New Lab Owner - Trying my best
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Thread: New Lab Owner - Trying my best

  1. #1
    Jess&RC is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultNew Lab Owner - Trying my best

    Hi there,

    I have a 7-month old black male lab. I got him at 4.5 months from a person that could no longer take care of him (she purchased him from a respectable breeder for her brother who was a hospice patient).

    Raja (the lab) is a wonderful puppy - with lots of energy and very sweet. There is one main issue I'm trying to work with him on: separation anxiety. I only go into work 2 days a week, and he is left alone one day for 8-9 hours and the other day my husband comes home during lunch and plays/potties (so he has a small break in-between the 8 hours). The other 5 days of the week I'm home. I walk/jog him rigorously though our trails and play fetch to wear him out more - before leaving. He still gets anxious, pants heavily, barks, and has frenquently busted out of his crate.

    We keep him in a crate, because if not, he will defecate and pee on everything. He is housetrained when we are home with him. When he is in his crate alone, he panics. We are working on small steps of improvement, but its challenging.

    I wanted to put him in a doggie day camp those 2 days I'm gone, but they require him to be neutered, and I don't want to neuter him until at least he is 1 years old. I will be putting him in doggie day care - where he is put in a small area by himself and caretakers play with him 2x during the day. I hate that this is the "best" option.

    Other than that - he is a great dog - ready to learn new tricks and is pretty obedient.

    I cannot take care of another dog, but I was thinking about getting a cat - maybe to keep him company? I probably won't do this, but did anyone have any advice/success?

    Thanks for advice/guidance everyone

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  3. #2
    Dog Paddle is offline Senior Member
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    I have always had cats and dogs and I do believe they are company for each other, at least another living breathing body in the house. But I have my doubts about getting a cat with the expectation that it will cure separation anxiety. I think another dog for that purpose is equally as bad an idea. You'd have no guarantee they'd like each other, get along, get along so well they wreck the house (dog and dog or dog and cat) and there would likely be a long break in period till you are sure they can be trusted together.

    Can someone come in to your house to take him out a couple of times? 9 hours is an awfully long time stuck in a crate. Waht about a pen so he can move around more and have a space to pee or poop if he has to? I know my dog gets hot and likes to change the spot he is lying on many times a day and moves several feet away.

  4. #3
    Jess&RC is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for your response.
    Regarding if someone can come to the house - a 30 min. in-home visit is the same cost of me putting him in daycare (where they take him out 2x (30 min) and watch over him the entire time. I think thats why I'm leaning towards the daycare.

    I looked up pens online - and the ones for inside - he'd knock down, as he powerfully busts through his very sturdy crate. Ones for outside are very expensive, and I don't like leaving him outside all day - in case it rains, or if he barks incessently, the neighbors wont be happy.

    I'm working with him, but I end up getting very stressed when I leave the house - even for an hour or two - knowing he's not relaxing. I've set up skype on a computer thats next to his crate - and I see him barking for hours long straight.

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  6. #4
    Dog Paddle is offline Senior Member
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    Yes, we built our own pen. Good luck, at least you do have some options.

  7. #5
    yellowbelly is offline Senior Member
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    What does the breeder say? Is there any help they can offer? I am assuming they OK'd the sale from the first owner to you?

  8. #6
    Jess&RC is offline Junior Member
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    YellowBelly, forgive my ignorance, but I'm not sure how the breeder could help in this case. The dog is experiencing separation anxiety - which from what I read - is common. I definitely think it has to do with the fact the first owner was with him 24/7. The breeder is in PA (I'm in VA), so about a good 8 hour drive for me.

    No, I doubt the first owner discussed me taking him with the breeder. I do have a "certificate of examination" that has the breeder's info on it (including mobile number) and paperwork that has his signature.

    Should I call him? This is my first time dealing with a dog that wasn't from a shelter, so I'm not familiar with etiquette and whats expected? Please advise. Thanks!!

  9. #7
    mauricio is offline Senior Member
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    ok, first of all cool it on rigorous running with a 7 month old pup. walking, trotting but not rigorous running. you don't want joint problems later on.

    do you have a kong? or an empty, marrow already out bone? fill with non fat yogurt, pieces of kibble or baby carrots, and freeze. that, in the crate may keep him occupied for a bit.i also am a believer of a t-v or radio on in the room with the crate. silly me, but i kept animal planet on.

    i also think 8 hours, with small breaks , (how small? 10 minutes, half hour?) is a very long time for a dog that age, not used to being crated, to be crated. any neighbors or neighbors kids that are trustworthy to take out, potty and play a bit of frisbee?

    i'd also practice crate time, leaving him for 10 minutes every so often, to get him accustomed to the crate being his friend.
    and i agree, if he can be left in a crate, door open with the idea of a pen, if he cant knock the pen open and end up running thru the house. that may be a good idea after he is truly not going to pee and poop in the house. and god knows what else a pup that age does-eat walls, doors, and other lovely destructive stuff.

    don't know about the cat idea because does that mean the dog will be loose in the house? doesnt sound like he's ready for that in any case, and not sure the cat will really occupy him.

    i'd honestly try smaller increments of crate time, as a starter, just so he gets accustomed to the crate. and i'd also try to find someone, as 8-9 hours is really a long time for a 7 month old, even if you tire him out before.

    and if you are waiting to neuter, try hand hold off till 18 months.

    ok, my few words of wisdom, good luck and let us know how it progresses.

    i re read your post and for the life of me, cant understand why someone would buy a dog for a hospice patient, knowing that they weren't going to be alive for too long but what do i know?

  10. #8
    Jess&RC is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks Mauricio.

    No worries - I'm not running him. I'm walking him and then will build up to a slow jog (which for him is just a faster paced walk). The point I was trying to make is that I'm exercising him - to cancel any comments asking if I'm exercising him enough - as labs are higher energy dogs. I do understand your point - I try to take him on trails, rather than concrete, and don't run him - more just fast walk.

    I have placed the tastiest treats - kongs filled with peanut butter, frozen, meat/rice; chews; and such. He will eat it if I'm in the room, but once I leave the room, he doesn't touch it. I have come back home and all day he didn't touch his yummy kong. But the moment I open the cage door - He grabs it and brings it out with him. I grab it from him and set it aside. He only gets it in the cage, but wont touch it if I'm gone.

    I am working on him in the crate when I am home. I've got to about 45 mins before he starts barking. This took about 6 weeks of increments of 5 mins, 10 mins, etc. Its very hard work.
    I agree - 9 hours is too long. I don't know anyone in the area to walk him. I will start taking him to Petsmart Pethotel Day care on the two days I work out of the home. I just am very bummed that he can't participate in Doggie Day Camp (socializing with other dogs) due to him not being neutered. I have been going back in forth in my mind if I should just go ahead and neuter him - solely so he can go to day camp and spend those two days having fun with other dogs. I hate him having to stay separated, and I can only make it to the dog park every 2 weeks.

    In regards to the woman who bought the dog for a hospice patient - it was the man's sister. She said his last wish was to have a puppy. He passed away shortly after receiving the dog and she couldnt take care of the puppy herself. Obviously not a well-thought out decision - but who could judge - she was very emotional about the whole thing.

    Thank you for the advice I really love this forum - I'm learning so much.

  11. #9
    Dryfo is offline Senior Member
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    does he get any OFF LEASH play and running? walks are great but A) no running with a lab until they are done growing and B) on leash walks won't tire out a dog. Also, working the BRAIN goes a long way (training, making him work for meals, ect.)

    If you don't have friends of family that can let the dot out what about a dog walker. find a liscenced and bonded one that is knowledgable. cheaper than doggy daycare anyway.

    You need to start getting him used to the crate and slowly increase duration. It'll be pretty hard to improve SA if you have to leave for 9 hours.

    I would never recommend ADDING another animal to the house to "help SA" (with a few exemptions) as another pet may come with their own issue (and expense) and not help at all.

    Haven't read thru all the lines of the above, do you have music/radio on for the dog, have you tried a DAP collar, lavender, white noise machine. there is a long list of things to help with SA.

  12. #10
    Jess&RC is offline Junior Member
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    He does do off leash play in our backyard. He loves fetch and frisbee. We usually do our walks, and then come back and play 15-20 mins of fetch - just to completely wear him out. Maybe I should do more training....its like he knows basic commands and I'm not sure what else to teach him. Every once in a while I'll play a game where I hide his toy in another room and he has to find it - he loves that.

    I'm not sure if its just my area - but a dog walker (1x 30mins) is the same price of all day daycare (which they put him in his own room and take him out 3x to play).

    Today was his first day at daycare and I've never seen him so scared. The attendant gave me his leash and he didnt even look at me - he was just trying to run this way in that in the store - with his tail beneath his legs, panting heavily. I kept calling his name - and he was so distracted. This is petshotel in Petsmart.

    I'm now not even sure if this is the right thing. When he is at home and I come home, he is normal - excited and ready to play. It took him about an hour since we got home for him to start acting normally again.

    I've used thundershirt, tv, radio, and soothing scent. Nothing worked. I've even given him dramamine. He might not bark as much-but he is still very alert and pants excessively.

    I found this one guy on DogVacay that accepts intact males and is in the neighborhood. He has many medium-large dogs that get along and would keep my dog busy and happy. Crossing fingers he has room for one more.

    When we were looking at dogs - we were looking for certain traits such as calm, submissive, loving, loyal. He came off very calm and submissive when we met him (now I realize he was only acting like that because he was in a new environment and scared). We never even thought of an issue such as separation anxiety. My fiance and I both have had many dogs and none have had this problem. We're so anxious all the time - worrying about our dogs anxiety. I hope it gets better.

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