We have a 4 y/o lab who is the sweetest dog ever! However, a combination of factors has caused her to take up some destructive habits and I'm looking for some creative solutions.
She was a rescue dog and we adopted her when she was about a year old. For the past three years, she's never been bad about destroying things and when we got her, my husband had a work from home job. Recently he started a new job which has a 'regular' office, so she is home alone now for about 8 hours a day. She has started digging at the carpet and will sometimes chew up her bed. This is so far confined only to areas around the front window which is where she must wait for us to come home. I know it's anxiety related, and we have been taking her for long walks in the evening but since it's been obscenely hot here for the last 6 weeks or so it's pretty brutal to go for a walk even at night. Although we have a good sized yard it's too hot to leave her outside with zero shade for the whole day.
I am going to have to start dragging myself out of bed early in the AM to walk now! But looking for any other creative suggestions to help her be happier (and less destructive)during the day. (oh and she is an easy keeper)
And also suggestions about what you do with your dogs when it's this hot out! She loves swimming but we logistically can't take her to the 'dog beach' every day.
thanks for any suggestions!
Last edited by EmJ628; Aug. 3, 2011 at 07:22 PM.
Reason: ETA: tho she is great with the horses, the barn does not allow dogs :(
Crate training for day. Agility training? Obedience? She needs lots of exercise and some kind of job. Ours goes to the barn with me (and the new collie). He used to go to work with my daughter (night equine vet tech) but she works only weekend days now while she's back in college.
Throw a ball inside for as long as she'll last? Get her a friend (joking, sort of).
My motto is "a tired puppy is a good puppy" . Same goes for an adult dog - they need to burn energy. A walk wouldn't work for my last rescue nor my current rescue. They both needed/need lots and lots of off-leash playtime to burn that energy. My current rescue has access to a crate w/ an exercise pen attached to it - it keeps him confined and out of trouble when I'm at work but gives him plenty of room to move around. You might want to try that for your dog during the day (I also give my dog chewies but he's generally tired from all the playtime in the am that he just sleeps now and he is a high-energy 2.5-year old dog!). They make the exercise pens that are designed to attach specifically to a crate. It is tough when it's so hot out to get them tired. I'm at the barn no later than 4:30 in the morning so it's typically a little cooler then thankfully so my dog can get almost an hour of playtime. How about getting a kiddie pool for her to play in in the morning - find a ball and keep tossing it in there - labs love water and tennis balls . Just remember - a tired puppy is a good puppy .
"When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered."CANTER New England
Can you confine her to a hard-to-destroy room? I hate the idea of crating for 8 hours, but I think being limited to one or two rooms is a legitimate short-term solution.
For exercise/activities in the heat, try calling around to local kennels, the local AKC club, etc., to see if there are any facilities nearby which offer a/c. There's a kennel near me which has an a/c'd building for summer classes, and they rent it if you want to do a private session.
I have three destruct-o-matchers...so we go to the dog park, or on a walk, every. single. morning.
If I sleep through my alarm, or take too long in the shower, I know I've subjected myself to having something I own destroyed that day. My fault!
If you don't have a dog park in your area, take up residence at a local baseball field or football field. As long as you've got bags many are receptive to letting you use the fields in the off times and off seasons. If not, I'd look into hiring a teenage kid to come be your 12 oclock dog walker. And vary up the things you do...strolling around the block just isn't enough. Drive to a different neighborhood, walk through a mid-building construction neighborhood, drive the 10 mins down the street to the kids playground and make laps...a MENTALLY tired dog is also a tired dog. If your lab isn't the tennis ball fetch type, maybe rope toys? Frisbees? Kongs? You can also set up 'hide and seek' in the backyard every morning by making her 'hunt' for her breakfast...sprinkle 10 kibbles here, 10 kibbles there, 10 kibbles up on the flowerbed ledge, it'll give her reason to run around in the backyard while you're showering or whatever.
If you don't have a dog park in your area, take up residence at a local baseball field or football field. As long as you've got bags many are receptive to letting you use the fields in the off times and off seasons.
I love sports fields for letting dogs run around, but I'd do a 'necessity' walk first off the field, because bag or no bag, people are going to frown on seeing a dog using a nice athletic facility as a toilet.
Hard run in the early am? some vigorous fetching? followed by 15 minutes of some kind of mentally challenging training? Hire someone to come walk or play with the dog at noon? Feed the dog out of toy like a frozen kong or a similar?
just walking my dogs (although they enjoy it) doesn't do much in the way of satisfying them either physically or mentally. Right now they are passed out after playing agility in an air-conditioned facility for two hours.
NOT a fan of crating dogs for 8 hours straight, but that doesn't mean the dog needs to have free access to the entire house if the dog can't be trusted to not destroy stuff.
You could also talk to a vet about a temporary course of anti-anxiety meds.