Help! Strange New Behavior!

Small dogs have big personality! This is the place to talk up your favorite small breeds, ask questions, and share tips and stories. Be sure to visit our Small Dog Breeds area for profiles of all your favorite small dog breeds, featured articles, and more!

Spyke-rest peacefully my love

Cookie!? I'll do- anything for a- cookie!
Barked: Wed Feb 2, '11 1:22pm PST 
My schedule at work has recently changed. I was working in the afternoons and taking spike to my moms for the 4 hours I work. Now I'm working in the morning and don't have time to get to my moms. Spike has recently started to poop in the house. I take him potty every morning but he will not poop outside. When I get home, he shakes and whines for an hour or so, no matter the amount of attention I give him.

This is all new behavior. Before, if I had to leave him in the house for a couple of hours, he did fine by himself. Sometimes he's not even alone. My roommate is asleep in his room, and Spike will still poop if I'm gone.

I'm thinking about kenneling him for the 4 hours I work. He's six, so I don't know how he would take to this. Please help?
Rico Suave

Barked: Wed Feb 2, '11 2:06pm PST 
It kind of sounds like seperation anxiety. we had a dog that would pee on the bed when ever we left him alone for too long. if spike is used to being with someone awake not just asleep in thier room then he can be very lonely. our dog was fine alone until a family member lost thier job and was home with him every day all day for over a year and when they went back to work he did not know what to do with his self. you might look into penning him into an area with tile or lenolium floors and on week ends or days off work with him on being alone start with just a few moments working up to an hour or more.

Agility Diva!
Barked: Wed Feb 2, '11 7:11pm PST 
This does sound like separation anxiety. Here is something I use to help reduce anxiety when going to the vet or in for grooming. It works well with no side effects. It was recommended by my vet.

(highlight, copy and paste the link)
http://www.amazon.com/Composure-Mini-Bite-Sized-Chews-Small/dp/B00 1WN581U

You may want to try this AND while using it train your dog to the crate. I don't think it's too late, but you will have to train it slowly (not just pop him in it and leave for 4 hours). You start with 5 minutes. Put him in, leave the house. Sit in your car and return to the house after the 5 minutes are up. If your dog starts yapping, DO NOT go right over and let him out. Try to wait for a pause in the crying and then let him out. Do not play with him or interract for a few more minutes. Making a big deal of your coming back or leaving will add to the problem. So you do this a few times, then make it for 10 minutes. So you keep increasing the time. Once you can actually leave for an hour and return to a quiet dog who waits for you to greet him instead of demanding a greeting, you will be ready for using the crate while you are at work. Until then, I suggest you don't feed him in the morning to reduce the chance of him pooping and be sure he gets a good walk before you leave for work. Using the Composure should also help him to be calmer. So...
1. No breakfast.
2. Long walk.
3. Composure.
4. Practice with the crate.
Last resort: Get up earlier to take him to your mother before work!


Leader of the- Dog Gestapo
Barked: Wed Feb 2, '11 9:07pm PST 
A change in routine can be hard on a dog and cause reactions like this. How long have you been on this new schedule? Has he ever been left alone for a stretch of time similar to this before? It may just be he is upset with the abrupt change and needs getting used to. Have you taken him to the vet recently? A checkup could rule out a health issue.

Crate training may help, but it should be a gradual change so the dog associates the crate with good things only; the crate is supposed to simulate the den. It is a safe place where the dog should go whenever it is frightened or in need of quiet time. You should buy the crate and allow it to sit around your apartment for a few days. Start feeding him his food around the crate until he is comfortable, and then inside the crate. Eventually, you should be able to close the door behind him while he eats - open the door if the dog notices and seems nervous and gently backtrack to just feeding him with the door open. If he doesn't mind, keep the door closed until he's done eating and then open the door. The dog should not struggle or whine to get out. If the dog enters the crate on his own, praise like crazy.

When the dog is comfortable eating with the door closed, start lobbing treats into the crate so the dog goes in randomly during the day. You can associate this with a command (a friend of mine uses "go to bed") and make it a game. The more positive you make the crate the easier it will be. Eventually you should be able to close the door behind the dog going after the treat. Ideally, you should be at the point where the dog does not object to the door being closed. A favorite bed or blanket put in the crate will help, and if you can get the dog to sleep in the crate (with the door propped open) this will make things easier!

Now you've acclimated the dog the the crate. Lucky you, it's only the start! smile Now, you will start leaving the dog alone while closed in the crate. At first, it should only be a few minutes. Close the dog in the crate and walk out of the room without talking to him or looking back. If he starts to cry, wait until he stops. Then, come back, quietly let him out and treat him. Don't make a huge deal out of it. Work up to extending the time. This should all be done gradually at a pace your dog is comfortable with. Note that the crate does not work for all dogs and some will never be comfortable with it.