Today my partner walked Kasper whilst me and Zoey were in bed, then Kasper went into his crate and we took Rey out, leaving Zoey in the bedroom again.
We set up my laptop to record what she was up to, and we gave her a Buster Cube full of kibble, a stuffed Kong, an antler and a Nylabone.
It is important to note that Zoey had not been walked and had not had a Calmex before being left. We didn’t want to walk her as morning’s are her laziest and calmest times.
Zoey was left for thirty-five minutes.
For the first twenty-one minutes Zoey was busy with her Kong and Buster Cube – [insert wildly happy noises here] 🙂
For the next eight minutes she wandered the room looking miserable (restless, ears back) and didn’t really do anything. She whined (probably an average of a whine a minute), but wasn’t overly stressed or panicked.
For the next three minutes Zoey curled up on the bed and slept [insert wildly happy noises again] 😉
She then looks up (when we turned the volume way up we heard us entering the house here), but doesn’t get up off the bed or stand from her sleeping position. She simply stays curled on the bed and watches towards the door.
Three minutes later (after we’ve sorted out our dripping dog and clothes and put Rey in his crate) my partner went to release Zoey. Zoey was still curled on the bed, and when the door was open she left the room and came downstairs.
We paid her no attention other than a “hi darling”, and she acted completely normal…she came down and picked up the nearest toy to chew 🙂
So. We’re thinking there’s a few adjustments we can do; observations first:
- Zoey is not overly anxious about being left; indeed when she has things to do she is not bothered at all
- Even when she had finished everything, there was still no frantic behaviours…she didn’t try destroy anything, chew her way out etc
- Upon our return she was happy to lay on the bed and listen to us (this could obviously change), but for now there was no whining, screaming, scratching at the door etc
–> Leave Zoey with more things that will keep her busy for longer.
We have one other puzzle feeder that Zoey has been left with and never attempted to destroy, so she can have two puzzle feeders with kibble in. We will give her one normal Kong and will also give her a frozen Kong. Along with the chew toys we will give her balls so that she has something she could play with if wanted.
–> When we go up and give Zoey all her things, we will give her a bowl with a blob of wet food in it, that we can hide her Calmex in.
Zoey will eat that first, and everything else should easily keep her busy for half an hour, which is the amount of time the Calmex should take to work.
The only thing I’m worried about here is that the two times we have given her Calmex, Zoey has seemed to feel ‘odd’ afterwards. She sits with wide eyes, ears back, and stares at nothing, then after about fifteen minutes she snaps back to normal and sleeps or chews.
I’m slightly concerned that she could associate the ‘feeling odd’ with either the bedroom or being left – thoughts?
–> Alongside leaving her in the bedroom in the morning (when we actually leave the house) we’ll also start leaving her in the living room with things to do whilst we go chill in the bedroom.
Again this is getting her used to being on her own, but it also gives me and my partner time to talk, be together and de-stress.
There you go, that’s our plan of action!
At the moment we have been giving Zoey her Calmex an hour before we put her in the kitchen (Calmex says it takes 30-60 minutes to take effect).
We have been putting Zoey in the kitchen so we can have Kasper and Rey in the living room, and do training / play with them. The kitchen is another place we’re trying to get Zoey comfortable alone.
But I’m thinking we start giving Zoey her med in the morning, now we’ve started leaving her then, and hope it will have affect throughout the day for the other stuff we do with her.
I’m sorry my blogs have been so long, but it helps to lay out what we’re doing, our progress, our failing etc. 🙂
Afraid I only have big dog pics to share again (couldn’t get photos of Rey as it was tipping it down on his walk)
Zoey is skinny atm. We switched them to a different kibble a month back, so I guess I need to adjust the amount she gets. Alongside it being winter, her being stressed AND the fact she gets big off lead walks now she needs fattening up 😛
She rocks puzzle feeders…the Buster Cube is especially hilarious as she can toss it across the room in one swipe 🙂
The white puzzle feeder looks really cool but is stupidly easy…all three of our pups can empty it in under a minute, and it also falls apart with little effort
Here is Kasper being a big baby ❤
How is that comfy Boo?!
I’ve been teaching the blockdog new tricks, seeing as we have so much time alone together. She now knows to knock an empty bottle over on cue, to roll her toys when asked (balls of various sizes, empty Buster Cube etc), and…
SHE FINALLY ENJOYS TUG OF WAR!!!
This has taken me months and months to train. Zoey has never understood the appeal of tug; why yank a toy about with a human when you can take it off on your own and rag it?!
What’s really weird is that she’s always wanted to play tug of war with people’s sleeves (which I *hate*!) but gets frustrated when you try play tug of war with her using a toy.
We got there in the end though, she loves it now and will tug for a minute until I mark her (at which point she drops for a treat), say “drop it” (at which point she will drop for a treat!) or let her win, where she runs around the room shaking the tug like mad 😀