her entertained and with plenty of other stuff (like chew toys) to chew on.
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Old 11-16-2010, 04:43 PM
rgall rgall is offline
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I actually do keep the tv on and set out about 10-15 toys and bones..... and she does know she did something wrong because when I walk in the door I just stop before I do anything and look at her. If she didnt do anything her tail is wagging and she is excited. If she did something wrong she puts her ears and head down. This is all before I know if she was good or bad. I guess Ill just have try to limit myself at first to her alone time.. When she is alone she is limited to one floor which is 4 rooms. If I gate her in one room she will have the gate knocked down..
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Old 11-16-2010, 04:50 PM
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Dekka Dekka is offline
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I still say she doesn't know anything wrong. There have been some interesting experiments.

A dog who had 'gotten in trouble' for going in the garbage (and making a mess) was used. The experimenter made a mess (not the dog). The dog acted as if it was 'in trouble'. The dog likely makes the connection of mess on floor + you coming home = unhappy you.

Its been proven pretty reliably that dogs don't think of what they did they way people do. And dog's aren't moral creature and don't have a moral code of 'right' and 'wrong'

The body postures you describe are appeasing gestures.

What about interactive toys? Ones with difficult to get out treats?
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:49 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Originally Posted by rgall View Post
I actually do keep the tv on and set out about 10-15 toys and bones.....
If you leave too many toys out all the time, dogs will just think that ANYTHING on the floor is theirs.

I'd suggest limiting her freedom to one room - or as few rooms as possible - and just leave her with one toy/chew that will keep her busy for a while.
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Old 11-16-2010, 08:06 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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I agree with everyone. And, you are leaving out too many things. A mental toy (kong or other treat dispensing toy) and maybe one she likes to just carry around, and a second chew toy. If you are going to leave her loose you need to put magazines and other paper out of her reach. I'd also recommend taking her outside for a good energetic run before leaving her alone. A tired dog is a good dog.

My permanent dog is left loose in the house, but the fosters I will put in a large crate, much larger than their sleeping crate, until they are to be trusted.
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