Ask Inger: How To Stop Doggie Destruction While At Work?

Hi Inger!
I have a 10 month-old Yorkie named P-Nut and although it took her a while, she is now housebroken and uses the doggie door regularly.  In addition to her, we have a 4 year-old Australian Cattle Dog mix and a 13 year old cat.  All get along famously, if you consider chewing on the cats head getting along!??!  I minimize it, but also think the cat enjoys the playing…

We have tried leaving the puppy out of her crate while we are at work, which unfortunately can be about 10 hours a day with drive time, but when we return home, destruction of some sort has happened.  Thank goodness it hasn’t been anything of significant value, however, I am not wanting that day to come, so I have chosen to crate her again.
I hate the thought of her being in her crate for that long during the day and would like the two pups to be able to play during the day (cat is confined by a gate upstairs).
She goes into her crate willingly, so doesn’t hate it.  She of course is beyond excited when we get home, but then she is that way if we step outside for 3 minutes…
Any suggestions how to reduce her anxiety?
I have been reading and reading and there is no way that I can go home and take her out during the day, etc… It’s about 30 minutes each way drive time.  I considered corralling the doggie door, so they both can go in and out, but I’d think that with 2, I’d have to get quite a large corral.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
-M

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Hi there M, thanks for the great question. P-Nut’s so cute for a trouble maker!

Several important  important  issues pop out, that I need to explain. Your problem might not be what you think it is! Offering the use of a doggie door to a young pup does not teach your puppy how to hold the urge to go. Don’t misunderstand me, in some environments dog doors are great, but when getting a new puppy, teaching them housebreaking basics is important. You see, pups need to chew. Especially, 10 month-old puppy’s, yes even toy breeds! Chewing is a function of a puppy, way beyond the teething process! What they chew on becomes the possible bad behavior. 

It sounds to me like there might be a little competition between your two dogs and maybe a bit of frustration involving the chew toys. This can happen when dogs are by themselves and one wants what the other has, and if that’s not possible then destruction happens! When you’re at work there could be a dominance vibe over chew bones by your older dog,  that may not be evident when your home. 

Sometimes in multiple dog homes the older dog can vibe chew bones or be chewing on a bone and the youngest pup only wants what the other dog is chewing! Even though you may have  20 toys on the floor, resulting in frustration and destruction.  

This vibe can take place even if the older dog is not chewing any toy! A glance is all it takes between dogs who are trying to claim  possession. So it may not be separation anxiety at all! My diagnosis is codependence between the two dogs mixed in with a little doggie hierarchy and a 10 month-old pup who needs to chew on something!  She also may need the proper type of chew.

I always encourage people to teach a new puppy independence, with some form of gating as a protocol for training for a period of time. This ensures your 10 month-old pup’s chewing needs are met while you’re at work and teaches them to respect a boundary. 

Paws For A Minute® – Quick TIp: doggie demolition-  7 steps to success.

1. Exercise is important and important for training. A tired dog is a good dog. Playtime together with both dogs is awesome and should be often. Occasionally, exercise them for a few minutes separately too. 

2. Initiate going potty while your present: Perhaps before you go to work exercise both dogs and formalize the “going potty” process by you initiating it and being present.

3. Initiate going potty a second time before you leave: Formalize the process of going potty again before you leave for work. Formalize the process by taking each dog separately on leash for a quick potty break to ensure they have gone. Remember, your younger dog needs to be guided by you! 

4. Apply a new temporary set up: Try this while you’re at home (on the weekend) to start. Once safe apply during the week.  Use a corral and put the crate within the corralled space but leave the crate door open. Make sure the coral is set up in a central area in your home. This allows her to go in and out of the crate and to learn to self-soothe and enjoy her own chew bone privately. She will learn to next and feel safe while not feeling confined. Your other dog can be loose. Start with small increments of time while your home. Then slowly build to longer periods. Remember, your 4 year-old dog doesn’t have the same urge to chew, at least not with the same urgent impulse. Music helps set the tone.

5. Occasionally walk your dogs separately: This easy tip really helps train dogs to anticipate separation in a positive way, if only occasionally. The learn to accept the ritual of waiting for their turn to be walked. If you use a term such as “wait”  with corralled space to designate the area, the dog that’s waiting there turn to be walked can get a bully stick while waiting. This will divert the possible anxiety and teach them to wait their turn. Leave the ritual of play time for when you get home or perhaps before you leave for work.

6. Always leave water available in a corralled space: Make sure dogs have water and something safe to chew. Check with your vet to see what’s safe for your breed of dog.I like to suggest a 12″ bully stick chew for toy breeds. It’s the same size you’d give a big dog, but it’s for safety reasons when your not home to monitor the chewing. Use your own common sense with chew toys. 

7. Always try this new corralled space out on a weekend when you’re home, first. To ensure success, try the corral set up and dog separation on the weekend when your home. So that you can correct any unwanted behaviors and have peace of mind that the process of separation is effective. Never wing it and see what happens. 

In no time, she’ll be an adult dog and you can leave them together with a doggie door access.The need to chew whether it’s stuff they shouldn’t or provided by you does subside with age but it remains a nice hobby for dogs through out there lives.

Feng Shui with Fido™Puppy series: Housebreaking Your Puppy

The CRATE: 

Using the puppy crate properly has a few tips that I want to share in order to create the best results. Feng Shui with Fido™ is my method of puppy training and philosophy that I’ve shared with my private clients for years. In order to get great results with housebreaking new 8 week-old puppy, it’s great to remember that crating your puppy is age related.

Here are 5 steps to help explain the crating process.

1. The crate serves as a den. The den concept is meant to teach your puppy to learn to self soothe, learn to hold the urge to go to the bathroom and learn the route outside. This is a process and happens over time. Some people try to crate their puppy’s early and get up at 2 am and 5 am to take their pups outside, this does not housebreak your pup faster.

2. If your puppy has pee’d in the crate, your doing something wrong and shutting the crate door too early in your pup’s development.

3.  The crating process should begin within a corralled space. This allows your puppy initially to be able to go in and out of the crate and den naturally.

4.  Your first step is to provide a space within your house that will serve as a playpen area. The crate will help your puppy den and feel safe. This is the first step in teaching separation from you and preventing separation anxiety from happening in the future. 

5. When your puppy is approximately 14 to 16 weeks old he/she will be able to hold his urge to go to the bathroom all night long. By that time shutting the crate door will be no big deal. Until then you should initiate outside many times throughout the day/evening and provide wee-pads within the corralled space only. Free time with you to play is awesome too.

6. The whole point of a crate is to provide a covering for your puppy. Plastic crates do that. If you have a wire crate put a towel on the top in order to create a cozy space.

Ask Inger: Puppies Peeing In The House. Help! Owning Two Pups = Double Trouble.

Hi Inger,

I have two 3 month-old Chi-weenie’s they are brothers and have never been separated. To potty train them I went and bought a play pen type gate and a big crate so they can sleep together at night or they cry.

I have set this up in my bathroom with the crate in the center and the metal play pen on the outside so they can’t get out and chew my cabinets but only enough room for pee pad and water when they come out of crate.

During the night they get out and use the pee pads and do not waste in the crate. But during the day the sometimes pee/ poop on the pad but a lot of the time pee/ poop around it or down the hall from it. I shampoo my carpets everyday now and have used the enzyme stuff also but it doesn’t matter.

Please help I don’t know what I am doing wrong. We even give them treats when they use the pads. I even have a pad in the hall slowly moving it in the bathroom, and same thing the use it sometimes but most of the time go around it. Please help I am tired of shampooing carpet everyday , and swear my house smells like pee. Help!

Delanee

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Hi Delanee, Very cute pups. Thanks for the great question! There are couple of things you’re doing right. Keeping the crate within the play pen area and the wee-wee pads on the far end is excellent. When training litter mates, though, there is a natural codependence that develops between the pups and as an owner you want to address that issue by teaching idea of separation, to them, slowly.

Here’s what I recommend:

Get 2 crates, one for each puppy and maybe an additional corral. Put both crates within one corral area for now, with the intention of giving each puppy their own space, in a few weeks. Remember, your pup’s are only 3 months-old, and they don’t have their shots, so wee-wee pads at this stage are the way to go. At the age of 16 weeks, your puppies will be able to hold the urge to go potty all night long and therefore be crated in their own crate with the crate door shut. They will also be able to begin going out doors for walks! So, therefore you need to begin preparing for that time. Otherwise, they will become so reliant on each other, you won’t be able to take one and not the other. They also need to learn to bond with you individually. Begin scheduling their time together and apart. The best way to do that is to create a structure introducing a little independence from one another. This is the key to help housebreak them too.

When you say “down the hall”  it’s sounds like you’re giving them too large an area for too long of a time. Have the second corral as an exercise PLAY pen “area” to be given to them to play for short periods of time. Then give a smaller area in your bathroom for chew bone, nap time and or feeding and sleeping. Perhaps getting the additional corral will make the process easier.

The goal is to begin slowly separating them, but only at certain times of the day. Having 2 corrals and 2 crates will enable you to begin creating separate time, as well as, additional play space! Use this individual space for chew bone time and use music to help reduce crying and trigger calmness. This should be done for one hour after play time.

Think about your day and daily routine and begin to think of their routine, and as to when you should create a separated space for each for a short period of time. Yes, they can see each other. Remember, the separation is only by corral and for short periods of time, to start. For instance, nap time, chewing a bone time, feeding time, all within their new separated space. They can have together time and run around time several times a day, in one large space.

Doing so, will help isolate who is going potty where and when?

The great thing about pup’s are that they operate on a clock. So make it work for you. Stop giving them treats for going potty, not necessary and distracting. If you have a patio or yard you can begin to bring one at a time, on a leash, to a wee-wee pad area there too. This will help establish a pattern of formalizing the potty process, until they get a bit older.

Please share this post and stay tuned for more…

#1 Cause For Separation Anxiety In Dogs

Separation anxiety is largely caused by a lack of routine. For most  brand “new” rescued dogs or even a young puppy being brought into a new environment can cause stress. Whatever your new pups age is, when you bring him/her home it’s just that, new! So a routine needs to be set be you. For a new dog or puppy being left alone in a house or room causes stress and shutting any door creates anxiety.  Training and socialization is a must and needs to be applied on the first day.

How does stress gets created for a new dog? Pushing a new dog back in order to shut a door creates stress. Many people leave their new dogs or pups in a room or outside when they leave, not knowing what to do? The process of leaving  and lack of routine can create whining, pacing, barking and plain old destruction.

Sure, everyone needs to leave and that certainly will be the goal. However, for a new dog or puppy in your family the concept of being able to be alone should be taught to them by their owners! If your home is introduced correctly to your new dog, bad habits never occur.

Paws For A Minute® 5 Tips For New Dog Ownership: Reducing Separation Anxiety in dogs

1. Never shut a door on a dog. Rather socialize him to be behind a baby gate while you are home. That way you can correct any bad behaviors.

2. Use a leash to guide your dog to the gated or outdoor area for potty. This way you can isolate the word you want to use indicating the action. Such as, wait or potty. The leash allows you to guide not coax and creates eye contact form your dog to you.

3. Even if you plan to crate train your new dog, the baby gated area should be a pre-step to crating. Every new dog is different, due to age. So please realize that crating sometimes needs to be slowly initiated and may take a few days to initiate properly.

4. Gating is to be implemented slowly 20 minutes at a time. Maybe up to 4 or 5 times the first day. This ensures you that your dog respects the gate. If not, then crating may be essential. The key is to do this while your home, to instill a positive pattern. Make sure all of your dogs needs are met. Exercise, potty breaks are key. For 8 week- old pups, the gated area should be considered it’s play pen area and crate should be within the gated space.  Other new dogs that are older, can be exercised and walked and have free time loose in your house for periods of time. It’s up to you to slowly increase the time between being loose in the house and gated.

5. Gating your dog is not intended to be a time out or punishment. It’s a great way to teach a new dog boundaries within your home.

 

Dog separation anxiety video. Does this look familiar?

This video highlights some common behavioral issues that people don’t even realize are there because they’re not home to see it…

Stay tuned for more issues on the subject!

Do You Trust Your Dog? 5 Steps To Success

Do you trust your dog? Achieving trust with your pup is a process and must be developed by you! Do you have a dog that’s not a puppy anymore, but still not housebroken or trustworthy in the house? Are you waiting for your dog to get it? Guess again, it’s you that needs to guide your dog to get it! It’s not about your dog being smart or stupid.

Recently one of our readers, sent in a plea to address this issue. Her dog has the bad habit of busting through the back door, every time they leave the house, and eats all the food off the counters. Also known as, counter surfing! Puppy proofing and not keeping food on counter tops is one issue, the other is the urge to bust down a door is a more complicated behavior and it has to do with the owner, as well as the dog.

I’m talking about separation anxiety, which often results in doggie demolition.  Blocking doors with tables or chairs, or sometimes just  shutting a door on a dog (that doesn’t want to be alone) whether in a room or yard  can create distress. Separation anxiety in dogs can actually be created (albeit unintentionally) by you! Coaxing, pushing you already anxious dog back and shutting a door can induce crazy behavior. Many owners leave their dogs in the yard or locked in a room while they’re gone because they don’t trust their dog loose in the house. The act of pushing a dog back and shutting a door can sometimes create the separation anxiety, especially in a young untrained dog. all behaviors owner and dog can become a vicious circle.

The solution to solving separation anxiety in dogs and creating trust within your lifestyle has many parts.

I know everyone means well, and life does get busy! But sometimes bad dog behaviors and habits such as; barking, destroying things or eating food off the counters can develop from boredom, lack of routine or bad triggers. Bad triggers can develop from owners as they rush out the door to go to work, not knowing how to train their dog to be trustworthy. If trust was not created during puppy training, then as a dog matures bigger problems can occur. If your dog’s destroying things, not housebroken or barking up a storm at every noise then that’s your sign to jump into action and begin asking yourself some questions!

The first question to ask yourself is, are your dogs needs met? Many people think so, but if your dog is barking, digging, and destroying furniture then those signs may indicate your dogs needs are not met. Dogs need to exercise, to be apart of the family, be trained in basic commands on a leash, by you! Also they also need praise, to be guided and fed, to have a chew on a delicious, safe “chew” type bone, and oh, did I say exercise? I did.

One bit of advice I have is to begin creating a new routine. Get your running shoes on and take your dog for a long walk, or to the dog park and tire your pup out! You would be surprised how many owners don’t. Get into a routine of exercising your dog everyday. A tired dog is always a better dog. The main ingredient is to have a new routine. Exercising your dog  will become  a huge part of the solution and the road to recovery. Be aware of when you exercise your dog. Timing is everything. Dog’s are very routine oriented and sometimes varying the time of your outings can be helpful in getting rid of bad habits.

 

The weekend may be the best time to implement this training!

Paws For A Minute® Quick tips: Trust 

Method: How to Feng Shui with Fido.™ Dog+ Home= peace 

1.  Initiate a new routine on the weekend when you’re home. If your dog lives outside all day long, then your yard becomes his den. This con promote digging, barking and possible separation anxiety. Ideally, you want to reverse this concept, and create trust indoors. Look at your individual lifestyle and age, temperament of dog to be sure this concept is right for you. You want the yard to be a place to run and jump, not on you.

2. Exercise your dog at the proper time. Sometimes people exercise their dogs at the wrong times. For example, I recently had a client who had a similar issue. Her dog was walked and exercised early in the morning and then basically spent the rest of the day barking and sleeping in the yard! Pay attention to the time your exercise your dog and if your not then do so! Sometimes a quick game of turbo fetch and potty is a better use of time, leaving the longer walk for later.

3.  Get the right chew bones for your dog to enjoy! Make sure you have “chew time” coincide with a new added routine! Young dogs LOVE to chew and it’s a function not a behavior, they must. Chewing also tires a young dog out and gives them a hobby. Ask your vet what would be right for your dog. Use this chewing hobby to your advantage by introducing the concept indoors as apart of the new training.  A special, new “chew bone” could be given in a gated area creating a “new space.” * Note: Always ask your local vet what type of dog chew is best for your dog!

Choose a gating area for a (20 minute period of time) while YOU are home. This teaches your dog to be gated in an area and learn to be mellow in the house. The gates allows him to see what’s going on yet still be apart of things. This is a temporary training exercise only meant to be applied for an hour here and an hour there, while your home! This will psychologically create a new “den space” for your dog and develop a trust. Absolutely, allow your dog free time loose in the house with you after a walk, this will reinforce mellow behavior.

Occasionally, guide your dog into the space on a leash, say sit, WAIT and then put up the baby gate. Always take off the leash while your dog is gated for safety and give the proper chew type toy or bone that’s safe for your dog to chew. Dogs are den animals and LOVE small spaces, if introduce correctly. The baby gate allows them to see out and be apart of the household without being completely loose all of the time. They love being apart of the family. Begin training with a little patience and always while you are home. This will help you to be able to correct any anxiety. Remember, gate in a central part of the house for best results.

4. Put music on while your dog is gated. This triggers a comforting feeling and trigger a mellow behavior and help to mute out other sounds.  This may also help get your dog of the pattern of going to the door, window or back door waiting for the next sound. All of these tips together will work together over time to help curb the barking or anxiety. You must be in the room your dog is gated during this training process. At least for the first week. You need to build on a new routine.

5. Stop the madness. While your dogs gated, and you are in the room or near by, if your dog continues to bark, you can give a correction. If your dogs needs are met and you know that he’s been to the bathroom, exercised, loved, fed and has water then correcting him to waittTake a coffee can, empty it and then put a hand full of pennies in the can and make sure the lid on the can is on tight. Make sure your dog has gone to the bathroom and had plenty of exercise. If the barking gets excessive, shake the can once, from out of sight, only while your dog is gated. Being out of sight is key! The noise of the can acts just like a siren does of a police car pulling you over for blowing a red light. It’s a sanction, a growl or just plain NO! This can help break the barking pattern.

Remember, it’s important to keep this gating exercise to a short amount of time, slowly building up to an hour over a few days.  I do not suggest you leave your dog gated in the house alone when you have to go out! This new pattern may take months of application before  a new pattern is set. 

Yes, I know dogs can jump over gates and get through most barriers, if the process is initiated incorrectly. This new routine is only meant to be implemented for short periods of time, while your home, only! All of the steps must be in place in order for this concept to become effective. Slowly, you and your dog will learn to trust and eventually the old pattern of anxiety will dissipate.

It’s really important to do all of steps together! Increase exercise, apply short increments of time gated, only while you are home. Remember, gating your dog for “short” periods while your home, can be done several times a day! This creates a pleasant chew bone “chewing” experience and music triggers a new positive pattern of waiting! Often shutting a door on a untrained dog can sometimes create massive anxiety. You may have to leave your dog at home (the way you used to) until a new pattern is formed for a while. Add these new steps indoors, slowly over several weeks or even a month adding the new routine slowly, and before long a healthy trustworthy behavior will develop.

In extreme cases:  ALWAYS seek out a professional dog trainer in your local area. Always ask your local veterinarian what type of  ”dog chew” is best for your dog, 

Ask Inger: Dogs And Getting into the Trash

Hi Inger,

What’s the best way to combat stubbornness? Roxy, our seven year old pitt bull mix is a great girl, but very stubborn. She does what she wants when she wants. She has even been known to be spiteful, i.e. If we leave the house and she doesn’t like it, she will go through the trash and leave it all over the house.

She’s done this many many times. We now have a gate keeping that area closed off, but we would like to find out how to prevent these kind of actions as well as other stubborn moments.

An additional question I have is about socialization. I regret to say that Roxy wasn’t socialized very much as a puppy (with other dogs that is, with humans she was constantly socialized).

We want to make it possible for her to play with other dogs, how do we go about it? Roxy in general has been good playing with male dogs and puppies, but not really with other female dogs. What should we do if we’d like to socialize her more?

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Why Does Your Dog Chew? How To Teach Him Not To Touch The Manolo’s


Demolition. Some homes don’t need a contractor, the construction or rather destruction has already begun. Whether it’s furniture, rugs, shoes or cabinets some people are convinced there dog has it out for their most expensive things. Why?!!!

Chewing is a function, not a behavior. Dogs must chew on something. Now, it’s true some dogs “need” to chew more than others. However, the ‘FYI” for most owners is that what their dog chews in can become a behavior. Let me explain, all dogs loose their baby teeth between the ages of 4 to 6 months of age. Yup, all breeds.

Many people don’t realize that if they don’t provide their dog the proper teething chews then shoes, carpets and cabinets are fair game. Ah, so it’s your fault? Well, kind of…

Many owners have a hundred toys and not the right chew bones. The chewing needs of a dog largely depends on the age, but it’s up to you to provide the time and place and teach your dog to chew, relax and leave your things alone. Once you have that down, then you can show your dog properly his wayward ways. Yelling the word NO! doesn’t always penetrate. The best thing to do is to get a leash, guide your dog to the chewed item and show it to him. He smells his saliva on the shoe. Now, you can say the word NO.

The leash helps guide, isolate the experience, gives the reprimand a structure to prevent misunderstandings. After showing your dog the “chewed” item you can then give him the delicious something to chew. That’s when you can really end the reprimand on a happy POSITIVE note. Lots of love, praise and take off the leash.

Oh, by the way, always ask your vet what chew is best for your dog, every dog is different.

 

 

What’s The Deal With Crating Your Dog? Is it Cruel?

Paws For A Minute® dog training tip! Crating your dog is not a mean thing to do. However, using a the crate as a punishment,  time out or for too long a period of time is wrong. Dogs are den animals. They love to go into small spaces. You must take the time to teach your dog to learn to be crated, slowly. Leave the crate door open and allow your dog to naturally go in and out on his own for a few days. Best way to achieve a great result is to baby gate a room or area and put the crate within that space. Do a gating exercise while your home for 20 minutes a few times a day. Use a leash to guide your dog in and take him out of the crate, when ready to shut the door. This helps guide your dog instead of coax.

Dog owner tip: Properly crating your dog and doing so, slowly in stages, can teach your pup to self soothe. In time, your dog will LOVE to have bone chewing time with music while crated. It’s meant to help teach your dog a schedule! Crating can be used as a great housebreaking tool and help cure separation anxiety. It can create trust by teaching your dog how to be calm indoors. Yes, any age dog can learn to be happy while crated.

It’s up to you to teach your dog slowly with patience. Always begin small periods of crating, after a walk and while you are home, at first.