I've been leaving Simon out free-roaming the house for short intervals of time lately -- he's 6 months, he needs to start learning.

He's been VERY good so far -- no potties, no bad deeds, none of that. Till now.

Today he chewed the door that leads to the garage. Chewed it up pretty bad. (My mom, who was in the living room, didn't even NOTICE!!!!) That's the door I left through, and I'm pretty sure he was trying to get to me. I was only gone about 90 minutes, the max amount of time I'll leave him out at this point. Any longer, and he's crated.

My mom now thinks he shouldn't be left out any longer. I think I need to make adjustments -- bitter apple on the door, perhaps a baby gate across the door so that will be what he chews (though I'd spray bitter apple on THAT as well). I want him to learn to behave in the house when I'm gone.

I just don't get the separation anxiety from him, though. He's NOT really that much of a snuggle/velcro dog. He's very independent and, frankly, half the time he acts like it doesn't even MATTER if I'm here when I'm home. He's more interested in my other dog than in ME when it comes down to it. So why is he freaking out when I leave? Especially when my mom is HOME (he loves my mom) and so is my other dog, and he can sit with either one of them.

I guess I just don't understand what prompted this. He was doing SO GOOD till today! :(

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You keeping him crated while gone is going to help with the separation anxiety since it will keep him content. Its not a cure all obviously but at 6 months is young. I don't do that with any of mine. At this age as well they are quite the chewers. Did you leave him anything to chew on? Exercise him before you leave so he is more willing to nap while your gone. Even feeding him while your gone as well will keep his mind off of you but many won't eat while your away. Play a radio, TV and leave an article of clothing w/your scent on it to calm him though he may chew that to smithereens and can cause blockage. I think for now your best bet is to keep him crated til more around the age of one.
I just feel SO BAD crating him every time I'm gone -- he's not in his crate at night, he's been doing VERY well with that. He sleeps on the bed with me. He's not much of a snuggler, but he enjoys sleeping at my feet. And he DOES 'tell me' if he has to potty in the middle of the night, and the past week he's slept through the night without waking me up.

So I figured I could start with small intervals letting him free roam the house, because ultimately that's what I want for him -- Josie has run of the house and so did my other dog. I never crated Beckett, but he had severe confinement anxiety and mutilated himself when I tried (he was my first dog -- made LOTS of mistakes with him). Josie was crated until she was about one, I think, then I started letting her out for short periods of time until I felt she was mature enough to free roam.

I guess I'm gonna have to start at square one again with Simon. I just feel bad, but I guess the crate upsets ME more than HIM. He seems perfectly content in there -- he has his blanket and his toys and he just lays down in there, and he still goes in there on his own quite a bit to nap if I'm home.

I guess I was just stunned because this is the first time he's misbehaved while I was gone. Maybe he's more attached to me than I realize, he just doesn't show it 24/7 like some dogs do.
Not all dogs show affection in the same way. Jack doesn't like to be petted but he does like to keep me in his sight. Yes he likes to play with me, but he generally prefers other dogs to my company. But if he hurts himself, or scares himself, guess whose lap is the first he runs to? He is very devoted and protective but won't show it by coming for cuddles. If you are his primary caretaker, most likely he views you as center of the universe and is more likely to initiate play with the others since they are closer to him in rank, in his view.
At 6 months he needs to be watched. Your mom can understand this, it is like leaving a baby that is crawling out in the house with out watching. He probably followed you to the door and laid down and while he was down there decided to chew a little. Their little minds work that way at his age. If he can not be watched he needs to be confined in a baby proof space. Some one has to be watching him so if you have to go out maybe you can ask your mom if she can watch him or if you have to crate him. I think it is the minority of pups that are trustworthy at even one year. Lots of walks help so that he is tired when in the house too. Good luck, puppies can be frustrating but wonderful!
I think that was part of it -- my mom wasn't paying attention. The other times she said he just plain laid by the door waiting for me.

Honestly, I'm STILL puzzled at his behavior in general, that he misses me THAT much! Cause seriously -- when I'm here, I'm NOT his 'first choice' for anything 'fun' -- Josie, my other dog is. My mom is second choice. He only comes to ME for play when neither of them are interested.
Well, if it makes you feel better, Jack ate part of a window sill when he was a few months old, and I was only gone a few minutes (I just ran upstairs. Never, ever, say to yourself "What can he do in five minutes?" because you won't like the answer). And now he is totally trustworthy in the house, and has been since about a year old or so.

Six months is young to be loose. If you feel guilty about crating him, do you have room for an ex-pen? It's a nice compromise.

The other thing is, mine always get a treat when I'm on my way out the door. When they see me get my purse, they are soooo happy because they know I'm going and they know that means a treat. It's a small thing that can help prevent separation anxiety before it becomes a habit and hard to fix. If he's confined so there is no worry about food aggression, you can spread a half-teaspoon or so of peanut butter on a Kong on your way out and it will occupy him for awhile. It's almost guaranteed to prevent separation anxiety in most well-adjusted dogs.

Don't feel bad, it's just the age. I know it seems harsh by human standards, but from the puppy's point of view he's happier being confined because then he is confident and knows just what is expected of him.
My dogs still love their crates and spend time each day in them.I have actually started crating Livvy my 15 mo. old again as I think she does better crated when I'm gone. That could be a security for him. It's good he spends the night with you but maybe it is better if he likes his crate and goes in it when your gone during the day at least till he gets a little older!
I think Bev may have hit it. He was there, so was the door. I started letting Lilli out gradually in the daytime, by leaving her open crate in the closed laundry room. Guess who ate the floor? Serious floor damage. Ooops. Had to back up. Always crated when I left her after that. She later gained the habit of going in her crate when I left for work, even if there was someone else (and a dog) home. You just have to work on the timing. No guilt, please.

Julia
did he have to go to the bathroom? maybe he just wanted to get outside so he wouldnt have to go inside?? my parents dog was like that but i dont know if you had just let him out, just a thought
I agree, he is still very very young to be left out. The biggest concern, for me, would not even be that he might ruin something if you left him out, but that he might hurt himself, eat something and choke, get into medicine or cleaners, etc. He is still a puppy and puppies are very curious. My oldest dog right now is 1.5 yrs and while I don't crate him anymore, I do keep him baby gated in a small room where there is nothing he can do (much) damage too and nothing he can harm himself with. I'm not sure that I'll ever give him run of the full house because I'm too concerned for his safety. And I think feeling guilty about the crate is much more your feelings than Simon's. I can tell you, that I have two dogs, one is gated in a room, the other is crated and they both do the EXACT same thing while I'm gone.... lay in one spot and sleep. For me, only having one in a crate is more about the fact that I only have to keep one crate around than feeling bad for crating during the day. If it weren't for the fact that a second large wire crate is more than $100, they would probably both be crated still. =)
I think your simon is still a young boy and need to chew whatever. here is my experience with my dog -Lorenzo. I remembered when he was less a year old, my gosh... he could put his teech on everything, furnitures, rugs, deck, even dry walls. noboby believed us at that time. once he started in a place, it kindly liked a addiction, he would take any chance to go back and finish the job. I tried the bitter apple, it worked just for a while, he went back once it was dry. we moved to our new house when he was two, we were really worried he might chew the nice cabinets in the new house. somehow he stopped, and never do it again.
Reading the other replies made me want to weigh in on the feeling guilty about crating. My son felt guilty about crating his doberman while he was a work even though I went over once a day to walk her. So in spite of the fact that she occasionally ate things he frequently left her out. Three very expensive surgeries later ($1500to$3000 each) she no longer has 15 inches of her intestine and the vet says she has lost the natural elasticity in her intestine so is prone to stomach problems. A very small foreign object could kill her. She lives with us now and gets crated when I am gone and at night. She can not have any type of bedding or toys because of her habit. I do give a Kong with a little cheese in it. She doesn't appear to mind at all. It is funny that what we thought was confining to her seems just fine. If I am home all day she will bring me her Kong and go in her crate on her own. So don't feel bad, you are protecting your dog as well as the house!

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