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Hello all!
This is my first post here. Last Sunday we adopted a 20 month old Labradoodle. He is potty trained and walks really well on a leash. The previous owners did a great job with him and it sounds like one of them was home all day, every day and if they left, the dog went with them. He got a lot of love.

Overall, he is very calm and loving. I have two issues for which I am seeking advice. The first is separation anxiety. The dog freaks out when we leave the house. As soon as the door closes, he barks, whines, and claws at the door. This happens immediately when we leave and stops immediately when we return.

We have been walking him about 2 hours a day. An hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, so I think he is getting good exercise.

We tried a very large travel crate to keep him from hurting himself or tearing up the house. Before we left, we set up a video camera.

He hated the crate and started barking, whining, and growling as soon as the door closed. When we left, he broke out of it within a minute. He bent the door until the latches came out. I now bought a really big, all-metal crate. Our son was able to get him to sleep in it for about an hour yesterday. That seems like good progress with the crate, but we have not left the house with him in it yet.

Question 1: Any suggestions on how to overcome his anxiety when we are gone?

The second issue is that, after his walks, he is very calm for about 15 minutes, then gets a huge burst of energy. When this happens he chews on everything is site. If we're lucky, it is his toys, but it ends up being anything that comes near his mouth... pillows, carpet, people, etc. It's as though he "has to" chew. It's really a bad energy. If he's chewing on his Kong and it rolls past a pillow, now that the pillow is closer his attention immediately turns to it.

I'm thinking about crating him when this happens, but cannot figure out what the trigger is that starts this behavior.

Question 2: Any ideas on what might be triggering it and how to prevent it?

Thanks everyone!
-Mike-
 

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First of all he is young still and the energy issues last longer than 20 months!!my big dog didnt calm down for ages and it was a very gradual process......after he had destroyed a sofa , a mattress and lots of other stuff!!! I do not believe in crates. He did calm down eventually.
The other bit of separation anxiety....I had to work so I had to leave my dog too.He would claw at the door, whine...etc.etc.So....... I used to go out for a few minutes...then maybe for 5 mins...then 10 and increase all the time.I also used to leave my pyjamas around for him to smell me....and so it went on till i could leave him quite happily.
 

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Hi squishy. Welcome.

About the separation anxiety: He is obviously used to having attention all day long and he is probably a bit afraid you won't come back considering he has already lost one owner. So he feels a bit insecure. What you need to do, and it's a lengthy process but will work, is what bonzy said. Leave for 5 min then come back, do that a few times in a day. Then leave for 8 min, then 10, then 12, and so on. Until you see he is calm after you leave.

A dog gets separation anxiety in the first 10min after the owner leaving. If he is calm when you leave for at least 10min then he will be fine when you are gone for long. Try and do your walk just before you leave in the mornings to tire him out and when you leave give him something to occupy him, it will help him take his mind off the problem and by the time he is finished he would have forgotten and deal with being alone.

He needs to learn that you will indeed come back. So you have to take it slow.

About the chewing of the toys, that sounds like naughtiness to me. He is looking for attention and he is obviously getting it that's why he continues. When you catch him chewing something he is not supposed to, say "NO" firmly and give him something he can chew. Whenever you see him chewing his toys, then give him a praise and a treat or something. Teach him what behaviour is acceptable by praising good behaviour and immediately showing him what's not acceptable by saying "NO" or ignoring him or even putting him in time-out like outside perhaps for 5min. Negative behaviour can only be treated if he is caught in the act, it won't help moaning about it afterwards as he won't know what exactly he did wrong. The best is to reinforce good behaviour as much as possible. If you want your dog to lie quietly then often during the day when you see him lying quietly then go up to him and praise him and give him a treat.

Puppies love to chew and it's normally because of teething and playfulness, but your little one should be past teething and is possibly just extremely playful or looking for attention. Make sure he has lots of chew toys and other toys that he is allowed to play with.

Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes.
 

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Thanks Bonzy and Pebo!

Every day is a learning experience for us both. My vet recommended the crate, and he seems to be much better in the big metal one. He still doesn't like it, but at least I know he won't chew electrical wires or something if I have to leave him alone for a while. I want to keep working on getting him to where we can leave him out, though.

As you both suggested, we have tried the short departures and returns. I believe that this will help in time. I think part of the problem is that he went to another family in between the original owners and us. They said that their other dog did not get along with him, so they only had him for a few weeks. I'm sure that he is pretty confused after being in three homes in three different States in the past month.

The naughty behavior is really strange. I have been doing as you suggested, praising the good behavior, treats, etc. I assumed that, after his walk, he would be more calm but that is when he becomes most excited. He is just about perfect on his walks. Stays right by my side and rarely pulls at the leash. When we come in, he stands calmly while I clean off his feet and belly from the snow, etc. He walks around calmly for a little while then picks up one of his chew toys and starts "galloping" around the house and jumping up on the furniture.

He will not obey any commands when he is in that state of mind and if I make him get of the furniture by pulling him down by his collar (not roughly, just firmly) he tries to bite me as soon as I let go. It's just bizarre because he is normally laying his head on my lap or laying across my feet. He really is normally a very mellow, affectionate dog. It is just after his walks that he has this problem. It always starts with him picking up one of his chew toys. He even will chew on his own legs and tail when he is in this state of mind.

I wonder if I should pick up his chew toys after the walk when he is still calm and see if that works. Maybe if he doesn't start chewing on them, it won't ramp up to chewing on the other things. (or maybe he will just start with other things. I guess I'll see)

Thanks again for the advice. This reminds me of when we brought our first baby home. There was no owners manual! :)

-Mike-
 

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Yeah I know what you mean about the baby and no manual! I have two kids myself.

Give him time to adjust, I think you are doing well. Just be consistent with whatever you do. If you don't want him on the furniture then never allow him to be on there, because if you do once or twice he will know that sometimes it's okay and will keep on trying.

With regards to the chew toys, you should keep all his toys in a box somewhere and he should get it on good behaviour. If he has them around to play with all the time anyway, he'll get bored with them and start moving onto other things like your furniture. After his walk, try and keep him calm. Let him go and lie on his bed and show him it's "relax" time now. Then later on if he has been well behaved give him something to chew on.
 

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I once had a pekinese and i took him for behaviour lessons...well he was the worst of all the animals there.How embarrassing!!!!!
If your dog has been to three homes in one moth then of course he will be upset and not know what is expected of him.With time I am sure he will work out what you want and just aim to please.
 

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Ruby had separation anxiety when we first tried to leave her. She just went ballistic, yelping, barking destroying anything in her wake. We then bought a crate for her and she loved it...................eventually. After I had let her go in and out without closing the door a few times I then closed the door and stayed with her BUT IGNORED HER ! I then left her for a few minutes and then went back and then left her again completely ignoring her. I gradually built up the time so I can now leave her for 4 hours. When I arrive back home I don't let her out straight away but carry on ignoring her for a couple of minutes. Interestingly she still goes ballistic if not in her crate when we go out. I truly believe she see's it as her 'den' and place of safety. She will often scratch at the door for me to open it so she can go and have a rest even when we are in the house.
I hope this helps!
 

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Thanks everyone,
A step at a time. :) He seems to be getting used to the kennel more each day. He often walks into it and then walks out again. As you can see in the picture, he eventually becomes pretty calm in it when we are home.



I like the idea of picking up his toys and only give them to reward good behavior.

I learned a little more about his background. Turns out that the original owners lived in the country and let him have the run of the land off leash. They said that he would eventually come back when he got hungry.

They then moved into town and when they let him off leash, he wanted to wander like he did on the farm. They had a hard time getting him to come back.

So, although they never left without him, they allowed him to leave without them. It kind of explains some more things, especially the high energy after a walk. It probably reminds him of being able to run free on the farm.

Our family is establishing the rules and schedules so that we are all consistent with him. He is definitely smart so he will learn. We're almost as smart, so we will learn too. :)

Thanks again for the advice!
-Mike-
 

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Glad to see things are improving! I was going to suggest that he probably has that burst fo energy after walks because he needs to run some while on your walk, but I see that the former owners explained why he is like that. Anyway, labradoodles are very intelligent dogs, it's just that labs---like a lot of large-breed dogs---take a very long time to mature(possibly up to two tears!). But, once he is trained and older, you couln't ask for a better dog. Good luck, and good job so far!
 

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Thanks everyone!
I learned a little more this week... Toward the end of his walk, I had a chance to allow him to run off-leash in a friend's fenced yard. He ran around the yard extremely fast. (I was actually amazed at how fast he is!!)

Anyway... I walked him back home and he was calm in the house. No bad behavior. I am even more certain that, even though he gets a couple hours of walking a day, he needs to be able to run to burn off more energy.

Thanks again everyone!
-Mike-
 

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You are discovering what I was going to suggest. He is having an explosion of energy after your walks which shows that he has not used up as much energy as you hoped on the walk itself. It sounds like he is very well behaved on the walk, so after working hard to please you he is blowing off steam. My dogs often have those "happy explosions" -- I call it "go, dog go!". They grab a toy or stick and tuck their butts and run like maniacs. Then they give a big sigh and go back to being calm. My dogs get to run off-leash daily. Sometimes they do wild go-dog-go's during our outings -- had several today in the snow after we missed running yesterday due to the rain and sleet and the ground being a covered in ice :eek:. Mine are all Labs and have plenty of energy and running is part of being a dog! Your boy is not trying to be bad - he is just releasing pent up energy. Either ignore him and let him do it for a few seconds (doesn't usually last longer than that) or make sure he gets a lot more physical activity while you are still outside so he is truly physically tired.

Re: crates. Dogs like them unless you turn them into something bad. Let him come and go with the door open, give him treats in there and make it a comfortable place.

It sounds like you are doing a good job and he is lucky to have you -- third home's a charm :).
 
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