Howling Issue, need help

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Grimmas, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. Grimmas

    Grimmas New Member

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    Hi, I need some help with training our dog.

    We rescued an English Coonhound about 6 weeks ago. She was about 2 years old when we got her. She's been pretty great, except this one thing.

    We were crating her when we left the apartment and everything was great, until a week ago. My wife went away for the weekend and the dog was great, would stay in the crate 9 hours while I worked. Then, upon my wife's return, she got sick and stayed home all the time for a few weeks. We also, let Lady (the dog) start to sleep in our bed.

    So, after those few weeks she was healthy and we both left the apartment at the same time, and when we came home she had escaped her crate and knocked over the garbage and ripped down all the coats. She's escaped the crate again, so we stopped using that.

    Now when we leave her alone, she sometimes destroys things, sometimes not, but that isn't the biggest problem. The problem is she now howls, really loud, when we are away. Sometimes for hours straight. It's disrupting the neighbours and driving my wife and I crazy.

    How do you stop a dog from howling when she is left alone? There has to be a solution, please.
     
  2. AllisonPitbullLvr

    AllisonPitbullLvr New Member

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    My first question would be:

    How much and what type of exercise and training does she get when you guys ARE home?
     
  3. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Well, she's a coonhound. They're a VERY vocal breed known for howling.

    That said, this sounds like separation anxiety. First thing's first, if she's destroying things when you're gone, she needs to be crated. Unless she's incredibly panick-y or fearful of being in a crate, which I doubt, since she's stayed in it fine before, it sounds like she just likes the option of being out of the crate better.

    Get a lock for it. Or, if you absolutely don't want to crate her, maybe put her in an x-pen or secure, dog-proofed area like a bathroom while you're gone.

    DO NOT use any of those anti-barking devices, spray collars, whatever. She's anxious already...this is just going to make situations where she's already upset more unpleasant for her, and even if she stops barking, she'll cope with her anxiety in another way like chewing, or self-injuring.

    This isn't a problem that will go away over night. Try leaving with interactive toys, like a stuffed kong. ONLY give this to her when you're gone. Make sure she's getting a ton of exercise and stimulation when you're home, so she'll be more tired and likely to sleep when you're not. You can also try exercise where you step outside briefly, and only step back in when she's quiet, even for a second. Build up to longer intervals.

    Do NOT make a big deal about leaving or coming home. Don't fuss over her or hug her goodbye...just give her a kong, put her in her crate or area, and walk out. When you come home, don't greet her right away, wait a few minutes until she's calm before petting her or talking to her. This will help her realize you coming and going isn't a big deal.

    She's probably just starting to get really attached to you, so it's not uncommon or abnormal that this behavior has developed.

    Oh, if you think she's barking at something such as noises outside, try leaving on a radio for her. I think this is VERY likely considering she didn't bark at first in her crate, but now she is (possibly she's looking out a window or something and reacting to what she sees)
     
  4. Grimmas

    Grimmas New Member

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    She gets about a 45 minute walk in the morning before being left alone and when we are back in the evening another hour long walk. Then a shorter one before bed.
     
  5. AllisonPitbullLvr

    AllisonPitbullLvr New Member

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    It very well COULD be separation anxiety, but she is relatively new to the home.

    I agree with the above post (stressing the point to be careful she can't hurt herself in her crate!) and would also suggest

    -a dog walker if possible. Some dogs really benefit from an afternoon break.

    -use her coonhound talents! Get her involved in an activity that uses all that energy and smelling skills!
     
  6. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    How much off lead play time is she getting?
     
  7. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Dogs are extraordinarily social creatures and phenomenally attached to their family. Being alone for nine hours, especially locked up in a little crate is excessively long imo. That is why your dog is miserable, crying and messing up the house. He's bored out of his gourd, lonely, and unhappy. That behavior is normal under the circumstances. I would suggest finding someone, (neighbor, family member) to come in to take him for a walk a couple of times during the day and spend a little time with him.

    They make interactive toys and such but I think their effectiveness might be marginal in this situation. I know a lot of people leave their dogs alone for a long spell because most people have to work long hours. And some dogs do better than others. But my opinion is that all day long left alone is pretty hard on most dogs, being the gregarious animals they are.

    I agree that plenty of exercise, both physical and mental is very important and helpful, but I don't think it completely negates the necessity of having something for him to do some time during the nine hours he's left alone.

    I hope you can find someone to help out during the long days. Perhaps a doggie day care might be an option for you.
     
  8. yoko

    yoko New Member

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    I agree with all the other posters. I know you listed that he gets three walks but what other type of stuff? How much play time? How much time spent training?

    If it's just three walks it may not be enough. Dogs love spending time with their people and doing things with their people. Just walking probably isn't enough for that dog.
     
  9. Grimmas

    Grimmas New Member

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    After talking with a few people, it seems to be that the dog believes that she is the alpha over my wife. My wife is re-asserting dominance and it seems to be working pretty well.
     
  10. yoko

    yoko New Member

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    Wait what?
     
  11. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    No, this is not at all the case! The people you talked to are very misinformed.
     
  12. AllisonPitbullLvr

    AllisonPitbullLvr New Member

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    Oh how I wish the terms "alpha", "dominant" and "pack leader" would crawl in a hole in die.

    These terms are being kept alive my a handful of terrible trainers who have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to learning theory. Even the man who coined these terms admits publicly that they are wrong, misused and that the study from which they came was terribly flawed.

    Your wife "reasserting her dominance" is unfair for the dog who is still so new to your family and will only serve to fracture your bond and create distrust.


    http://www.peaceablepaws.com/articl...82179405&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1&type=Pat

    http://www.4pawsu.com/dominancemyth.pdf
     
  13. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    WHO are you talking to that is saying your dog is trying to be dominant over your wife?? That is not only incorrect in most cases, but I don't see HOW a dog howling while you're gone could be interpreted that way?

    I'm not sure what your wife is doing to reassert her dominance, but if it's something she's seen on TV or heard from someone claiming to be a trainer or behaviorist with no degree or training, it could be downright harmful and seriously, seriously increase your dogs behavior problems.

    http://behavior.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/topics.cfm this link is great

    Also check out the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's stance on dominance theory.

    3 walks a day are not enough exercise if the dog isn't getting a chance to run around off leash, play fetch or some other game, exercise with other dogs, swim, jog, etc. at least a few times a week. It's also important she's getting lots of mental stimulation and interaction, such as walking different routes, going somewhere she can meet people and other animals (if she is comfortable in those situations), wooded areas or parks, etc.
     

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