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Anna, Pet Trainer
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 11464
Experience:  40 yrs. training pet dogs and performance dogs in obedience, agility, herding, tracking, and therapy.
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Took in an 18 month female poodle schnauzer from a shelter.

Customer Question

Took in an 18 month female poodle schnauzer from a shelter. She had not been taken care of previously . Now we are understanding why. She is destructive pawing up carpet, chewing furniture, eating shoes and relieving herself. However if she is with me, she is calm, obedient, reasonably well behaved . Leaver her alone and I come home every time to something being destroyed. HELP!!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I have over 40 years of experience training dogs in obedience, agility, herding, therapy work, tracking, and as household pets. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. It sounds like you are dealing with a severe case of separation anxiety. This can be handled with much patience, consistency, and time. Is the dog crate trained? When you go away, does she have the run of the house? Thank you for the additional information.

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

It appears you went offline without seeing my request for more information. Because I don't want you to have to wait any longer, I'm going to go ahead and answer as best I can without that information.

When a dog is well-behaved when people are home, but destructive when alone, it is almost always separation anxiety. Every one of the behaviors you are seeing is a sign of separation anxiety. You’re dealing with one of the most frustrating behavior problems. With consistency, time, and patience, you should be able to reverse this behavior. If you don’t get good results, or you don’t have the patience for this type of training, you can speak to your vet about medications that may help. Anti-depressents help some dogs, and sometimes sedatives are used. You can read more about separation anxiety here:

Helping a dog with this disorder is much easier if the dog feels safe in a crate (kennel). This amounts to teaching her that the crate isn't a bad place. Put the crate in a pleasant area of the house, not off in some corner. Begin by calling your dog into the crate and giving her a very special treat of some sort. Don't close the door. Let her eat the treat and then leave. Repeat this over and over. When she goes into the crate willingly to get her treat, close the door for just a few seconds and continue to give her treats while she's in there. Repeat this until she doesn't seem to mind. Gradually increase the time. Speak cheerfully and praise her all the while. When it's not a problem to leave her in there for about 10 minutes, start giving her a filled Kong toy (sold in pet stores) in the crate. It will take some time and patience, but she will learn to view the crate as a place where good things happen. Continue this only when you’re home, until she doesn’t seem to mind the crate. When you're ready to leave her in the crate when you leave, give her the Kong in the crate before you go. The first time you go, just walk out the door and then and then return. Gradually increase the amount of time you’re gone by only a few seconds at first, then a few minutes.

There is also a product you may want to try. It contains calming pheromones, and is called Comfort Zone. The pheromones are natural substances which have effects on animals. Comfort Zone is available as either a sray or a plug-in diffuser. The diffuser would be longer-acting, and better for your situation.. Many people who have used it for dogs with separation anxiety have reported good results. However, the pheromones alone won’t do the trick. You’ll have to use them along with the measures described above. Pheromones may make it a little easier.You can read more here:

I know this sounds like a challenging task. It is. Not everyone is up for a dog training task like this. If you feel it is too much, you could speak to your vet about medications, or you may make the decision to return her to the rescue. If you do that, be sure to let them know she has separation anxiety. She is not deliberately misbehaving or being destructive - she is terrified of being alone.

If you have more questions about this, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope that whatever you decide to do, it will work out well.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

Do you need any additional information?


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