For the past year and a half, whenever we went out, we would put Speckles in her crate. Keep in mind, though, I am home most of the time so if she was in her crate it was only for an hour or two, maybe twice a week. We tried to leave her free while we were gone but she would end up eating the points off mechanical pencils and pens, shred paper, and eat the heads off my daughter’s small plush toys (yes, eat not just chew).
I once stumbled upon the statement that it’s only the first 15-20 minutes a dog is alone that they feel a ‘separation from the pack’ and don’t know what to do with themselves. Coping with that anxiety leads to destroying things, shredding things, and perhaps soiling things. This made a lot of sense and explained why she attacked items she normally wouldn’t touch, even if we only went out for 15 minutes or so.
Over the past two weeks we put that theory to the test. We made sure to pick everything off the floor and close doors to our bedrooms and bathroom. Before we left, we gave her a KONG (you MUST get this brand, others don’t hold up as well) filled with peanut butter and treats or a bully stick (we really need to get the odor free bully sticks though – P.U.). She was so interested in her treat that she barely even acknowledged our exit.
What did we find when we came home? An overly comfortable and content pup. She was so relaxed that she didn’t even come to greet us. No, she just laid on her little bed, looked at us with sleepy eyes, then wagged her tail as she stretched and yawned.
So we finally found a way to leave her at home without putting her in the crate, but also found out she’s useless as a guard dog…