Hi all, 

A little background, I've had Charlotte for 9 months now and she will be turning 1 in just 2 weeks. She is such a well behaved, outgoing, and smart girl. She has been crate trained since I brought her home. I would leave her locked in the crate, at first, during the night and when I was away. Now at night I leave the door open, and she mostly still sleeps in there at night (I tried to make it a safe place for her). As she has gotten a little older I started to let her out during the day, so that she wouldn't be kenneled all day while I was at work. This is my problem... she not only wines and barks (I can hear her outside) but she also has started shredding things. She has shredded 2 books, mail, notecards, tissues, and even a set of blinds. I'm guessing she is going through some major separation anxiety and I just don't know what to do! I tried leaving the TV on for some background noise, leaving toys and bones out for her to chew on, and we even have another dog there to keep her company. I have started leaving her in her crate again while I am away, just to make sure that nothing else gets destroyed. Has anyone else had this issue, was it just a phase? I would love to hear some suggestions. 

 

A picture of the culprit for everyone :)

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  • I can't tell you why this is suddenly happening, but I can tell you what to do about it: Start crating her again when nobody is home. 
    For whatever reason, she feels safest in her crate, and with a small space and nothing much of interest to do or see, she probably spends most of her time in there sleeping. There's no reason not to crate a dog of any age if they are comfortable with it. 
    Over this past year, I have noticed a huge change in the normal rhythms of life in my neighborhood, and a lot more activity and noise outside my home than ever before, due to Covid. 10 times more people out taking walks, with and without dogs, 10 times more kids riding bikes and scooters past the house or shrieking outdoors, 10 times more people doing home improvement projects that involve trucks, workmen and noise, and lots more dogs barking inside their houses. My own 3 y.o. dog has started barking way more than he ever did at every little sound, and I am sure all the new Covid activity is to blame. Maybe that's also what's disturbing your girl. But whatever the reason, I'd go back to crating her when you're gone. 

    • Thank you for the response. I guess it was more on my side feeling bad keeping her cooped up. You're right though she probably doesn't mind at all! 

      • Don't worry about being couped up.  I look at it like this.  When WE are home alone we might watch TV, read, wash dishes, vacuum, shower, organize, get on Facebook or Zoom or call people.  We DO things.  But when dogs are home alone, they either SLEEP or they get into trouble.  So why not sleep in their crate?

         

      • And, in a few months, you can try leaving the crate door open during the day and giving her limited room to roam. Shut doors, block areas with baby gates etc.  We happen to have a den/kitchen tiled floor area that we often used when our dogs were small or new to us. 

      • We are working from home these days and Riley (2.5 years old) has the run of the house... she spends 90% of her day sleeping in the same spot lol.   Even Toby who is only 4 months old spends most of his day in an ex-pen while my husband works (although he is right beside Toby).  

        Dogs who have been crate trained really don't mind going in there when they are resting.  When we were working outside of the home pre-COVID Riley would spend her day in the crate while we were at work.  Sure it may have been boring for her but she was safe and we knew she couldn't get into anything or possibly hurt herself.  

  • Leaving a dog crated all day is not punishment, just safety for her and your belongings.  That said it would be best if she could havfe a half hour of serious exercise and attention - a brisk walk, a little ball playing, 5 minutes of doing "tricks" learning a new on from time to time.  Then when you get home potty call and another half hour of concentrated exercise and attention. Like Nancy we have always had an area that our dogs could be in safely while we gone.  We have used the laundry room with a dog door to a protected yard, a garage with a protected back yard, and one magical dog who could have the whole house and never touch a thing as long as he could get in the back yard.  Currently we are crating our two, but no longer are routinely gone for a long stretch of time.  Murphy is three and goes to her crate when she wishes and does not mind it at all.  Tigger had more "space" in our other house but is perfectly happy crated.  Just remember attention before and after if gone all day.

     

     

    • She gets plenty of play time, as soon as I get home we go on a walk and play in the backyard! Unfortunately the house we live in right now is too "open concept" downstairs for a safe place away from valuables. I think the plan is to just keep the kennel around and continue to make sure that when we are home she gets plenty of exercise and attention. 

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