An email from my husband yesterday reads "Derby was really bad". He had a meeting and Derby destroyed the couch. Again. For such a truly sweet, nice, loving dog...this is really hard to deal with and understand!
I thought I'd write a post on this since I've noticed a lot of friends talking about their pooches lately & to hopefully share tips and experiences with each other. Oh, there are also a lot of gratuitous Derby pics because we always say..."It's a good thing you're cute!"
A little background information: In April, we adopted Derby from a small Chicago rescue group. She is a great dog, but we weren't able to crate her due to her sheer panic of being in a closed in space and peeing and pooing all over and getting so worked up that it ended up all over her and the house. We gave up and decided to just let her roam in the house. This worked for awhile (after we learned that things like remotes, sunglasses and shoes need to be put away!), but she was always very anxious when we would leave and come home - heart racing, panting, panic. She has also started peeing and pooing when we are gone. She is the epitome of a velcro-dog and follows us around everywhere. This is a little better, as she no longer sits on my feet while I am putting on make-up :) she now sits on the bed in our adjoined room.
We are at a loss now, as we feel like prisoners of our pooch! We don't like to leave her alone for even an hour for fear of what we'll come home to. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is true. So, I'd like to throw out a couple of questions and things that I've been thinking about and see what everyone else thinks.
- Crate Training - do we try again? How do we start? I know the obvious basics of giving her a treat when she gets in, etc. but we find her to be so panicked that she leaves the treat laying there. Do we start at night? For example, putting the crate in our room and having her sleep in there for awhile so she learns it is her den. When we leave the house, should we just prepare ourselves for the (literal) shitstorm and clean-up hoping that she eventually grows out of it?
- Baby Gates - this didn't work for us, as she barrelled through it. We put a 50 pound weight on the other side & she leaped over it. We put a second, retractable one above the bottom one and she chewed through it. This might work for others though, so I wanted to at least mention it.
- Collars - Citronella for barking - we used it when we first got her (& in the crate) and would come home to a house that reeked of citronella and a frantic, barking dog. When she is out now, barking isn't the problem so much as the destructiveness and anxiety, though we can hear her from time to time when we are walking up the street to the house. Choke collars/Prong collars - Have you used these? For what purpose? What is the difference? I hate the thought of these, they make me sad. But, do they work? We walk Derby with a Gentle Leader harness (not the nose one) and it works WONDERS!
- Obedience Training - We went to classes at a local doggy daycare and were in time-out almost the entire time. She is so barky around other dogs that she would distract the other dogs and nothing was accomplished. I ended up in tears, it was so frustrating. I've worked with her to do sit, down and drop-it, but she only does it when she wants to do it! Has anyone had success with in-home private training? I think this could be a good option for us.
- Board and Train - I've been looking into Board and Train places where you drop off your dog for 2 or more weeks and they work one on one with a trainer, then you have a class with the trainer and dog so that you know what to do when you have them home. I am not sure if this is what we need to help with anxiety and crating, though, so not sure if this is a good option?
I have a vet appointment this afternoon to make sure there isn't anything wrong with her health-wise (perhaps to explain why she is peeing, etc. in the house when we're gone). What do you think? Do you have a dog with behavior problems? If so, what did you do to help?
Okay, one more picture...with her dad :)