A Naughty Puppy….

Gracie suffers from real anxiety when we are gone.  She is reluctant to go in the kennel…she pouts or hides when the time comes.  She can tell by how I get ready and what clothes I have on that I am going somewhere and immediately starts stressing.  She sits by me…won’t leave my side…then once I grab my coat to go out the door, I have trouble finding her.

We have tried and tried to ease her anxiety but nothing works.


I am guessing that some of her anxiety has something to do with what happened in her life before she came to us.  Gracie was five when we got her so lots of bad habits and stress was sure to have been in her life before us.

We have tried leaving her out and about in the house when we are gone but she tips over the garbage, scratches the doors and is just not happy then either.

Last week hubby and I were gone for an afternoon.  I had left a towel near the kennel.  While we were gone, she pulled a new over sized towel that was near her kennel into the kennel through the grate and shredded it.


The picture doesn’t show the damage very well.  Let me say, the towel is not usable.  We came home late and let her out of the kennel and didn’t notice what had happened until the next day.  When we showed her the towel.  She immediately got the “I’m in trouble look”, and voluntarily put herself in the kennel.

If anyone has suggestions or tips on helping Gracie deal with us being gone, please pass on the advice.  She is horrible when we get home too.  For the first 10 minutes she howls and barks.  She jumps and whines.  She runs back and forth to each of us sniffing and being obnoxious.  I just hate it.  We try ignoring her.  We try letting her outside.  We have tried giving her lots of attention.  Nothing calms  her down…

Thankfully her good aspects far outreach these manageable bumps.

Oh Gracie…it’s always something with you.

22 thoughts on “A Naughty Puppy….”

  1. My vet tells me the anxiety is due to not being well socialized (the dogs – not me), He suggested I take them to the airport for an hour a week and let them be around noise and people. Also to take them along for a ride in the car when going on short errands. Lastly, to daily leave them for short periods of time (planned absences), starting with 5 minutes and increasing the duration 5 minutes each time, then lavishly praise them for being good dogs when I return, and reward them with a treat for sitting down and not mauling me when I walk through the door (which means I have to leave with treats in my pocket). The important part of the exercise is to heap on the praise. I have seen improvement – or at least a lot less destruction – when I’m gone. Still working on not being mauled. Hope this helps! It does take a little time.

  2. Here are a couple suggestions:
    1) She needs more exercise–walking daily with you.
    2) Feed her in her kennel so she gets a better attitude about being in it.
    Good luck!

  3. We had the same problem with our beagle Audrey – she was 2 or 3 when she came to live with us. She was also terrified of the kennel so that wasn’t an option. She ate her way thru sheetrock when we were gone. So, we did 2 things…. first got her a beagle sister. And she loves peanut butter more than anything – so we have some bones that we put a bit of peanut butter in and freeze. Since it’s frozen it takes her awhile to get through it. No problems since then. And as soon as we get home, we make sure to play with the beagles.

  4. A friend is trying a compression jacket for anxity with her dalmation. seems to be working. makes them feel more secure. My 12yr old big yorkie is spending more time in his kennel, he is going blind and it is his bed room. He is secure there. good luck.

  5. Is is possible for you to lock her not in her kennel but in a small open room in the house? I use my laundry area with a baby gate to contain my 2 labradors when I am going to be gone. I think the kennel makes them feel like they did something wrong. I also make sure they have nice new femur bones to chew and their own bed in the room. The other solution is to get another dog as they don’t feel alone when there is someone else to cuddle with.

  6. Have 2 min pin rescues. Nelli the 1st in the house was just terrified of everything when we got her (had a terrible life – breed dog for puppy mill then abandoned – sick people out there). Took a long time for her to adjust – it took lots of love and patience but she is starting to come around. Took her to obedience class (puppy classes – never to late to learn), had to take her for a long walk before we left – give her a favorite toy and left the tv on for noise. When we got home lots of love, attention and another walk, still have about 2 minutes of mild wild but better than 10 minutes like before. Added the 2nd rescue in November – it is helping but still have to give those walks and love for both but it seems to keep her entertained and busy while we are gone – she’s not alone and getting bored and into trouble. Also try an obedience class, Nelli loved it and it’s been a big help – if nothing else helps socializing. Hope this helps. If nothing helps my vet told me there is a doggie drug out there to help with anxiety but we decided not to drug her – she’d been thru enough but it is an option available out there until she settles down.

  7. BTW forgot to add that I applaud anyone willing to take in a shelter dog or rescue. It’s a long hard road but well worth the work.

  8. My beagle has to be crated whenever we go out because he gets destructive too (eating computer chargers, getting into the trash, etc.). We used to spend a lot of time playing the crate game.

    Throw a treat to the dog. Throw a treat to the dog. Throw a treat into the crate. If the dog goes to get it, give him another treat in the crate. Dog comes out of crate. Throw another treat into the crate. The next day, do the same thing, but shut the door for 10 seconds. Let him out and try it again. You want the dog to associate the crate with treats.

    For a while, the crate would be the only place he gets any treats. My dog picked up on this very well. He was a stray not crate trained when we got him, but now he willingly goes into the crate at night and waits for his treats. He will even use his nose to open the crate.

    He used to get a treat every time I saw him voluntarily go into the crate. I had the kids playing crate games with him several times a day. My dog even thinks kibble is a treat, and he will willingly play the crate game for one piece of food.

  9. soothing music? animal planet on the tube? maybe now the towel is hers?, give her pc of your old unlaundered clothing so it has your scent on it? I’m a cat girl & have never had a misbehaving one, but use to put animal planet on for friend’s dog when I left. lots of good ideas above, GOOD LUCK !!!

  10. Check out the Thundershirts – lots of info on the web about them. They sell them at Amazon.com as well as other sites. They are for dogs with thunder and separation anxiety. It is a tight jacket that they wear – have heard good reports about them.

  11. I think the bottom line is she loves you and wants to be with at all times:) I agree with soothing music and some form of kennel entertainment while your gone since she doesn’t have a companion. Like the idea about a special goodie or treat while she’s in the kennel. No puppy wants to get left behind and they never will…just try to make it more tolerable for her while you are gone:) Maybe even try moving her kennel to a window or sidelight by a door so she can see outside. Your a good Mommy and she loves you!!

  12. Besides getting her to like being in her crate with a treat (I use frozen chicken stock in a Kong), you might need to de-sensitize her to your leaving. The point is to de-condition her anxiety reaction when you are getting ready.Think about what you do when you are about to leave: dress a certain way, grap keys, put on coat, etc. THEN do the first step and quit. Don’t leave. Just hang out. Show her that getting dressed in work clothes doesn’t always mean you are leaving. Next session, get dressed and take it a step farther. If you put on you coat, do this, then sit down in the living room and read a book, ignoring her completely. See? Nothing happened, Mom didn’t leave. Grab your keys, put on your coat and go do the laundry. Then do all the above steps, go to the door, open it, close it, and go sit down.Be sure and practice this multiple times a day until you notice no reaction from your dog.
    Pretty soon, any of your departure rituals won’t have a negative effect.And when you are ready add actual leave-taking, simply go out the door and then come right back in, gardually extending your time outside.
    Patricia McConnell wrote a wonderful little book about separation anxiety entitled I’ll Be Home Soon. I recommend it highly.

  13. We went to “puppy kindergarten” at a local Veternarian/Pet hotel. The teacher had raised and trained dogs for show for 20+ years. She told us ALL of her pets had always been crated when she was away. And, they were happy to be in their crates. The crate was their domain from the time they were puppies. She taught us to put a treat inside a toy that might take them sometime to get out…and maybe even to leave extra toys too.

    We have a bullmastiff. She is the sweetest dog and 98% of the time she doesn’t get into anything when we are at home. But, when we go away…she is bored and finds things to get into. So…
    we put some of her dog food kibbles into an empty/dry bottled water container. She has learned to hold the bottle with one paw and get the lid off with her mouth…to get the “treats” out. She sees us getting ready to leave and she literally runs to her crate. =) We used to give her the rawhide bones with treats tucked in…but, she is so allergic to so many things, that we just stick to her dog food – as a treat.

    I used to think that “crating” a dog was mean. But, if the dog and relate the crate as it’s home…a refuge…it’s own domain…then, it can be a special place.


  14. We have a rescue dog too (ALL of our dogs and cats have been rescues), and Abby came to us with separattion anxiety like I have never seen before. What I found to help the most was Comfort Zone. It mimics a comforting pheromone produced by female dogs for their puppies. I plug it it in and Abby stays calm. She’s still excited to see us come home, but she’s not gotten into anything.

  15. Hi Jo — I missed your post yesterday, but wanted to comment. We’ve had our dog Jess since she was a puppy but she seems to have anxiety in general for some reason (don’t know why since she gets treated like a queen!) and in particular during thunderstorms. We think she was traumatized early on by lightning striking a tree in our backyard. Even before a storm comes up she can sense it and starts shaking and panting and tries find places to hide, very pitiful. Anyway, our vet told us to try Valerian Root, a natural herb for anxiety and we can tell it works – some times better than others. It’s very smelly when you open the bottle but it seems to settle her down. Poor Gracie!

  16. I agree that a second dog may help because you have said that sometimes Puppycat comes over to play and that Gracie likes that. If you do not think that is an option, try talk radio playing when you are gone so that she doesn’t feel so lonely.
    I also want to say that your newest Moda quilt is lovely! Thank you for showing an easier way to do the barn-raising by making four quadrants! Smart!

  17. Hi…I have never responded to a blog but….I have to share with you…I work in alternative health and Bach Rescue Remedy works wonders to settle down an emotional animal. Our dog used to pant so hard we were afraid he would have a heart attack when it stormed but a dropper full of rescue remedy in his mouth and he would mellow our and have a nap. You can also put a few drops in the water bowl so she is getting it regularly while you are away. Give it a try…it really works!

  18. Try a Thundershirt. They get a feeling of security. Our lab mix is afraid of people and the Thundershirt seems to be helping.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top