Dog Training problem-Howls when left alone-Please help me brainstorm!! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-08-2013, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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Dog Training problem-Howls when left alone-Please help me brainstorm!!

Hi all, please I need any and all advice!

My very good friends Callie and David own a German Shorthaired Pointer. He is now about a year old.

The problem is very complicated, I think it has a lot to do with the owner's underlying depression as well, but I'm going to try break it down.

The dog, Louis, is incredibly high energy. He gets walked for hours everyday by Callie, who is not working at the moment, but it does little to make him more manageable. The larger problem for everyone, however, is that he is incredibly destructive when left home alone. He howls, until the neighbours out of frustration gets animal control to come around, and he destroys the garden, and everything he can find. And all this has lead to the point that Callie now no longer leaves the house. Ever. Because poor wittle doggie will cry...

Ok I'm not being very nice to this abominable creature, but I am sure any dog can be trained to stay home alone? Right? I have never had this problem myself, and I'm no Cesar, so I don't really know what to say. They say the dog has gone to training, but nothing works, but I suspect they are being inconsistent. Or just lying. They 'baby', and 'baby-talk' this poor dog to a nervous wreckage. I really dont think this dog is happy or well-adjusted, its just anxiety ridden.

Its driving me, and their other friends insane, because this dog has taken over their lives, and is running it. David travels for work, leaving Callie at home alone, and besides walking this animal alone for a few hours daily, she does nothing... she doesnt do the shopping, she doesnt visit anyone anymore, she doesnt join us for a meal, she doesnt even bother looking for work... because how can she?? What will poor Louis do all alone??? They are dead broke by the way, I don't know how they are making ends meet as it is.

Help!! I think she is so depressed! And it seems to be getting worse! She just doesnt seem to connect how she feels, with the fact that she has a very spoilt dog on her hands, that needs some discipline. We cant even talk to her about it much, she is in such denial and makes so many excuses for it.

Does this all sound very weird?
I'm sorry, but last night was the last straw... Friends of theirs offered to 'baby-sit' the dog for the evening, so David and Callie can just go on a date. Do something!

I found out this morning, that she refused to leave the house anyway....

I know its more of a person problem than a dog problem, but I dont know what to do to help her, but to try give her practical advice about the dog... I really want to help, but I dont know how!

Sorry for the length of this post, but please do give advice! I'll answer any questions as best I can.
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-08-2013, 07:29 AM
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We had a dog who would howl for hour wen left alone (and yes was destructive as well).
The easiest way is normal anouther dog that has already been trained.

The less easy way to do it is to crate the dog when you go out (so it cant destroy stuff) give it a tshirt that you have worn (and dont mind it being destroyed) then leave them untill they stop howling, the second they stop you can go back, repeat ad nausium untill the dog gets the idea (ours was thick as 2 short planks but only took about 3 weeks)

People will probably advise other options but these are the 2 options I have used and successfully
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-08-2013, 09:58 AM
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Hunting dogs need a lot of exercise and walking just doesn't cut it. Bicycling with the dog gives it the workout it needs.
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post #4 of 16 Old 05-08-2013, 10:12 AM
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^^ yes. This is a highly driven athlete, not a pet. It is designed to RUN miles without breaking a sweat. Besides just their physical stamina, their brains are highly sensitive and tightly wired to do their job. Everything in the described behaviour comes back to pent up energy and an under stimulated mind. Until that is addressed, it does not matter one iota how your friends relate to their dog. A tired dog is a happy, confident and peaceful dog. The responsible commitment to this breed is not a few days a week of working its feet off it, it's every single day. A huge undertaking.
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Last edited by hemms; 05-08-2013 at 10:17 AM.
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-08-2013, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks soooo much for your replies so far! It really makes sense what you say about it being a working dog. The garden of their house is super tiny, which I'm sure doesnt help.

Anyway, they dont walk him on a leash, at a human walking pace, Callie takes him to a park/to the beach and he runs loose while she walks. Is that still insufficient? And she DOES walk him every single day... Its literally all she does. I must say I am pretty relieved NOT to have this dog, and I never say that about animals :)
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-08-2013, 11:03 AM
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I have had GSP's since I was a kid (and now a Kurzhaar, an imported GSP) and those that have said walking isn't enough are spot on. Dell, our male, can run for hours and not tire. If I could get his well sprung rib cage & lung capacity in a horse, I'd have a pasture full of triple crown contenders lol. Living on the farm makes it easier, he has fantastic training and call back so anytime DH or I are outside, he's outside too and has full run of the farm. We also take him to run along side the 4 wheeler for a good hour running 15-20 mph. If I start up the 4wheeler, he's bouncing around like an idiot until we get moving, he loves it. Then after that we hit the pond for water retrieving work, he'll retrieve and swim across a 2 acre pond as long as we are willing to throw a dummy but I limit it to 10-15 retrieves before making him take a break because he'd go until he couldn't breath and would get himself in trouble. Annnddd...after all that, he still isn't tired but come bird hunting season, his energy is a great attribute.
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-08-2013, 11:15 AM
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I wonder if your friend would be up for taking the dog to classes - lots of them. Agility, fly ball, gun dog training , water rescue; anything that is available in her area. If she can start to learn how to train him and have him use his brain it might help her find a way forward.

If she can't do that for whatever reason then could they be enabled to see how much happier the dog would be if it lived in a different home?

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post #8 of 16 Old 05-08-2013, 11:20 AM
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Yes, getting into the sports the dog was bred for will open up her world as well as address her dog's essential needs.
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-08-2013, 11:39 AM
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I can't really offer any other suggestions beyond what has already been stated, but I can attest to the needs of working dogs. I breed and raise Border Collies, which are also high energy and very strongly driven dogs. I generally take several of them with me every time I take a horse to the country and they run alongside while I work a horse at a trot or lope for several miles. In the summertime, it's not an uncommon thing for our dogs to do 30-40 miles in a day several times a week because they are working cattle and traveling with us from pasture to pasture. Basically, we spend 8-10 hours going and doing with very few short breaks spread throughout the day.

Dogs like that are not designed for urban or apartment living where they are left alone for large chunks of the day with limited exercise and no mental stimulation. That's the reason that so many working breeds get the stereotype of being neurotic or untrainable or destructive or any of those other nasty words used to describe high energy dogs.

A destructive dog is an understimulated/underexercised dog.
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-08-2013, 11:58 AM
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My Chinese crested powder puff is now quite an old dog, he shares the house with 2 other dogs but still howls the place down as soon as we go out, the others take no notice of him. Fortunately we don't have neighbours close enough to hear
He believes himself to be my sole protector so I put it down to him being stressed about me being outside without him and so at risk. If I go out and my husband or son are in the house he goes and lies by them shaking until I get back.
So sorry - no clue what you can do about it.
We also have pointers that live outdoors around the barn and have had pointers and spaniels in the past - they are definitely a breed that needs to be kept occupied or they get creative in a bad way.
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