Author Topic: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems  (Read 6158 times)

A_Rock

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Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« on: December 07, 2019, 09:08:18 AM »
My husband and I decided to get an 8 week old chocolate Labrador Retriever about 2 years ago.  From the get go, Rambo had separation anxiety problems.  He would bark and bark and the neighbors complained that they could hear him.  Our solution was to send him to doggy daycare.  We purchase a monthly pass for him to go there every day while we are at work.  The pass costs $455.  This past June I asked our vet if we could try medication for his separation anxiety.  He went on Prozac.  The medication seemed to calm him down some, he slept better at night, but it did nothing for his separation anxiety.  About 8 weeks ago, I asked the vet to try something different and Rambo went on Clomicalm.  This medication did nothing other than make him restless at night.  He would wake me up whining and wanting to go out (but not actually ďneedingĒ to go out).  Or he would wander around the house.  This week, the vet then sent us home with Trazodone.  He is taking 100mg of that twice a day.  It seemed to help a little at first.  But last night Rambo woke me up three times. 

I love Rambo but I am exhausted from his restlessness at night.  I think, perhaps, part of the problem is that he is not getting enough exercise.  But I donít know what to do with him.  He goes to daycare and is free to play all day long.  When we get home, it is dark out.  And he really is not into playing fetch.  We do have a decent sized fenced in yard but if he doesnít want to play fetch, I donít know what to do with him to wear him out.  We do have play dates with our next door neighborís dog, but that doesnít happen every day.  I have thought about getting another dog but I have serious concerns of going from the frying pan straight into the fire with that idea.  If one dog is this much trouble, I certainly worry that another one would make things worse not better.  But, conversely, it would be a playmate and companion and maybe would help with Ramboís problems?? 

I am exhausted.  I feel like between the daycare, dog training (we arenít currently doing this but have done a fair amount of training), medications, bones and toys to keep him busy, I am spending a fortune on my dog. 

I am also panicking a bit because we are likely moving in a few months and we will be too far away to send him to daycare and we will no longer have his playmate next door, so what then?
For whatever it is worth, I have always had dogs and I know they are a lot of work.  I am happy to work with Rambo but donít know what to do.  We do take him for walks but those donít seem to wear him out. 

Has anyone else had a dog with separation anxiety?  Did anything work to solve the problem?

Does anyone have suggestions on what to do with him in the dark backyard at night to wear him out?

Do you think getting a second dog is a good idea?

Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated!

hops

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2019, 10:23:28 AM »
An idea a trainer had for wearing out our seemingly inexhaustible dog was outfitting her with something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Kurgo-Backpack-Walking-Camping-Coastal/dp/B00VTTD50I/

We'd put an equal amount of weight on each side (using something like water bottles, but you don't want to overdo it) and take her on long walks. Ridiculously long, vigorous games of tug of war can also be helpful for dogs who don't like fetch.

Sorry you're going through this. When we adopted ours she was seven months old with major separation anxiety. She had many failed adoptions by then. We did the usual things like giving her a frozen KONG when we left (and putting it away as soon as we got home), but our situation was made a lot easier by my job flexibility. I'd either work from home or she'd go to the office with me. Having so much time together let us work on preparing her for absences by being present yet unavailable leading up to departures, and by leaving for shorter amounts at a time to ease her into longer absences.

Our friends had a dog whose separation anxiety was so bad she would injure herself. It took a lot of work with a certified behaviorist to get her issues under control.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2019, 11:44:06 AM by hops »

austin944

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2019, 11:26:11 AM »

I would try to adopt your dog out now before moving.  There's no shame in admitting that you and your dog are not compatible.  It happens.

However if you are determined to keep your dog, then most labs I've met absolutely love the water.  It does not have to be large pool -- a small kiddie pool will suffice along with a few play toys, and some encouragement.

SunnyDays

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2019, 11:40:14 AM »
Can you borrow someone's dog, maybe the neighbour's, to see if it makes any difference in having two?  What you think is separation anxiety might just be a very high energy level, and without someone around to keep him busy, both mentally and physically, he's bored.  Since retrievers are smart dogs, you could try adding extra mental stimulation, such as agility courses in the yard, teaching him to find certain scented objects and naming his toys and teaching him to fetch the ones named (hide them once he gets good at it).  Put his kibble in treat balls and leave them around the house so that eating becomes a game that keeps him busy, especially when you're gone.  Mental fatigue will settle him down just as much as physical fatigue.  Remember that retrievers were bred for a job and if his life is too easy he'll be bored silly.  If you just can't seem to fix this, then maybe you should look at re-homing him.  Even though you love him, it may be a kindness to everyone.  Find someone who's home a lot or leads a very active lifestyle.  There are breed specific rescues that might be able to help.  Best of luck.

SuperNintendo Chalmers

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2019, 12:19:56 PM »
Is there an indoor dog pool near you?  We have one near us where you can get an inexpensive pass and just go and throw a toy into the pool over and over while your dog retrieves it.  After about 20-30 minutes of this, our labs were completely exhausted and happy.  If your dog is not a swimmer, they have assisted swimming where someone will lead your dog around the pool with a float vest, which also tired them out. 

Or is there a nearby agility yard?

Other than that, long and frequent walks.  Although I hear you that walks don't seem to tire your guy out.

Good luck. 

A_Rock

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2019, 12:30:39 PM »
Thanks for the helpful suggestions!

We actually do have a dog backpack which Rambo has worn a couple of times hiking.  We could definitely put some weights in there and have him wear it more often.

Our current weekday routine is we pick him up from daycare around 5pm.  I give him his kibble in one of the treat balls we own.  We have a few of them and switch them up to give him some variety.  We then will usually play the Find it! game where I put a pepperoni inside one of his toys.  I put him in the bathroom (so he can't see what I am up to) and then I hide the toy somewhere in the house.  The downside to this is we have a small house so not lots of hiding spots.  I would also like to play this outside but our backyard is only grass so no place to actually hide anything.  Then he gets some sort of chew thing to chew on.  I do love the idea of naming his toys and then getting him to find them.  I think he would catch onto that quickly.  So thanks very much for that suggestion.

Another thing we do (just to give other people ideas in case they have a high energy dog too) is when we go hiking, we have him jump up on logs and rocks.  I like the agility course suggestion and that could be something we build at our new house.

Where we are likely moving (we are under contract to buy a new-to-us house) has a creek in the backyard.  Rambo does love to go in the water.  And I am hopeful that the new property (it is 5 acres) will be a good move for him.

As for the second dog, we have dog-sat the neighbor's dog and that experience was mixed.  She is a bit of an anxious personality and had troubles relaxing at our house.  But meanwhile my parents have a black lab and when they watch Rambo, they are able to leave Rambo home alone because their dog is home with Rambo.  We joke that Zink the black lab is an excellent babysitter.  So I think the second dog could go either way.  And would depend a bit on the new dog's personality.

I am committed to being Rambo's forever owner. 

Zamboni

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2019, 12:49:01 PM »
Based upon what you just wrote about how he behaves with the black lab and your new, larger property, it sounds like a second, calm, adult dog of similar size to Rambo would be really helpful and could calm Rambo while you are working.

Don't get a puppy! Get a 2-3 year old dog from the local shelter who has the physical traits and stamina to keep up with Rambo but who is vetted to be calm and good with other dogs. You could even try the "fostering" route to have a dog come to your home without making a permanent commitment in case it doesn't end up being a good match for the new dog, Rambo, or you. If you foster a dog that turns out to be perfect, then adopt it.

Dogs are pack animals . . . some dogs seem fine by themselves, but evolution has generally steered dogs towards wanting company, even if it is just another warm body to sleep next to.

iris lily

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2019, 12:52:18 PM »
You are a great parent fo r Rambo.

I am curious to know what his breeder says about his anxious personality.

Malcat

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2019, 01:02:55 PM »
Do you walk him at all?

joestash

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2019, 04:58:41 PM »
Dog breeds and individual personalities vary dramatically. Honestly, you're dog sounds pretty normal for a young lab that's not getting sufficient exercise and/or training. I'm not trying to shame you. It's sounds like you're coming to the same conclusion but don't know what to do about it. It's awesome that you're willing to put in the work to help him! :)

I would do some serious research and hire the best dog trainer you can find for some 1-on-1 attention. They should come to you and work with you individually. What you and your dog need are individual to you. Dogs vary tremendously on what motivates them to exercise and train. This will be more expensive in the short term but long term it will be much better for everyone.

p.s. I have a dog who doesn't get tired from only walking and had separation anxiety.

Cranky

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2019, 06:37:02 PM »
A 2yo lab is very high energy, and needs a lot of interaction. A LOT.

Lady Stash

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2019, 07:26:46 PM »
How is he with crates?  Maybe he could sleep in a crate right next to your bed to help with the restlessness at night?

No other advice.  He is lucky to have you!

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2019, 08:16:28 PM »
Dogs need so much more activity than most humans can provide. I think a second dog would be great if they get along. Otherwise it might be best to adopt Rambo out, especially if you already feel like heís too much expense. This doesnít seem like it was the right decision for you or Rambo. It makes me sad to hear about putting dogs on a drug treatment.

Villanelle

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2019, 08:27:32 PM »
You aren't walking him at all, as a part of your regular routine?

That's the answer.  When you get home, dark or not, taking him for a walk, or better yet a jog.  45 minutes.  Ideally, you will walk (jog) him for at least 30 minutes in the mornings as well. 

You got a very high energy breed yet he's getting almost no actual exercise.  Sure, he's playing, but that's not the same.  He needs workouts, essentially, to put it in human terms, not just walking from his desk to and from the copier and HR on the 4th floor.  And not a casual stroll on his lunch hour.  A true work out. 

Malcat

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2019, 09:03:55 PM »
You aren't walking him at all, as a part of your regular routine?

That's the answer.  When you get home, dark or not, taking him for a walk, or better yet a jog.  45 minutes.  Ideally, you will walk (jog) him for at least 30 minutes in the mornings as well. 

You got a very high energy breed yet he's getting almost no actual exercise.  Sure, he's playing, but that's not the same.  He needs workouts, essentially, to put it in human terms, not just walking from his desk to and from the copier and HR on the 4th floor.  And not a casual stroll on his lunch hour.  A true work out.

Yep. Play won't suffice.

I've rehabbed a lot of really, really messed up and dangerous rescue dogs and I've never had to use meds. I have had to put in a ton of diligent energy walking them though, and with proper walking technique: short leash, focused, in step, no screwing around.

My current dog is prone to total fucking psychopathy, and the only way to get his fuckery in order is to walk him for a very long time, on a short leash, at least twice a day until he's both physically and mentally exhausted.

He could run around and play with other dogs for hours and get out physical energy, but that wouldn't do anything to temper his psychotic face-biting, violent neuroses. He'll just nap for a bit and wake up just as much of a lunatic as ever.

Dogs respond really well to very predictable structure and discipline, so burning mental energy is critical, in a structured way, and on a schedule.

When my little dude starts getting a little Pesci, the key is to walk him at a brisk pace and get him into a focused flow-state, and employ a lot of strict boundaries at home, such as not being allowed up on any furniture, and doing regular discipline exercises like me putting a treat on the floor and making him wait in a calm state before being allowed to have it, if at all.

He has to be challenged to do the mental work of walking with discipline and holding himself back from what he wants (the sofa, the treat), and that mental work wipes him out and allows him to calm down.

He's never a perfect dog, he absolutely hates people coming into the house and will go absolutely hysterical if it's a man, but the rest of the time, he's a chill little affectionate guy as long as we reboot discipline-mode every few months to keep his demons at bay.

Structure, structure, structure, discipline, discipline, discipline.

If you can't do that with one dog, I strongly recommend NOT getting a second dog. A neurotic dog may benefit from a friend or may just transfer it's neuroses and then you have two difficult dogs.

Buddies have been both good and bad for my guy. He's been with me for a decade, and I've rescued a lot of old puppy mill dogs in that time. My dude is a guard dog, so having a fragile, old friend to protect means he's working 100% of the time. It's great, it calms him and keeps him focused, like puppy ritalin. However, it also makes him far more dangerous if he feels his charge is in danger. So another dog is always a complication, even if it is a net benefit.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with knowing when the job isn't right for you though, there's no shame in realizing that you don't have the capacity to be what this dog needs.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2019, 06:06:21 AM by Malkynn »

joestash

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2019, 11:07:18 PM »
You aren't walking him at all, as a part of your regular routine?

That's the answer.  When you get home, dark or not, taking him for a walk, or better yet a jog.  45 minutes.  Ideally, you will walk (jog) him for at least 30 minutes in the mornings as well. 

You got a very high energy breed yet he's getting almost no actual exercise.  Sure, he's playing, but that's not the same.  He needs workouts, essentially, to put it in human terms, not just walking from his desk to and from the copier and HR on the 4th floor.  And not a casual stroll on his lunch hour.  A true work out.

Yep. Play won't suffice.

I've rehabbed a lot of really, really messed up and dangerous rescue dogs and I've never had to use meds. I have had to put in a ton of diligent energy walking them though, and with proper walking technique: short leash, focused, in step, no screwing around.

My current dog is prone to total fucking psychopathy, and the only way to get his fuckery in order is to walk him for a very long time, on a short leash, at least twice a day until he's both physically and mentally exhausted.

He could run around and play with other dogs for hours and get out physical energy, but that wouldn't do anything to temper his psychotic face-biting, violent neuroses. He'll just nap for a bit and wake up just as much of a lunatic as ever.

Dogs respond really well to very predictable structure and discipline, so burning mental energy is critical, in a structured way, and on a schedule.

When my little dude starts getting a little Pesci, the key is to walk him at a brisk pace and get him into a focused flow-state, and employ a lot of strict boundaries at home, such as not being allowed up on any furniture, and doing regular discipline exercises like me putting a treat on the floor and making him wait in a calm state before being allowed to have it, if at all.

He has to be challenged to do the mental work of walking with discipline and holding himself back from what he wants (the sofa, the treat), and that mental work wipes him out and allows him to calm down.

He's never a perfect dog, he absolutely hates people coming into the house and will go absolutely hysterical if it's a man, but the rest of the time, he's a chill little affectionate guy as long as we reboot discipline-mode every few months to keep his demons at bay.

Structure, structure, structure, discipline, discipline, discipline.

If you can't do that with one dog, I strongly recommend getting a second dog. A neurotic dog may benefit from a friend or may just transfer it's neuroses and then you have two difficult dogs.

Buddies have been both good and bad for my guy. He's been with me for a decade, and I've rescued a lot of old puppy mill dogs in that time. My dude is a guard dog, so having a fragile, old friend to protect means he's working 100% of the time. It's great, it calms him and keeps him focused, like puppy ritalin. However, it also makes him far more dangerous if he feels his charge is in danger. So another dog is always a complication, even if it is a net benefit.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with knowing when the job isn't right for you though, there's no shame in realizing that you don't have the capacity to be what this dog needs.

This. All of this.

That said, taking everything @Malkynn says here and implementing it for your specific dog is going to be A LOT of work. Especially so, given how the last 2 years have gone with Rambo. Get yourself some help with a few sessions from a highly skilled trainer 1-on-1. A quality trainer will teach you how to read your dog and show you how to give them more structure in real time. That's something us internet strangers can't do. It will save you months/years of trial and error with your pup.


wordsnotnumbers

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2019, 04:26:34 AM »
+1 to walks. Twice a day, including obedience work. Playing and socializing is great fun but it doesn't actually teach the dog anything about how to handle the world around it. In fact, I would argue that some of the tactics around long extended walks, weighted packs, etc do not get at the root problem. They help some, but if they are the only strategy being used then all that's being done is creating a super-fit dog with even MORE energy to burn, which becomes a vicious cycle. Happens with horses all the time; the human is too nervous/unskilled/impatient to channel the brain attached to the huge body, so they get over-exercised to make them compliant. Except then they're even more ready to go, and they get exercised harder, and out come the drugs and the control-seeking gadgets.

If the human wants the dog to behave differently, the human must re-wire the dog's brain by teaching it new behaviours that shape its reactions to the world around it. My young smooth collie was completely unable to relax; very high drive. From age 14 weeks she has been in formal obedience training, for competition, as well as training for reactive dogs. We train her like Malkynn's dangerous dog, above - she is actually the complete opposite of asshole, but the end result of calm focus is the same. Walking at heel is just not about walking calmly, it is about looking up at me, waiting for me to change pace, direction, or give any other command. It is about mental focus and partnership. Plus, the accountability of practicing for and attending formal classes makes sure that we stay on top of the training. And even so it took her until she was fully 2 years old to be able to handle a once-daily walk, and to lie quietly on the floor in the house.

You can also try Karen Overall's calming protocol, which is basically teaching focus, self-control, and creating a human identified safe place for the dog.
https://journeydogtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ProtocolforRelaxation.pdf
https://championofmyheart.com/relaxation-protocol-mp3-files/

Is he crate trained? If he's not, that would be beneficial. Anxiety comes from not feeling secure; the crate creates that sense of safety.

You can also examine his diet. For a variety of reasons, I prefer to feed raw food. YMMV, but you may consider that there is a food sensitivity or allergy that is contributing. Anxious animals, including humans, often have gut problems. Reducing inflammation by adding a probiotic/other gut supplement, changing the type of protein he's eating, or reducing the amount of carbohydrates being fed (bearing in mind, not necessarily just grain - grain free foods with sweet potatoes contain a lot of starch) could be beneficial.

Long story short, my suggestions:
1. Formal obedience classes, or other job of dog's inclination requiring mental focus
2. Twice-daily walks
3. Crate train
4. Assess diet
5. Treat your dog like an 8 week old puppy. Either through genetics or inappropriate-for-that-dog-weaning/transition to human-based household, he has not developed the skills to be calm and confident. You have to be his leader and his everything, to help him :) 

Good luck!

Roadrunner53

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2019, 05:24:30 AM »
This is probably a weird idea but could you find a person, maybe retired, that might like some companionship during the day? Rather than doggie day care, maybe being around a person, who has a large yard, and could take the dog out for play and walks during the day would help the dog relax.

The person might like some company during the day without actually owning the dog and the expenses that goes along with it. Maybe doggie day care is over stimulating your dog and he is overtired from the non stop activities. Perhaps a less stimulating environment might calm him down. One on one with a gentle handler might do the trick.

On top of that if the person could take the dog for several long walks a day, the person would get some exercise too.

There are a lot of bored retired people who might like being a doggie companion. But just like finding day care for a kid, check these people out. The person would need to be strong enough to handle the dog on a leash. Be kind, gentle and patient. Have a yard.

Of course it is problematic if the person gets sick or situations arise that they can't watch the dog. Doggie day care is more dependable.

norajean

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2019, 05:54:26 AM »
Walk him an hour before work and an hour after work. Crate him at night.

Malcat

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2019, 06:08:54 AM »
You aren't walking him at all, as a part of your regular routine?

That's the answer.  When you get home, dark or not, taking him for a walk, or better yet a jog.  45 minutes.  Ideally, you will walk (jog) him for at least 30 minutes in the mornings as well. 

You got a very high energy breed yet he's getting almost no actual exercise.  Sure, he's playing, but that's not the same.  He needs workouts, essentially, to put it in human terms, not just walking from his desk to and from the copier and HR on the 4th floor.  And not a casual stroll on his lunch hour.  A true work out.

Yep. Play won't suffice.

I've rehabbed a lot of really, really messed up and dangerous rescue dogs and I've never had to use meds. I have had to put in a ton of diligent energy walking them though, and with proper walking technique: short leash, focused, in step, no screwing around.

My current dog is prone to total fucking psychopathy, and the only way to get his fuckery in order is to walk him for a very long time, on a short leash, at least twice a day until he's both physically and mentally exhausted.

He could run around and play with other dogs for hours and get out physical energy, but that wouldn't do anything to temper his psychotic face-biting, violent neuroses. He'll just nap for a bit and wake up just as much of a lunatic as ever.

Dogs respond really well to very predictable structure and discipline, so burning mental energy is critical, in a structured way, and on a schedule.

When my little dude starts getting a little Pesci, the key is to walk him at a brisk pace and get him into a focused flow-state, and employ a lot of strict boundaries at home, such as not being allowed up on any furniture, and doing regular discipline exercises like me putting a treat on the floor and making him wait in a calm state before being allowed to have it, if at all.

He has to be challenged to do the mental work of walking with discipline and holding himself back from what he wants (the sofa, the treat), and that mental work wipes him out and allows him to calm down.

He's never a perfect dog, he absolutely hates people coming into the house and will go absolutely hysterical if it's a man, but the rest of the time, he's a chill little affectionate guy as long as we reboot discipline-mode every few months to keep his demons at bay.

Structure, structure, structure, discipline, discipline, discipline.

If you can't do that with one dog, I strongly recommend getting a second dog. A neurotic dog may benefit from a friend or may just transfer it's neuroses and then you have two difficult dogs.

Buddies have been both good and bad for my guy. He's been with me for a decade, and I've rescued a lot of old puppy mill dogs in that time. My dude is a guard dog, so having a fragile, old friend to protect means he's working 100% of the time. It's great, it calms him and keeps him focused, like puppy ritalin. However, it also makes him far more dangerous if he feels his charge is in danger. So another dog is always a complication, even if it is a net benefit.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with knowing when the job isn't right for you though, there's no shame in realizing that you don't have the capacity to be what this dog needs.

This. All of this.

That said, taking everything @Malkynn says here and implementing it for your specific dog is going to be A LOT of work. Especially so, given how the last 2 years have gone with Rambo. Get yourself some help with a few sessions from a highly skilled trainer 1-on-1. A quality trainer will teach you how to read your dog and show you how to give them more structure in real time. That's something us internet strangers can't do. It will save you months/years of trial and error with your pup.

I fixed my original post, but since you quoted it, I should point out that I DON'T recommend getting a second dog, somehow that got edited out of my initial post while I was working on it, and it looks like I'm strongly recommending it...oops.

hops

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2019, 07:55:16 AM »
I would add, about weighted packs, not to dive into that if Rambo's not already getting sufficient daily walks. We tried it as a short-term thing in response to a specific problem, when our dog was already receiving what seemed like adequate exercise. As we got to know her better, it became easier to wear her out in other ways.

Others have already covered the bases about the type of exercise a young Lab needs, and I'm not sure from your posts what Rambo's daily routine looks like. A good behaviorist (with real certifications, not just a self-styled trainer), after getting a sense of his routine and personality, should know what's appropriate for him.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2019, 08:00:30 AM »
Really saddened to hear of the pharmacotherapy approaches OP has taken to manage this dogs behavior. Dogs, especially labs are a major time, effort, and emotional investment.  If if OP is not able or willing to make these adopting out may be the most practical option moving forward.

Scotland2016

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2019, 08:27:25 AM »
Don't get a second dog!!! I have neurotic dog who used to go to doggy daycare. I thought "I know what I'll do, I'll get as second dog so I can stop paying for doggy daycare." Not a good move.

waltworks

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2019, 09:36:43 AM »
It does not sound like you should own a dog right now, honestly. If you have very limited time to interact with the dog (gone all day) and he's costing you a ton of money and keeping you up at night because he's miserable... maybe time to find him a new home.

-W

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2019, 11:15:14 AM »
This thread is filled with a mix of advice from excellent to terrible. This isn't something to crowd-source to the internet.

Hire a qualified trainer in your area who can help you - ideally someone who can help you in conjunction with veterinary behaviorist/medication route. Look for someone with a certification that requires hands-on-dog experience, in addition to education (see list here: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/dog-trainer-certification-125710). Anyone can say they are a trainer or thinks that owning their own dogs or "being around dogs their whole lives" or even volunteering for a dog shelter/rescue makes them qualified. You are describing a complex dog behavior issue that can't be trouble-shot online.

Many anxious dogs are OVERTIRED. They have no idea how relax or turn themselves off, even when they are tired. This is a behavior that can be trained, but requires dedicated effort - not running a dog ragged until they collapse - because it's shutting off the equivalent of dog brain weasels.

Many dogs at doggy day care do NOT play all day. They hang around doing nothing, with a group of dogs. It's a good solution for dogs who have sep anx and can't handle being alone

It's unclear from your description if your dog is overexercised or underexercised & to what degree your dog lacks enrichment and mental stimulation (also necessary). Separation anxiety is its own thing to train. Implementing the protocol means starting with a dog who is properly enriched and exercised.

It sounds like there is a lot to resolve with a qualified professional before trying the "add another dog" solution - an expensive and 10+ year commitment!

I commend you for wanting to help your dog. You sound like you care, and I hope you get the help you need!

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2019, 05:53:07 PM »
One thing no one has mentioned is whether he has a medical issue.  You've been to vet, clearly, as they have prescribed meds, but has he had a full physical, including blood work to rule out a biological reason for his behaviours?

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2019, 06:33:53 PM »
And physical exercise isn't everything.  Is his brain getting exercise?  Something like agility might help - uses energy,  but there is a lot of training and thinking involved.  It trains the handler too.

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2019, 06:43:33 PM »
This thread is filled with a mix of advice from excellent to terrible. This isn't something to crowd-source to the internet.

Hire a qualified trainer in your area who can help you - ideally someone who can help you in conjunction with veterinary behaviorist/medication route. Look for someone with a certification that requires hands-on-dog experience, in addition to education (see list here: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/dog-trainer-certification-125710). Anyone can say they are a trainer or thinks that owning their own dogs or "being around dogs their whole lives" or even volunteering for a dog shelter/rescue makes them qualified. You are describing a complex dog behavior issue that can't be trouble-shot online.

Many anxious dogs are OVERTIRED. They have no idea how relax or turn themselves off, even when they are tired. This is a behavior that can be trained, but requires dedicated effort - not running a dog ragged until they collapse - because it's shutting off the equivalent of dog brain weasels.

Many dogs at doggy day care do NOT play all day. They hang around doing nothing, with a group of dogs. It's a good solution for dogs who have sep anx and can't handle being alone

It's unclear from your description if your dog is overexercised or underexercised & to what degree your dog lacks enrichment and mental stimulation (also necessary). Separation anxiety is its own thing to train. Implementing the protocol means starting with a dog who is properly enriched and exercised.

It sounds like there is a lot to resolve with a qualified professional before trying the "add another dog" solution - an expensive and 10+ year commitment!

I commend you for wanting to help your dog. You sound like you care, and I hope you get the help you need!
This is all true, but I fail to see how it is likely (or even really possible) this dog is overtired, given that he gets zero daily exercise.  I suppose it's possible he's running his tail off 8 hours a day at daycare.  If that's the case, it's definitely not the average doggie daycare experience.

So sure, he could be over tired or over stimulated, but give that he gets no daily exercise and very limited intentional, focused mental stimulation, that seems unlikely.

And hour or two of walking (or less of jogging) is hardly running a dog ragged until he shuts down.  For a young, healthy lab, that's a pretty moderate amount of activity, assuming he's not getting much while he's in day care.  (Which can be confirmed by talking to the staff assuming they can be trusted not to give the business-savvy answer, or better yet, trying to observe.)

So sure, over stimulation is a thing, and it can't hurt to consider it, but it seems very unlikely. 

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2019, 07:13:02 PM »
This is all true, but I fail to see how it is likely (or even really possible) this dog is overtired, given that he gets zero daily exercise.  I suppose it's possible he's running his tail off 8 hours a day at daycare.  If that's the case, it's definitely not the average doggie daycare experience.

So sure, he could be over tired or over stimulated, but give that he gets no daily exercise and very limited intentional, focused mental stimulation, that seems unlikely.

And hour or two of walking (or less of jogging) is hardly running a dog ragged until he shuts down.  For a young, healthy lab, that's a pretty moderate amount of activity, assuming he's not getting much while he's in day care.  (Which can be confirmed by talking to the staff assuming they can be trusted not to give the business-savvy answer, or better yet, trying to observe.)

So sure, over stimulation is a thing, and it can't hurt to consider it, but it seems very unlikely. 

We have no idea how much exercise this dog is getting. I work as a professional dog trainer. There are dog daycares near me that are acres of outdoor space for trails and play and activity. Working dog breeds can get physically wiped out there in a few hours. There are dog daycares near me that have a bunch of large dogs crowded in one indoor room.

An anxious dog may not be resting well EVER. The dog can be overtired because until they actually get quality sleep, they are a mess. This is an independent problem from getting sufficient enrichment or activity. Quality sleep is super important and under-rated.

You say this is unlikely - I see it a lot more often than you'd expect, ESPECIALLY with younger sporting dogs, like adolescent and young adult labs. A lot of doggy daycare set-ups don't even allow for the type of rest that dogs would get if they were actually getting chunks of exercise and enrichment followed up by quality daytime rest. Adult dogs, on average, need 12+ hours of sleep. Many humans expect their dogs to sleep at human bed time (at most 8 hours, usually less) and don't realize that their dogs aren't being given opportunities to sleep and decompress. An anxious dog who is always worried about being left alone or spending 8+ hours per day in a doggydaycare that resembles a pub/bar/nightclub (which some of them are the canine equivalent of) may very well not be getting adequate rest....sadly, often in ADDITION to not getting adequate activity or enrichment.

Dogs who have high energy/high activity needs AND anxiety/fear issues can be challenging to work with, because the recipe for one side of the coin doesn't resolve the other.

I have no idea if this is the problem here, and we don't have enough info to know what's "most likely." OP needs a professional with the right expertise who can work with them directly and observe the dog. We are doing OP a disservice by speculating or throwing out suggestions of what to do. This whole thread is a good example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Someone who is spending that much on dog day care and cares that much about their dog can find someone with lots of experience who is in a position to help improve their own quality of life and that of their dog.

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2019, 04:25:04 AM »
I love Rambo but I am exhausted from his restlessness at night.  I think, perhaps, part of the problem is that he is not getting enough exercise.  But I donít know what to do with him.  He goes to daycare and is free to play all day long.  When we get home, it is dark out

Dog owners in my neighborhood put on a headlight and some reflexes to walk their dogs.

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #30 on: December 09, 2019, 06:11:41 AM »
What happens on the weekends? Have you tried some long walks on those days, and seeing how he sleeps?

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #31 on: December 09, 2019, 11:47:26 AM »
I agree with some of the information here.
Here's what I would do... first, are you the alpha in your house? If not, whoever is the alpha needs to step up.

- walk dog every morning.  A long walk.
- doggie day care maybe 2 x a week.
- work on crate training. Make the crate a happy place, not a punishment. Make it cozy, dark, and warm. Not in a basement removed from companionship.
- work on creating forced down time with your dog. A trainer may be able to help you with this, but the basic run through is you are watching TV or something where you are sitting for awhile. Get your dog to come to you and give him the command you use to lie down. Say "stay". Then watch your TV. Every time he gets up, position him back into his lie down position and go back to your TV. Do not speak to him. This may require you positioning 5 or more times. Eventually, he'll get it. He'll figure out "oh, I'm just supposed to lie here. ok." And then his brain will turn off. He is obeying and doesn't have to wonder about what he is supposed to do. After 10+ minutes, use a release command (e.g. OK) and then go do something else. I had 3 dogs and we worked up to over 30 minutes at a time. It helps establish you as a leader and them as a follower and can release their anxiety about what they are "supposed" to be doing.
- walks every evening. Yes in the dark and the rain and the snow.
-weekends: rollerblade (if you are able) with the dogs just like Cesar Milan (though I did it with my dogs way before this ever became popular). Or hikes, or other exercise for long periods of time for good exercise.



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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #32 on: December 09, 2019, 01:54:50 PM »
We adopted a dog multi-generation farm dog (border collie).  We live in the suburbs with a big yard.  We walk him twice a day and run him in the yard multiple times a day.  He is a bit of challenge and we sent him to an expensive daily dog school for a month (embarrassed to say the cost). He needed very strict detailed mental activities along with the physical activity (the trainers said we exercise him more than 90% of their clients). 

Basically he needed to be taught how to self-calm and deal with the anxiety.  So far the training has worked really well.  I think a challenging dog really needs a professional trainer. We took him to a puppy training school and it was useless.  I think a trainer may save you thousands of dollars of doggie daycare if done well.

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #33 on: December 10, 2019, 04:15:03 PM »
A Border Collie is also a very smart, very high energy dog that was bred for a purpose, in this case herding, not retrieving.  That's why I like mutts better.  I mean, why buy a race car if you're just going to cruise around town?

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #34 on: December 10, 2019, 05:07:51 PM »
We have a lab mix thatís about 6 months old. Heís huge and quite powerful already and we recently switched from group training classes to an in home trainer.

The trainer has been freaking magical. Heís taught us how to work him- heís a smart dog and he needs to be worked each day, several times a day.

Itís kinda ridiculous but puppy calisthenics has been the best at burning off energy (and he does get a couple of walks each day). Sit, down, sit, stand, down, sit, stand .... over and over again in succession (and motivated by food, because frankly heís still a puppy and thatís where heís at). Itís actually a lot of work for a dog to lay down and pop back up over and over again. A couple of times a day and heís responsive and happy. We are connecting with him completely during those exercise sessions because he wants the food (string cheese!) and he wants to make us happy. We want a puppy that will be a good canine citizen.

Iím sure agility training may help too.

We crate our pup at night but he usually asks to be let out between 4-5am so he can go stretch out on the couch.

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #35 on: December 10, 2019, 06:07:20 PM »
Tons of advice here. I wanted to chime in on Ďritualized greetingsí. It made a huge difference with our dogs when we started treating them as subordinate in our pack (to us). Mainly just ignoring them when we come in the door until they calm down.

Gave them the freedom to be a follower and not a leader.




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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #36 on: December 11, 2019, 10:03:50 AM »
+1 to @Malkynn   

I am new to dog-caregiving.  Although I used to watch Cesar Milan Dog-Whisperer a lot, I just read the book and learned so much more than watching the shows.  Walking is critical.  It's bonding time and it helps create a relationship between you and your dog.  I walk my dog to and from doggy daycare and to and from the dog parks because that walking time is critical. 

Here's an easy formula for walking:  20/60/20.  The first 20% of your walk, you should be in charge of where you go and when you stop to sniff.  the middle 60% you can allow the dog to pick his spot and sniff around.  It's useful to say something like "go potty" at this point so he knows what is expected of him.  The last 20%, you walk where you want to go and nothing is negotiable.  You are the boss.    For longer walks, modify the percentages, but always keep at least 20% at the beginning and end to you being the boss.

As time has gone on, I add new tricks to my pup's repertoire.   He's not the brightest, but he can do simple things like:
Stop and sit and wait at every intersection until I say "cross"  This happens whether I am holding the leash or not.  This is for safety.
Sit on command  (usually)
Stay on command (within limits)
Calm (and sit or lay down) before every meal and before opening the door to go outside.  He actually LOVES doing this and is so excited when he gets it right before I say anything.  (sometimes he has to sit calmly a few feet away and sometimes he has to sit calmly all the way across the room (about 25 feet) with all feet on the LR rug.).  He always tries to put one foot off the rug to see what he can get away with, but the minute I say "move back", he throws his head back with a chortle and pulls his paw onto the rug.
"go to the mat".  I put a dishtowel or any towel or blanket on the ground and have him run to it and sit on it.  Then I move the towel.  He LOVES this game.  If I leave the towel on the floor, he'll get on it without my prompting and I always give him a treat for that (and then I pick up the towel).
Touch (my hand) to get a treat.
"look at me" in the eyes to get a treat.
I can tell how much he likes to "get it right" and I truly think he prefers to "work" to get a treat, even if it's just sitting on command or looking me in the eyes. 
We also have very strict routines which I know he appreciates.  Morning - 1.25 mile walk.  Afternoon - 30 minute walk with dog walker.  Evening - Free walk usually walk .75 miles to a park and then back.  Sometimes I let him off leash to run and play with other dogs.  Night  .75 mile walk.  The morning walks and night walks always follow the same routes to encourage more focus on me and walking briskly while getting his business done rather than sniffing and exploring.   Every night after the night walk, he runs into the house and sits at attention in his crate.  This is where he gets his "greenie" treat.  This signals to him that it's time for bed.  No matter where we go.  Once we have that greenie, there's no more play time and he needs to lie down.  We don't even use the crate anymore and instead he sleeps on a mat in my bedroom.  Sometimes if I'm not going straight up after our night walk, I will hold the greenie until I go up to the bedroom.  Then he has to "get on your bed" to get the greenie.  He loves that treat! 

Also agree with the coming and going routine...don't make it a big deal.  Don't acknowledge him or say goodbye.  Just do it.  When you return home, ignore him for a few minutes until you have settled in.  Then take him for a walk, THEN give him the affection of scratching him and playing with him. 

 

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #37 on: December 11, 2019, 11:09:04 AM »
TL,DR version: we had a dog with extreme separation anxiety and were eventually able to "re-train" our dog out of it. But it cost a lot and was a ton of work. But now he's 100% pleasant while we're gone and not at all anxious to watch us go or return.

Wow. Lots of opinions and advice.  Kudos to the OP for committing to the dog and this challenging problem. You get ZERO judgement from me because you sound patient and amazing.

We have a dog that used to have extreme separation anxiety and its one of the hardest challenges to remedy (although ours did end positively!).  I appreciate many posters responding about exercise, Labradors general needs, etc. but truly... if you haven't had a dog with this issue, its hard to understand how crippling and expensive of a problem it is.

Longer version: We are experienced and conscientious dog owners who adopted a 10 week old puppy ~4 years ago. We did a LOT of exposure/socialization between 10 - 16 weeks because we had goals of training him as a therapy dog. Despite immense socialization to people of all ages/sizes/shapes/colors/wearing hats/on bikes/ around medical equipment etc., investing in professional training ("Puppy" through "Obedience Level 3") and an otherwise having a glowing doggie personality, he absolutely rejected crate training and starting having a nervous and involuntary bowel reaction to every time we left the house (in or out of the crate). Nothing will try your patience more than coming home to a panicked dog who has had this kind of reaction to you leaving. Note he had ZERO accidents during potty training and at any other time. 

We've successfully trained many dogs using crate training and read many, many positive-reinforcement-only books. We bought every version of Kong and mind-stimulating toy on the market. We invested in a two way dog-camera to watch him (or talk to him!) while we were gone. We tried keeping him in the crate vs. a bathroom, vs access the whole house, while we were away, etc. We tried offering him raw steak every time we left so he could associate us leaving positively. He was so panicked by us leaving, it didn't matter. Raw steak (or full Kongs) would still be there, untouched, when we returned, and our panicked dog would crash with relief that we were finally back. It was not a lack of exercise, a lack of stimulating activities, a lack of crate training, or anything other than irrational panic.  Unfortunately, that involved an explosion of involuntary (watery/diarrhea) poop, which is the least fun thing to return to. Like the OP's dog, he did well when left with another dog (a friend dog down the street, or the dog-sitters house), but getting a second dog was not an option for us.  Because spending $$$ on doggy daycare wasn't sustainable for us either, we read every book on the market about separation anxiety. Ugh.

What worked: We bought Patricia McConnell's (PhD in animal behavior, recognized dog training expert) pamphlet called "I'll Be Home Soon" about treating separation anxiety and combined her program with the DVD "Crate Games" (Amazon) to develop new neural networks in our dog's brain and remove the fear associated with us leaving AND with the crate. I'm not going to lie: it sucked. It was hard. It required one of us to be home AND NOT LEAVE THE DOG ALONE for WEEKS while we were "re-training" him to not associate leaving = panic.  My husband has a completely inflexible job as a flight nurse, so that meant I was largely homebound for a month. There were lots of tears, stress, and two-steps-forward, one-step-back moments.  But the combination of both strategies helped reset our dog's negative associations and within 6 - 8 weeks, we could leave him out (not in a crate) at home, without him hyperventilating and releasing his bowels. Within a few months, he had zero panic whatsoever and could watch us leave calmly, enjoy a Kong (finally) and be chill about the whole thing. 

Re the OP's use of meds: you could consider using them in combination with an approach like this to reduce his anxiety during re-training, and then wean him off.  We used an OTC type calming med from Amazon during this process (esp at the beginning).  From memory the main ingredient was L-Theanine.

I'm sorry you're dealing with this. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I just know it was hard for me to find real success stories when I was going through this. I think the younger the dog, the greater chance the behaviors/anxiety can be re-set and I have read that some dogs do "out grow" separation anxiety.

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #38 on: December 11, 2019, 12:01:07 PM »
Lots of good advice here already and I'm sure this will be a partial retread but here's my 2 cents

5 to 10 minutes of training and doing tricks for some high value treats is just as tiring if not more so than long walks and active play time, it's a mental exercise. The problem with this advice though is that knowing how to effectively train a dog without getting frustrated or even being counter productive is not easy. An hour long private session with a good trainer who really knows and practices positive reinforcement could be beneficial, I would always recommend a Karen Pryor Academy certified trainer if you can find one.

As for the separation anxiety, we've been through it. We also tried a few of the medications mentioned but what ultimately helped was persistent practice. We would put the dog in the kennel with a good long lasting treat, do the things that would trigger the anxiety (picking up keys, putting on jackets, etc) and leave for just a minute, being sure to come back inside before she would start to make a fuss. We would do this a couple of times a day, and slowly start increasing the time we were gone. As the time increased we would have to find things to do in that time, first walks, then cleaning the garage, going skating, grocery shopping, longer and longer each week until we were able to leave her alone for full work days and she would stay relaxed in the kennel. This was very difficult, it took about 2 years of trying to get to the point where we are now, as any time you would fail to get back early enough it would seem to reset the process by some amount.

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #39 on: December 14, 2019, 10:30:02 PM »
Whoa whoa whoa: you spend $455 a month on dog day care? No, Just no. Please stop this insanity right now. You will call them tomorrow and cancel.

First, ask yourself:do you still want this dog? If the answer is no, start looking for a home for him ASAP. He is still young enough that someone might want him.

Do you get a second dog: are you kidding me!? No! You will just compound your problem and now have to cope with training  a second dog as well. You have already spent thousands on this dog and you will spend thousands more on another one as well.

Lastly, forget all the stuff about people telling you to talk with him play with him etc. It sounds like you are already exhausted and putting enough time and money into this dog. You need to either adopt this dog out, or crate training, or both.

Crate training: Trust me on this. We had a crazy dog too and crate training was the only thing that worked. I say last resort because we felt bad putting her in a crate but it calmed her nerves and it is really their safe place. We would put her in the crate when we were at work and then one of us would come home for lunch to take her out. After a few months, she could handle being by herself without freaking out and we were able to leave her in the house outside of the crate without her running away, destroying stuff, etc. Now she actually goes on the crate when we are not around voluntarily.


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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #40 on: December 15, 2019, 02:46:06 PM »
Got anyone in the neighbourhood that's home during the day and would walk the dog? I always head out after lunch and walk a neighbour's dog, decent walk of 6-8km. The dog is a husky and needs a lot of exercise, and for me it's cheaper and more entertaining than the gym. Being dragged the first 1km at a half run is a decent little work out. The neighbours sometimes give me a bit of money, and often give me their entire, unopened meal subscription box (!!!!) if they're going to be working late all week or something. I'm also available to go and feed said dog at short notice. I've got a few friends that work from home and borrow local dogs for mutual exercise. I'd hate to disappoint a pupster. Gym trainer? Couldn't care less.....

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #41 on: December 18, 2019, 05:20:44 PM »
A second dog did wonders for our Lab.  They are extremely social.

Kayad

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #42 on: January 12, 2020, 02:57:54 AM »
You aren't walking him at all, as a part of your regular routine?

That's the answer.  When you get home, dark or not, taking him for a walk, or better yet a jog.  45 minutes.  Ideally, you will walk (jog) him for at least 30 minutes in the mornings as well. 

You got a very high energy breed yet he's getting almost no actual exercise.  Sure, he's playing, but that's not the same.  He needs workouts, essentially, to put it in human terms, not just walking from his desk to and from the copier and HR on the 4th floor.  And not a casual stroll on his lunch hour.  A true work out.

Yep. Play won't suffice.

I've rehabbed a lot of really, really messed up and dangerous rescue dogs and I've never had to use meds. I have had to put in a ton of diligent energy walking them though, and with proper walking technique: short leash, focused, in step, no screwing around.

My current dog is prone to total fucking psychopathy, and the only way to get his fuckery in order is to walk him for a very long time, on a short leash, at least twice a day until he's both physically and mentally exhausted.

He could run around and play with other dogs for hours and get out physical energy, but that wouldn't do anything to temper his psychotic face-biting, violent neuroses. He'll just nap for a bit and wake up just as much of a lunatic as ever.

Dogs respond really well to very predictable structure and discipline, so burning mental energy is critical, in a structured way, and on a schedule.

When my little dude starts getting a little Pesci, the key is to walk him at a brisk pace and get him into a focused flow-state, and employ a lot of strict boundaries at home, such as not being allowed up on any furniture, and doing regular discipline exercises like me putting a treat on the floor and making him wait in a calm state before being allowed to have it, if at all.

He has to be challenged to do the mental work of walking with discipline and holding himself back from what he wants (the sofa, the treat), and that mental work wipes him out and allows him to calm down.

He's never a perfect dog, he absolutely hates people coming into the house and will go absolutely hysterical if it's a man, but the rest of the time, he's a chill little affectionate guy as long as we reboot discipline-mode every few months to keep his demons at bay.

Structure, structure, structure, discipline, discipline, discipline.

If you can't do that with one dog, I strongly recommend NOT getting a second dog. A neurotic dog may benefit from a friend or may just transfer it's neuroses and then you have two difficult dogs.

Buddies have been both good and bad for my guy. He's been with me for a decade, and I've rescued a lot of old puppy mill dogs in that time. My dude is a guard dog, so having a fragile, old friend to protect means he's working 100% of the time. It's great, it calms him and keeps him focused, like puppy ritalin. However, it also makes him far more dangerous if he feels his charge is in danger. So another dog is always a complication, even if it is a net benefit.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with knowing when the job isn't right for you though, there's no shame in realizing that you don't have the capacity to be what this dog needs.

Malkynn- Good stuff.  Can you share books/authors/training schools of thought?

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #43 on: January 12, 2020, 06:38:20 AM »
You aren't walking him at all, as a part of your regular routine?

That's the answer.  When you get home, dark or not, taking him for a walk, or better yet a jog.  45 minutes.  Ideally, you will walk (jog) him for at least 30 minutes in the mornings as well. 

You got a very high energy breed yet he's getting almost no actual exercise.  Sure, he's playing, but that's not the same.  He needs workouts, essentially, to put it in human terms, not just walking from his desk to and from the copier and HR on the 4th floor.  And not a casual stroll on his lunch hour.  A true work out.

Yep. Play won't suffice.

I've rehabbed a lot of really, really messed up and dangerous rescue dogs and I've never had to use meds. I have had to put in a ton of diligent energy walking them though, and with proper walking technique: short leash, focused, in step, no screwing around.

My current dog is prone to total fucking psychopathy, and the only way to get his fuckery in order is to walk him for a very long time, on a short leash, at least twice a day until he's both physically and mentally exhausted.

He could run around and play with other dogs for hours and get out physical energy, but that wouldn't do anything to temper his psychotic face-biting, violent neuroses. He'll just nap for a bit and wake up just as much of a lunatic as ever.

Dogs respond really well to very predictable structure and discipline, so burning mental energy is critical, in a structured way, and on a schedule.

When my little dude starts getting a little Pesci, the key is to walk him at a brisk pace and get him into a focused flow-state, and employ a lot of strict boundaries at home, such as not being allowed up on any furniture, and doing regular discipline exercises like me putting a treat on the floor and making him wait in a calm state before being allowed to have it, if at all.

He has to be challenged to do the mental work of walking with discipline and holding himself back from what he wants (the sofa, the treat), and that mental work wipes him out and allows him to calm down.

He's never a perfect dog, he absolutely hates people coming into the house and will go absolutely hysterical if it's a man, but the rest of the time, he's a chill little affectionate guy as long as we reboot discipline-mode every few months to keep his demons at bay.

Structure, structure, structure, discipline, discipline, discipline.

If you can't do that with one dog, I strongly recommend NOT getting a second dog. A neurotic dog may benefit from a friend or may just transfer it's neuroses and then you have two difficult dogs.

Buddies have been both good and bad for my guy. He's been with me for a decade, and I've rescued a lot of old puppy mill dogs in that time. My dude is a guard dog, so having a fragile, old friend to protect means he's working 100% of the time. It's great, it calms him and keeps him focused, like puppy ritalin. However, it also makes him far more dangerous if he feels his charge is in danger. So another dog is always a complication, even if it is a net benefit.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with knowing when the job isn't right for you though, there's no shame in realizing that you don't have the capacity to be what this dog needs.

Malkynn- Good stuff.  Can you share books/authors/training schools of thought?

Hmm, not sure.
My mom is a breeder/trainer, so I learned mostly from her.
I used to watch a lot of Dog Whisperer though, and instinctively agreed with Milan's approach.

There are a lot of different schools of thought, my mom is actually currently studying a different style that's 100% positive reinforcement and heavily focused on early socialization. So you will see very strong opinions from some trainers depending on what philosophy they're trained in.

Because I have always and only had older, really fucked up rescue dogs, the Milan style rehab approach has really worked for me. My mom is trying to learn some new styles because she wants a larger repertoire of skills to use with puppies.

Like anything, the broader your knowledge, the more tools you will have to draw from, but my main advice would be to be open minded and not assume that any one philosophy has all of the answers.

I think the success of each approach may have more to do with the person implementing it rather than the dog though. Milan style for me is natural and comfortable because it's so compatible with my innate personality, but I spent all yesterday with a dog owner who is deeply insecure and histrionic, and would never ever be able to manage it effectively.

So just start reading and see what clicks with you and what works. The great thing about dogs is that they're actually very keen to behave and make you happy, so once you figure out your personal approach, even the most fucked in the head dogs will come around and chill out.
It's never ever too late with any dog. They're all good dogs once they're given the space to be.

You know what's a challenge?
Trying to rehab a blind, deaf, toothless puppy mill dog whose never been outside for 10 years. Now that was difficult, but even that dog ended up a very very very good dog, one of the best I've ever had.

Lemonhead

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Re: Dog causing money and loss of sleep problems
« Reply #44 on: February 03, 2020, 04:51:46 PM »
To the OP, have you considered getting a dog tracker to know how much activity your dog IS getting?  My runaway, escape artist siberian husky wears a Whistle tracker.  We got it to always be able to locate her but it also shows how much activity she has had on a daily basis.  Like a fitbit for dogs you can enter your dog's breed, age, etc and it gives you a daily goal.  It isn't always perfect for tracking or probably the activity, but definitely useful.

We got a lab as a puppy but she was never a problem even though she was plenty active.  Had 3 kids between 5-12 when we got her and large fenced yard so there was always someone to play with her, throw a ball or walk her.  As the kids got older and she was a bored 10 year old we adopted another same age lab mix and the two old ladies were great companions.  I sometimes wonder what I was thinking rescuing huskies this go around.