Check Out This Weeks Featured Post! :

Flashy Friday Week 2!

Flashy Friday! Week 2 -  "Spin" Whew! A whole week between posts, sorry guys! Like I've mentioned before we're pr...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Puppy Anxiety Triggers

Puppy Crate Training & Bed Chewing
Battle of the Bed Part II

Sorry - this is an older post! Our routine keeps changing, but i'm proud to say that the battle of the bed part 2 is going great!

Battle of the Bed Part 1 - Click HERE

I've been beating myself up trying to figure it out, and after successfully crate training dogs in the past its been driving me crazy that Ziva goes through what we call, "phases" at our home.

She'll go weeks without eating her bed, and then one day something will change and i'll come home to a destroyed puppy bed and anxious puppy.

Our routine is currently:

Morning Exercise with the Dogs
Doggy Rest after Exercise Time while we eat Breakfast
Doggy Breakfast
Crate Time - Daddy Leaves for Work
Potty Time
Crate Time - Mommy Leaves for Work (4-5 hours typically)

Ziva doesn't hate her crate, in fact she often goes in their to chew in peace or if she gets too hot sitting on the couch with the family. She also values her space and will retreat to her crate for a nap.

She likes her crate just fine.
Currently after the destruction of her last bed...the Phooey stuff didn't stop her (that story here) she doesn't have a bed. It's just too expensive to be constantly replacing dog beds, I repair them if I can but she doesn't always leave anything to be repaired! I'd love to get her a nice bed like Dante's but am unwilling to spend close to a $100 if it is going to be reduced to a pile of fluff that I can't fix.

She is now sleeping on a heavy duty rubber mat with a blanket that smells like Mommy and Daddy (fleece so she can't rip stuffing out). So far so good, the blanket has survived 4 days!

When I leave she is usually happily and calmly chewing away - no signs of angst or excitement, or she is settling down to lazily lick her frozen Kong treat and maybe nap.

Anxiety Triggers

I think I figured out the problem...maybe. I'm crossing my fingers, wish me luck!

Yesterday morning I was getting ready for work and fixing to walk out the door, both dogs were snoozing soundly in their crates when their was a knock at the door.

Dante's BOOMING THUNDEROUS sound that he calls a bark, made me jump out of my skin, and of course Ziva was barking right along with him as they rushed to the door to confront whatever terror dared to knock.

The Jehovah's Witnesses...I'm not a hater but after several run in's with these ladies I find myself rather frustrated. I don't want to be bothered, my beliefs are personal and not up for discussion and knocking constantly on my door (even once a month) is too much after I ask you to stop. After politely asking them to leave - I'm busy and heading to work, and thanks now my dogs are upset. I closed the door and it occurred to me..

Anyone who knocks on the door when I'm gone is greeted by Dante's presence - barking, growling, and hackles at the window. Ziva on the other hand is in her crate, which would of course cause her some distress being that her brother would be upset and she couldn't aid him. Which brings me to my point about triggers.

Trigger #1 - Solicitors: religious and salesmen.
Dante's barking would trigger anxiety in Ziva - our solution? After my light bulb moment I rushed down the street and spoke to the JW ladies, explaining that we have a puppy in training and when strangers knock on the door it causes her undue stress and thus she destroys her bed. Please do not knock on my door - the lady put my on a list, we'll see if they honor my request or not though. The Mormom's also regularly haunt our area, i'll try to catch them as well.
I also plan on putting up a sign, unfortunately the "No Soliciting" signs are regularly ignored by the religious groups in our area so i'm thinking of being more creative.. something along the lines of, "Barking dogs will wake the baby, no soliciting or knocking." Or "Sleeping Baby - Do Not Disturb". I don't have kids except my pups, but they don't know that.

Trigger #2 - Neighborhood Kids.
I love my neighbors kids, but have gotten onto them many times about not playing in my driveway or yard. Recently I caught one of the kids, throwing his dogs' toy into my yard - which of course she'd fetch. Well, this causes Dante to bark and if i'm not home would again result in Ziva becoming stressed.

Solution? I spoke to the child and the parents and politely asked that unless i'm home, and they ask... that they please stay out of my yard.

Now I understand that I can't prevent everyone and their dogs from bothering my pups or entering my yard so i'm also taking a few other precautionary measures.

For Crate Time:

With both dogs nice and tired, I've resorted to giving Ziva a frozen stuffed Kong, her cow horn that she loves to gnaw on, and most recently a 12" bully stick when I leave. The Kong I imagine takes her a while to get the goodies out of being that it is frozen, and the cow horns last months at our house (if you have a heavy chewer try a horn!), the bully stick she can get through in about 20-30 min.

The goal - I want her to have options to chew rather than choose her bed or blanket. If she's not chewing I want her to sleep, hence the morning exercise routine.

I've also started playing audio as background noise to mask any noises that may be happening outside. My choice - (which my husband finds hilarious) is and audio book called: "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein. It's an awesome book by the way! It is written from a dog's perspective, and his owner is a race car driver. But I like the voice of the narrator, a nice male voice with gentle fluctuations. Hopefully it'll help.

Let me know if you have any great sign ideas! I've been wanting to make some pallet signs for a while - and now I want to expedite my project to get people to leave the house alone.

Or maybe this sign? 

Primitive Shabby Heritage Wood Vinyl Sign - No Soliciting - No Religious Queries - Scouts Welcome
Photo Attribution: Etsy. Heartfeltgiver
Ideas Anyone? Do you have this problem at your home?

Spoiler Alert
We did it!

One thing that i'm really learning is to be patient, every dog is different.
Our little Ziva is doing great! The audio book noise and chews have helped a great deal!
We also haven't had any religious knocking since last month...that I know of. And Ziva's bed is chewed only minimally at the corner. By bed I mean blanket.
Starting a little over a week ago, we began transitioning Ziva to an open door while we're away.

This transition happened slowly, we'd leave both dogs for short periods of time just to test them out. I'm not worried about them fighting, but what I do worry about is Ziva eating something, or both dogs playing and crashing into my glass hutch!

Leaving the door open
In order to make this a smooth transition you want to keep up with your normal routine - just slightly differed. 
We leave the same way, both dogs in their crates, laying down calmly, with their chews. The only difference is that their crate doors are open.

Remember this is something Dante is used to, for Ziva it's new.

How we dealt with Dante's separation anxiety - Click HERE

I put on my shoes, grab my coffee, and keys then head out the door - I do not lock the door. The hubby and I then went for a 10 min walk around our neighborhood. When we returned - both dogs were snuggled up on the couch! Hooray!

It may sound silly, but we have one couch that the dogs are allowed on, and no I'm not stupid. I know that as soon as I leave Dante is up on that couch. But he begins in his crate, and that is what is important.

Later that same weekend we drove to the store, the dogs were left unattended and un-crated for about 45 min. No issues and nothing was eaten!

The Final Test

Last week was the first week Ziva got to be out of her crate while I was at work. She did great!

Remember my ultimate goal was to have both dogs free in our house. 

Now this is not for all dogs, if you have a dog with behavioral problems, one who likes to eat things, separation anxiety, or two dogs who may fight (another behavioral issue). Crate training - and continuing to use the crates may be best for you.

Problems with pack hierarchy and fighting crate training gives you a safe place to put your dogs while you are away, however you should seek professional help in treating the root cause of the issue, or any other issue that you cannot overcome on your own.

However the crates are not going away, every time we leave we start the dogs in their crates - laying down calmly, often already sleeping. We keep the crates because sometimes dogs like their own space, our pups certainly do. If they are too hot or want to chew in peace they go to their crates.
If we have repair men come over, small children, or a dinner party and the dogs are being too rambunctious we send them to their crate.
The crates remain an important part of our routine.

How to Crate Train


  1. So interesting about triggers! Sometimes it's hard to know exactly what the trigger could be especially since it could be many things! I'm glad you've made progress and have a good idea of what it could be and have solutions (chew toys, back ground noise, etc.). This is one reason why I'm okay with not living in a stand alone home or a walk up. The solicitors! Living in a condo we don't have that issue (there's no way they could get past front desk security even if they did want to come into our part of the neighborhood!). Though, Labor Day weekend we went to visit my mother in law and low and behold - Jehova's Witness at the door. I tried to get Barry to run to the front door so the guy would see him (maybe Barry would scare him away?) but Barry is far too laid back. No barking, or interest in the man whatsoever. Barry just sat at the window and watched out but then got distracted by a squirrel. Probably best. I guess I don't want to be scaring Jehova's Witness away with my pit bull.

    For Barry we love a frozen KONG for him whenever we leave along with light classical music (where the DJs have nice unexciting, yet gentle, voices).

    1. Haha! I wish my pups were as laid back as Barry about the door. The noise they make could almost raise the dead! It's definitely given me a heart attack a couple times. Most of the noise is Dante, Ziva is more of a growler. But as soon as the door is open they turn into wiggle monsters. :-)

    2. Honestly, I think now that Barry lives in the "condo environment" where people walk by our door, slam their own doors, talk loudly in the hallway, knock on our door when they meant the other door, play music loudly through the night, he's used to it now (reasons I don't love living in a condo). So now, the door for him is the place where the noise comes from. The only things that get him going are small creatures, specifically squirrels and rabbits!

  2. That's so awesome that Ziva is doing better in her crate! Phoenix hated hers at first, too. Now she loves it!


Barks & Howls are always welcome!!

Share Me