Post # 1
Can anyone give some kind advice on our destructive Kelpie mix? This is Zoey, and although this picture is a little older, she is now 7 1/2 months old. She sleeps peacefully in her crate each night, but for several months now, she has had free roam of the living room area whenever my husband and I are away at work. Unless my husband is off work, I come home every day during lunch to let her out, but she has gotten increasingly destructive. First pieces of paper, then blankets, then the couch, and most recently, the carpet. She never tries to destroy any of these things when we are home, but when we are gone, she is a destroying machine.
We tried putting her in the bathroom with an open crate, food and water, and she panicked, scratching at the doors to get out. Then we tried leaving her in the living room area, but locking her back in the crate with water, and she had a meltdown. Clawed at the door, got her paw stuck, and my husband came home to her thrashing about in the crate, yelping, trying to get her paw out, and she had peed everywhere in the process.
Terrified that she would hurt herself again if we left her in there while we were gone, we allowed her back out in the living room, but she wouldn’t stop chewing stuff up. So we got her a soft-sided crate, which she managed to break out of by busting open the zipper, and then eventually chewing a hole large enough she could walk out of. She has no problems with her crate when we are home with her, but the minute we walk out the door, she freaks out. I’m worried she has separation anxiety, but I don’t know what to do about helping her. We don’t have a backyard for her to stay in during the day, so that’s not an option either. Help!
– A Very Concerned Puppy Mommy
Post # 3
Argh! I meant to post this in pets. Can a mod please move this?
Post # 4
How much exercise does she get?
Post # 5
@Westwood: Well we play fetch with her every day and take her to the park at least twice a week for 1-3 hours at at time.
Post # 6
@spoiledvamp27: I haven’t tried this, but it seemed to have really good reviews.
It’s called a Thundershirt. It’s a tight fitting shirt that is supposed to help calm nervous/anxious dogs.
I don’t have any other advice though.
Post # 7
@spoiledvamp27: Also, SUPER cute puppy!
Post # 8
It does sound like she might have separation anxiety. There is a lot of information online about different tactics you can try to help alleviate, and everyone has thier own opinions on what will or will not work. That said, I would make the kennel a good place for her to go. Reward her for good behavior in the kennel. Put in her in the kennel for very short amounts of time, make sure to come back in the room before she starts freaking out. give her lots of rewards and praise.Keep practicing this and leave her for longer periods of time each time until she can handle more and more time. Its a process and a hard one when you have to work. I’ve also heard of people using doggie kongs with frozen peanut butter and things like that to try to distract them while they are gone, but at will rarely last the whole day. Some dogs just need background noise and will calm down (radio,tv, etc.). There are also walls difussers that will distribute pherromones into the room which can have a calming effect but they are kind of expensive and have very mixed reviews on if they work. You could also try a product called the thunder shirt. You can get it at any pet store and sometimes it can help. I have heard a lot of success stories but it did not work for me personally. I’m a dog groomer and hear stories like this all the time, it’s just a matter of finding something that works for you and your pup. Hang in there 🙂
Post # 9
Thank you for the thundershirt reccomendation! I had heard of them before but completely forgot about them because thunder doesn’t really seem to effect her. But she has been responding to any noises outside the apartment lately by barking or growling and then rushing to us, so maybe that will help as well. Maybe a combination of that and trying to re-train her with the crate will help. Any more suggestions that you guys have would be fantastic.
We’re taking her to the park in a few minutes, and then we’re off to get the thundershirt.
Post # 10
@spoiledvamp27: She needs more activiy … try walking her b4 you go to work she needs to be warn out you should walk her b4 bed too … try toys that are like games treat balls so she has to figure out how to get the treat out something to keep her mind busy
is she is panicing thunder jackets help with her nerviousness i don’t know about the distruction though i know it helps with the crying and the panic for sure though (it has on 2 of my dogs)
make sure she has things to do that helps they rip things up when they are hyper have pent up energy so past walking her move taking her out b4 work i don’t know other then thigns like treat balls what you can do
Post # 11
@spoiledvamp27: I would like to know if the Thundershirt helps your dog at all. Like I said, I read lots of reviews, but I don’t know anyone who’s actually tried it. I’m curious!
Post # 12
@spoiledvamp27: Kelpie (and Kelpie mixes) are extremely high energy herding dogs. Even a one hour game of fetch once a day is not going to prevent the destruction to your home. We have a two year old border collie mix, and she does the same thing when we’re gone. It’s not separation anxiety: her mind and body are not stimulated. She’s torn holes in our carpet, and when she’s crated with a blanket over the crate, she used to pull the blanket in and shred it.
We upped her exercise considerably and started doing more training at home — these dogs need more than a PetCo training class, the need a real job. Look at KikoPup’s YouTube videos to get started. Then research good advanced training facilities in your area. Look at agility, flyball, and nosework classes. It’ll do wonders to improve things if her mind AND body are tired.
ETA: Particularly if you have hardwood floors in your home, look into the IQ Treat Ball. Every morning, put her breakfast in the ball and make her work for it. It gives her mind and body and workout, and gives you time to get ready for your day.
Post # 13
We had this problem with our dog… we tried:
leaving the tv or radio on
leaving clothes and towels that smelled us
we would feed him in a puzzle ball so it would keep him occupied
I walked him before I left.
nothing worked! it was very hard because he barked the whole time too and our neighbors were getting fed up.
What worked for us was getting another dog. they keep each other company and we havent had any problems since.
Post # 14
Like the people above said….more exercise. If you know you are going out for a while, then take the dog out and make him/her super tired. That way when you leave, they will likely just sleep. Worked with my two monsters.
Post # 15
Well, a great deal of this is going to be a repeat of what PPs have suggested…
Not sure if you’ve had her from when she was a puppy or not. My Setter has some wicked separation anxiety, despite being with me from since she was a few weeks old. But I would try to seriously evaluate her behavior… our Setter shreds paper when she’s feeling anxious. The destruction comes from a particularly high energy breed being bored.
What’s worked for us is a combination of increased exercise, increased availability of non-destructible toys (read: the rubber-based Kong toys), and a staggered re-introduction of “free roam” time. So essentially, we started at leaving her out for 10 minutes while we went to get gas or check the mail. Then it was that she’d be out for 30-45 minutes while I worked out. We’re still hovering at about 60 -90 minutes successfully.
Also, we now leave her crate door open during the day when we’re gone. I often find that she crates herself if we’re gone for longer periods of time.
Hope some of this helps! Best wishes.
Post # 16
I second more exercise, playing fetch is great but it sounds like she needs more mental exercise. Even a nice walk in the morning will help, sniffing gives a ton of mental stimulation. Treat balls, puzzles, kongs are also great, feed her her meals in these. I have a border collie mix, we’ll have him wait while we hide treats around the house or we’ll play hide & seek with him. A 5-10 minute game can really tire him out.
Also the suggestion to build up how long she’s left will help. There are lots of tips online on how to work on this to make leaving not a big deal.