I'm Kellie, and I am new to JL and new to dogs! 5 months ago I adopted my first dog, Shaw. He is a 9 year old Labrador mix (Shepherd, likely) that was surrendered to the county shelter after his owner passed away. He was nothing what I was looking for in first dog. I wanted an active, running partner and a dog to join me in my long trail rides with the horses. However, when I was leaving the shelter (the Collie I looked at was a nightmare and not for beginners. Poor girl just needed to get some exercise and a job) I saw him lying down with the saddest look on his face. Shelters are chaos -- and he just laid there trying to block it out. So I asked to see him and it melted my heart. I took him home the next day. We have a very strong bond -- which I didn't realize until I took him out in public and saw how people-shy he is. He will turn away from strangers and tuck his tail when we are in groups. He even shied from my husband for the first few months. He's just very scared and doesn't like humans. But he loves other dogs so the dog park is a hit!
Anywho....so that bond. While it's deep and has benefits like him staying close to me, it also has its drawbacks. If I leave the room, he will follow to make sure I didn't leave the house. If we are not at home, and I get up he gets up to follow. When we are outside he rarely strays more than 100 feet (we have 5 acres). Leaving him at home by himself is a nightmare. He barks and whines, and a few times he has peed upstairs. It usually happens about 20-30 minutes after he realizes I have left. He's ok for a little while, but then gets upset. Crate training has been really difficult. He goes in and will relax if I'm inside, but once I leave he howls and pants. The only time he hasn't wigged out alone is when he's in the car or our horse trailer (it has living quarters). I take him on errands and leave him in there and he just sleeps.
We use commands for when he's getting too clingy like out, on your bed, go on, go lie down, etc. Especially when we are in the barn. I have been leaving him inside alone more frequently for short periods of time, and we are still continuing to attempt crate training.
It's not separation anxiety, as I've researched that. Maybe mild, but he's not destructive and he doesn't wig out right away. It seems more like abandonment issues. I'm going back to work soon and I am trying to get him to adjust to being alone for 4 hours at a time (my mother in law will come in and let him out to walk and potty mid-day). Any tips? Any changes to our current routine? Or is this a lost cause?
Wow! Well, I don't have any tips but I sure feel guilty for giving Piper a bad time when she won't even let me go to the bathroom in peace! Maybe when your mother in law comes over she could hang out a bit and then slowly build up to the four hours? Poor guy-I am soooo happy you found each other!