Extreme Separation Anxiety
This damage was caused by a small to barely medium sized dog
Who is Suffering from acute Separation Anxiety.
This damage was caused in just a couple of hours?
Again, not a Large dog that did all this damage
I have worked closely with the lady who owns and greatly loves this dog. The damage done above is only a part of what he has done to her entire house when she leaves him home alone recently. Thousands of dollars of damage.
She first wrote thinking about putting the dog on a daily medication from her vet, such as "Prozac". Then she tried a bitter tasting spray but she was unable to purchase one in her area that worked. She also began working on the NUMBER ONE CURE for Separation Anxiety in your dog. Which is exactly how you LEAVE your home and how you RE-ENTER your home. Following directions on how you leave and re-enter your home was certainly helping but she simply ran out of time as the damage was just to much.
She had her dog completely Health Checked by her Vet to make sure he was not suffering from an unknown/unseen Physical Problem. The lady herself has had some recent personal health issues and her husband is suffering from a very serious Health Problem himself which we tracked down is what set off this dogs "Separation Anxiety". He senses his beloved masters illness's and has reacted in fear of being left alone.
MY REPLIES BELOW (edited here for space).
I think giving medication to a dog such as Prozac on a DAILY BASIS is pure stupidity. I agree that a mild tranquilizer may be necessary for some dogs OCCASIONALLY, never daily. Such as a trip to the vets or groomers or a severe thunder storm. OCCASIONALLY..........................Prozac is not a mild tranquilizer!!!
Prozac alters the brains chemistry and long term effects are becoming more and more documented in both humans and dogs. Dogs will get hooked on Prozac just like humans do. Pretty soon, they can't go without it and need more of it. On and on and on.
Buy a good "Bitter Tasting" spray that will not discolour the shutters, window ledges, door frames, furniture. "Bitter Apple Spray" does not seem to work for many dogs. But other products out there that do work very well. Sprays from a Vet for spraying on dogs bandages, casts, etc to keep them from chewing almost always works on other objects also.
One spray that works quite well is, "Veritone" for spraying dogs bandages, etc. NOTE; I HAVE YET TO FIND A SPRAY THAT DOES NOT NEED TO BE APPLIED MINIMUM TWICE DAILY AND SOMETIMES MORE OFTEN. For dogs suffering from Separation Anxiety, no need to apply when your home if they are only chewing when your gone.
I have also used "Hot Spot" spray for stopping licking and chewing on their skin but had to reapply several times a day. You could try it but do a test spot first in case it damages wood or upholstery. Two more that often work and are meant for walls, furniture, etc are "Bitter Yuck" and "Stay Away".
Something's that can cause Aberrant Behaviour in a dog such as "Chewing". New home, rearranging the existing home (a dogs territory means everything to a dog), new person or other animal in the home, change in a person's work schedule, bickering/arguing in the home and STRESS HORMONES (in our voice and produced in our sweat glands) which are thrown off by the dogs owner and sensed by the dog, due to poor health, new job, financial problems and many other mental issues. Have not mentioned all of them here.
First thing is to make sure the dog is not suffering some health issue of it's own causing it mental stress or a low lying level of continual pain causing the dog Aberrant Behaviour (chewing in your case). Often a dog can be in mental or physical distress without the owner ever knowing it. They chew to take their minds off their own problems.
Separation Anxiety: Every single day of the year, it is how you LEAVE THE HOME and equally important HOW YOU RE-ENTER THE HOME. Separation Anxiety can be cured with dedication on the owners part.
First thing we do wrong is fuss over the dog when we leave. This gets them nervous and/or excited and/or worried. Simply Leave. Simply walk out without a word or backward glance. This way, your leaving will soon mean nothing to the dog.
Now even more important is when you return!!! Walk in and for the first few minutes you must TOTALLY ignore the dog. You must act like you do not see him, hear him, even know he exists. Ignore his jumping on you, walk around him, DO NOT LOOK AT HIM OR SPEAK TO HIM.
Only and again, ONLY when he calms down, do you look at him and say, "Well Hi There". Pet him a couple of times but that's it. Later of course, go back to loving him the way he deserves to be loved.
You are not being cruel, you are simply taking control of the situation. Believe it or not, this always works in the end. Some dogs quickly, other longer, but it does work. Because you’re leaving and returning now doesn't net the dog any extra attention, in fact, no attention at all. None.
Suggestions are to leave the TV on or a radio, both on a calming channel. Toys, etc available. And dog out to the bathroom before leaving and out again only AFTER he has calmed down. This puts a stop to Separation Anxiety in a normal home. Thus cures house-training accidents, chewing up and destroying household items and excessive barking. Trust me, if you follow the directions, it does work. Break from how you leave and especially how your re-enter the home and you will never cure the problem. 365 days a year for the rest of the dogs life, you do not fuss over the dog when leaving or re-entering the home.
MY LAST REPLY:
AND do not listen to friends or anyone who says to PUNISH the dog by hitting it or throwing it outside when you come home and find the destruction that has taken place. NOTE: Or House Training Accidents or any behaviour you don't like.
Disciplining any dog "After The Fact", meaning after the damage is done (house training accidents, etc. included) does absolutely no good at all. Dogs live "In The Moment", meaning mere seconds to max a couple of minutes after
doing something wrong, they do not know what they are being disciplined for. THEY MUST BE CAUGHT IN THE ACT for scolding, putting outside, locking them up, etc. to work.
It angers me greatly when dog owners say to me: But my dog knows he did something wrong!!! NO!!! He has no idea what he did wrong he is simply READING YOUR BODY LANGUAGE and is now afraid of you when he thus acts like he has done something wrong............. when he acts like that, it is because he is afraid of you from your BODY LANGUAGE or difference in your VOICE, not because he knows what he did wrong!!! It is called "FEAR".
Although I simply hate giving this advice out................. which is to lock a dog up in a crate or kennel, this lady has run out of options.
Buy a large, sturdy (sturdy as in strong enough to prevent the dog from clawing and chewing through it) Kennel. And yes a dog bent on escaping can escape from "Cheaper" types of kennels.
Because you love your dog and want to cause as minimum amount of stress as possible....................................... because your not the type of person to just push and force the dog into the kennel when leaving........................... Because You Care.......................................
(1) Purchase the kennel. One strong, sturdy and large enough for the dog to stand up in and turn around in easily.
(2) Place the kennel in a permanent location in your kitchen area or area where you spend a lot of time. This area preferably (IF POSSIBLE) allows the dog to see you entering and leaving the home. This area will keep the dog from suffering from extreme heat in the summer (meaning hit by direct sunlight in the hottest part of the day) or cold in the winter. NOTE: You must purchase a water dish that affixes onto the side or door of the kennel
because leaving it just on the floor of the kennel will cause the dog to spill it when he gets frantic. The dish must be deep enough that no matter how upset the dog gets, some water remains in it, unspilled. Or buy a couple of the largest "Water Bottles" for rodents/small animals that you can to fix through the slats in the kennel. Water bottles with spouts so that your dog never goes without water when your gone.
(3) Leave the kennel door open. Start feeding the dog in the kennel. Play with him with his toys in the kennel. Put his favourite blanket in the kennel. Your goal is to get him to voluntarily enter the kennel. In fact, to start sleeping in it or at least resting in it with the door open. This can take a few days to several days.
(4) Now you will begin closing the door with the dog in it. Just for short time periods.
IMPORTANT: If the dog is whining, barking, clawing, chewing to get out. You must not let the dog out!!! You must pretend to not hear or see the dog. Don't even look at the dog................................ Only when he settles down for a couple of minutes, do you let him out and tell him "Good Dog"........................ WHY??? Because by responding with love or even anger to his frantic attempts to get out ONLY REINFORCES the dogs thinking that the way to get attention and get out is by acting crazy. You must teach the dog that only by being calm does he get attention through the bars of the closed door or to get out.
(5) Okay, now your ready to leave your home for short periods. Place him in the kennel. Make sure he has water available that cannot be spilled. Make sure he has chew toys and chew bones to occupy his time. Make sure his
favourite blanket that is not washed all the time, thus smells like him is in the kennel for him to comfortably lay on. ALWAYS MAKE SURE THE DOG HAS BEEN OUT TO THE BATHROOM BEFORE LEAVING THE HOME (even on these first, short training times your leaving for). DO NOT fuss or even say good-bye to him when you walk out. I cannot say enough times that "Separation Anxiety" can be cured by how you leave and how you re-enter the home. It is something that must be done ALWAYS, everyday for the rest of the dogs life. NEVER SPORADICALLY. And I cannot say enough that IT TAKES TIME. Working at this a day or two does not work. Or working at this sporadically does not work.
(6)So walk out. Go the first couple of times for only 15 minutes. Go work in your garden or just stand in your driveway silently. Now re-enter your home. The dog begins to go nuts or is already acting nuts. PLEASE ignore
him. Act as if you do not see him or hear him. Do not look at him. ONLY when he calms down for a minute or two, do you walk over and acknowledge him or let him out. He must be laying calmly before you do this. Increase time spent outside. EXIT and ENTER the home always as if you do not see or hear the dog. Don't even look at him until he calms down even if it takes him an hour or more to calm down!!! ONLY WHEN HE IS LAYING DOWN AND RELATIVELY CALM DO YOU ACKNOWLEDGED HIM OR LET HIM OUT.................................................
THIS IS FOR NO MORE THAN 8 or 9 HOURS OUT OF 24 HOURS IN A DAY. NEVER BE A CRUEL OWNER WHO LOCKS A DOG IN A CRATE/KENNEL WHILE AT WORK, THEN WHILE SLEEPING, THEN WHILE VISITING etc. BECAUSE WHEN YOU ADD ALL THOSE HOURS UP THAT YOU HAVE YOUR DOG LOCKED UP??? IT CAN END UP BEING MOST OF THE ENTIRE 24 HOURS. BE KIND WHEN USING A CRATE/KENNEL. It is always strongly recommended that someone let the dog out of his Prison Cell every 4 hours. Especially Puppies must be let out every 4 hours to go to the bathroom. Puppies must have water at all times. Food may also be necessary for puppies in the kennel if they are poor eaters. Thank You.