Seperation anxiety or just bad behavior?

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Seperation anxiety or just bad behavior?

This is a discussion on Seperation anxiety or just bad behavior? within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Please help me settle a dispute and determine a course of action... My 10 yr old female Siberian Husky, has a nasty habit of throwing ...

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Old 03-02-2017, 09:12 PM
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Seperation anxiety or just bad behavior?

Please help me settle a dispute and determine a course of action...

My 10 yr old female Siberian Husky, has a nasty habit of throwing trash around the house when left alone.

I have heard 2 differing views. One belief that this is a bad behavior that needs correction, and the other believes this is simply seperation anxiety and quoting the Humane Society website
Quote:
Punishment. Punishment isn't effective for treating separation anxiety and can make the situation worse.
...it seems the behavior can be easily dismissed and overlooked under this philosophy...

Please give any advice you can first in determining IF this behavior is in fact the product of seperation anxiety and must be handled more delicately, or if it is reasonable to diagnose this as a simple dog's attraction to trash and can be addressed through things like "catching her in the act" and disciplining, or including pepper in the trash to discourage it....
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Old 03-03-2017, 05:32 AM
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Not using punishment does not mean that there is permissiveness.

Here are some answers to common questions about not using punishment R+ Misconceptions - eileenanddogseileenanddogs

For this behavior the answer is to teach and reinforce a strong leave it or put the bin away when you leave.

Because you are not there when this behavior occurs punishment is useless here. Even with a conditioned reinforcer you only have seconds to react. If you punish when you get home the dog will eventually link you getting home and punishment not knocking over the bin.

Bins are hard. Imagine having a macdonalds in your living room with the door open but someone says leave it alone then leaves for hours, even humans have limited willpower.
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Old 03-03-2017, 06:28 AM
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If all she's doing is getting into the trash while you're gone, I'd be less likely to attribute it to separation anxiety or isolation distress. There are usually other symptoms such as destruction at exits, elimination, and obvious signs of stress in the dog.

I'd also not suggest punishing the dog or booby trapping the trash. The first most likely won't work unless the punishment is severe and even then, all bets are off when she's home alone. Plus, both approaches could have unintended fallout.

If she were my dog, I'd step up management (put trash out of reach, confine her to a dog-safe room, leave her with something like a kong), and work on a strong default leave it (Kikopup has a nice video tutorial).
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