Caught in the act

Naughtiness. Pure naughtiness.

Because of Vito's separation anxiety he is almost never left home alone for long. He either goes to work with us, visits the grandparents, or now in our new place he can hang out with the friends upstairs. 3 hours would be the maximum we would leave him alone before we moved last month and I would worry a ton about him even though we did a lot of work to reach that milestone and mostly he was just fine. Since the move we didn't want any set backs so haven't left him as much and always for under an hour. Per protocol, I arm the house with arrays of bones stashed about and my ever trusty video camera to monitor anxiety levels. Well I think we've made more progress then I thought.

Today Vito was left for a half hour between me going to work and Adam coming home from his. When Adam walked into the door the evidence of destruction was laid out. Wrappers on the floor and a well chewed cup on the sofa. Vito denied that it was him and first pointed to Lance. Lance had the very valid argument that he gets locked up in the kennel ever since his bread incident. Kitty just sat there with a look of disdain. Unlucky for Vito we have video evidence that sealed his fate.

video

But guys, Vito is SO relaxed and non chalant about the whole thing! He eats the cup just like it's a bone and has no visible anxiety about anything! I have never been so happy to come home to a mess! And really I can't blame the dog either since the table was a mess, despite me having asked Adam to clean it up several times earlier. Now I'm just wondering if Vito can handle being in a crate while I'm gone or not. I've done a billion crate games but he hasn't been crated and completely alone since he was 5 months and we started all this SA work and he was more relaxed when loose rather then crated.

Cristina  – ( May 18, 2010 at 12:36 PM )  

Such a great title for this post! Do you have a baby-cam on him? You gotta love your fur-kids...there's never a dull moment around here either! =)

Honey the Great Dane  – ( May 18, 2010 at 5:52 PM )  

Aw...great to hear that you're making progress on Vito's SA!! I personally feel that if he is relaxed outside the crate, then I would stick with that - and maybe just remove as much "temptation" as possible - or just anything dangerous or valuable - he may just gradually lose interest in destroying things the more he gets used to remaining alone in the house. Introducing the crate now might had a "new stress" to the whole situation which would be a shame if he is managing to cope calmly - a far more important milestone!

Shame that he won't channel his destructive tendencies towards the things you leave for him! Most dogs I know who destroy things don't have many other alternatives left out for them - but that's not your case! But maybe if you could remove as many things from your environment as possible so that it is as boring as possible, then the only things he can turn his energies to are the chews/toys, etc, that you have left out for him (at least you've got a small dog with small jaws so big items like doors aren't going to be so attractive - it's a totally different ball game with Danes coz even the walls are fair game!)

You might have tried this already but if not - (and if you feed kibble) - how about putting his breakfast in a treat ball and making him work for it when alone? We used to do this with Honey when she was a pup and I had to leave her from 8am till 4pm every day - (and she wasn't on the raw diet yet) - it worked really well as after she finally finished getting all her breakfast out, she'd be tired and ready for a nap!

Anyway, good luck!
Hsin-Yi

Muttsandaklutz  – ( May 20, 2010 at 10:40 PM )  

Oh shoot, this post made me laugh out loud several times! (Would not have been funny if he had been anxious, though.) First, it's nice to hear of others who have secret spy cams on their dogs. Hehe. Second, your description of the situation is hilarious! Third, that video -- tooooo funny. If he only knew... So glad to hear that his SA is doing really well. I read your earlier post describing the protocol and will keep it in mind for future dogs -- very interesting stuff.

Cinnamon  – ( June 10, 2010 at 6:14 PM )  

Hi. I also have a dog with SA problem (http://beaglesnz.blogspot.com/2010/06/my-hardship.html), and my friends, Hsin-Yi & Honey and Emily & Pepper, recommended that I visit your blog.

I always crate Cinnamon, nearly three years old, when we go out. Until last December she didn't have this problem, or perhaps we just didn't realise it, because she always had another dog, Cookie, with her in a separate crate next to hers. But, after Cookie crossed the rainbow bridge, Cinnamon started barking when left alone. Although she doesn't bark anymore, she keeps digging her bed instead. After reading this post of yours, I have come to think that Cinnamon might feel better if she is loose in a room. I would like to give it a try if my husband agrees.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Cinnamon's mum

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