I finally got a full time job (YAY!). I've been working for 2.5 weeks now. Riley is upset because for the better part of the last 5 months, I've been working part-time and have been home most of the day everyday. Now I am gone 8 hours a day. I do work close to home, so I come home every day for lunch.
But Riley has been getting into trouble nearly every day. He got into the recycle bin and made a mess in the living room...he chewed up about 5 DVD's...he stole and chewed up 2 Christmas presents....he is stealing stuff off of the tables and counters...he pooped in the house 3 days in a row...the Christmas tree keeps losing ornaments...
Two problems: 1) we live in a condo so he has no yard and 2) he is having some leg issues that I can't afford to take him to the vet about until I get a few more paychecks (my bills have piled up in the last 5 virtually unemployed months). I would be perfectly willing to get up early and walk him every morning, but until I know what's going on with his limping, I don't want to potentially make it worse.
So....PLEASE HELP US! I need suggestions...do I start crating him again? Baby gate him into a dog-proof area? I am afraid that he might be able to take out a baby gate....But I seriously need to do something about his behavior. I know he's upset because I am not home as much, but he is 4.5 years old and used to be so well-behaved. He has totally regressed.
Please give me any suggestions or advice....I would really appreciate anything...I hate to see Riley acting this way and I hate that he's upset. I will try anything.
Our two labs went through the same thing when my husband returned to work. He had been home with them for months, from the day we brought them home in fact. They both acted out for a time and we resorted to crating them when we were gone. No only was their constant companion now gone all day but he is gone for a week at a time, every other week. They finally settled down and got used to the new schedule. I have found a good walk before I leave for work does wonders. If I don't walk them before I go to work when I get home it is awful - they have just way too much energy for this tired nurse to handle. They have now adjusted and seem to know when he will be gone for a week or just for the day. Hopefully, the vet will give you the go ahead to walk him daily before you go to work! Good luck.
How old is Riley? He may need to go back in his crate for a couple of months while he's adjusting to everyone's new schedule- to keep him out of trouble, and to keep him (and the rest of the house) safe.
~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~
"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon
I would try baby gating him as it is the least restrictive. If that doesn't work than the crate. Letting him continue to regress unchecked is not going to help the situation.
If he is getting no exercise because of his leg that is a big part of your problem. Do you know what is wrong with his leg? until you have an official diagnose by the vet, I would walk him but on leash only. Unfortunately you can't keep a dog cooped up all day...doing so results in the behavior you have witnessed. Try walking him in the morning and see what happens.
is the misbehavior only occuring when he is home alone? if yes, i would crate him.
if he is acting badly while you are home, try keeping him in your sights or in the same room and provide some amount of interaction or playtime. maybe he is getting into trouble, because he knows that will get him some attention.
if you think it's just a boredom issue, you can try providing interactive toys or stuffed kongs and other stuffed treat types of toys for him. also for lack of physical exercise, you can engage him in mentally challenging exercises like obedience or tricks training.
"Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford
All good advice above. Try to get that morning walk in, crate him up and let him get used to the new schedule. He'll get there!
Seamus and Flynn
Sorry to hear Riley is acting out. Maybe he is bored & his schedule has changed. I would crate him when you are not home, not only to keep him safe but your home won't get destroyed. If you can walk him on a leash before work that may tire him out. Hopefully this is just a temporary set back. Also, hope his leg is okay.
Thanks for the great advice here! I knew I could count on you guys!
This morning I took him on a short leashed walk before I headed out to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. His leg didn't seem to bother him much at all, so maybe it's just when he walks too long or runs that his leg hurts. (Usually I let him run off-leash and play some fetch because I feel bad that he has no place to run at home). I let him carry his tennis ball on the walk, but no fetch. We practiced a little obedience (SIT AND WAIT) and he seemed to really enjoy the laid back walk. This is good.
Nothing was touched (as far as I can tell) while I was gone, although I was only gone for about 3 hours.
I got him some stuff that he is allowed to chew on for Christmas...Nylabones, ropes, stuffed toys and whatnot.
Hopefully, with a short leashed walk and some new toys he will be okay on Tuesday when I go back to work. If not...it's definitely crate time! This is his last chance to be good!
I'll keep you posted!
**Edited to add: He only gets into trouble when I am not home.