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Thread: Could It Be Separation Anxiety or Just Revenge?

  1. #1
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    Default Could It Be Separation Anxiety or Just Revenge?

    You all know Mimi as a confident outgoing dog. She is very obedient and at 21 months old, she is almost past her shredding to pieces the cushions, sheets, etc.. HOWEVER.. recently, I have been working outside (I usually work from home) and she is left with Pepsi alone for several hours during the day. When I return home, everything seems fine until I reach my bedroom. There will be a chewed up shoe lace, my gym bag tipped of its contents and a plastic bag ripped apart, etc.. There is never any 'serious' damage to any of my belongings or anyone else's.
    I wonder if it is caused by anxiety (I don't know why I get a picture in my head of a child riddled with anxiety biting its nails!) or if it is some sort of revenge as it is only my belongings that she will touch. She always observes my reaction when I pick up the mess. I never scold her. I would appreciate your views on this and what to do to calm her when I am out for a while.

  2. #2
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    I keep the door to my bedroom closed when my puppydog is home and I am out. She likes to chew things with my scent, her faves being sox and my ugg boots. She's almost to the point now where she will fetch me a shoe as a kind of gift without chewing on it first. I just take whatever it is away from her and put it where it belongs and give her something else to do.

    I think the chewing of your things is the next best thing for her to being in your company. It smells like you and it feels good so it is comforting when you're not there, or just plain fun or both. More like thumb sucking than nail biting. If you've got an old jumper or tshirt you don't want - wear that to the gym, don't wash it and put it in your dog's bed when you go out.

    I've heard that you shouldn't ever give your dog any clothes to sleep with or chew, but I disagree. It is possible for a dog to learn that what is in the dog toy box or her bed is hers, and what is in the laundry basket is not for dogs. At least - as long as I keep the bedroom door shut, I'm fine. And my puppydog doesn't nick stuff given the opportunity nearly as often as she used to. And she's never nicked anything off the clothes line (I consider myself really lucky there).

    It could be boredom too. My puppy is pretty happy to sleep when I'm away - especially if she's feeling well fed and exercised. Your neighbours should be able to report on separation anxiety - I equate that with continuous howling or similar noise. Or you could leave as per normal, park a short distance away and walk back home and listen.

  3. #3
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    Hyacinth, what you are saying makes sense. I will try the old jumper trick and see how I go. I don't like shutting my bedroom door however because she sits on my bed while I am out. I want the place to feel as normal as possible for her. I heard of others giving them bones to keep them busy whilst the owners are out. I will try that too. Trouble is she finishes them quickly or Pepsi who is much older will take them from her and hide them in her basket. I must remember though to clear the bedroom of anything that can be destroyed or torn except for the old jumper. She is also now quite tall when she stands on her hind feet and she can reach things more easily. She uses her paws to draw items close to her that are laying about on the benches. Before leaving the house, I make the rounds to check that everything is put away but invariably something will still be out and she will get hold of it.

  4. #4
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    Hi Mimi1

    She sleeps on your bed when you're out? Lucky dog. I can't let my dog sleep on my bed when I'm (sleeping) in - because she chews the bed clothes if I'm not paying attention.

    I like beef marrow bones "blessed" for my puppy dog - because they don't have splinters as much - but she won't chew them when I'm out anyway - part of her stress response is no eating anything until I get back.

    Frosty does like to sleep on the couch in my spot when I'm out. One of the pillow slips has holes in it but I think she did that when I was home.

    As for the counter surfing (paws on to benches to reach stuff) - my deterrent for that is something rattlely like tin cans on the edge - so that if there is any exploring it makes a lot of off putting noise. But if your puppy is already freaked out by you being out, this might make things worse. So far no adverse impact on my puppy apart from being less inclined to repeat the experience.

    I once house sat for some friends - which included looking after their jack russell and ancient cat. Both animals were so offended by their regular owners being away that they annointed the floor in my room. So I kept the door to that room shut also. I couldn't shut the door to the main bedroom - it was broken - so the cat frequently slept in there on the bed but didn't mess anything.

    I've been much tidier around my house since bringing this puppy home. And I shut off a bit of the house where I don't want her when I'm out - the bit with the persian hall rug that she likes to chew and the bit with the computer cables.

  5. #5
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    hahaha Hyacinth. You have a cute way of relating your experiences! Mimi used to eat the edge of the doona cover (I have replaced 3 since I got her) and ate parts (the belt and the pocket containing some almonds) of my dressing gown that was lying at the foot of the bed. She has been very good with not chewing except small things which I think are meant to show me that she is annoyed.
    Mimi by the way sleeps between the doona cover and the sheet on our bed! She is very spoilt but does not act it.
    Since I last wrote, I left her with a bone, the ones that look like plastic but are not and a pigs ear. She moved the bone around the house but did not eat any of it and had a bite off the pigs ear. So really not terribly enthusiastic about either. I think she might be like your puppy dog and not want to eat while I am out. However, the T-shirt I left on the bed has been slept on! So she does need that extra reassurance that I am close.
    I make sure however, and that is I think of extreme importance, that she has had her run before I leave. I take her to the park and exercise her for an hour and that seems to help too.

  6. #6

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    Mim,revenge is a human emotion and act, not that of a dog.Revenge requires planning.

    When we start seeing dogs through the eyes of a dog and not human, we understand much better. Tony

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