Dog Training/Crying Puppy
QUESTION: Hi, we have 2 Staffie puppies (one 12 months and one 7 months). We both work full-time but come home at lunchtime to let them in the garden. We get up at 5.45am so they have 2 hours play time in the morning. We leave home at 7.45am and put them in the conservatory with lots of toys, food, chews, a tv, heater and light on, and a sofa to sleep on. We come home at 12.45pm until 13.15pm. Then we come home again at 4.30pm when they are taken for an hour's run and they then play in the house until bedtime at 11.00pm. I have recently been off work with a broken bone for 6 weeks so they have been in the house with me all day. The youngest will not now settle in the conservatory and cries, barks, eats walls, eats the sofa. We've ordered some 'calming' spray but haven't tried it yet. In summer they are allowed to run free in the garden but it's now very, very cold in the UK so they have to be inside. They absolutely adore each other but the older one looks a bit fed up with the younger one when she's crying.
ANSWER: Hi Jo! Some questions for you before I can provide too much advice:
Does the puppy only cry in the conservatory when you are somewhere else in the house - or does she do this when you leave the house as well?
Is she getting less exercise because of your injury?
How big is the room she's left in?
Has she ever been crated? Do you even have a crate?
I'll wait to hear back from you!
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi and thank you for replying. She's getting the same amount of exercise as my husband has been walking them by himself. They certainly seem exhausted on an evening - at the moment (5pm) they're snoring in front of the fire! I'm not sure if she cries when we leave the house but I'm presuming so because we can come back to a big hole in the wall! The room is quite spacious - they have a sofa and a couple of big beds in there and there's still room to run a short distance. We do have a crate but have only put her in it once - she nearly took her teeth out trying to get out and, because the older girl wasn't in one, we didn't try again. They like to cuddle up together and both hate the crate. We're going to try a walk at 7am in addition to the evening. We're hoping she'll grow out of it but worry a little because the elder one wasn't like this at her age. Many thanks for your help!
If she's stressed enough that she's chewing the walls while you're gone, she's probably got a full blown case of separation anxiety. I'll give you some good information on how to work with this, but honestly, the most successful resolutions of this problem are a combination of behavior modification and prescription medication. Please talk with your veterinarian about the problems with this pup and ask him about anti-anxiety medications. This isn't something that she will grow out of.
Here is the best information I've found on the web that deals with separation anxiety:
Here are some other standard tips:
Discourage hyper-attachment while you are at home. Don't allow her to follow you from room to room.
Provide food dispensing toys and give her a meal in it when you leave. Give her something to occupy her time.
Make departures and arrivals low key. Pay no attention to her when you get home until she is calm.
Try a Thundershirt on her: http://www.thundershirt.xtradog.com/
Please let me know if you have further questions or comments. Good luck.