Sunday, July 24, 2011

Separation

Sometimes I think that since I am able to bring Finn to work with me, and since she is with me then most days, all day, that she doesn't understand that there are times when she can't be with me.  We had been having some problems with leaving her alone in the house.  This could range from us being outside watering the plants for 20 minutes to us leaving her alone while we run errands for a couple of hours.  That's why I was super anxious when I left her for my mom's birthday tea, if you remember.  Really, the only thing she attacks, and I knock on wood as I type, is my rug.


It started in one corner, and she progressed to the others.  We have other rugs that she ignores, but for some reason, when we left her, this became her new dental floss.  As you can see, she's attacked three of the four corners.  Oh, Finn!!

So, I started to use this trick I read where you leave a toy the minute you walk out the door and then pick it up the minute you walk in the door.  The dog is supposed to somehow equate the toy to you coming home.  Well, I didn't want to believe it at first, but it's been working for a while now, so I thought I would share the toy which I think in my head is my replacement.


That's right.  A $7 orange squeaky with black spiderweb over it.  That's what she equates with me coming home.  Can you believe it?  I seriously can't!  It's odd too, I don't think she even plays with it while I am gone because I find it in the same place from where I put it when I left.  I also think it's a little strange that Finn generally gives me a harder time than my husband.  If I am already out, and he leaves her, she's an angel.  Whereas I had to use this trick to get her to be good.  Any thoughts or suggestions on this?  I've been using it with some success for a couple of weeks now, but I am curious as to what other peeps are doing for the same challenge.  Thank you for any suggestions or advice!

11 comments:

  1. Hey Finn's Mom!
    Wow, that rug's taking a beating! You could try setting someting on the corners (like a vase or a brick or something she won't move) to make it unavailable for chewing. Then she might forget about it. When I was a pup, I confess to chewing our furniture. I'd chew it and Mom would stitch it up, I'd chew it again and she'd sew it up again. She used to joke that our furniture came from the Frankenstein Collection!! BWAR HAR HAR -ahem. Well, I grew out of that before they threw me out!!
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, COP

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  2. We have occasional wild moments with Monty where we come home and something is chewed up. It's getting better, though. We put him for a couple of trips in his crate and that seems to remind him that being left out is a something good dogs get to do. We'll keep paws crossed Finn outgrows the need to chew on something!

    Sam

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  3. Woof! Woof! Hope Finn is alright from eating the rug. My om says I was a very good dog that I never chewed anything in the house and I had no issues when they leave me. It was done gradually ... where they left me in a small area in the house + my crate. I was crate trained so I love going to my crate. Then after a while moved the crate in a larger room ... I go in my crate when I want to rest/sleep. I can sense when my peeps are coming home so I move/stay by the window so by they can see me as they walk to the front door.

    It is amazing that a spiderweb toy works ... if that's the case great. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

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  4. This is an interesting theory, one I hadn't heard before. I've never had separation anxiety issues with Duncan, other than my own, of course. :)

    I did read somewhere that dogs will learn the things you do before you leave and that it helps prepare them, which is why you should follow the same steps in the same order before you walk out the door. For instance, we go for our morning walk while his breakfast hydrates. Once home I put his bowl down, pour my tea, change from my walking shoes into my work shoes, pack up his stuffed animal toys and put them away (I have this insane fear of him choking on fluff while I'm gone), grab my lunch bag and a book, and kiss him on the head. He knows I'm leaving because I tend to do the same things in the same order every morning. By the time he's done with breakfast he wanders down the hall into his kennel and lays down. No anxiety. And I've noticed that on the mornings where I'm rushed and do things out of order or not at all, I'll see him standing in the window watching me leave, a sad look on his face, like "Wait! We were having a good time and now you're leaving??? Come back!"

    Maybe that's what your theory is attempting to do, condition the dog and prepare them for your departure. Does Finn have access to that toy at any other time or is strictly for when you're gone? If it was only for when you're gone it would make sense to me.

    I don't know. If it's working, who cares! Keep at it!

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  5. I don't know that I can offer any advice, the dogs don't really give us a hard time when we leave, they just sleep anyway. Yuki does have separation anxiety though with my husband. He's in the military and left for 2 weeks, when he came back home she was never the same. She has been whiny/jumpy/barking everytime he comes home even if he was just outside mowing the lawn. I also keep them in the most puppy-safe place I can. I keep them gated in the hallway that's all tile and with all bedroom doors closed. I only leave a few toys that I know will be safe alone with them, water and their beds. I can't imagine what the house would look like if I didn't leave them in the hallway. I only have one kitchen rug left since yuki destroyed all of them and had to take my big rug out of the living room because she was working on that one.

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  6. I was a big time chewer during my younger days. I chewed the carpet, drywall just to name a few. Have you tried giving a Kong stuffed with treats? It wouldn't solve the chewing but could keep Finn busy for at least 20 minutes. http://www.kongcompany.com/tips-and-expert-advice/recipes

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  7. hey Finn,

    Separation anxiety is no fun! How was the rug? I have never tried rug, just pillows.

    I think your mom came up with a very clever alternative, one my human has never heard before. And, the toy is pretty cool! :-> I am glad it is working for you and I hope you start to feel more calm as you are left alone. Also, just an FYI, when the humans are away, the pups will play! ;->

    Suka

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  8. Mommy always puts me in a crate when she can't watch me. I consider it to be "My space". It is my quiet, unwind time and I behave pretty well in it. Mommy works at home too and I am with her all day, except when she needs to run errands too. I think the house is too big for me to be in alone. I know I would get into trouble too.

    Puppy Kisses,
    Tanner

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  9. Hey Finn,

    Have you tried kong stuff with peanut butter paste?

    Anyway, thanks for swinging by at my blog. I hope to see you more often!

    Love,
    Homer

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  10. DH has a ritual where he talks to them before he leaves for work. We follow it when we leave together as I work from home. It seems to help. We do have to remove their favorite temptations, low trash barrels, etc.

    I like the toy idea at the door.

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  11. When Whisky was a puppy (she's 11 years now), she would jump and jump and jump against the door and whine as soon as I walk out. What I did was to give her a treat (and I still do this today) that was large enough to occupy her for at least 5 minutes, which is just enough time for me to lock up and leave. She doesn't make a fuss after that (I drove my car out and sneaked back to listen).

    Later, I got her a ball where I could put dry treats in and she had to bat it around to get the treats out and this would occupy her for quite a long time.

    Kongs stuffed with Finn's favourite treat and later coated with peanut butter (to make it harder to get out) is another good way to occupy her while you are away (they learn to equate your leaving with something good).

    Good luck! And thanks for visiting. We hope to see you again. :)

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